This subscription package includes performances that feature chorus and therefore Conductor’s Circle seating is not available for one or more event. For your convenience we will seat you in Orchestra Tier, Tier 1, or the Orchestra at no additional price for these performances.
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An enduring musical partnership and a tour-de-force showcase of the Orchestra's brilliance: These concerts are the consummate kickoff for the season's subscription concerts! Emanuel Ax (“We are totally captured by his intensity and pianistic achievement”—Los Angeles Times) returns to Verizon Hall to join the Fabulous Philadelphians in Mozart's final piano concerto. Yannick and the Philadelphians explore the passion and tragedy of Dvorák's Othello Overture, with Tchaikovsky's fiery Fourth Symphony a fitting finale.
This is a program of quintessential American music. Gershwin, the leading American composer of the Jazz Age, drew his inspiration from music halls and vaudeville. This is no more apparent than in his charming, jazzy Promenade and the rip-roaring Piano Concerto in F, performed with brio by our returning soloist and Gershwin specialist Jon Kimura Parker. Dvořák, on his visit to America in the 1890s, drew inspiration from folk songs and spirituals and incorporated original themes based on these melodies into his works. On the podium is James Gaffigan, one of the most important young American conductors today. Philadelphian Samuel Barber went on to become one of the most prominent musical figures in developing a new American romantic style.
An extraordinary opportunity to hear our music director not only as conductor, but also as chamber musician. Yannick will be at the keyboard for Elgar’s haunting Piano Quintet. “I’m an advocate and champion of that piece,” he says. A “best of” treasury of Handel’s sunny Water Music, written for an outdoor concert on the Thames, opens the second half of the program. Storm clouds gather over the North Sea as we conclude with Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from the most famous of English operas, set in the Suffolk fishing village that was also the composer’s home.
Dutch composer Michel van der Aa hails the sensational violinist Janine Jansen as the inspiration for his Violin Concerto, as much for her expressive personality as her chosen instrument: “If Janine had played the flute, I would have written a Flute Concerto.” Be among the first to hear this highly creative new work. Yannick honors The Philadelphia Orchestra’s deep Rachmaninoff tradition with his Second Symphony, popular with audiences and composer alike; its rave reception boosted Rachmaninoff’s faith in his musical abilities.
Grammy-winner and Artist-in-Residence Hilary Hahn returns to Verizon Hall with a 20th-century masterpiece: Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto, written as the Russian Revolution swirled in 1917. Maestro Denève offers another Philadelphia premiere from Guillaume Connesson, his Flammenschrift (Flaming Letters), a tribute to German music. Equally worthy of tribute: Richard Strauss’s spiritual Death and Transfiguration and Ravel’s whirling La Valse, described by the composer as “dancing on the edge of a volcano.”
Hélène Grimaud and Yannick Nézet-Séguin have performed together all over the world, becoming great musical friends. Their warmth and deep artistic connection will be on display as they bring this season to an electrifying conclusion with monumental works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann. Grimaud (“astounding technique and daring musical insight”—San Diego Story) stars in landmark piano concertos (Beethoven’s Fourth, Brahms’s First – performed on Thursday, May 17) that have defined the piano repertory; her unique interpretations will have you listening to these favorite works with renewed joy. Schumann revised his Fourth Symphony late in his troubled life; his personal struggles did not prevent him from creating a masterpiece that has only grown in stature over time. And we end this season’s musical journey with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.