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The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Welcome Martin Short as Special Guest for Academy of Music 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball

December 20, 2016

(Philadelphia, December 20, 2016)—One of the most joyous highlights of the year for the Philadelphia area is the annual Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball. The Ball is a destination event for the entire region and beyond, and it has been embraced not just by Philadelphia’s civic leaders but also by the vibrant Young Friends of the Academy. In recent years the Anniversary Concert has been even further enhanced by a celebrated artist whose achievements cross many performing genres, and 2017 will be no exception. The Philadelphia Orchestra welcomes Martin Short as the special guest for the Academy of Music 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball on Saturday, January 28, 2017. Originally slated as the featured guest for the Academy’s 159th Anniversary Concert in 2016, which was cancelled due to an emergency shutdown by Winter Storm Jonas in the Philadelphia area, the multi-talented Emmy and Tony Award-winning comedian, writer, singer, and actor joins The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin for an extraordinary evening of food, friends, music, dancing, and an exploration of the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.” This National Historic Landmark is just one example of why Philadelphia is the only World Heritage City in the United States.

“When the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball with special guest Martin Short had to be cancelled by the blizzard, it was a great disappointment, so you can imagine my very great pleasure at learning he would be able to join us for this year's Concert," said Nézet-Séguin. "We are even more excited than before to showcase his performance versatility, from comedy to drama to Broadway. This, combined with the extraordinary musicianship of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the visionary stage direction of James Alexander, will make for a truly memorable evening.” 

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 and 159th Anniversary Concerts, as well as the April 2013 and 2015 critically acclaimed staged productions of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.  

The theme for the 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball, the premier annual white-tie gala in the City of Brotherly Love, is Philadelphia’s Golden Heritage. 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 glories 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 fifth season at the helm of the storied ensemble, with special guest Martin Short. The post-concert celebration begins with the traditional promenade down the Avenue of the Arts. For the third consecutive year, two children’s choirs and the Philadelphia Handbell Choir will form the “acoustic causeway” leading from the Academy to the glamorous Hyatt at the Bellevue. The elegant dinner and Ball will fill the 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 most prominent dance orchestras and bands, performing music ranging in style from classic American songbook to a wide range of popular dance music, will tempt attendees to try out their finest dance steps throughout the evening.

The gala is co-chaired by Georgiana W. Noll and Harry E. Hill III. The 160th 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; Independence Blue Cross; the Innisfree Foundation; Philadelphia magazine; PNC Bank; Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young LLP; Wells Fargo; Garces Events; Halfgenius; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Edward Hill III; the Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation; the Neubauer Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Eric W. Noll; PECO; Philadelphia Style magazine; and PwC.

Concert and Ball tickets are available online at the academyball.org or by calling the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215.893.1978. Concert-only tickets are currently on sale for $75. 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 160th 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 fifth season include an exploration of American sounds, a three-week festival Paris: City of Light and Music, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. 

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 28, 2017, 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, are currently on sale. 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.

CONTACT:

Patricia O’Kelly

phone: 202.999.9806

e-mail: pokelly@philorch.org

 

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