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Philadelphia Orchestra Kicks Off Holiday Season with GLORIOUS SOUND OF CHRISTMAS Concert Tonight

The Philadelphia Orchestra is gearing up for the holidays, and this season's line-up promises plenty of cheer for people of all ages-from classical music aficionados to traditional holiday music lovers alike. The most wonderful time of the year opens with three Glorious Sound of Christmas concerts, tonight, December 20-22; continues with Handel's Messiah, December 23; and concludes with the time-honored tradition of the Orchestra's annual New Year's Eve Concert on December 31, this year conducted by new Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. All concerts take place in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

The Glorious Sound of Christmas is the perfect way to kick off the season and take a break from a hectic holiday to-do list. Led by Grammy Award-winning guest conductor and Vancouver Symphony Music Director Bramwell Tovey, this series of three concerts features timeless holiday favorites and well-loved carols played by Philadelphia's own world-renowned orchestra. Named for the The Philadelphia Orchestra's best-selling Christmas album, and featuring the beloved Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, it is sure to become a holiday tradition. Tonight, December 20-22 at 7:00 PM, tickets start at $40.

Those looking for a more classically-inspired program need look no further than The Philadelphia Orchestra's annual performance of Handel's Messiah, led by Paul Goodwin, artistic director and conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival in California. A Philadelphia Orchestra tradition since 1961, this concert has become as much a part of the season as Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The program features the Philadelphia Singers Chorale and an impressive line-up of soloists, including soprano Karina Gauvin; mezzo-soprano Diana Moore, in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut; tenor John Tessier; and baritone Christòpheren Nomura. December 23 at 2 PM, tickets start at $29.

Longtime Philadelphians, and those simply visiting for the holidays, will have a chance to ring in the New Year with The Philadelphia Orchestra's new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

"New Year's Eve has always been such a joyous occasion for my family, and I look forward to celebrating now with my new family here in Philadelphia," said Yannick Nézet-Séguin. "I hope many will join us in the hall as we toast to all that is to come in 2013."

Yannick and the Fabulous Philadelphians will bid farewell to a brilliant 2012 with Haydn's light-hearted "Farewell" Symphony along with a selection of well-loved encores and showpieces such as Johann Strauss Jr.'s "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" Waltz, Johann Strauss Sr.'s "Radetzky" March, Bernstein's "Mambo," and Falla's "Ritual Fire Dance." For this festive concert, the Orchestra will also be joined onstage by dancers under the auspices of Dance Affiliates and Artistic Director Randy Swartz. December 31 at 7:30 PM, tickets start at $64.

And finally, no holiday season would be complete without a visit from Santa Claus. On Saturday, December 1, enjoy A Holiday Spectacular! Family Concert led by Assistant Conductor Cristian Macelaru. Featuring a sing-along; dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet II; a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by award-winning storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston; and of course a visit from Santa, this concert is a must for young families and the young at heart. December 1 at 11:30 AM, tickets start at $15. This program is presented by U.S. Airways.

Tickets for all three concerts can be purchased by calling 215.893.1999 or visiting www.philorch.org.

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