Philadelphia Orchestra Playing Two Free Concerts This Summer

PennsLanding02(JessicaGriffin)

Photo by Jessica Griffin

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 the Mississippi. 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.

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Andrea Bocelli, Philly Orchestra to Perform for the Pope

Photo of Andrea Bocelli (left) from Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

Photo of Andrea Bocelli (left) from Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

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 Mayor Nutter and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput are currently visiting to plot out details about the Pope’s stay.

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REVIEW: Bernstein’s MASS With The Philadelphia Orchestra an Otherworldly Delight

A scene from 'MASS.'

A scene from ‘MASS.’

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 »

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Yannick Nezet-Seguin Extends Philadelphia Orchestra Contract Through 2022

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

He’s not going anywhere: The Philadelphia Orchestra announced today that everyone’s favorite energetic maestro, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, has signed a contract renewal through 2022.

“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.

For a sneak peek of what’s to come out of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2015-16, see our piece on the preview of the season.

2015 Academy Ball Featuring Al Pacino

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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.

Photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

13 Must-See Instagrams From The Academy Ball

A who’s-who of Philadelphia donned their best clothes and partied the night away at the annual Academy Ball on January 24, 2015. This exclusive white-tie affair is one of the only annual fundraisers to support the Academy of Music, and this year, Al Pacino teamed up with the Philadelphia Orchestra to present what was a memorable evening for those in attendance. Of course, eager socialites couldn’t help but post some great shots on Instagram, so we rounded up some of the best pre-ball prep, gorgeous clothes, and, of course, selfies. Read more »

Philadelphia Orchestra Embarks on Landmark Trip to Europe In May

Yannick

The members of the Philadelphia Orchestra will pack their bags this May for a voyage to Europe: It is the first time that the Fabulous Philadelphians will embark on a European tour with Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

“I have long anticipated the first tour of Europe that I will take with the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Nezet-Seguin. “At the conclusion of three years of our partnership I am proud to bring to European audiences this current embodiment of the great Philadelphia Sound that we have collaborated on together.” Read more »

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