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You Pick, We Play. Vote Now for Opening Night Pieces

August 05, 2014

Rimsky-Korsakov’s lively and popular Capriccio espagnol surprisingly has not been played on a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription performance in more than 40 years. Ditto for Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4? Never been performed by the Orchestra.

After this season that will no longer be the case.

That’s because during the 2014-15 season the Orchestra is presenting 40 compositions, from the well-known to the brand new, not heard on subscription concerts in 40 years, if ever, by the ensemble. 

Called the 40/40 Project, the season-long endeavor is an opportunity to “reinvigorate the repertoire,” Yannick said.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

The 40/40 Project also includes works that might be called TBD, three  pieces for the opening concerts of the 2014-15 season to be determined by a vote by audience members. With 15 pieces to choose from, concert-goers can pick works they’ve perhaps never heard performed by the Orchestra, from Alexander Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia to John Williams’s Essay for Strings. Voters will choose the first work that will be performed on each of the three opening performances, on September 26-28. Those concerts also feature Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, performed by Lang Lang.

Voting at http://www.philorch.org/audience-choice is now open and ends August 18. The final works to be performed will be chosen at the discretion of Yannick.

More than just bringing neglected pieces to the stage, the Orchestra will premiere new works under the auspices of the 40/40 Project, including the North American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto in January. (Yannick and the Rotterdam Philharmonic gave the piece’s world premiere in 2013.) In addition, the Orchestra commissioned a piece by Nico Muhly that receives its premiere in May.

“It’s very important to me that we play recent music, music made by living composers,” Yannick said.

Other recent works under the 40/40 umbrella are Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Violin Concerto and Michael Daugherty’s Reflections on the Mississippi, for tuba and orchestra. The latter piece was written for Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch, who will make her solo subscription debut performing the composition.