westchester-philharmic.jpgConductor George Manahan returns to conduct Glazunov, Mozart and Mussorgsky's famed Pictures at an Exhibition Purchase, N.Y. - The Westchester Philharmonic's 2011-12 season at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College comes to a close with a member of the jazz world's "first family," saxophone superstar Branford Marsalis, on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 8 pm and Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 3 pm. Marsalis' accessibility and virtuosity transcend genre: He has toured with rock/pop star Sting, was the leader of the Tonight Show Band, and has performed with symphony orchestras around the world. Long known as one of the giants of the Jazz world, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Marsalis continues to deepen his dedication to classical music and this concert is no exception. "An . . . innovative jazz saxophonist who also happens to be a classical performer with phenomenal technique." (Wes Phillips, onhifi.com). Marsalis will debut with the Philharmonic in Glazunov's not often heard Concerto for Saxophone. Conductor George Manahan reunites with the Philharmonic to guide Marsalis and the orchestra in the May performances. Former Music Director of New York City Opera, the wide-ranging and versatile Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He was hailed for his leadership at City Opera, where he "gets from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago...these musicians operate with such consistent energy and involvement." (The New York Times) The concert opens with an audience favorite, Mozart's Symphony No. 38 ("Prague"). The program and the season come to a triumphal conclusion with Mussorgsky's famed Pictures at an Exhibition. Mr. Marsalis will appear one hour before each performance for a pre-concert discussion with Philharmonic executive director Joshua Worby.                All events take place at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. A free open rehearsal is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 at 10 am in The Concert Hall. Please visit http://www.westchesterphil.org/ for updates. High resolution photos and artist bios are available and may be downloaded from: www.westchesterphil.org/pressphotos.asp Concert Tickets All performances will take place in The Concert Hall at The Performing Arts Center Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York. Single tickets range from $97-$30. Student/child/group discounts are available. To purchase tickets and for additional information call the Westchester Philharmonic Box Office at (914) 682-3707 ext. 10.  Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card accepted.  Visit the Westchester Philharmonic's website at http://www.westchesterphil.org/ About Branford Marsalis Long known as one of the giants of the Jazz world, Grammy Award winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis continues to deepen his dedication to classical music. His 2001 Sony Classical recording Creation, which features the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, was the acclaimed saxophonist's first classical recording in 15 years. This outstanding program of music by early 20th-century French composers, features works that resonate with the influence of American jazz and attests to the range and ambition of his talent, which has made him, raved Wes Phillips of onhifi.com, "an . . . innovative jazz saxophonist who also happens to be a classical performer with phenomenal technique." On the heels of this successful recording, Marsalis has performed with prestigious symphony orchestras in a host of international cities, including Chicago, Sydney, Philadelphia and London. In each of these appearances, Marsalis applies the same impeccable technique and interpretive insight that he brings to his work with one of the jazz world's premier ensembles, the Branford Marsalis Quartet. About George Manahan In his second season as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra, the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO this season, Mr. Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as Director of Orchestral Studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He served as Music Director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons and . . . was hailed for his leadership of the orchestra where he "gets from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago.....these musicians operate with such consistent energy and involvement." (New York Times) In May 2011 Mr. Manahan was honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his "career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time has enriched and enabled Concert Music both at home and abroad." His recent Carnegie Hall performance of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra was hailed by audiences and critics alike, "What a difference it makes to hear the piece performed by an opera conductor who palpably believes in it," said the New York Times, "the fervent and sensitive performance that Mr. Manahan presided over made the best case for this opera that I have encountered." Mr. Manahan's guest appearances include the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Hollywood Bowl, and New Jersey, where he served as acting Music Director for four seasons. He is a regular guest with the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival, and has also appeared with the Opera Companies of Seattle, Chicago, Santa Fe, Portland, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, the Bergen Festival (Norway), the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico) and Minnesota Opera, where he was Principal Conductor. His many appearances on television include productions of La Boheme, Lizzie Borden, and Tosca on PBS. Live from Lincoln Center's telecast of New York City Opera's production of Madame Butterfly under his direction won a 2007 Emmy Award. George Manahan's wide-ranging recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich's Tehillim for ECM; recordings of Edward Thomas's Desire Under the Elms, which was nominated for a Grammy; Joe Jackson's Will Power; and Tobias Picker's Emmeline. His enthusiasm for contemporary music continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang's Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze's The English Cat, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner. As Music Director of the Richmond Symphony (VA) for twelve years, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to new music. He received his formal musical training at the Manhattan School of Music, studying conducting with Anton Coppola and George Schick, and was appointed to the faculty of the school upon his graduation, at which time The Juilliard School awarded him a fellowship as Assistant Conductor with the American Opera Center. Mr. Manahan was chosen as the Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony and he made his opera debut with the Santa Fe Opera, conducting the American premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Von Heute Auf Morgen. About the Westchester Philharmonic The Westchester Philharmonic orchestra is the only fully-professional symphony orchestra devoted to serving the people of Westchester County. Founded in 1983 by Paul Lustig Dunkel, who was named Music Director Emeritus, and most recently led by the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Philharmonic fulfills its mission in the concert hall, in the community, and in the classroom. The Philharmonic performs a main stage Concert Series at the Performing Arts Center Purchase College and partners with local agencies to present free and low-cost concerts for all County residents. Its award-winning education program serves over 2,000 elementary school students.             The orchestra is comprised of the finest musicians from the greater New York area and has worked with the world's finest soloists, including Midori, Joshua Bell, and the late Isaac Stern. With a focus on presenting the best music of the past and present, the orchestra places particular emphasis on providing young musicians with an opportunity to perform with, or compose for, a professional symphony orchestra early in their careers. The Philharmonic has become a home for living American composers and has proudly commissioned many orchestral works such as Melinda Wagner's Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The orchestra is dedicated to inviting and attracting people of diverse backgrounds to its concerts and continues to explore new partnerships with local schools, libraries, and community centers, so that all in the community have the opportunity to experience the joy of a live, classical music concert.

###

Contact: Lenore Eggleston (914) 682-3707 ext. 15 leggleston@westchesterphil.org