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Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra The Inaugural Season – 2012-2013

January 25, 2012

(Philadelphia, January 25, 2012) – Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin with President and CEO Allison Vulgamore today announced the 2012-13 season of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season and the 113th season of the Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012-13 season reflects and celebrates Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s considerable breadth and depth of musical talents as well as the extraordinary versatility of the Orchestra. The innovative array of programs honors the Orchestra’s rich heritage while looking to the future through a modern day lens. Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s imprint makes itself evident on the entire season, weaving together multiple themes throughout—celebrating the centenary of Leopold Stokowski’s inaugural season as music director in tandem with Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season, observing the bicentennial of Wagner’s birth, employing creative programming combined with multimedia concert experiences, and commemorating the notable occasions of our lives. The thematic narrative of the season embraces strong core repertoire as well as new works and calls for orchestral forces from the intimate—Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos—to the majestic—Janáček’s Sinfonietta.

“The first season, for me, is so exciting because I now will take all I have learned about these incredible musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and bring my own signature, creating a wonderful new partnership,” said Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We will create connections and links between repertoire, different eras, and composers, offering a variety of viewpoints and perceptions. Every program relates to another, and over the course of the season we will have opened wide a window to the complete world of music.”

“Yannick’s astonishing breadth of artistry infuses the entire 2012-13 season and will inspire and delight our audiences,” said Vulgamore. “He has embraced the Orchestra’s legacy of innovation, its signature Philadelphia Sound, and its deep connections to some of the music world’s cherished artists and core repertoire. The Orchestra’s creativity and traditions, handed down across the generations since Leopold Stokowski’s music directorship, now pass to Yannick, who opens our musical door to the future.”

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center commences with an Opening Night Gala on October 18, 2012, featuring America’s favorite soprano, Reneé Fleming, a close musical collaborator with Nézet-Séguin. The 2012-13 subscription season opens October 19 with Giuseppe Verdi’s towering Requiem, a continuation of Nézet-Séguin’s multi-season exploration of the world’s great requiems. The season also showcases Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and other choral masterpieces, and brings Stokowski’s spirit of innovation and flair for the theatrical to programs and concert experiences throughout, including staged performances of The Rite of Spring in creative partnership with Philadelphia Live Arts and New York-based Ridge Theater.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has invited an impressive array of guest conductors and artists to join the Orchestra during his first season. Berlin Philharmonic Music Director Simon Rattle makes his only U.S. appearance, joining the Orchestra for a two week “mini-residency.” Six other esteemed guest conductors will spend more than one week collaborating with the Orchestra and sharing their musical vision with Philadelphia audiences. Some of the world’s greatest soloists, and longtime friends and favorites here in Philadelphia, including Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, André Watts, and Gil Shaham, will join the Orchestra to share their unparalleled artistry in honor of Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season.

The Yannick Era Begins: Nézet-Séguin’s Subscription Concerts

Yannick Nézet-Séguin will share his multi-faceted musical personality and dynamic podium presence with Philadelphia audiences for nine subscriptions weeks in his first season, including two more than originally announced at his appointment, both donated by Nézet-Séguin. His concerts include the Opening Night Gala featuring soprano Reneé Fleming, two widely contrasting major choral works (Verdi Requiem and Bach St. Matthew Passion), his Carnegie Hall debut, the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring in collaboration with Philadelphia Live Arts and Ridge Theater, two world premieres and one U.S. premiere, and his first appearance on the Beyond the Score® series.

  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season commences with the Opening Night Gala, Thursday, October 18. America’s favorite soprano, Renée Fleming, joins Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra for this spectacular and celebratory evening.
  • The subscription season opens October 19-21, 2012, with Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental Requiem, continuing Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s exploration of the world’s great requiems. The concerts feature international operatic talents soprano Marina Poplavskaya, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, tenor Rolando Villazón, bass Mikhail Petrenko, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir (Joe Miller, director). In addition to three performances in Philadelphia, Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings the Verdi Requiem to New York, where he makes his Carnegie Hall debut (October 23).
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Orchestra in the world premiere of a piece by Gabriela Lena Frank, commissioned by the Orchestra in commemoration of the inaugural season of its new music director. The new work will be paired with Brahms’s Fourth Symphony and Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) featuring violinist Joshua Bell, who enjoys a longstanding relationship with the Orchestra and with Philadelphia audiences (October 25–27).
  • Returning in January, Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Orchestra and frequent collaborator, violinist Leonidas Kavakos in the U.S. premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Violin Concerto, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall (January 16-19). Ravel’s La Valse and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 round out the program.
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Bruckner with The Philadelphia Orchestra for the first time, following an acclaimed recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 with the Orchestre Métropolitain. The program also includes Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, part of the Wagner bicentennial (January 24-25).
  • Philadelphia Live Arts and Ridge Theater partner with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra for a 21st-century treatment of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, with video projections, dancers, and scenic design (February 21, 23, and 24). Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the Orchestra for Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, a work given its U.S. debut by Leopold Stokowski; and the Orchestra gives the world premiere of a new work by Oliver Knussen, co-commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra also perform this program at Carnegie Hall with an unstaged version of The Rite of Spring (February 22).
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads his first Beyond the Score performance with a Philadelphia Orchestra-produced presentation of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, part of the series’ Mighty Fifths theme (March 1).
  • One unstaged performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring will also be presented in Philadelphia on March 2, in a program that includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 38 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 (“Spring”).
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Orchestra’s first performances in nearly 30 years of The Passion According to St. Matthew, Bach’s setting of the Gospel of St. Matthew that features solo voices, children’s choir, double choir, and a double orchestra. This passion oratorio will be presented over Easter Weekend (March 28 and 30).
  • Hilary Hahn will perform Korngold’s colorful and cinematic Violin Concerto with the Orchestra; Yannick Nézet-Séguin also leads the Orchestra in Mahler’s First Symphony and Strauss’s rarely-heard Love Scene from Feuersnot (May 3-5).
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin tips his hat to Stokowski-style programming in a program infused with Eastern-European folk culture. Janáček’s Sinfonietta; Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance Nos. 1, 10, and 8; and Enescu’s  Romanian Rhapsody in D major are joined by Brahms’s Violin Concerto, featuring the incomparable Gil Shaham (May 23-25).

Stokowski Centenary

Philadelphia Orchestra legend Leopold Stokowski ascended the podium and took the reins as music director of the Orchestra on October 11, 1912, thus beginning a legacy that extended throughout his 29-year tenure and still resonates within the Orchestra today. One hundred years later, Yannick Nézet-Séguin steps into the rich tradition and heritage that Stokowski endowed upon the Orchestra, and celebrates this history while leading the Orchestra into its future. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012-13 season honors Leopold Stokowski, the man who began the modern era for the Orchestra, and pays tribute to this vibrant artistic ancestry through programming that celebrates his spirit, performing works he first introduced to Philadelphia, welcoming collaborations with artistic partners, drawing inspiration from his programming, and creating unique concert experiences. This season’s programs include several works that Stokowski premiered in Philadelphia, as well as some of his famous arrangements of Bach.

Several guest conductors, including Simon Rattle, Emmanuel Krivine, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Donald Runnicles selected their repertoire based on inspiration from historic Stokowski programs.

Said Yannick Nézet-Séguin: “It is so moving for me to realize that, in 1912 Leopold Stokowski became the music director of the Orchestra. One hundred years later I am privileged to step into this wonderful heritage that Stokowski has given all of us. He shaped The Philadelphia Orchestra into a very forward-thinking orchestra, and it is that spirit that we hope to capture in 2012-13 and beyond. Even as we look to the future, we are also honoring our tradition.”

The Verdi Requiem: A Monumental Work for a Monumental Occasion

Yannick Nézet-Séguin continues his multi-year exploration of the world’s great requiems with season-opening performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s epic Requiem, his most ambitious non-operatic work. Anticipating the 2013 bicentennial of Verdi’s birth, Nézet-Séguin brings an international cast of vocal soloists to these performances: soprano Marina Poplavskaya, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice, tenor Rolando Villazón, and bass Mikhail Petrenko, who join the Westminster Symphonic Choir for this monumental occasion. Following three performances at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings this powerful piece to New York for his Carnegie Hall debut.

100 Years of The Rite of Spring

Stravinsky’s masterpiece, The Rite of Spring, left the musical world changed forever after its premiere in Paris in 1913. Leopold Stokowski, already pushing boundaries in his role as music director, led The Philadelphia Orchestra in the U.S. premiere in 1922. In 2013 Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra will bring the spirit of Stokowski to a 21st-century treatment of this seminal work. In partnership with Philadelphia Live Arts and New York-based Ridge Theater, contemporary visual elements, dance, and design will be incorporated into one great work of art.

Premieres

The Philadelphia Orchestra continues its longstanding commitment to new music, a tradition that also harkens back to the Stokowski legacy. In the 2012-13 season the Orchestra gives two world premieres—a Philadelphia Orchestra commission by Gabriela Lena Frank (October 25-27) and a co-commission with the Pittsburgh Symphony of a new work by Oliver Knussen (February 21-24)—the U.S. premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Violin Concerto (January 16-19), and the Philadelphia premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4 (November 1-3). These works result from collaborations with such notable partners as Carnegie Hall, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Sphinx Organization. Yannick Nézet-Séguin has thoughtfully selected all of these composers for inclusion in his first season.

Gabriela Lena Frank, whose music is deeply influenced by her diverse heritage from Peru, China, and Lithuania, composes a celebratory work commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra in honor of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season as music director. This will mark the first premiere of the Orchestra’s 2012-13 season and of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s tenure as music director.

Among the most prominent of the current generation of composers, Osvaldo Golijov draws from styles ranging from klezmer to tango to create a musical voice that is uniquely his own. His new Violin Concerto, a Carnegie Hall co-commission, is performed by long-time Philadelphia Orchestra collaborator Leonidas Kavakos. It will receive its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall.

A hugely influential British composer, Oliver Knussen cites The Philadelphia Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski among his musical inspirations. The world premiere of his new work is co-commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony, and will receive its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall as well.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also presents the Philadelphia premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4. The piece was co-commissioned by 12 orchestras as part of the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium, which supports African-American and Latino composers.

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion

In dramatic contrast to the Verdi Requiem, Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings to Philadelphia the Orchestra’s first performance in nearly 30 years of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, performed over Easter Weekend. First performed on Good Friday in 1727 and arguably Bach’s greatest work, Bach’s setting of the Gospel of St. Matthew features two orchestras, two choirs, a children’s choir, and a cast of solo vocalists. The Gospel is told by a tenor portraying the Evangelist, who is joined onstage by singers depicting Christ, Judas, Peter, and Pontius Pilate.

Beyond the Score®

Designed not only for aficionados, but also for newcomers looking to delve deeper into the world of classical music, these popular events bring insights for newcomers and seasoned concertgoers alike. The first half of each program offers a theatrical examination of the selected score—exploring the context, history, and details of a composer’s life that influenced their creation and sharing stories found inside the music. Live musical examples, actors, and visual demonstrations bring these works to life in new and imaginative ways. After intermission the work is performed in its entirety.

The 2012-13 season features two productions under the creative direction of Gerard McBurney, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s creative director, on the fifth symphonies of Beethoven (January 31) and Prokofiev (April 11), and a third, entirely new presentation on Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony (March 1), produced by The Philadelphia Orchestra and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Carnegie Hall: A 110-Year Philadelphia Orchestra Tradition

The Philadelphia Orchestra first appeared at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November 1902. By the mid-20th century the Orchestra had begun a series of annual appearances at America’s most celebrated concert hall, presenting a variety of its concerts each year, less than two hours from home. The Philadelphia Orchestra continues this long-standing partnership, performing four concerts in the 2012-13 season, more than any other American orchestra outside of New York. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads three appearances, the first his Carnegie Hall conducting debut, leading the Verdi Requiem (October 23). He returns with the Orchestra in January to perform Ravel’s La Valse, Golijov’s Violin Concerto with Leonidas Kavakos, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 (January 17). For The Philadelphia Orchestra’s third Carnegie Hall concert of the 2012-13 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Orchestra in Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (February 22).

“We are all looking forward to welcoming Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra to New York next fall,” said Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall. “In addition to celebrating this special new partnership, we’re excited that these inaugural performances also mark Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s debut performances at our Hall. We’re certain that the concerts will be highlights of the upcoming season.”

Sir Simon Rattle brings the Orchestra to Carnegie Hall for the final appearance of the season, leading Webern’s Passacaglia; Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, both featuring soprano Barbara Hannigan; and Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (“Pastoral”).

Extraordinary Guest Conductors

The Philadelphia Orchestra welcomes an array of conductors in 2012-13, invited by Yannick Nézet-Séguin to share his inaugural season. Venerable conductors Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Stéphane Denève, Gianandrea Noseda, Donald Runnicles, Jaap van Zweden, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Simon Rattle, in rare U.S. appearances, spend “mini residencies” with the Orchestra, each collaborating for two weeks with the Orchestra. Also sharing their musical visions with the Orchestra will be conductors Giancarlo Guerrero, Emmanuel Krivine, Andrey Boreyko, and Nicholas McGegan.

  • In his first week, French conductor Stéphane Denève conducts Prokofiev’s film score for Alexander Nevsky, accompanied by the film itself and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale; followed by Debussy’s Images, Poulenc’s Suite from Les Biches, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris in his second (November 15–17 and 23–25).
  • Donald Runnicles, one of the world’s leading Wagner interpreters, joins The Philadelphia Orchestra in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring soloist Lars Vogt and orchestral highlights from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung. He returns in the second half of the season to lead the Orchestra in performances of Elgar’s Cockaigne Overture (“In London Town”); Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 featuring Jonathan Biss; and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 (November 29–December 1, and April 25-27).
  • Gianandrea Noseda celebrates the historic relationship between Rachmaninoff and Philadelphia, with support from the Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, by conducting the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring Denis Matsuev in his Philadelphia Orchestra debut, and Symphony No. 2 in his first week. Noseda returns the following week to conduct Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor; Elgar’s Cello Concerto, featuring MacArthur Genius Grant-winner Alisa Weilerstein; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 (“Polish”) (December 6–8 and 13–15).
  • Paul Goodwin returns to conduct Handel’s Messiah, with the Philadelphia Singers Chorale (December 23). He made his Orchestra debut leading Messiah in 2009 and returned the following year for performances of the annual holiday classic.
  • Philadelphia favorite Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 for a Beyond the Score® performance on January 31. He also leads the Orchestra in Bach’s “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (orchestrated by Stokowski); Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) with André Watts; Hindemith’s Concert Music for Strings and Brass; and Liszt’s Les Préludes (February 1–2). In his second week he conducts Haydn’s Symphony No. 1; Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto featuring Principal Trumpet David Bilger; and Orff’s Carmina burana (February 14–16).
  • Christoph von Dohnányi returns to conduct two weeks of performances focused on the great Viennese and Germanic composers. In the first, he leads the Orchestra in Lutosławski’s Funeral Music in the centenary year of the composer’s birth; Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 featuring Rudolf Buchbinder, founding artistic director of the Grafenegg Music Festival; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”). His second week of programming includes Schubert’s Symphony in B minor (“Unfinished”) and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 (“Romantic”) (March 8–10 and 14–16).
  • Andrey Boreyko joins the Orchestra for a week of performances. The program commemorating the Wagner bicentennial includes the great composer’s “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla,” from Das Rheingold, which will be performed contiguously, without interruption, with Christopher Rouse’s Der gerettete Alberich (Alberich Saved), fantasy for solo percussion and orchestra (also based on the music of Wagner’s music from The Ring), featuring Colin Currie; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (March 21–23).
  • Jaap van Zweden, music director of the Dallas Symphony, returns to lead Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring Garrick Ohlsson; Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night; and Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. He also conducts Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in an April 11 Beyond the Score® concert. The following week of programming includes Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, for string orchestra, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 (April 4–6, April 11 [Beyond the Score®], and April 12–13).
  • Baroque specialist Nicholas McGegan brings a program that includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Nos. 1-4 (program rescheduled from 2011-12 season) (April 18-20).
  • Simon Rattle, music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, returns to Philadelphia with two Stokowski-inspired programs—Andrew Norman’s Unstuck in its Philadelphia Orchestra premiere; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring Lang Lang as soloist; and without interruption, Sibelius’s Symphony Nos. 6 and 7 back-to-back (given their U.S. debut under Stokowski’s leadership). The next week includes Webern’s Passacaglia and Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck featuring soprano Barbara Hannigan (both works premiered by Stokowski); Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, also with Hannigan; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”), featured in the Disney film Fantasia. (May 9–11 and 16–19, May 17 at Carnegie Hall)

Two renowned conductors make their Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debuts in the 2012-13 season:

  • Giancarlo Guerrero makes his subscription debut with an all-American program featuring composers whose music is as varied as the American landscape. Celebrating our democracy during Election Week, Guerrero leads performances of Barber’s Medea’s Dance of Vengeance; Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, featuring Kirill Gerstein in his Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut; Copland’s Appalachian Spring; and Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4, a Philadelphia Orchestra co-commission (November 1–3).
  • Inspired by Stokowski’s original program of December 1935, when The Philadelphia Orchestra presented the U.S. premiere of Poulenc’s Double Piano Concerto, Emmanuel Krivine makes his subscription debut leading the Orchestra and twins Christina and Michelle Naughton as soloists in the Concerto, also in their Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut; Franck’s Symphony in D minor; and Stokowski’s famous orchestration of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (November 8–10).

Additionally, Concertmaster David Kim leads the Orchestra from his chair in performances of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Serenade in G major, and Symphony No. 25. From the piano, soloist Imogen Cooper leads the Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 (January 10-12).

Guest Artists: Friends & Favorites

A starry roster of Philadelphia’s favorite artists joins the season to mark Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season. Philadelphia audiences will welcome a notable collection of visiting pianists, including Jonathan Biss (April 25-27); Rudolf Buchbinder (March 8-10); Imogen Cooper (January 10-12); Kirill Gerstein (November 1-3); Lang Lang (May 9-11); Denis Matsuev making his Philadelphia Orchestra debut (December 6-8); Christina and Michelle Naughton, recent graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music making their Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debuts (November 8-10); Garrick Ohlsson (April 4-6); Jean-Yves Thibaudet (February 21-24); Lars Vogt (November 29–December 1); and André Watts (February 1-2).

Guest soloists also include violinists Joshua Bell (October 25-27), Leonidas Kavakos (January 16-19), Hilary Hahn (May 3-5), and Gil Shaham (May 23-25); cellist Alisa Weilerstein (December 13-15); Principal Trumpet David Bilger (February 14-16); and percussionist Colin Currie (March 21-23). Vocalists on the season include sopranos Renée Fleming (October 18); Barbara Hannigan (May 16-19) and Marina Poplavskaya (October 19-23) in their Philadelphia Orchestra debuts; mezzo-soprano Christine Rice in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut (October 19-23); tenor Rolando Villazón in his Philadelphia Orchestra debut (October 19-23); and bass Mikhail Petrenko, also in his Philadelphia Orchestra debut (October 19-23).

Choirs invited by Yannick Nézet-Séguin to collaborate with the Orchestra in the 2012-13 season include the American Boychoir (March 28 and 30), the Philadelphia Singers Chorale (November 15-17; December 23; February 14-16), and the Westminster Symphonic Choir (October 19-23; March 28 and 30).

The Philadelphia Orchestra partners with Philadelphia Live Arts and Ridge Theater to present a staged version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (February 21-24).

“I am honored by the guest conductors and artists that will join us in celebrating my inaugural season with The Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Nézet-Séguin. “So many of these guests have strong and enduring relationships both with our musicians of the Orchestra and with our audiences as well. I particularly wanted to invite some of these conductors for multiple weeks, to make even deeper connections. I look forward to the exceptional talent these artists and conductors will bring to the Orchestra’s season, on the programs I will lead as well as those that reflect my artistic arc across the season.”

Stokowski Celebration in the Academy of Music

Philadelphia’s Academy of Music was home to The Philadelphia Orchestra for over 100 years. The echoes of numerous milestone performances still resonate within this National Historic Landmark, the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.” To honor the centenary of Leopold Stokowski’s inaugural season as music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra return to the stage of their former home for a warm reunion of four concerts that both pay tribute to and carry forward Stokowski’s tradition of innovation. Inspired by original programs from Stokowski’s inaugural season in 1912, three concerts will be brought to life in a 21st-century experience, augmenting the musical experience with lighting and visual effects in a nod to the legendary maestro’s flair for the dramatic.

  • The Stokowski Celebration opens at 8:00 PM on Thursday, June 21, 2012, with a near replica of a program that Leopold Stokowski conducted in November, 1913. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra will perform Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade.
  • The beloved 2:00 PM Friday matinee in the Academy of Music will be reprised on June 22, 2012, with a performance drawn from Leopold Stokowski’s inaugural concert as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra on October 11, 1912. The concert will open with Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 and close with Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser, with Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Caucasian Sketches rounding out the concert.
  • On June 23, 2012, at 11:30 AM, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts his first Philadelphia Orchestra Family Concert in a Saturday morning program featuring music from Disney’s Fantasia, the film that helped bring The Philadelphia Orchestra to a worldwide audience.
  • That Saturday evening, Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra take to the Academy stage with an Audience Choice program, Stokowski’s traditional close of the season.

Family Concerts

The Philadelphia Orchestra once again welcomes young listeners to Verizon Hall for the 2012-13 Family Concerts. This five-concert series, which is a lively, fascinating introduction to the Orchestra, makes a great musical start to a fun-filled afternoon in Center City Philadelphia. Full of classic children’s entertainment and imaginative fun, this season features Cowboys, Caballeros, and Copland (October 27) with host Jamie Bernstein; A Holiday Spectacular (December 1); Carnival of the Animals featuring narrator Charlotte Blake Alston and pianists Christine and Michelle Naughton (February 16); We’ve Got the Beat (March 23); and Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery (April 20). Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Cristian Macelaru leads four of the five concerts, and guest conductor Delta David Gier leads the fifth (March 23). Please see accompanying news release for additional information. Further education programs will be announced at a later date.

Additional Concert Series and Programs

While the season’s subscription concerts in Philadelphia, as well as concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, represent a major focus of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s time and talent, a variety of additional concerts and musical presentations complete the ensemble’s offerings for Philadelphia and the region. These programs at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts include a regular series of six chamber concerts (October 28, November 18, January 13, February 17, April 14, and May 12) and special concerts—including the Glorious Sound of Christmas (December 2022), Handel’s Messiah (December 23), and New Year’s Eve (December 31)—to commemorate the holidays. The Orchestra also performs an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert (January 21) and the 156th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert (January 26).   

Additionally, the Orchestra will tour Florida with guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in February 2013, visiting West Palm Beach, Miami, Naples, and Sarasota. Further details will be announced at a later date.

2012-13 Season Subscriptions

Subscribers will continue to have the benefit of free exchanges on all subscription tickets for the 2012-13 season. A monthly payment plan is available for subscribers, which allows them to split their subscription payment into monthly installments as well as an option to pay half now and half later. Other subscriber benefits include free ticket replacement, priority seating, and special promotional offers. Subscribers also have the option of purchasing additional individual tickets to any of the season’s subscription concerts or special concerts, as well as parking, at a discount. Subscribers may purchase individual subscription concert tickets now with their series purchase long before these tickets go on sale to the general public.

Orchestra subscribers may renew their subscriptions through the end of April. Single tickets traditionally go on sale after Labor Day at the beginning of September. The Orchestra offers subscription packages of six concerts for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday matinees. Packages of nine concerts are offered for Friday afternoons and Saturday evenings. Also available at this time is the popular Create-Your-Own 6-concert series, designed for audiences who like the flexibility of choosing their own concerts as well as the returning Beyond the Score, Family, Chamber, and Sound All Around series.

Subscription packages range from as little as $27 for Beyond the Score, for seats in the 2nd Tier, to $972 for a Saturday evening, 9-concert series, with premium box seats located either on the 1st Tier or Orchestra level. A Ticket Philadelphia processing fee of $19 is added to each subscription order.

Subscriptions for the 2012-13 season are now on sale to the general public. New and renewing subscribers may purchase subscriptions through Ticket Philadelphia by calling 215.893.1955 or visiting www.philorch.org/subscribe. Renewing subscribers will receive a special mailing of renewal information immediately and can renew now.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Over the past decade, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has established himself as a strong musical leader and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain, he has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles—the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among many others. Throughout Europe and North America, Yannick’s appearances have left indelible marks on the international classical music scene, making him one of the most sought after conductors in the world.

Widely praised for his musicianship, dedication, and charisma, Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s talents extend beyond symphonic music and into the world of opera and choral music. His critically acclaimed performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, and the historic Salzburg Festival demonstrate that he is an artist of remarkable versatility and depth.

Named music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra in June 2010, Yannick Nézet-Séguin made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in December 2008, with Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring André Watts. He has since led the Orchestra in a breadth of repertoire ranging from the intimate—Haydn’s Symphony No. 100—to the monumental—Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and launched a multi-year exploration of the world’s great requiems with performances of the Mozart Requiem in January 2011 and Brahms’s German Requiem in November 2011. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will commence his inaugural season as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra with the Verdi Requiem in October 2012.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has already made an impact on The Philadelphia Orchestra and its community. His concerts are attracting sold-out houses and he has established a regular forum for connecting with audiences through Post-Concert Conversations following his performances. His announcement as music director in June 2010 was followed by a full day traveling through Philadelphia, with stops at City Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Orchestra’s free Neighborhood Concert, and a visit to a Phillies game, where he led the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

A native of Montreal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. His honors include a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, an Echo Award, the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council, and the National Arts Centre Award. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Quebec in Montreal in 2011.

Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic received an Edison Award for their recording of Ravel’s works with EMI/Virgin, and he has recorded several award-winning albums with the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA.

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of “firsts” in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world. While wholly committed to the exploration of classical music and repertoire, the Orchestra also continues to develop compelling programs that resonate with contemporary audiences. The Philadelphia Orchestra is focused on the future while inspired by a rich tradition of achievement and seeks to not simply sustain the highest level of artistic quality, but to challenge—and exceed—that level by creating a powerful musical experience for audiences around the world.

Artistic Leadership

Demonstrating a deep and abiding commitment to the highest levels of artistic excellence, The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, and the Orchestra’s current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. Under such extraordinary guidance, The Philadelphia Orchestra has served as an unwavering standard of excellence in the world of classical music—and it continues to do so today. 

Yannick Nézet-Séguin joins this small yet illustrious group in the 2012-13 season, serving as the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. An integral member of the Orchestra’s leadership team since 2010 when he assumed the title of music director designate, Nézet-Séguin also serves as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain. He brings a wealth of talent and vision that extends beyond symphonic music and into the vivid world of opera and choral music. Nézet-Séguin possesses a distinctive gift for reaching audiences, and arrives well-prepared to share his unmatched versatility and depth with Philadelphia and the world.

Philadelphia is Home

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra continues to discover new and inventive ways to nurture its relationship with its loyal patrons who support the main season (September-May) in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Kimmel Center, for which the Orchestra serves as the founding resident company, has been the ensemble’s performance hall since 2001. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music—a National Historic Landmark and the oldest operating opera house in the nation—as it has since 1957. Each year, the Orchestra returns to the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street”—where it performed for 101 seasons before moving to the Kimmel Center—for the highly anticipated Academy Anniversary Concert and Ball.

Beyond its robust concert offerings at the Kimmel Center, the Orchestra also performs for Philadelphia audiences during the summer months at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, as well as in venues across the region, including Penn’s Landing, Longwood Gardens, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Many of these performances are part of the ensemble’s free Neighborhood Concert Series as well as its educational and community partnership programs—all of which aim to create greater access and engagement with classical music as an art form.

Commitment to Education

The Philadelphia Orchestra also has an important tradition of presenting educational programs for local audiences—a tradition dating back to 1921 when Leopold Stokowski initiated concerts exclusively for children. Today the Orchestra reaches Philadelphia-area families, teachers, students, and children through a multitude of education and community partnership programs. From Sound All Around (designed for children ages 3-5) to Family Concerts (aimed at children ages 6-12 and their families) to eZseatU (a membership program for full-time college students), The Philadelphia Orchestra seeks to introduce orchestral music to a new generation of listeners through these special programs. Further, the Orchestra aims to engage adult audiences more deeply in its performances through learning programs, including free PreConcert Conversations, which occur before every subscription concert, and Lectures/Luncheons with guest speakers.

In an effort to more directly connect with the youth of Philadelphia, the Orchestra has implemented the Billy Joel School Concert Program, which improves access to the Orchestra’s School Concerts for underserved city schoolchildren and serves approximately 90 elementary and middle schools chosen from within the School District of Philadelphia. The Orchestra’s School Partnership Program also offers students incomparable exposure and access to The Philadelphia Orchestra and its musicians inside the classrooms of five selected schools in the Philadelphia region. The program’s teaching artists work side by side with classroom teachers using curriculum and materials created by the Orchestra’s education department. Finally, The Philadelphia Orchestra collaborates with schools interested in having Orchestra musicians work with their students through the Musicians in the Schools program. These school visits take the form of assembly programs, performances or demonstrations, clinics, and master classes or sectionals, and generally involve a solo musician.

A Cultural Ambassador Abroad

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra touches the lives of countless music lovers around the globe. Outside of Philadelphia, the Orchestra enjoys a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York—a venue that was built for the Orchestra—as well as a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also has a long history of touring, having first performed outside of Philadelphia in the earliest days of its founding. The Philadelphia Orchestra was the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China in 1973 and, in 2012, The Philadelphia Orchestra will reconnect with its historical roots in China and more deeply embrace its role as a cultural ambassador. The Orchestra will launch a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing, with a pilot that will unite the Orchestra with talented young Chinese musicians and composers to further develop their orchestral skills. It will also serve to bring orchestral music, through performance and master classes, not only to China’s major cities but also further into the provinces.

An Orchestra that Understands the Power of Innovation in its Art Form

The Philadelphia Orchestra has long pushed the boundaries of convention in the classical music realm. Signature to such a reputation are world and/or American premieres of such important works as Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”), Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. As part of its commitment to bringing classical music to audiences where they are listening, the Orchestra was the first to create an online store for purchasing music. To further expand such distribution, the Orchestra formed a new distribution with Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA), making its live recordings available on popular digital music services such as iTunes and Amazon, among others.

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