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The Philadelphia Orchestra and Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles

April 15, 2014

The Fabulous Philadelphians and a Modern-Day Fab Four Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Beatles Arrival in America with Original Orchestrations of Beatles Music

 (Philadelphia, April 15, 2014)—Hear “Penny Lane” with live trumpets; experience the beauty of “Yesterday” with an acoustic guitar and strings; enjoy the rock and classical blend on the hard-edged “I Am the Walrus.” From early Beatles music on through the solo years, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles presents more than two dozen Beatles songs performed as they were originally recorded, transcribed note-for-note, with original orchestrations played by the Orchestra.

“We really make an effort to sound exactly like the originals,” said Jim Owen, the founder of Classical Mystery Tour, who also portrays John Lennon in the show. “The orchestra score is exact, right down to every note and instrument that was on the original recording. On ‘Got to Get You into My Life,’ we have two tenor saxes and three trumpets. That’s what it was written for, and that’s what we use. And on ‘A Day in the Life,’ that final big orchestra crescendo sounds amazing when it’s played live.” 

The Philadelphia Orchestra presents Classical Mystery Tour Wednesday, July 23, and Thursday, July 24, at 8 PM in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. The Beatles came to America for the first time on February 7, 1964, and the concerts are a celebration of the 50-year anniversary of their arrival.

“I have loved the Beatles ever since they first arrived in the United States in 1964,” said Orchestra contrabassoonist Holly Blake. “They were the greatest of their genre and of their generation. Not only were they innovators in the world of popular music, but their music will endure like the greatest of the classics. This show will be quite a change of pace for The Philadelphia Orchestra, but I know it will be fun playing and hearing so many of the Beatles songs I grew up with.” 

Classical Mystery Tour features Jim Owen (John Lennon) on rhythm guitar, piano, and vocals; Tony Kishman (Paul McCartney) on bass guitar, piano, and vocals; David John (George Harrison) on lead guitar and vocals; and Chris Camilleri (Ringo Starr) on drums and vocals. Martin Herman, who transcribed the musical scores note-for-note from Beatles recordings, will conduct. 

Tickets, which start at $20, will be available to the public beginning Thursday, April 17, at noon. All artists, dates, prices, program subject to change. Tickets are subject to availability. Tickets can be purchased online at www.philorch.org, over the phone at 215.893.1999, or in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also returns to its summer home, the Mann, for three weeks of performances in the great outdoors. Already announced performances include the Italian singing sensations and PBS superstars Il Volo, Star Trek Into Darkness shown on a giant screen with the Orchestra playing Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score live, and the Finale Concert of the Philadelphia Freedom Festival, Sing Freedom Sing!!!, honoring civil rights activist Octavius Catto, which will feature Marvin Sapp; and Festival Artistic Director and Conductor the Rev. Nolan Williams, Jr.; and a large gospel choir. Additional performances will be announced shortly.


The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin triumphantly opened his inaugural season as the eighth artistic leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the fall of 2012. His highly collaborative style, deeply-rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble … has never sounded better.” He is embraced by the musicians of the Orchestra, audiences, and the community itself. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he has established a regular forum for connecting with concert-goers through Post-Concert Conversations. 

Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership the Orchestra returns to recording with a newly-released CD on the Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions. In his inaugural season the Orchestra has also returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center but also those who enjoy the Orchestra’s other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn’s Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music, a National Historic Landmark. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level. Since Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore’s arrival in 2010 the Orchestra has reinvigorated and launched new partnerships with Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (FringeArts), Philadanco, the Curtis Institute of Music, Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others. 

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The ensemble annually performs at Carnegie Hall while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Festival. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra continues its decades-long tradition of presenting learning and community engagement opportunities for listeners of all ages across the Delaware Valley. Concerts for families and schoolchildren; eZseatU, which allows full-time college students to attend an unlimited number of Orchestra concerts for a $25 annual membership fee; free Neighborhood Concerts; and PreConcert Conversations before every subscription concert are only a few examples of ways in which the Orchestra introduces orchestral music to a new generation of listeners.

Musician-led initiatives, including recent highly-successful PlayINs, shine a spotlight on the Orchestra’s musicians, as they spread out from the stage into the community, and serve a key role in growing young musician talent and a love of classical music in their own dedicated roles as teachers, coaches, and mentors.  

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.


Classical Mystery Tour Joins The Philadelphia Orchestra

July 23 at 8:00 PM – Wednesday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
July 24 at 8:00 PM – Thursday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts 

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Martin Herman Conductor – Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Jim Owen Rhythm Guitar, Piano, Vocals (John Lennon) – Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Tony Kishman Bass Guitar, Piano, Vocals (Paul McCartney) – Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
David John Lead Guitar, Vocals (George Harrison) – Philadelphia Orchestra Debut
Chris Camilleri Drums, Vocals (Ringo Starr) – Philadelphia Orchestra Debut