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.
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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.
Max Bruch may have struggled to write it, but Concertmaster David Kim calls this violin concerto “the perfect combination of beautiful melodies and themes, virtuosic yet accessible.” Brahms's Second Symphony, possibly his most popular, is said to be his personal favorite as well. Its pastoral aura surely accounts for some of its appeal; but Brahms being Brahms, there is tension and drama as well, building to an extraordinary, triumphant finale. Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann returns to demonstrate her superb chemistry with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
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.
Mendelssohn wrote his Second Piano Concerto right after he got married and there's plenty of joy expressed, especially in the final movement, which the composer himself described as “piano fireworks.” He was the soloist at the premiere in 1837. The young French pianist Lise de la Salle (“For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe…” –The Washington Post) is a riveting choice to interpret this concerto. Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is a tour de force of compositional color, a breakthrough that set the stage for his most assured writing.
The indelible four-note opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony lays the foundation for a truly fateful symphonic journey. Written in 1804, and on the program when The Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, it's an epic tour de force that resonates in 2020. Following its rousing conclusion come the verdant valleys and sweet smells of the woods and the Austrian countryside, an exposition of Beethoven's love of nature.
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.
Violinist Philip Kates at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies. Photo by Jessica Griffin.