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Advisory of Artist and Program Change: Michael Tilson Thomas Replaces James Levine February 18-20, 2016

February 12, 2016

(Philadelphia)—Conductor James Levine regrets that he must withdraw from his upcoming guest conducting engagement with The Philadelphia Orchestra. As recently reported by the New York Times, Levine is currently undergoing a modification of his medical regimen to minimize adverse physical effects of Parkinson’s disease. Results of his recent therapy are positive, but the physical demands of travel, rehearsal,
and concert performance would be detrimental to his current medical treatment.

Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony and artistic director of the New World Symphony, has graciously agreed to conduct the concerts in honor of his great respect for Levine and his close relationship with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Tilson Thomas has been on a scheduled composing break and has completed his work early, allowing him to step in on short notice. “I am a great admirer of Jim’s unmatched musicianship and wish him all good health and speedy return to the podium,” says Tilson Thomas.

The program now features Ives’s “Decoration Day,” from A Symphony: New England Holidays and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (“Little Russian”). Brahms’s Serenade No. 2 remains unchanged.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is deeply grateful that Paul Jacobs has agreed to reschedule his performance of Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”) for November 17-19, 2016, to coincide with his world premiere performances of Christopher Rouse’s Organ Concerto. That program, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, will be led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

“On behalf of the musicians and staff of The Philadelphia Orchestra, we extend our best wishes to Maestro James Levine,” said President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “We were eagerly anticipating his return to Philadelphia after 20 years, but his health is the utmost importance, and we understand the complications of his current medical treatment. I am grateful to Michael Tilson Thomas, an artist who continues to create deep musical connections with the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra, for stepping in to lead these concerts. We also thank Paul Jacobs for agreeing to reschedule his performance of the ‘Organ’ Symphony, and look forward to
experiencing his artistry next November.”

Michael Tilson Thomas is music director of the San Francisco Symphony, founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting the world’s leading orchestras, MTT is also noted for his work as a composer and a producer of multimedia projects that are dedicated to music education and the reimagination of the concert experience. He has won 11 Grammys for his recordings, is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and is a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France.

This past season he celebrated both his 20th anniversary as music director of the San Francisco Symphony and his 70th birthday with a United States and European tour with the San Francisco Symphony, a tour of New York and the West Coast of America with the London Symphony Orchestra, appearances in New York and Washington, D.C. with the New World Symphony, and concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

For more information on Michael Tilson Thomas, please visit michaeltilsonthomas.com.

For information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit philorch.org.


February 18 at 8 PM — Thursday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
February 19 at 2 PM — Friday afternoon — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
February 20 at 8 PM — Saturday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Michael Tilson Thomas Conductor

Ives - “Decoration Day,” from A Symphony: New England Holidays
Brahms - Serenade No. 2
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 2 (“Little Russian”)

Tickets start at $35, and are available at 215.893.1999 or philorch.org.

***Please note that this listing supersedes previous press materials related to this concert***


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