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Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Welcome Celebrated Comedian and Actor Martin Short as Special Guest for Academy of Music 159th Anniversary Concert and Ball

October 14, 2015

(Philadelphia, October 14, 2015)—Martin Short, multi-talented Emmy and Tony Award-winning comedian, writer, singer, and actor, will be the special guest artist at the Academy of Music 159th Anniversary Concert and Ball on Saturday, January 23, 2016. Widely known for his portrayal of Franck Eggelhoffer in the Father of the Bride films, in addition to Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl on Broadway, Short joins The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the annual celebration of the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street,” a National Historic Landmark.

“To have an actor of Martin Short’s caliber share his comedy, song, and dance with us will make for a truly memorable evening,” said Nézet-Séguin. “His performance versatility, from comedy to drama to Broadway, will combine with the outstanding musicianship of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the visionary stage direction of James Alexander to bring special electricity to this Academy Anniversary Concert.”

The creative director of the Anniversary Concert is James Alexander, the founding artistic director of Symphony V.0. He previously worked with the Orchestra on the Academy of Music 158th Anniversary Concert, as well as the April 2013 and 2015 staged productions of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

The theme for the evening is Philadelphia’s Night of Nights!, highlighting the Anniversary Concert and Ball as the premier annual white-tie gala in the City of Brotherly Love. The celebration begins at 5:30 PM with the Chairman’s Pre-Concert Reception at the Academy of Music. Guests will mix and mingle while exploring the architectural wonders and beauty of the beloved landmark building.

The evening continues with the concert in the Academy auditorium at 7:30 PM with a program featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in his fourth season leading the ensemble, with special guest artist Martin Short. The celebration continues after the concert, at the stunning Hyatt at the Bellevue, beginning with the traditional promenade down Broad Street. The elegant dinner and Ball will fill the many reception rooms of the historic building, from the stylish State Drawing Room to the sophisticated Grand Ballroom to the rooftop grandeur of XIX. Six of the region’s preeminent dance orchestras and bands, performing music ranging in style from classic American songbook to contemporary music, will keep attendees dancing throughout the evening.

The gala is co-chaired by Katharine Wilson Eyre and Bruce G. Leto. The 159th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball are underwritten as of this release by the Hyatt at the Bellevue; The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com; Electronic Ink; Independence Blue Cross; the Innisfree Foundation; Philadelphia magazine; PNC Bank; Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young LLP; Wells Fargo; Cozen O’Connor; Franklin Templeton Investments; Invesco Ltd.; the Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation; the Neubauer Family Foundation; PECO; PwC; and Philadelphia Style magazine.

Concert and Ball tickets are available online at theacademyball.org or by calling the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215.893.1978. Concert-only tickets will be on sale for $75 in early November. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215.893.1999 or by visiting philorch.org.

For additional information, please call the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215.893.1978 or visit theacademyball.org.

History of the Academy of Music and the Anniversary Concert and Ball
The Academy of Music 159th Anniversary Concert and Ball benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963, the Academy of Music was home to The Philadelphia Orchestra for more than a century, from the ensemble’s founding in 1900 to the opening of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in 2001. The first Anniversary Concert and Ball, which took place on January 26, 1957, showcased a star-studded line-up in which Eugene Ormandy shared his podium with Danny Kaye. The historic evening’s guest performers included classical artists Marian Anderson, Hilde Gueden, Arthur Rubinstein, and Isaac Stern, and popular singer Dinah Shore. Since 1957 numerous luminaries of the musical world have performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra as part of Academy of Music Anniversary concerts. Notable guest artists included sopranos Audra McDonald, Jessye Norman, and Kiri Te Kanawa; mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne; violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, and Isaac Stern; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang; as well as popular artists such as Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Sting, and Paul Simon; and performers such as Hugh Jackman and Al Pacino.


About the Artists 
Martin Short has maintained a long career in television, film, and theater since his breakout season on Saturday Night Live (SNL) 30 years ago. His popularity on SNL led Short to cross over into feature films, appearing in Three Amigos, Inner Space, Three Fugitives, Clifford, and Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. One of Short’s most memorable roles was in the remake of Father of the Bride, as Franck the wedding planner, a role he reprised later in Father of the Bride: Part II. As an accomplished stage actor, Short won a Tony and an Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in the revival of Little Me. He was also nominated for a Tony and won an Outer Critics Circle Award for the musical version of Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. Short co-wrote and starred in Fame Becomes Me, prompting The New York Times to describe Short as “a natural for live musicals, a limber singer and dancer who exudes a fiery energy that makes you want to reach for your sunglasses.” On January 4, 2015, Short took over Nathan Lane’s role in It’s Only a Play on Broadway.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. His highly collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.” Highlights of his fourth season include a year-long exploration of works that exemplify the famous Philadelphia Sound, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and other pieces premiered by the Orchestra; a Music of Vienna Festival; and the continuation of a commissioning project for principal players.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit philorch.org.

Academy of Music 159th Anniversary Concert and Ball
January 23, 2016, at 7:30 PM – Saturday evening – Academy of Music 

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Martin Short Special Guest

The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra are graciously donating their services for this concert.

This concert will be performed without an intermission.

Concert-only tickets, priced at $75, go on sale in early November. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215.893.1999 or by visiting philorch.org.

For information on the Anniversary Concert and Ball, please call the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215.893.1978 or visit theacademyball.org. 

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