Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 Season Highlights Diversity of Sound

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Clockwise from upper left: Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Susan Graham, E.T., Simon Rattle

The Philadelphia Orchestra truly remains the city’s only A-list organization so far as attracting world-class classical music talent to the region, and their 2016-17 season, which was announced late yesterday afternoon, solidifies their ability to present diverse and wide-ranging programming… even the entire score of E.T.

In a statement, the Orchestra’s Musical Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, suggested that the upcoming season demonstrates the close bond that he has developed with the musicians throughout his tenure with the organization. Read more »

Review: Handel’s Messiah As Intimate As It Is Grand

Photo from Friday evening's performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Photo from Friday evening’s performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

There was something tangible about Friday evening’s performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring a host of opera notables and the large-scale Philadelphia Voices choir, that made the otherwise massive Verizon Hall feel like an intimate chamber venue. Indeed, there was all of the fanfare and glorious music that is associated with the iconic holiday work, but underneath those layers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was able to lead his musical troupes to a notably warm and dear sound that was remarkably tender. Read more »

Hilary Hahn’s Homecoming

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Hilary Hahn | Photo by Michael Patrick O’Leary

She may be from Virginia, but violinist Hilary Hahn spent her formative years in Rittenhouse Square, studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music from ages 10 to 19. And that makes her an honorary Philadelphian in our book.

Hahn, 36, has performed literally all over the world, becoming recognized as one of the modern masters of her instrument. But she’s no snoot or slave to Strauss: She’s a big proponent of contemporary “classical” music, she has a fun Twitter account with 54,000 followers that purports to be run by her violin case (@ViolinCase) — and how many classical players do you know who turn up on late-night TV?

Hahn takes a moment from her busy schedule — and it just got busier; she gave birth to her first child in August — to bring her prized 1864 Vuillaume to town to perform Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “She is a magnificent musician, an absolute master of her craft, and loved by our audiences,” says conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We all look forward to welcoming her back.”

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin Named Artist of the Year By Musical America

yannick nezet seguinIt’s been an honor-filled season for Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The Montreal-born maestro recently opened the Met Opera’s 2015-2016 season in Verdi’s Otello, he and the Orchestra played for Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families festival, he even threw out a first pitch a Phillies game a few weeks ago (video below.) To add a little icing to the cake, this week he was named “Artist of the Year” by eminent performing arts publication Musical America.

The cover of the latest issue shows Nézet-Séguin front and center. He’s standing along the Parkway with City Hall and a crowd of people in the background. He’s presumably on stage during the pope concert.

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Philadelphia Orchestra’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin on Piano Virtuoso Daniil Trifonov

Photo by Jan Reagan

Photo by Jan Reagan

Sure, last week was busy for Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the maestro of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He opened the Metropolitan Opera’s season in New York City on Monday, conducting Verdi’s Otello (read our review here). He also conducted the Fabulous Philadelphians for the World Meeting of Families’ concert and mass with Pope Francis. But that was last week. 

This week has a whole new focus. Tomorrow night kicks off the Orchestra season with a gala concert with selections from Disney’s Fantasia. But, the first program of the season — running Thursday through Sunday — features virtuosic 24-year-old Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, performing “Piano Concerto No. 4” by one of his musical idols, fellow countryman Sergei Rachmaninoff. 

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Throw First Pitch at Phillies Game on Tuesday

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leaves absolutely no holes in his schedule: He just opened the Metropolitan Opera’s season in New York, played for the papal visit, and has the Philadelphia Orchestra’s opening gala this Wednesday. Nevertheless, he’s snuck in a little time to enjoy a Phillies game in a way that you might not expect.

The conductor is scheduled to throw the first pitch of Tuesday’s Phillies game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. In-between rehearsals for his performance for the Pope, he threw a couple of practice shots backstage, and the Orchestra’s Instagram captured it via video:

You can get your tickets for the Phillies game by clicking here, or, to catch the Orchestra on opening night, visit this link.

Philadelphia Orchestra Offering Innovative Reduced Price College Programs

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For many youth, the cost of attending a fine arts performance can be utterly daunting, especially if they are in school or working low-wage jobs. But, as usual, The Philadelphia Orchestra is offering several key initiatives this upcoming season that will allow students to experience the world-class musical ensemble for a fraction of the normal cost. Read more »

5 Non-Fringe Arts Events to Check Out This Month

Conrad Tao is bringing his new work featuring iPad to The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Conrad Tao is bringing his new work featuring iPad to The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Don’t get us wrong: We love the Fringe Festival (we put together two whole guides for it here and here), but September is also the kick off of many other performing arts events in the Philly region. We rounded up some of our favorite picks for shows opening this month that will surely kick your fall into high gear.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

A crowd favorite, the Zelda Symphony Orchestra is returning to the Mann Center with a new installment of their concert series, simply titled “Master Quest.” They’ll be performing a four-movement symphony that incorporates tunes inspired by the video games The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, and more. Friday, September 18th, 8 pm, $40-100, Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue. Read more »

Philly Orchestra Kicks Off New Season With Disney’s Fantasia and More

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.

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