John Lithgow to Join Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra as Special Guest for the Academy of Music 163rd Anniversary Concert and Ball

Fundraiser benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra
DECEMBER 30, 2019


(Philadelphia, December 30, 2019)—For decades the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball has been among Philadelphia’s most highly anticipated charity events. On Saturday, January 25, 2020, acclaimed performer John Lithgow will join Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra to celebrate the 163rd anniversary of the Academy of Music, a national historic landmark of the Orchestra and the place where the famous “Philadelphia Sound” was created. A dynamic performer of the stage and screen, Lithgow has collaborated with orchestras as well as ballet and theater companies, sharing a deep commitment to the performing arts.


“After all these years, the Academy of Music still inspires the most beautiful music,“ said Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “I am thrilled that the Orchestra is returning to the Academy in January for our first subscription concerts since 2001, as well as the Anniversary Concert with John Lithgow, one of the great performers of our time. It will be an unforgettable evening in celebration of a true jewel of our city and our nation.”


The Anniversary Concert and Ball benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Concert and Ball tickets are available at or by calling the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215.893.1978. Concert-only tickets, priced at $75.00, can be purchased at or by calling 215.893.1999.


“We are looking forward to a magical Anniversary Concert and Ball, which will turn the spotlight on our beloved Academy of Music,” said Caroline B. Rogers, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Music. “The theme of this year’s event is ‘Grand Traditions, New Generations,’ which speaks to our mission to uphold the rich history of the Academy so that it may be enjoyed by future audiences for years and years to come. We hope that guests will be reminded not only of the building’s beauty and charm, but also of the need for its care and attention.”


“As stewards of this treasured icon, it is essential that we preserve and enhance the Academy for future generations,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra. “On this spectacular evening when we celebrate the building we love and cherish so deeply, may we also be reminded of the vital role the Academy plays in our lives all year long, and of the role we play in ensuring this beacon of our community continues to shine.”


The white-tie celebration will begin at 5:00 PM with the Chair’s Pre-Concert Reception at the Academy of Music. The evening will continue with the concert in the Academy auditorium at 7:00 PM. The post-concert celebrations will begin with the traditional promenade up the Avenue of the Arts from the Academy to the Bellevue Hotel, where guests will enjoy an evening of spirited music, dinner, and dancing.


This year’s gala is co-chaired by Lisa M. Buckingham and James P. Brandau. Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr. serve as honorary co-chairs and Nancy V. Rogers serves as corporate committee chair. The Academy of Music 163rd Anniversary Concert and Ball is underwritten as of this release by The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Bellevue Hotel, Karma Agency, Philadelphia magazine, Brown Brothers Harriman, Independence Blue Cross, Innisfree Foundation, Lincoln Financial Group, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, James and Micaela Brandau, Lisa and Phil Buckingham, Cozen O’Connor, Halfgenius, Kessler Topaz, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer and Joseph Neubauer, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Neiman Marcus, PECO, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia Style magazine, The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, aaj design, Accenture, Barings, Becker & Frondorf, The Capital Grille Philadelphia, Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Hill III, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Milliman Financial Risk Management, JP Morgan Asset Management, Yannick Nézet-Séquin, Partners Group Inc., SPW Productions, WSFS, Aqimero, Ares Management Corporation, Congruent, Sarah Miller Coulson, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Equus Capital Partners Ltd., Ernst & Young LLP, FCB NY, FirsTrust Bank, Holland & Knight LLP, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Leonard, Bruce and Robyn Leto, Macquarie, OceanFirst Bank N.A., Caroline B. Rogers, Nancy and John Rogers, Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfield, Linda and Steven Siegfried, Springhouse Films, SS&C, Textron Aviation, Wells Fargo Securities, Whitman Insight Strategies, and WRTI-FM.


In addition to performing at the Anniversary Concert, The Philadelphia Orchestra is returning to the Academy of Music for its first subscription concerts since 2001. On January 23, 24, and 26, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the Orchestra in Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.3, which was premiered by the Philadelphians in 1936 on the Academy stage; Vivian Fung’s Dust Devils; and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Yefim Bronfman, as part of the BeethovenNOW series. For more information and tickets, visit


History of the Academy of Music and the Anniversary Concert and Ball


Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, the Academy of Music was home to The Philadelphia Orchestra for more than a century, from the ensemble’s founding in 1900 to the opening of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in 2001. The first Anniversary Concert and Ball, which took place in January 1957, featured a star-studded line-up in which Eugene Ormandy shared his podium with Danny Kaye. The historic evening’s guest performers included classical artists Marian Anderson, Hilde Gueden, Arthur Rubinstein, and Isaac Stern, and popular singer Dinah Shore. Since 1957 numerous luminaries of the musical world have performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra as part of the Academy of Music Anniversary concerts. Notable guest artists include sopranos Audra McDonald, Jessye Norman, and Kiri Te Kanawa; mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne; violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Itzhak Perlman; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang; popular artists such as Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Sting, and Paul Simon; and performers such as Hugh Jackman, Al Pacino, Steve Martin, and Helen Mirren.


About the Artists


John Lithgow’s roots are in the theater. In 1973, he won a Tony Award three weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey’s The Changing Room. Since then he has appeared on Broadway 20 more times, earning another Tony, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Lithgow has acted in England with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. He returned to the New York stage in 2014, first as King Lear for The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park, and then on Broadway in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. In April 2018, Lithgow appeared as Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in the Carnegie Hall Presentation of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.


In 2008, Lithgow devised the one-man show John Lithgow: Stories by Heart for The Lincoln Center Theater Company and performed it in 35 cities around the country over the next 10 years, arriving on Broadway this past year for a warmly received three-month engagement at the Roundabout Theatre.


In the early 1980s, Lithgow began to make a major mark in film. He was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment. In 2019, Lithgow could be seen in Late NightThe Tomorrow Man, and Pet Sematary. He plays Roger Ailes in Bombshell, the new Charles Randolph film.


Lithgow has been nominated for twelve Emmy Awards for his work on television and has won six, most recently for his transformative role as Winston Churchill in The Crown.


Since 1998, Lithgow has written nine New York Times best-selling children’s picture books, most recently Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo. He has performed concerts for children with major American orchestras and has released three kids’ albums, “Singin’ in the Bathtub,” “Farkle & Friends,” and the Grammy-nominated “The Sunny Side of the Street.” He has been honored with the New Victory Theater Arts Award for his work in “bringing kids to the arts and the arts to the kids.”


Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. His highly collaborative style, deeply rooted in musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.” Full bio.


The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world. For more information, visit


Academy of Music 163rd Anniversary Concert and Ball

January 25, 2020, at 7:00 PM – Saturday evening – Academy of Music


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor

John Lithgow Special Guest


The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra have graciously donated their services for this concert.

 This concert will be performed without an intermission.