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April 24, 2017

Close Collaborators: Sergei Rachmaninoff and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s exceptionally close, collaborative relationship with The Philadelphia Orchestra began in earnest with his second appearance with the ensemble in March 1919. His first appearance had been in November 1909, during his initial three-month tour of America. Following this tour, Rachmaninoff went home to Russia and did not return to the United States for almost 10 years. When he did, it was as an immigrant exile; he and his family had fled the Russian Revolution in 1917 and had come to America to live a year later.

April 17, 2017

Rachmaninoff’s First Performances in Philadelphia

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra occurred in November 1909, during his first American tour. When he set sail for the United States for this tour in the fall of that year, he was 36 years old and already a major star in his native Russia and in many parts of Europe, highly regarded as a pianist, composer, and conductor. Promoters had been trying to lure him to America for several years, but he was reluctant to make the trip and kept putting it off.

April 13, 2017

Medicine’s Loss Is Music’s Gain: An Interview with Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe

The Orchestra’s assistant conductor, Kensho Watanabe, likes to say he grew up with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He fell under its spell shortly after his family moved from their native Japan (where he first picked up a fiddle at age two) to Connecticut. Riding the school bus with his trusty Walkman, he’d listen to the Orchestra’s recording of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony with Riccardo Muti.

April 05, 2017

The Philadelphia Orchestra: Global Cultural Ambassadors at Home in the World

We’ve all heard the expression “Think globally, act locally.” But for The Philadelphia Orchestra in the 21st century, a better version might be “Think AND Act Globally AND Locally.”

April 05, 2017

Burchard Tang - Behind the Scenes

Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.

Where were you born? In Lutherville, MD. I moved to Philadelphia when I was seven though, so I consider myself a Philly native.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Any Beethoven string quartet. 

April 05, 2017

César Avila: In the Spotlight

A Monthly Profile of Orchestra Fans and Family

April 04, 2017

Rachmaninoff’s Philadelphia

“Philadelphia has the finest orchestra I have ever heard at any time or any place in my whole life. I don’t know that I would be exaggerating if I said that it is the finest orchestra the world has ever heard.”—Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff and Eugene Ormandy looking over a score at the Academy of Music. Photo: Philadelphia Orchestra Archives/Adrian Siegel Collection

April 04, 2017

Pat Metheny and the American Beat, Part IV: Extraordinary Day: A Musical Idea Comes to Glorious Fruition

Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney says performing Imaginary Day, Duo Concerto for Vibraphone, Marimba, and Orchestra, was a bit of a shock. It had taken years to get his idea of arranging the music of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny onto a Philadelphia Orchestra program. Imaginary Day finally had its world premiere Thursday evening, March 30, with repeat performances Friday afternoon and Saturday evening.

March 28, 2017

Pat Metheny and the American Beat, Part III: A Joyous Soundscape

Chris Deviney says fans of Pat Metheny’s jazz guitar and lovers of The Philadelphia Orchestra may have more in common than they think. He’s predicting both groups will love Imaginary Day, Duo Concerto for Vibraphone, Marimba, and Orchestra, his arrangement of three Metheny jazz tunes, premiering at Verizon Hall March 30, 31, and April 1. But for those unfamiliar with the guitarist’s work, what’s the Concerto going to sound like?

March 23, 2017

Pat Metheny and the American Beat, Part II: The Long Road to Verizon Hall

How does an idea like Chris Deviney’s, taking three jazz tunes by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and arranging them for symphony orchestra, make it to the concert hall? (His Imaginary Day, Duo Concerto for Vibraphone, Marimba, and Orchestra, an arrangement of Metheny and Mays’s music, has its world premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall on March 30, 31, and April 1).

Very slowly, as it happens.

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