Presenting: the brass family! Philadelphia Orchestra musician Matt Vaughn will guide the audience through this regal instrument family.
This subscription package includes performances that feature chorus and therefore Conductor’s Circle seating is not available for one or more event. For your convenience we will seat you in Orchestra Tier, Tier 1, or the Orchestra at no additional price for these performances.
Umoja, a world premiere commission by American composer Valerie Coleman, launches our 2019-20 season. Ms. Coleman's spirited music draws from Afro-Cuban, jazz, and classical genres. Umoja—meaning unity in Swahili—is alive with all these influences. Bartók's gorgeous Third Concerto, performed by Yannick's good friend Hélène Grimaud, is as vibrant today as the day The Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy gave the world premiere at the Academy of Music in 1946.
With these concerts our esteemed colleague Stéphane Denève begins his sixth and final season as our principal guest conductor. Soviet-born American composer Lera Auerbach says she was drawn to the myth of Icarus because of “his wish to reach the unreachable, the intensity of the ecstatic brevity of his flight, and the inevitability of his fall.” Her adventurous musical palette exploits the full sonic range of the orchestra: shimmering, soaring, and ultimately dying away. Stravinsky describes a different myth about feathered flight in his Firebird.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Wynton Marsalis switches from jazz band to symphony orchestra for his Blues Symphony. “Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance,” says Marsalis, and he uses the classic 12-bar musical form as the basis for this work, which celebrates all types of American and African-American music, from spirituals to ragtime, from marches to bluegrass. This Philadelphia premiere is conducted by our long-time friend Cristian Macelaru. Shostakovich's emotional First Violin Concerto reveals the pure power and technical prowess of orchestra and soloist.
Daniil Trifonov, the Orchestra's Grammy-winning recording partner, returns for four performances. Amplifying the programs are two underappreciated works by formidable women composers: Lili Boulanger, the first woman to win, in 1913, the prestigious Prix de Rome composition prize, and Louise Farrenc, whose Symphony No. 2 dialogues with Beethoven, and leaves us asking why her works are not a more integral part of the canon today.
The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates Valentine's weekend with spellbinding music, beginning with Mozart's bewitching The Magic Flute. Magic takes a darker turn in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Dukas's symphonic poem immortalized by Mickey Mouse battling demonic brooms in Fantasia. Stéphane Denève is a passionate exponent of John Williams's endlessly creative music for the cinema, represented here by his spookily charming Harry Potter scores.
What exactly is Elgar's "enigma?" We may never know but we can still enjoy these 14 charming variations on a theme that Elgar composed "to my friends pictured within." British conductor Edward Gardner, chief conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and principal conductor designate of the London Philharmonic, makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut, and keyboard virtuoso Paul Jacobs returns to the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.
Buoyant and humorous, the Eighth Symphony belies none of the composer's worsening health issues or what had to be the devastating end of a love affair, detailed in a famous letter written around the same time to his “Immortal Beloved.” Perhaps the least known, the Fourth was widely admired: Schumann compared it to “a slender Greek maiden” between the two “Norse giants” of the Third and Fifth; Berlioz insisted it was the work of an angel.
George Gershwin's Jazz Age tone poem An American in Paris both inspired the now-classic Hollywood movie and provides the score for its groundbreaking finale: a dreamy—and, at 17 minutes, unheard of—ballet sequence starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. The 1951 film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, swept the Academy Awards, winning six Oscars, including Best Picture.
Bruckner is “one of the great symphonists of all time,” says Yannick. His music is “spiritual, romantic, dreamy, imposing, cataclysmic … music that excites all the emotions and magnifies the results of the symphony.” A Bruckner champion and world-renowned interpreter, Yannick's deep affinity for the composer shines in passionate performances of the thrilling Third Symphony, “an unquestioned masterpiece, a citadel that no critic can pull down.
Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa at Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Autumn Revisited mural by David Guinn on the Fleisher Art Memorial. Photo by Jeff Fusco.