All-Tchaikovsky Gala Opening, SALOME and More to Highlight Philadelphia Orchestra's 2013-14 Season

Related: Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Philadelphia Orchestra


Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and President and CEO Allison Vulgamore today announce the 2013-14 season of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

On the heels of his triumphant inaugural season as the Orchestra's new music director, Nézet-Séguin returns to Philadelphia for a highly-anticipated second season of subscription concerts that build upon the foundation established at the beginning of his tenure, including the next phase of his multi-season focus on the requiem; exciting collaborations with the world's most acclaimed soloists; and unique combinations of new and familiar works lending a refreshing aesthetic to the concert season. Nézet-Séguin's highly collaborative style, indelible musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike.

A conductor who finds inspiration from music of all generations and genres, Nézet-Séguin's approach juxtaposes traditional, beloved works from the orchestra repertoire with more provocative, leading-edge works, emphasizing dramatic operatic repertoire, new and innovative compositions, and choral music. Committed to reinvigorating the concert experience for audiences, he has introduced immersive performances featuring a variety of ensembles, sections, and individual players that extend the boundaries of traditional orchestral programming, and capture the imagination of audiences.

"I chose the programs for this season with the musicians of our Orchestra in mind-collectively, they are like the perfect musical instrument," says Yannick Nézet-Séguin. "It was very important for me to play with style, pace, and format, to expand the boundaries of this ensemble and allow our audience to hear us in a completely new way. We will showcase the virtuosity of our musicians-allowing this remarkable orchestra to perform as a living, breathing, entity; a group that can exist in so many different forms and combinations."

"A spark ignited between Yannick and the Orchestra from the very beginning," said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. "It is evident how much the relationship has deepened. When we combine the magic of this partnership with the thoughtfully-curated season that Yannick has put together, the stars will be aligned for exemplary artistry on the stage and enthusiastic audiences in the house, at the edge of their seats, eager to catch every moment."

Controversy and Creativity Collide: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Celebrates Richard Strauss's 150th Anniversary with Salome
Increasingly known and admired for his work in the great opera houses of the world, Yannick Nézet- Séguin brings his passion for opera to Verizon Hall in May 2014 for epic performances of Richard Strauss's Salome, as part of a celebration of the composer's 150th birthday. Considered scandalous when it first premiered in 1905, Richard Strauss's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play has not lost its ability to shock. As the first complete performance of the score by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the composer's most controversial opera comes to life for the first time on the Verizon Hall stage.

For this performance, Yannick draws on his close relationships with a constellation of acclaimed vocalists, including soprano Camilla Nylund (Salome), mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert (Herodias), tenor John Mac Master (King Herod), and bass-baritone Alan Held (John the Baptist). At the core of the story exists a tangled and disturbing triangle: the persecuted John the Baptist, a lecherous King Herod, and the monarch's pathologically seductive stepdaughter, Salome, who eventually demands the head of the prophet on a silver platter. (May 8 & 10)

The Strauss celebration continues across two seasons with a performance of his Oboe Concerto (October 4-6); autobiographical symphony Ein Heldenleben and the Serenade for Winds (November 7- 9); Burleske for piano and orchestra (February 6-8); and Metamorphosen for 23 strings (February 20-23).

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Spearheads Philadelphia Commissions Micro-Festival Passionately committed to, and passionate about, the work of current-day composers, and equally committed to showcasing the incredible artistry within the Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin spearheads a three-day micro-festival that will shed new light on the complex process that exists between creator and soloist. Three leading international composers have been commissioned to compose solo works for three of the Orchestra's principal players. Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen will premiere Chinese-born Tan Dun's Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for 12 Micro Films, Harp, and Orchestra; Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner will premiere a Flute Concerto by Iranian-born Behzad Ranjbaran; and Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa will premiere Philadelphia native David Ludwig's new Bassoon Concerto. Over the course of three days, the Orchestra will present three distinct programs, each containing two of the three commissions in different pairings. All three composers will be in residence over the weekend to share their insights into the creative process. Also featured on each of the programs are Bernstein's Overture to Candide and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. (October 31-November 2)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin's Second Season
In assembling the 2013-14 season, Nézet-Séguin has drawn from classic orchestral repertoire to present time-honored masterworks, while finding inspiration in the fresh, bold work of today's composers-folding both types of works into programs that tell a unique and individual story. Nézet-Séguin has also assembled programs that, whether through solo passages, smaller ensembles, or exquisite sectional playing, highlight the incredible virtuosity, versatility, and dedicated artistry that is a trademark of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Nézet-Séguin comments, "The way I chose each piece of repertoire for this season was very intentional, and you will see this in how I pair new pieces with more familiar works in every program. It adds textural variety, all woven together to tell a story, one that I feel creates a more dynamic concert experience. The outcome is so exciting to me, and I cannot wait to share this with our audiences."

Further, Nézet-Séguin finds unusual ways to illuminate the work of current-day composers while honoring the musical traditions of the past, with such varied programs as a groundbreaking Philadelphia Commissions micro-festival; a Tchaikovsky Celebration that puts the great Russian composer's works in a greater context of the Russian composers of his day; a Mozart marathon that explores and celebrates some of his most famous works; and a presentation of Richard Strauss's Salome.

Season Highlights:

♦ An Opening Night Concert and Gala on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, featuring an all-Tchaikovsky program with the incomparable Anne-Sophie Mutter performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Also on the program are Marche slave and Romeo and Juliet. (September 25)

♦ Nézet-Séguin opens the subscription season on Thursday, September 26, 2013, with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 ("Choral") featuring the Westminster Symphonic Choir, soprano Christine Brewer, tenor Christian Elsner, and bass-baritone Shenyang. This marks the beginning of a two-year cycle during which the Orchestra will perform all nine of Beethoven's symphonies. Additional works include Beethoven's setting of Goethe's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and the premiere of a new orchestration commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra of American composer Nico Muhly's Bright Mass with Canons. (September 26-28)

♦ Soprano Christiane Karg and Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams in a program that brings together three of the greatest composers of all time-Gustav Mahler (Symphony No. 4), Richard Strauss (Oboe Concerto), and Benjamin Britten (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell). Widely considered one of the best "guides to the orchestra," Britten's work prominently features ensemble passages from all the sections of the orchestra, as well as solos from its principal players. (October 4-6)

♦ As a vehicle for highlighting principal players from the Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin has assembled a program featuring commissions from three leading international composers-Tan Dun, Behzad Ranjbaran, and David Ludwig-each from three distinctly different backgrounds, to compose solo works for three of the ensemble's principal players in a Philadelphia Commissions micro-festival. Each composer will be present for the weekend to facilitate open dialogue with the audience- offering a rare look into the complex creative process that exists between creator and soloist. The new works for harp (Elizabeth Hainen), flute (Jeffrey Khaner), and bassoon (Daniel Matsukawa) will be performed in varying combinations over the course of the weekend. Also featured on every concert is Bernstein's Overture to Candide and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances-his final composition, which he dedicated to the Orchestra in 1941. (October 31-November 2)

♦ Curtis-trained pianist Yuja Wang performs Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3-the most popular of the composer's five piano concertos-alongside Strauss's majestic tone poem Ein Heldenleben and his Serenade for Winds as part of the Strauss 150th anniversary celebration. (November 7-9)

♦ Pianist Hélène Grimaud's unmatched musical style brings the robust and challenging Second Piano Concerto by Brahms to life with the Orchestra at Verizon Hall, as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Orchestra also performs Berlioz's epic and sweeping Symphonie fantastique-with its dichotomy of ecstasy and despair-in this same program. (December 5-8)

♦ Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra take the audience on a journey to Eastern Europe with a program featuring Romanian pianist Radu Lupu in performances of Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3. Also featured is Smetana's "The Moldau," from Má vlast and Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 6, which each draw their inspiration from Bohemian and native folk melodies. (January 30-February 1)

♦ The Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, and Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk perform Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, which received its U.S. premiere by The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in 1959. The ensemble also made the work's premiere recording that same year. Strauss's Metamorphosen, composed for 23 solo strings, and Beethoven's masterful Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") will be performed on this same program (February 20, 22-23), which also travels to Carnegie Hall as the Orchestra's third of four 2013-14 performances there this season. (February 21)

♦ Nézet-Séguin's multi-season exploration of the great requiems continues with performances of Fauré's Requiem, following earlier performances of those by Mozart, Brahms, and Verdi. These will be the Orchestra's first complete performances of this work. The cathedral-inspired program includes antiphonal brass performing Gabrieli's Canzon septimi toni, No. 2, from Sacrae symphoniae; Duruflé's Four Motets on Gregorian Themes for a cappella chorus; and Franck's Organ Chorale No. 1 for solo organ performed on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall. Also included is the Villa-Lobos Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and cellos. Featured in the program: Susanna Phillips, soprano (subscription debut); Philippe Sly, bass-baritone (Philadelphia Orchestra debut); Michael Stairs, organ; and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale. (March 13-15)

♦ One of Nézet-Séguin's signatures in the 2013-14 season will be a three-day, five performance Mozart marathon featuring some of the composer's most celebrated writing: symphonies, operas, and piano concertos. Three vastly different programs feature Mozart's overtures to Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and The Marriage of Figaro; his late Piano Concerto Nos. 20, 21, and 22 featuring the prodigious Jan Lisiecki in his Orchestra debut; and three final symphonies: Nos. 39, 40, and 41 ("Jupiter"). (April 24-26) Nézet-Séguin, Lisiecki, and the Orchestra will also present a Saturday morning Family Concert on the life of Mozart entitled Mr. Mozart: Musical Genius. (April 26)

♦ As a bookend to the season that began with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Nézet-Séguin leads the Orchestra in performances of Bruckner's Symphony No. 9, which draws its inspiration from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Violinist Lisa Batiashvili, one of Yannick's frequent collaborators, performs Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 1 (May 1 & 3). The program is the Orchestra's final 2013- 14 season performance at Carnegie Hall. (May 2)

♦ Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra bring the season to a close as Richard Strauss's epic Salome comes to life on the Verizon Hall stage with an interpretation that conveys the deeply graphic and psychological nature of this one-act opera. These performances feature soprano Camilla Nylund (Salome), mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert (Herodias), tenor Jon Mac Master (Herod), and bass- baritone Alan Held (John the Baptist). (May 8 & 10)

Tchaikovsky Celebration
January marks the beginning of a three-week Tchaikovsky Celebration, with a series of performances showcasing this great composer's work alongside his Russian contemporaries, including members of the "Mighty Five"-Borodin, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Balakirev. This multi-week series commences with British conductor Robin Ticciati conducting Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, the composer's First Piano Concerto with pianist Stephen Hough, as well as Liadov's tone poem The Enchanted Lake. (January 10-12)

The second week of the Tchaikovsky Celebration marks Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Conductor Cristian M?celaru's subscription debut, in a program featuring Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, with Principal Cello Hai-Ye Ni, and Serenade for Strings; Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor; and Balakirev's Islamey. (January 16-18)

Young Russian conductor Tugan Sokhiev makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in the third and final week of the Tchaikovsky Celebration in a program featuring the composer's Violin Concerto with violinist Vadim Gluzman, Musorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition, and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Battle of Kerzhenets" from the opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniy. The Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski gave the U.S. premiere of the Rimsky-Korsakov excerpt in 1923. (January 23 & 24)

Continued Collaboration with Carnegie Hall
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a long and celebrated history performing at Carnegie Hall, having given its first performance there more than 100 years ago, in 1902. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra open Carnegie's 2013-14 season with an October 2 Gala performance, which will be heard live around the globe as part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, produced by Carnegie Hall and WQXR in collaboration with American Public Media. The concert will feature Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist and double-bassist Esperanza Spalding and violinist Joshua Bell. Works by Tchaikovsky, Saint- Saëns, and Ravel will be performed, as well as three Carnegie Hall-commissioned orchestrations by American jazz pianist Gil Goldstein of songs by Spalding, Leonardo Genovese, and Dimitri Tiomkin/Ned Washington, performed by Spalding. One of these works will feature Bell, who will also perform Ravel's Tzigane and Saint-Saëns's Introduction and Rondo capriccioso during this same concert.

Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore comments, "The Philadelphia Orchestra has been performing at Carnegie Hall for over a century, and New Yorkers love the Orchestra. Now, audiences cannot say enough about the unique and phenomenal connection that exists between Yannick and our musicians. We are elated to open the season at Carnegie Hall, with a live broadcast on WQXR- FM, and are honored to continue to share our Philadelphia Sound with New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and listeners all over the world."

The Orchestra and Nézet-Séguin return for three additional Carnegie Hall performances in the 2013-14 season, with repertoire to include Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, and Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Hélène Grimaud; Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica"), Strauss's Metamorphosen, and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 with Truls Mørk; Barber's Adagio for Strings and Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 1 with Lisa Batiashvili; and Bruckner's Symphony No. 9. (December 6, February 21, May 2)

Multi-Week Conductor Residencies
The Philadelphia Orchestra has long enjoyed collaborative partnerships with many of the world's greatest and most distinguished conductors. This season, it builds on this tradition by welcoming back three close musical friends for extended, two-week residencies.

Returning Conductors:

♦ Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos celebrates his 150th Philadelphia performance with the Orchestra during a two-week residency that begins with a program featuring Beethoven's Overture to King Stephen and Symphony No. 8, Respighi's The Pines of Rome, and Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Lise de la Salle in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut. (October 17-19) The following week brings violinist Augustin Hadelich to Philadelphia, also celebrating his Philadelphia Orchestra debut with performances of Lalo's Symphonie espagnole. The program also features Debussy's La Mer and Ravel's Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloé. (October 24-26)

♦ Longtime collaborator Vladimir Jurowski leads the Orchestra in Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 and Mahler's Todtenfeier. And, as part of the Strauss 150th Anniversary year, legendary pianist Emanuel Ax performs the composer's youthful Burleske for piano and orchestra and Bach's Piano Concerto No. 1. (February 6-8) Jurowski's residency continues the following week with Rachmaninoff's setting of Edgar Allan Poe's haunting poem "The Bells," which received its U.S. premiere in Philadelphia with Leopold Stokowski in 1920. The work will be performed with the original English text recited between each movement of Rachmaninoff's Russian treatment. Soprano Tatiana Monogarova and tenor Vsevolod Grivnov (both celebrating their Orchestra debuts), baritone Sergei Leiferkus, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir will be featured. The program also includes Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 performed by Alexey Zuev, also in his Philadelphia Orchestra debut. (February 13-15)

♦ Stéphane Denève returns to lead the Orchestra in a collaboration with the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) in Poulenc's Aubade-a choreographic concerto for 18 instruments and solo piano with pianist Eric Le Sage (Philadelphia Orchestra debut). The concert also includes Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks, also written for a smaller ensemble, excerpts from Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella, and Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird. (February 28-March 1) Denève's residency continues with violinist Nikolaj Znaider performing Beethoven's Violin Concerto, as well as a performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. (March 6-8)

In addition, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has invited a number of guest conductors to return to the Orchestra during the season:

♦ Russian-born Semyon Bychkov joins the Orchestra during its opening weeks for a program that pairs the symphonic music of Beethoven and Shostakovich-composers who lived over a century apart but remain two of the greatest symphonists of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the same program, the Orchestra teams up with pianist Yefim Bronfman for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. Also featured in this program is Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11. (October 10-12)

♦ Cultural and musical icon Itzhak Perlman returns to Philadelphia as both conductor and violinist for subscription concerts featuring Beethoven's First and Second romances for violin and orchestra, Dvo?ák's Serenade for Strings, Beethoven's Symphony No. 2, and Brahms's Academic Festival Overture. (November 21-24)

♦ Early-music specialist Richard Egarr makes his Orchestra debut with performances of Vivaldi's colorful Four Seasons with violinist Daniel Hope (also making his debut) as well as performances of 17th-century composer Henry Purcell's Suite No. 1 from The Fairy Queen-his adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream-and Haydn's Symphony No. 101 ("The Clock"). (November 29-30)

♦ Fresh off his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2012, British conductor Robin Ticciati returns to the Verizon Hall stage to launch the three-week Tchaikovsky Celebration, pairing the music of this great Russian composer with those of his contemporaries. The program opens with Liadov's tone poem The Enchanted Lake and continues with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring Stephen Hough, as well as Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. (January 10-12)

♦ The illustrious Herbert Blomstedt joins the Orchestra for performances of Brahms's Symphony No. 1 and Mozart's "Gran Partita" Serenade for 12 winds and one double bass-drawing to a close a season-long collection of serenades. (March 20-22)

♦ Donald Runnicles joins the Orchestra for a centenary celebration of British composer Benjamin Britten's birth. This performance features Britten's Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes and his Violin Concerto, with virtuosic violinist Janine Jansen; Arvo Pärt's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten; and Mozart's Symphony No. 36 ("Linz"). (March 27-29)

♦ Venerable conductor Christoph von Dohnányi presents a program of German masterpieces featuring Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales performing Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 1. This work premiered in 1811, the same year as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, being performed on the same program. Also featured is Brahms's Variations on a Theme of Haydn. (April 3-5)

♦ Collaborator and friend Gianandrea Noseda returns to Philadelphia in a program featuring the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 ("Organ"), which will showcase the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ with organist Michael Stairs. The concert opens with a suite from Alfredo Casella's opera La donna serpente, premiered just three years before the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, also performed on this program, with Philadelphia favorite James Ehnes. (April 11-13)

Additionally, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has invited three conductors to make their Philadelphia Orchestra debuts this season.

More On: Richard Strauss, Oscar Wilde, Alan Held, Tan Dun, Westminster Symphonic Choir, Nico Muhly, Gustav Mahler.

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by Peter Danish