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Having a Wonderful Time … Wish You Were Here

February 23, 2016

Lucky Florida music lovers! After three years away, the Fabulous Philadelphians are on tour in South Florida, under the direction of Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève. For everyone not making the trip, this blog post is designed to help you enjoy the visit vicariously, while winter gradually relinquishes its grip on the City of Brotherly Love.

This is the first tour led by Denève since he joined the Orchestra’s conducting roster … and it’s a beauty (not just on account of the tropical scenery). Starting tonight (February 23) at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, he leads the ensemble in Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets” from Romeo and Juliet, the Sibelius Violin Concerto with soloist James Ehnes, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. Wednesday afternoon at 2 PM the Orchestra performs Berlioz’s Overture to Beatrice and Benedict, excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

Heading even further South down I-95, the Orchestra arrives at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Thursday. The concert starts at 8 o’clock sharp in the Knight Concert Hall, and features the Berlioz, Mendelssohn, and Prokofiev program.

Of course, the Orchestra is known for its community engagement and educational activities everywhere it goes. So earlier Thursday, Maestro Denève visits Citrus Grove Middle School for a special collaboration with Miami Music Project. This program offers free music education to students throughout Miami-Dade County. It’s based on the principles of Venezuela’s El Sistema model and uses music as a vehicle for social transformation. At 6 PM he conducts its Leaders Orchestra, comprised of the nonprofit’s most socially and musically advanced students (aged nine through 18), in a concert featuring the third and fourth movements from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and the Prelude to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

If imagining your beloved Orchestra amidst the swaying palms, gentle breezes, and azure skies of South Florida is too bittersweet, take heart: The Philadelphia Orchestra returns to the Kimmel Center on Thursday, March 3, with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium, Hélène Grimaud at the keyboard for Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, and the Orchestra featured in Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 …  you may know it better as “Spring!”

February 22: Musicians wait at Palm Beach International airport for their bus to the hotel. 

February 23: Associate Principal Horn Jeffrey Lang warms up prior to the morning rehearsal.

February 23: Principal Cello Hai-Ye Ni gets ready to unpack her cello before the start of the rehearsal.

February 23: Concertmaster David Kim welcomes Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève to the rehearsal in Rinker Playhouse at the Raymond F. Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. The concert will be in the main Dreyfoos Hall.

February 23: Denève leads a rehearsal for that evening’s first concert.