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The Philadelphia Orchestra Extends Stéphane Denève’s Contract as Principal Guest Conductor for Three More Years, until 2019-20

February 7, 2017


(Philadelphia, February 7, 2017)—The Philadelphia Orchestra is delighted to announce that Stéphane Denève’s contract as principal guest conductor has been extended three years, to the end of the 2019-20 season. This extension will see him continue to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra in a minimum of three weeks during the main season annually, plus appearances at the Orchestra’s summer homes in Saratoga and Vail and on tour. Combined with the recent long-term renewal of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s music directorship, this appointment places The Philadelphia Orchestra in a position of remarkable artistic stability.

“Stéphane Denève makes an extraordinary contribution to The Philadelphia Orchestra. His explorations of repertoire often provide an immersion in the composer in question, leading to new insights,” said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “His presentations of the music of John Williams, so celebrated for his film scores, embraced Williams’s concert music as well, including the Cello Concerto performed by Yo-Yo Ma and the Violin Concerto featuring James Ehnes. The upcoming Rachmaninoff Festival will encompass the great Russian composer’s relationship not only with The Philadelphia Orchestra but with Philadelphia itself, accentuated by specially-commissioned plays, post-concert chamber music, and more. Stéphane’s ardent support of contemporary composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Jennifer Higdon, Guillaume Connesson, and Hannibal Lokumbe is extraordinary, and the way he has bonded with our audiences makes the gap between the audience and the stage vanish. We are delighted to extend our relationship with him, and with Yannick’s vision and Stéphane’s we are poised for a period of great creativity and excitement.”

“I made my debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra a decade ago and it has been one of the great privileges and pleasures of my artistic life to get to know this remarkable group of musicians more deeply over the years,” remarked Stéphane Denève. “Three years ago I was honored to be appointed principal guest conductor, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be continuing our association for the next three seasons to come. The mutual trust and confidence that has evolved very naturally over the years is a very special feeling indeed. It is a joy to make music together for our wonderful audiences, whether in Philadelphia, Vail, Saratoga, or Florida. It is also very meaningful to be part of an inspiring artistic leadership team headed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and to be able to work with so many gifted and committed colleagues within the institution. Philadelphia has become like a second home for my family, too, and together with my wife, Åsa, and our daughter, Alma, we look forward to enjoying this vibrant city and continuing to being a part of its community in the coming years.”

“In the years we have worked together, I have found Stéphane to be a marvelous artistic partner with great ideas, wonderful enthusiasm, and a truly collaborative spirit,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “He possesses a lively and imaginative approach to making music accompanied by an overwhelming urge to communicate his love for music to all he encounters. I am delighted he will remain for another three seasons.”

Stéphane Denève, who made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2007, became The Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal guest conductor at the outset of the 2014-15 season. He has proven to be a prime participant in the creative planning process, working throughout The Philadelphia Orchestra’s range of programming and concert formats, across our many partner venues, with all the breadth of repertoire that entails. He will continue to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra in a minimum of three weeks during the main season annually plus appearances at the Orchestra’s summer homes. These have included annual performances at Saratoga and the Bravo! Vail festival, engagements such as tours of Florida in 2016 and 2017, and a two-week celebration of John Williams’s concert and film music in 2016, culminating in a program where he shared the podium with the renowned composer/conductor himself.

Denève is also fully engaged with Philadelphia having conducted a Family Concert in 2015, led a PlayIN for cellos with Yo-Yo Ma in 2016, and taken keen interest in the recently launched HEAR initiatives of the Orchestra. While on tour with The Philadelphia Orchestra in Florida, he has also worked with the Miami Music Project to further mentor young musicians outside Philadelphia.

Denève’s first three years as principal guest conductor have encompassed a wide range of repertoire, and have often brought fresh light to composers such as Francis Poulenc and Albert Roussel or new attention to imaginative orchestrations by Leopold Stokowski, such as his versions of Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition or the Symphonic Synthesis from Boris Godunov. By the time his first contract concludes at the end of this summer, he will have conducted over 90 performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has led more programs than any other guest conductor during that time period, in repertoire that has spanned more than 100 works, ranging from Classical through the contemporary, including presentations with dance, theater, film, and cirque performers.

“I am delighted that we will be continuing our hugely successful relationship with Maestro Stéphane Denève as our principal guest conductor,” added Concertmaster David Kim. “He has brought such artistry, excitement, and excellence to our numerous collaborations on stages in Philadelphia and across the United States. I look forward to many more memorable concerts together.”

About The Philadelphia Orchestra


Patricia O’Kelly

phone: 202.999.9806

e-mail: pokelly@philorch.org

Liz Baker

Phone: 215.450.6382

e-mail: lbaker@philorch.org

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