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Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra Announce 2016-17 Season

January 19, 2016

Nézet-Séguin’s Fifth Season Continues Multi-Season Focus on the Great Musical Cities of the World, American Sounds, Opera, Theatrically-Rooted Works, and Sacred Music

Music Inspired by Paris Weaves throughout the Season, 
with a Three-Week Festival at the Heart

American Sounds will be Explored through Works by 
Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Leonard Bernstein; plus Two World Premieres: an Organ Concerto by Christopher Rouse Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Kimmel Center’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ and Featuring Paul Jacobs; and Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney’s Imaginary Daya Duo Concerto Based on Music by Pat Metheny

Conductor Laureate Charles Dutoit Returns with Britten’s
War Requiem and Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève Leads a Rachmaninoff Festival

Repertoire Highlights also Feature Celebrations of Mozart and Brahms 
including a Complete Cycle of Brahms’s Four Symphonies

Guest Conductors and Soloists Range from Rising Stars to Living Legends, among them Itzhak Perlman, Simon Rattle, André Watts, Midori, Stéphane Tétreault, 
Daniil Trifonov, and Herbert Blomstedt


(Philadelphia, January 19, 2016)—Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and President and CEO Allison Vulgamore today announce The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 season. The season underscores the incredible versatility and depth of the ensemble under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership, as he embarks on his fifth season and continues shaping a modern definition of the Orchestra’s legendary Philadelphia Sound.

“During my first four years as music director I have gotten to know the musicians, our audiences, and my new community. This has been a time of beginning, of planting seeds and launching ideas,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We have built a strong foundation and are expanding upon the themes and threads that carry through the seasons: the great music capitals of the world, music that is uniquely American, sacred and choral music, opera for the concert hall, theatrically-rooted works, and championing new music as a part of the Orchestra’s legacy. I have felt the closest of bonds to the musicians of the Orchestra since my debut, almost as if we had been working together all our lives. And it is this remarkable relationship that has enabled us to accomplish, with so much joy, all we have done so far and all we will do in the future.”

“With this new season, we are creating memorable experiences for audiences that reverberate not only within the bounds of a single concert, but across seasons, and throughout lifetimes,” said President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s fifth year as music director builds on the momentum of the previous four, deepening the remarkable connections forged within the Philadelphia community and beyond. By aligning the great talent of our Philadelphia Orchestra musicians with that of the artists brought onto our stage, the result is a concert experience that brings audiences to the edge of their seats, and to their feet.”

From Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique to Mahler’s colossal Symphony No. 3, the 2016-17 season explores the vast range of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the famous Philadelphia Sound. Season highlights include a three-week Paris Festival with all performances conducted by Nézet-Séguin; a Rachmaninoff Festival led by Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève featuring all four piano concertos; Britten’s War Requiem with Conductor Laureate Charles Dutoit; Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C minor; all four of Brahms’s symphonies; theatrically-rooted works including Ravel’s complete Daphnis and Chloé, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle; and an incisive focus on American music, including works by Mason Bates, Leonard Bernstein, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Christopher Theofanidis, plus two world premieres: a new concerto commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Christopher Rouse; and Imaginary Day, a duo concerto for vibraphone and marimba, based on the music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, arranged and orchestrated by Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney. Music presented in the season spans centuries from electronica of the present to Bach’s Baroque masterpieces. Throughout the season the Orchestra is joined by world-renowned guest conductors and soloists, from rising stars to living legends.

2016-17 Season Highlights:

  •  Yannick Nézet-Séguin embarks on his fifth season with the ensemble, continuing multi-season focuses on great musical cities of the world, American sounds, opera, theatrically-rooted works, and sacred music.
  • The three-week City of Light and Music: The Paris Festival led by Nézet-Séguin in January is the heart of a season-long focus on music emanating from, or inspired by, the French capital
  • An incisive focus on American sounds introduces uniquely American musical vernacular and includes works by Mason Bates (with the composer on stage performing computer-activated electronica), Ruth Crawford Seeger, Christopher Theofanidis, the film music of John Williams, and—looking ahead to his centennial celebrations in 2018—Leonard Bernstein.
  • As part of the 2016-17 focus on American music, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a new concerto commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse and featuring Paul Jacobs. Imaginary Day, a duo concerto for vibraphone and marimba, comprised of several Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays compositions arranged and orchestrated by Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney, is led by Bramwell Tovey.
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads theatrically-rooted works including Ravel’s complete Daphnis and Chloé, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
  • Stéphane Denève leads three weeks of subscription programming, including a Rachmaninoff Festival featuring all four of the composer’s piano concertos plus special events; a program of Russian favorites; and a program of Scandinavian works. He also leads the Orchestra in three non-subscription concerts of John Williams’s iconic score for E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, performed live with the full film in HD.
  • Conductor Laureate Charles Dutoit returns to lead Britten’s War Requiem.
  • Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C minor, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, continues a focus on sacred music initiated in his first season, and an all-Mozart program showcases the full sweep of the composer’s contributions to the musical canon.
  • A complete cycle of Brahms’s four symphonies, plus the premiere of new transcriptions by Detlev Glanert of selections from the composer’s Eleven Choral Preludes, originally written for organ.
  • Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Yefim Bronfman, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings the season to its exciting conclusion with four performances of Mahler’s Third Symphony, featuring mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, and the American Boychoir.
  • Special events include a one-night-only return by Simon Rattle, in his only U.S. orchestra conducting appearance, for a performance of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony; the legendary Itzhak Perlman returning for two concerts in which he performs and conducts.
  • Gianandrea Noseda’s Thanksgiving weekend program features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”), Petrassi’s Partita, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with guest soloist Alexander Toradze.
  • Cristian Măcelaru leads Orff’s Carmina burana featuring soprano Olga Pudova, tenor Nicholas Phan, baritone Stephen Powell, the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, and the American Boychoir on a program that also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra marks the 60th anniversary of the debut of André Watts, who made his first appearance with the ensemble in 1957 as a 10-year-old winner of the Orchestra’s Children’s Student Competition. He performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Fabio Luisi conducts the program, which also includes Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Franck’s Symphony in D minor.
  • A number of esteemed conductors return to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra, including Alain Altinoglu, Gianandrea Noseda, Fabio Luisi, Herbert Blomstedt (who celebrates his 90thbirthday in 2017), Michael Tilson Thomas, Bramwell Tovey, and Tugan Sokhiev. Louis Langrée makes his Orchestra debut and Jane Glover makes her subscription debut. Cristian Măcelaru leads one subscription series and a special Valentine’s Day Concert. Nathalie Stutzmann leads Handel’s Messiah in her Philadelphia Orchestra conducting debut and Thomas Wilkins leads The Glorious Sound of Christmas concerts.
  • Notable soloists returning include legends such as André Watts, Radu Lupu, Midori, and Yefim Bronfman; rising stars like Benjamin Beilman and Daniil Trifonov (the Orchestra’s GRAMMY-nominated recording partner); and close friends including Leonidas Kavakos, Yuja Wang, and Garrick Ohlsson.
  • Three principal players of The Philadelphia Orchestra appear as soloists: Principal Viola Choong-Jin Chang, Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa, and Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney.
  • The 2016-17 season also includes The Philadelphia Orchestra’s annual subscription series at Carnegie Hall; special concert events; Family Concerts, Sound All Around presentations, and School Concerts; holiday performances; the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert; an appearance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.; residencies in three summer venues; a tour to Asia that continues the Orchestra’s groundbreaking relationship with China; and expanded use of the Orchestra’s LiveNote® app.

To access the full press kit for the 2016-17 season, please visit


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