The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra located in Buffalo, New York. Its primary performing venue is Kleinhans Music Hall, which is a National Historic Landmark. Its regular concert season features gala concerts, classics programming of core repertoire, pops concerts, educational youth concerts and family concerts. During the summer months, the orchestra performs at many parks and outdoor venues across Western New York.
Cameron Baird, Frederick Slee, and Samuel P. Capen founded the orchestra in 1934. (Baird's and Slee's names now grace the two buildings which house the music department at the University at Buffalo, while the university's main administration building is named after Capen.) The BPO first performed during the 1935–1936 season under music director Lajos Shuk, and moved to Kleinhans upon the concert hall's completion, performing at its dedicatory gala on October 12, 1940.
Past music directors of the Philharmonic have included William Steinberg, Josef Krips, Willis Page, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas, Semyon Bychkov, and Maximiano Valdés. During Foss's tenure, the BPO was considered the world leader in performance of 20th century symphonic music. The current music director is JoAnn Falletta, the orchestra's first female music director. Stefan Sanders is the current resident conductor. John Morris Russell is the Principal Pops Conductor. Other celebrated conductors who have led the orchestra include Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Neville Mariner, and Henry Mancini. Doc Severinsen was the resident pops conductor in the 1990s. Another notable BPO pops conductor was Marvin Hamlisch who is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, A Chorus Line. Actor Sorrell Booke also conducted the orchestra on at least one occasion.