New Yorker Says Philly Orchestra Back On The Rise

The Philadelphia Orchestra performed “Rite of Spring” Friday night at Carnegie Hall in New York; today New Yorker music writer Russell Platt says the orchestra has risen from the ashes of bankruptcy in fine fashion:

Before attending the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Friday-evening concert at Carnegie Hall—which, as its highlight, featured a stunning hundredth-anniversary performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”—I dropped by a brief press conference and get-together at the Weill Recital Hall bar. There, Allison Vulgamore, the orchestra’s president, asked Yannick Nézet-Séguin, its new music director, questions about the ramifications of his undeniably exciting appointment and about the orchestra’s upcoming season—questions that have a special urgency, since the orchestra, its board, and its staff are still emerging from several years in which its finances were shaky, audience attendance was falling precipitously, and musician-management relations were at a catastrophic low.

Such events are never free from the twin pitfalls of mock spontaneity and self-congratulation, but in this case, the congratulation is deserved. Philly’s orchestra—and, my God, what an orchestra it is—isn’t out of the woods yet. But the sense of confidence and relief with which they conversed foreshadowed the ovation that the audience, three hours later, would give Nézet-Séguin when, after the “Rite” ended, he threw his arms out to present his players: I’m here, they’re here, you’re here—it’s gonna be O.K.