Details are rolling out about the performance that will kick off the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2015-2016 season. For the fourth year, the season will run under the direction of renowned Music Director Yannick Nézet-Seguin, who is scheduled to open the Metropolitan Opera’s season in September with Verdi’s Otello.
The Opening Night Concert and Gala will happen on Wednesday, September 30th at the Kimmel Center. As the name suggests, it’s a posh, high-price ticketed event that promises to be one of the first see-and-be-seen soirees of the fall arts season. It better be—entry will set you back $500 per ticket—and that’s the starting price.
The program, called NYO2, will have a simple, but much-needed, mission: “NYO2 will support greater diversity within the classical orchestral field with a particular focus on attracting talented students who have been traditionally underserved by local music programs, offering an opportunity for participants to play alongside exceptionally talented peers and learn from a world-class faculty.” In short, NYO2 will provide access to resources for young musicians who otherwise may not have the ability to pay or experience an in-depth training. Private lessons can be utterly expensive, and even though admission to top musical conservatories often times comes with a scholarship, it takes an extensive amount of training (and money) to become “good enough” to get in. Read more »
For the fifteenth year in a row Philadelphians can witness live performances by a world-renowned ensemble for free. The Philadelphia Orchestra performs two shows this summer at no cost: one at the Great Plaza on July 2nd and another at the Kimmel Center on July 30th.
For the first one, audiences can roll out their picnic blankets and enjoy a lineup of patriotic favorites for a pre-Independence Day celebration performed on the RiverStage at Penn’s Landing. In addition to the American classics, the Orchestra is presenting a collection of pieces from Michael Daugherty’s Reflections of theMississippi. The show doesn’t end when the conductor drops his baton. Be sure to stick around for the landslide firework display that will light up the night sky after the show.
The musical lineup for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in September is beginning to be announced. Word about the first three acts performing at the Festival of Families came from the Vatican this morning, where MayorNutter and Archbishop Charles J. Chaputare currently visiting to plot out details about the Pope’s stay.
If you missed The Philadelphia Orchestra’s staging of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, you didn’t miss a performance: You missed a major, major event.
How else can you describe the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall stage filled with not only the Philadelphia Orchestra, but the Westminster Symphonic Choir, the Temple University Concert Choir, The American Boychoir, members of the Rock School for Dance, and the Temple University Diamond Marching Band, plus nearly 20 Broadway actors and opera singers…all at once. Add the excitement of Yannick Nezet-Seguin at the podium, and you sort of wonder how the entire building didn’t shatter due the sheer insane sound and energy from this cast of hundreds (Fun fact: this production is the first time that Verizon Hall’s orchestra pit was used. There were so many people on the stage, they couldn’t fit everyone). Read more »
Lovers of The Philadelphia Orchestra will have a unique opportunity to listen live to their Sunday, March 22 concert…without having to actually go to the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. The Orchestra has teamed up with WRTI 90.1 FM to broadcast their program live on air and via the web. Read more »
If you're a JFK groupie, then it is imperative that you head over to the National Constitution Center: The new exhibit "Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe" opens this Friday and runs through September. The interactive showcase features over 70 portraits of JFK, Jackie, and their children, and visitors can play with a touchscreen monitor that includes dozens of Lowe's contact sheets with never before seen images. Friday, February 13, 9:30am, $10, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street.
The Greatest Show on Earth has become even greater in this newest edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus, playing the Wells Fargo Center all weekend. The performance features extraordinary acts, animals, and fun that are exclusive to the Circus XTREME show, including dancing dogs, high-flying aerial artists, and lots and lots of camels and elephants. Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15, Various Times, $15-130, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 South Broad Street.
From Foobooz: The weekend of Valentine’s Day will be the official grand opening of the upstairs lounge and cabaret space at Mark Bee’sFranky Bradley’s. The upstairs will kick off with a cabaret hosted by Foxy Tann, the the Boss of Burlesque, on Friday, February 13th. On Saturday, February 14th, the upstairs will host the official after-party of the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention. Admission is free with a convention wristband or handstamp. Sailor Jerry’s drinks will be on special for $5 all night. More here.
Attention four-legged furry friend lovers: Celebrate your love for humans (and animals) at Nest's Fourth Annual Tweetheart Social, benefitting PAWS. Guests will enjoy a photo booth, beer, wine, a candy bar, heart-shaped Rice Crispy treats, and a silent auction. There will also be plenty of adorable dogs visiting from PAWS, and you can help by bringing cleaning supplies or canned dog/cat food as a donation. Friday, February 13, 4:00pm, $35, Nest, 1301 Locust Street.
I'm pretty sure you won't find your typical "I Love Mom" tattoos at this extremely popular show that runs throughout Valentine's Day weekend. The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention features dozens of famous tattoo artists (many from TV's Ink Master series), plus vendors, contests, and seminars. If you're still down over your ex, it's a great way to get something else (permanent) that you'll soon regret. (February 13-15, various times, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Philadelphia)
Wear your best dance shoes and head over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Art After 5" this Friday to immerse yourself in the world's sexiest dance: the tango. Watch tango dancers strut their stuff, and be ready to do the same as lessons will be included in this perfect way to kickstart Valentine's weekend. Don't forget all those tasty nibbles and cocktails served up by Stephen Starr. Friday, February 13, 5:00pm, $17.50-23.50, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Despite having only one full-length album under their belt, PHOX has already made impressive musical strides: the group has opened for bands such as The Lumineers, and played big-name gigs like Lollapalooza. The six-piece outfit plays alternative folk-meets-indie pop, with tracks worthy of getting caught in your head. Tickets are available for purchase online. Listen before you go: "Slow Motion/Blue and White." Friday, February 13th, 8 p.m., Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
Five-time World Music award winner 50 Cent is playing a one-night only concert at Philly's Electric Factory on Friday. The rapper, who rose to public fame after one of his singles was featured in the film 8 Mile, has sold over 6.4 million copies of his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. He'll be joined on stage by Quilly, Kidd Kidd, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck. Friday, February 13, 8:30pm, $49.50-55, Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street.
The PHS Pop Up Garden returns to The Shops at Liberty Place this Saturday, but this year, there's a twist: The floral extravaganza will also serve as a beer garden for happy hours through Saturday from 4 to 7pm. Guests at Liberty Place will be able to get a sneak peek at this year's Flower Show movie theme, and, for your convenience, you can purchase Flower Show tickets right there at the mall. Saturday, February 14, 9:30am, Free, The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut Street.
It is a landmark on Broad Street, and now you can experience it for free. The Abraham Lincoln Foundation is sponsoring their annual Union League Open House on Saturday, and art and history lovers alike will enjoy the program. Guests can take a guided tour to experience the over 300 paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art housed in the building, while actors playing historical figures offer storytelling. Saturday, February 15, 11:00am, Free, The Union League, 140 South Broad Street.
Clearly not for the squeamish, the Academy of Natural Sciences opens their new exhibit on giant snakes titled "Titanoboa" on Saturday. It's any Ophidiophobe's worst nightmare: See live snakes, learn about venom, and witness a life-sized model of an actual titanoboa, a prehistoric snake that weighed 2,500 pounds and was 48 feet long. What a romantic way to spend Valentine's Day! Saturday, February 14, 10am, $16.95-18.95, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
From Shoppist: On February 14, stop by Old City’s Moko for Valentine’s Day beauty packages, a champagne elixir and rose facial and all-around girly fun. The best part? If you wear your pajamas, you’ll receive 10 percent off your services that day. That’s right, it’s totally appropriate—nay, encouraged—to wear cozy loungewear and get pampered tomorrow. Who needs dinner and a movie? Details here.
Ever wonder how lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) fall in love? The Philadelphia Zoo has the answer at their "Wild at Heart" weekend. Visitors can take a self-guided "wildlife couples" tour of famous animal pairs at the zoo while local ice artists create giant animal sculptures throughout the facilities. This is family-friendly heartwarming fun for all ages. Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, 10am, $16, Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 West Girard Avenue.
The words of the Bard will be transformed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre this Valentine's Day as they present a one-of-a-kind evening of music from four composers who were inspired by Shakespeare. Selections will include Walton's As You Like It, Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict, Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The large-scale musical forces will be led by guest conductor Stéphane Denève. Saturday, February 14, 8pm, $58-160, Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street.
Set the mood on Saturday with an intimate performance by Knoxville folk band Cereus Bright (pictured), along with husband and wife duo, Elenowen. Both acts are known for emotionally driven lyrics and impassioned harmonies–a set sure to woo any valentine. Tickets are available for purchase online. Listen before you go: Bright's "Some Strange Hold." Saturday, February 14th, 8:30 p.m., 21+, MilkBoy, 1100 Chestnut Street.
Local singer-songwriter Joshua Thomas–whose album The Harboring was released in September–is recognized for his exceptionally strong vocals. When coupled with his masterful piano playing, Thomas's tunes carry passion "you can feel shooting straight through your headphones." Tickets are available for purchase online. Listen before you go: "Beast." Sunday, February 15th, 7 p.m., 21+, Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd Street.
“The warm embrace of The Philadelphia Orchestra and its audiences has been humbling and exhilarating since I made my debut in 2008. Knowing that this love affair with the Orchestra and the City of Philadelphia will continue is an immense joy. I believe what we are doing artistically is so important, and it’s having a big impact on this community,” said Nezet-Seguin of the announcement. “But to do this work takes time, so I am thrilled that I will continue here as music director for at least another five years. Our work together is in many ways really just beginning, and now being able to settle in and think and plan long-term is really wonderful.”
The Board of Directors also renewed Chairman Richard B. Worley and Orchestra President & CEO Allison Vulgamore.
Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala to celebrate the Academy of Music’s birthday — it’s 158th! — took place Saturday night at Academy of Music and the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Nearly 1,400 people attended the grand celebration which raises money to restore and maintain the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.
The evening began with the chairman’s pre-concert reception held at the Academy of Music. Guests dined on Jose Garces catering of lamb chops and crab and eggplant sliders, and enjoyed an open bar. The MRB Jazz Project entertained guests as they mingled and posed for the society photographers on hand to capture society’s most celebrated and time-honored traditions, where men were dressed in white tails and women in ball gowns, white gloves and a few even wearing tiaras.
The concert began a little past 7:30 p.m., as Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Al Pacino took the stage. Pacino joked throughout his piece that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do on stage; it reflected the audience’s likely thoughts when it was first announced Pacino would be the special guest after decades of musical guests like Sting, Billy Joel, and, last year, Jill Scott.
But Pacino didn’t disappoint, as fans of his movies were excited to hear his dialogue, often punctuated by laughs from the audience. And he did entertain as he did a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III while the orchestra played William Walton’s Preludio dalla colonna sonora. Then Pacino recited an e.e. cummings poem as the orchestra performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in the background. Pacino was a unique choice for a headliner, and was a complete success, delighting the audience.
After the concert, guests took part in the annual promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Ball. Along the way guests were entertained by the Delaware County Christian Academy Choir (2013 More 101 FM Choir competition winners!), The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble on Broad Street and The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Choir at the Bellevue. The 158th Anniversary Concert and Ball co-chairmen were Linda Fynes Siegfried and Joseph F. Coradino. The Young Friends co-chairs were Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein.