The Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s 50th anniversary celebration culminated with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s third residency week under the baton of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Special guest artists included pianist Lukáš Vondráček making his Philadelphia Orchestra debut (August 17); legendary soprano Renée Fleming making her SPAC debut (August 18); and cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han—the co-artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center—alongside violinist Benjamin Beilman (August 20).
The Philadelphia Orchestra kicked off the second week of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center residency with a program celebrating the history of the Saratoga Race Track and the majestic horse, on August 10.
In 1961 discussions were begun for a summer venue for the New York Philharmonic at Saratoga Spa State Park. Local civic, cultural, and legislative leaders were galvanized into action. Within a week they held their first meeting; within a month they had won the support of State Conservation Commissioner, and begun discussions with both the Philharmonic and New York City Ballet. The group funded start-up costs out of their own pockets. Then came the more formidable challenge of demonstrating community-wide support to foundations and philanthropists whose backing would be critical.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra reunited in Vail for three concerts, performing together for the first time since the end of the 2016 Tour of Asia. The powerhouse programs were July 14 with pianist Kirill Gerstein, July 15 with violinist Lisa Batiashvili, and July 16 with Mahler’s powerful “Resurrection” Symphony, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and the Colorado Symphony Chorus.
The Japan National Press Club hosted a performance and panel discussion on cultural exchange with Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore and four musicians for over 60 of Japan's leading journalists. Prior to the event, each musician and Allison (pictured) signed a special guestbook. Photo by Jan Regan.
There’s a longstanding tradition when the Orchestra travels to Japan of challenging their colleagues from the Tokyo Symphony to a baseball game. This year the Philadelphia Firebirds pulled off a victory in the last inning. Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch took advantage of the warm-up period to pull out her Frisbee. Photo by Jan Regan.
The Orchestra rehearsed in the morning for its second concert in Macao, which included some new repertoire for the tour: Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Tales from the Vienna Woods” Waltz, the Suite No. 1 from Bizet’s Carmen, and two works with violinist Ryu Goto, Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto and Takemitsu’s Nostalghia: In Memory of Andrei Tarkovsky. Yannick and Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi discuss the score during the break of the rehearsal. Photo by Jan Regan.
This morning a number of musicians gave master classes at the Macao Conservatory of Music. Assistant Prinicpal Cello Yumi Kendall helps her young student find the “center” of the bow by locating the balancing point. Photo by Jan Regan.
Oboist Jonathan Blumenfeld’s student implements some of his instruction. Photo by Jonathan Blumenfeld. Photo by Jan Regan.
The Orchestra departed Beijing for Macao today, where they will present two concerts at the Venetian Macao. Sands China Ltd. President and COO Wilfred Wong welcomes them to Macao at a press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel Macao. The Venetian Macao is the presenting sponsor of The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2016 Tour of Asia & China Residency and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is a Tour Partner.Photo by Jan Regan.