About the Program
2016-17 eZseatU Membership
Here is how the program works:
Buy membership: Purchase your $25 eZseatU membership online and create your personal online account.
Reserve your FREE tickets: Each Tuesday morning, you will receive an e-mail outlining the concerts offered that week, reservation procedures, and other important information. Every week, tickets will be made available on Tuesday at 4 PM. The link to purchase tickets will be included in the e-mail, or found under the eZseatU 2016-17 tab when you log in to “My Account.” Tickets will generally sell out quickly after the release. It is encouraged that you attempt to reserve your ticket as soon as possible.
Bring friends: eZseatU members may purchase $8 student add-on tickets for most performances. The number of add-on tickets made available is subject to change.
Concert night: Print out your tickets and bring them to the concert with your valid full-time college student ID (a valid college student ID is needed for student add-on tickets as well). Anyone who fails to present a college student ID will not be admitted. Your tickets will be scanned at the eZseatU table in the Kimmel Center lobby, and you will be seated by an usher 10 minutes before the performance starts.
Additional generous support is provided by the Amy P. Goldman Foundation.
Have more questions? Read our FAQs to find out more.
- You must have a valid current full-time college student ID for the current academic year to participate.
- Reservations and seating are subject to availability.
- All artists, dates, prices, and programs subject to change.
- eZseatU memberships are valid for all regular Philadelphia Orchestra concerts October through May at the Kimmel Center. Memberships expire at the end of the 2016-17 season.
- All add-on tickets must be used by full-time students.
- Always bring your printed ticket and valid student ID to concerts. Anyone who fails to present a valid student ID will not be admitted.
- Tickets issued are general admission. Seating location in the concert hall is dependent on availability. If someone has a purchased ticket for the seat you have been placed in at a particular concert, please allow them to take their seat and find an usher who will reseat you.
- If eZseatU reservations have been sold out for a particular concert, there are still other options for students!
- Some concerts may not have tickets available through the eZseatU program should they sell out in advance of a weekly e-mail alert for ticket reservations. Keep checking this page throughout the season for the most up to date concert availability information.
Yannick launches his fifth season with high-powered passion, joined by the Philadelphia favorite Yuja Wang. “I need to perform to feel alive,” says the Chinese-born and Curtis-trained pianist, who performs Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The “poet of the piano” wrote just two piano concertos; this is actually the first composed, its gorgeous melodies written when he was just 19 years old and on the verge of abandoning Poland for Paris. (Hear the First Concerto January 19-21, 2017.) Programs inspired by Paris are sprinkled throughout the season, beginning with this journey to the City of Light in pursuit of Berlioz’s unrequited love: actress Harriet Smithson. The composer’s obsession with her inspired the Symphonie fantastique—and most likely drove Berlioz to opium and madness—but the electrifying result showcases the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra in spectacular fashion.
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These beautiful works are all fragments (or based on them), yet are no less stunning as a result. American composer Christopher Theofanidis weaves his Rainbow Body from selections of the music of medieval abbess and mystic Hildegard von Bingen. Schubert’s Symphony in B minor, perhaps the most famous unfinished work of all time, has lived in the hearts of music lovers ever since its premiere in 1865. With Mozart’s C-minor Mass, Yannick continues his exploration of the great choral works. Though incomplete when Mozart died, the Mass brilliantly displays the composer’s passion, giving us what Yannick calls “some of his most profound music.” The Westminster Symphonic Choir helps bring it to glorious life.
Hector Berlioz takes infatuation to a whole new level in his revolutionary—and semi-autobiographical—Symphonie fantastique, a musical tale of love, lust, ecstasy, despair, and murder. The names of the movements chart the spiraling decline of a heartsick artist, from his innocent “Daydreams” to his eventual “March to the Scaffold.” “I mean to stagger the musical world,” Berlioz wrote—and he did. This all-French program, continuing the season-long theme, opens with an exhilarating rush of strings and woodwinds, conjuring the swagger of pirates on the high seas in Berlioz’s swashbuckling Le Corsaire Overture. Berlioz was a champion of late-Romantic French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, whose single-movement First Cello Concerto will hold audiences rapt from the soloist’s dramatic first-bar entry. The dynamic young Montrealer Stéphane Tétreault makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut, performing on a highly treasured Stradivarius cello once owned by Paganini.
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Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève leads a program that combines treasured masterworks with fresh discoveries from two of Russia’s iconic composers. The great young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin makes his subscription debut with Tchaikovsky’s beloved First Piano Concerto.
This season offers an exceptional opportunity to hear all four of Brahms’s great symphonies, led by four different conductors. We begin with the powerful Symphony No. 1, the composer’s answer to Beethoven and the culmination of 15 years’ work. Parisian Alain Altinoglu, who earned raves for his “superb performances” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) at his 2014 debut, conducts. Veronika Eberle is our soloist in Mendelssohn’s luminous Violin Concerto, which never fails to captivate—and neither does Eberle, an astounding violinist just 27 years old. Yannick calls Henri Dutilleux “one of the finest French composers of the 20th century.” Métaboles is a prime example of his artistry. This program is an irresistible combination of 19th-century favorites and a 20th-century standout.
The highly sought-after Louis Langrée, music director of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and the Cincinnati Symphony, makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut with these performances, bringing his “classy artistry” (The New York Times) to Brahms’s Second Symphony. Utterly different from his First, this work was written quickly, in the summer of 1877, which may explain its largely cheerful mood. Audience favorite Midori returns to The Philadelphia Orchestra for the first time on subscription since 2007 with Beethoven’s mighty Violin Concerto, arguably the jewel in the crown of the violin repertoire. We open with Alfred Schnittke’s witty and theatrical mash-up; it’s a little Mozart, a little Haydn, and thoroughly modern music-making including untraditional staging and lighting.
Yannick brings two masterworks by Ravel to this program. Each movement of his intimate Le Tombeau de Couperin is dedicated to a friend who died in the First World War, but as a whole, the composition is a tribute to the splendors of French music, which may be best embodied in Ravel’s ballet Daphnis and Chloé, a work Yannick calls “very dear to my heart.” He leads the complete version of this sparkling and sensual orchestral showpiece, bringing to vivid life the mythological story of the goatherd Daphnis and the shepherdess Chloé. It’s a hedonistic tale, with a musical bacchanal in the garden of Pan. Curtis grad and rising star violinist Benjamin Beilman made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2015, performing with “polish and power” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). He returns with Prokofiev’s ethereal Violin Concerto No. 1.
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Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse summons breathtaking texture, color, and volume—much like Verizon Hall’s 7,000-pipe Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. In celebration of the magnificent instrument’s 10th anniversary, Rouse has been commissioned to write a new concerto for the King of Instruments. Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs returns as Yannick leads the Philadelphians in this world premiere.
Newly appointed music director of the National Symphony, Gianandrea Noseda returns to lead a program that whirls from dance to jazz to Beethoven. The Milanese maestro has been sharing his love of underappreciated Italian repertoire with our audiences for the past two seasons (with the music of Casella inspiring wild ovations). This season he enchants us with Goffredo Petrassi, whose 1932 Partita celebrates traditional Italian dance forms.
Yannick conducts an athletic and thrilling program of great Russian repertoire, with two pieces that are extremely demanding for both orchestra and soloist. In Prokofiev’s “knockout” Piano Concerto No. 2, Yefim Bronfman earns raves for his “eerily relaxed mastery of every pianistic challenge: the crazed first-movement cadenza; the whirlwind Scherzo with its nonstop rippling runs; the spiky, hard-driven finale, with its keyboard-spanning leaps.” (The New York Times) Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony is one of incredible power and forces. Written at the height of Soviet nationalism and shelved for 25 years under authoritarian pressure, the Philadelphians and Eugene Ormandy gave the tour de force its American premiere in 1963.
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“O Fortune! Like the moon ever-changing,” the massive choir bellows amidst the opening clash of cymbals and banging of drums, but ever-constant is the enduring popularity of Carmina burana, Orff’s heart-pounding and tantalizing tale of drinking and debauchery. It was a hit from the start. Whether you know it from the movies or TV commercials, rappers or Philadelphia’s own Mummers, nothing can quite prepare you for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s live and lusty delivery, vigorously led in these performances by the Orchestra’s own Cristian Macelaru, whose career has quickly taken on international proportions. Beethoven was having his own showdown with fortune when he composed his Second Symphony. He might justifiably have manifested despair in the early stages of hearing loss, but instead wrote one of his most ebullient and life-affirming works.
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There’s no denying Mozart was a genius in the most literal sense of the word. Here’s an opportunity to experience the full sweep of his astonishing talent, from his first symphony, composed when he was just eight years old, to his last, the complex and majestic “Jupiter.” In between he produced a staggering body of work, including his first woodwind concerto, composed at age 18. “We are honored as bassoonists that he chose us first among all the woodwind instruments. It’s a masterwork. And it’s written for us and such a fantastic privilege!” says Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa, comparing his role in these concerts to “the lucky tenor or soprano who gets to sing the arias” in the midst of two great symphonic works. The esteemed British conductor and Mozart specialist Jane Glover makes her subscription debut in this effervescent program.
Paris is home to one of the world’s richest mixtures of culture and music. This first of three Festival programs celebrates composers who were based in the City of Light. At the heart of the concert are the gorgeous selections from Joseph Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, a work often requested by our audience. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will float the exquisite melodies straight into your heart while showcasing the extraordinary chemistry she enjoys with Yannick. Chabrier was a composer’s composer; his Joyeuse Marche is a jaunty parade through the boulevards of Paris. Fauré’s haunting Pavane has delighted Parisiens (and everyone else) since its first performances in the 1880s. Saint-Saëns’s “Bacchanale” is a raucous episode from his opera Samson and Delilah. Ravel’s Menuet antique is perhaps inspired by Chabrier, an early supporter. And Florent Schmitt’s Suite from La Tragédie de Salomé anticipates the work of another Paris resident, Stravinsky. The lives (and works) of these composers intertwined; we know you’ll relish the musical riches that could only have been born in Paris.
On our second visit to Paris, Yannick and the Orchestra feature two brilliant musical expats who made the French capital their home, while never forgetting their native land. Frédéric Chopin wrote his Piano Concerto No. 1 before he left Poland in 1830; political upheaval drove him to Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life, dazzling the city (and audiences and critics throughout the world) with his extraordinary performing and composing skills. The Concerto is thus a fascinating look at a genius in transition. Our soloist, Chopin-specialist Louis Lortie, will bring out all the riches of this piano masterwork. Igor Stravinsky enjoyed remarkable success and support in Paris, but kept strong ties to his roots. His music for the ballet Petrushka, based on Russia’s version of Punch and Judy, premiered in Paris in 1911, with the immortal Nijinsky in the title role.
Our final visit to Paris celebrates two composers who reached outside their rich musical milieu to find inspiration around the Mediterranean. Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, inspired by Lord Byron’s poetry, was written for the devilishly talented Niccolò Paganini. He decided the viola part wasn’t prominent enough, and rejected the piece. His loss is the music world’s gain; the work is now at the heart of the viola repertoire. Our principal viola, Choong-Jin Chang, steps out front to shine in this wonderful piece. From Italy to Spain, a frequent creative wellspring for Maurice Ravel (his parents both had Spanish roots): Alborada del gracioso uses Spanish musical themes; Rapsodie espagnole celebrates all things Spanish, especially music and dance; and then there’s the stunning Bolero. Deceptively simple, yet utterly compelling, it was a sensational success at its Paris Opera premiere in 1928 and brings our Paris sojourn to an ecstatic finale.
The revered André Watts’s professional career was launched at age 16 when Leonard Bernstein tapped him to perform with the New York Philharmonic, but he had already been discovered by The Philadelphia Orchestra six years earlier: He made his debut with the Philadelphians in 1957, as a 10-year-old winner of the Orchestra’s Children’s Student Competition. He has since appeared with the Orchestra over 100 times. This season we celebrate the 60th anniversary of that debut, with Watts performing Beethoven’s profound Piano Concerto No 4. We welcome back Fabio Luisi, who made his well-received Orchestra debut in 2011 and holds titles with the Metropolitan Opera, Zurich Opera, and the Danish National Symphony. In this third appearance with us, he brings his impeccable touch to the Overture from Weber’s Oberon. We conclude with Franck’s Symphony in D minor. The New York Times calls it “moody, impetuous and keenly dramatic”; the composer himself called it “just music, nothing but pure music.”
This concert is sponsored by the Hassel Foundation
The legendary Herbert Blomstedt turns 90 this season, returning to our podium to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his Philadelphia Orchestra debut. Continuing this season’s cycle of Brahms symphonies, he leads Brahms’s lush Third Symphony, hailed by a critic of the composer’s time as “a feast for the music lover and musician … artistically the most perfect.” The feuding partisans of Wagner and Brahms nearly came to blows at the premiere, but the work survived its boisterous birth, and is now a cornerstone of the great Germanic symphonic repertoire. The main theme of the third movement is Brahms at his brooding, moving best. Blomstedt is joined by another great friend of the Orchestra, the brilliant pianist Garrick Ohlsson. They’ll collaborate on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25. It’s among the Austrian master’s finest creations, the great piano concertos he wrote in Vienna in the 1780s.
Yannick has spoken often of his great passion for Brahms, possibly his favorite composer. The culmination of this season’s symphonic cycle features selections from his final musical work, the Eleven Choral Preludes, as well as his last symphony and the Bach cantata that inspired it. The Choral Preludes, originally written for organ, are a natural companion to Bach, the master of sacred organ and choral music, who is represented here by his Cantata No. 150. And in an homage across time, Brahms based the final movement of his majestic Fourth Symphony on the final movement of the same Bach Cantata. Hear the Choral Preludes in beautiful new transcriptions by Detlev Glanert alongside the original organ works in this varied presentation featuring the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. Marvelous works on their own; even better in context with each other; sublime with Yannick and the Philadelphians!
Indulge in Yannick’s passion for opera in these three evenings of pure spine-tingling drama! Yannick pairs some surprising selections from Tchaikovsky’s dark and gorgeous ballet score with Bartók’s sinister one-act opera. If you think the Black Swan is harrowing, wait until you see what happens when Bluebeard’s suspicious bride insists on seeing what’s behind seven locked doors in her new husband’s castle. The electrifying mezzo-soprano and frequent Metropolitan Opera performer Michelle DeYoung is the newlywed Judith, whose high C will give you chills; Metropolitan Opera regular John Relyea sings the brooding Duke Bluebeard. Spoiler alert: Judith might not want to open that last door.
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“At the end of his life when asked which was his favorite work, [Beethoven] unhesitatingly said, the ‘Eroica,’” says Michael Tilson Thomas. “It’s a real epic for orchestra, but it’s also a vast and contradictory masterpiece.” The charismatic conductor returns to lead Beethoven’s landmark—and truly heroic—Symphony No. 3. Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos left Verizon Hall audiences rapturous after his 2015 performance of the Sibelius Concerto. He also returns, applying his “off the charts” technique (The Philadelphia Inquirer) to another early-20th-century masterpiece, Berg’s Violin Concerto. The daring American composer Ruth Crawford Seeger dropped in—unannounced—on Berg while in Vienna on a Guggenheim Fellowship. It was shortly after that meeting—and before her immersion in the folk movement that would make her stepson Pete the famous one in the family—that she was composing the experimental music from which her Andante for Strings is plucked. Her concise and compact piece opens these enthralling concerts.
Conductor Laureate Charles Dutoit returns to lead a massive ensemble in one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of music: Britten’s War Requiem. The composer’s response to the travesty and destruction of war—written to consecrate England’s Coventry Cathedral in 1962, newly rebuilt after being destroyed in a Nazi bombing—features chorus and soprano singing the traditional Latin Mass, constantly interrupted by a chamber orchestra and male voices singing in English. Dutoit says he was overwhelmed when he first heard the work, as a student in Switzerland shortly after its premiere. He has since performed it all over the world. Tradition dictates that the soprano be Russian, the tenor English, and the baritone German, representing the combatants in World War II. We honor that tradition with singers Tatiana Monogarova, John Mark Ainsley, and Matthias Goerne.
Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney calls 20-time Grammy winner Pat Metheny and his composing partner Lyle Mays the “most important duo to come along since George and Ira Gershwin.” Deviney has orchestrated three Metheny jazz tunes into an all-new percussion concerto starring She-e Wu on marimba and himself on vibraphone. “To have a solo is a dream come true but to then premiere it with The Philadelphia Orchestra—my own orchestra—is beyond what I ever thought would happen,” he says. Audience favorite conductor Bramwell Tovey brings his impresario’s touch to a clever program that combines the world premiere with Dvorák’s lofty final symphony—“From the New World” indeed, as it was written in New York City—and Bernstein’s jazz-infused Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, a jazz-hall style work for clarinet and orchestra premiered by Benny Goodman
While the young Russian prodigy Daniil Trifonov is busy becoming an international celebrity, Philadelphia Orchestra audiences already know and love him: In 2015 he made his subscription debut and recorded the Grammy-nominated Rachmaninoff Variations with the Philadelphians. He returns to perform Mozart’s “Jenamy” Concerto, as technically demanding as it is joyous. American composer Mason Bates will also be on stage activating the electronica elements of his fascinating and futuristic Alternative Energy. And speaking of energy, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man; Beethoven and Liszt give us equally inspiring gifts in their tellings of his tale, as ballet music and symphonic poem.
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Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève brings his considerable flair to this musical buffet. We begin with Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen’s symphonic poem Nyx (she’s the Greek personification of the night). Salonen says he aspired to convey Nyx’s elusive character; if you see shadows flickering around Verizon Hall, well, don’t say we didn’t warn you. To Norway and Edvard Grieg, whose Piano Concerto is one of the most popular works in the keyboard canon. Soloist Lars Vogt will scale its soul-stirring heights. We return to Finland for our finale from Jean Sibelius. Coming at a time of Russian oppression, his Second Symphony boosted his patriotic credentials. Today we can appreciate this wonderful work on its own terms, as simply great music.
After making a terrific impression in his debut with the Orchestra in 2014, Bolshoi Music Director Tugan Sokhiev returns for this stirring program drawn in part from strong Russian influences. Famous for its ingenious use of a “fate” theme, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony progresses from a somber beginning to an uplifting, triumphant march in the final movement. It’s Tchaikovsky at his soulful best! We open with Anatoli Liadov’s depiction of a mythical Russian house spirit. And Oscar-winning Viennese composer Erich Korngold infuses his Violin Concerto with Hollywood flair; Frenchman Renaud Capuçon brings his “lean but velvety tone” to a score that lets you “all but conjure up the lovely Olivia de Havilland or the swashbuckling Errol Flynn.” (Los Angeles Times)
We end the season with Mahler’s colossal Third Symphony, among the grandest works of all. The Symphony is massive—calling for mezzo-soprano, women’s choir, and children’s chorus—and with six movements, is the longest piece in the standard repertoire. “It’s a work that, even more than any other Mahler symphony, contains—as Mahler said—the whole world,” says Yannick. “It has the mineral life, the vegetation life, the animal one, the human one—and the afterlife as well. … It’s a fascinating work of art.” This is a rare chance to hear this commanding music in the inimitable hands of Yannick and The Philadelphia Orchestra. A monumental end to our season that you won’t want to miss!