Founded in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra has distinguished itself as one of the leading orchestras in the world through a century of acclaimed performances, historic international tours, best-selling recordings, and its unprecedented record of innovation in recording technologies and outreach. The Orchestra has maintained unity in artistic leadership with only seven music directors throughout its history: Fritz Scheel (1900–1907), Carl Pohlig (1907–1912), Leopold Stokowski (1912–1941), Eugene Ormandy (1936–1980), Riccardo Muti (1980–1992), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1993–2003), and Christoph Eschenbach (2003–2008).
This rich tradition is carried on by Charles Dutoit, who was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser of The Philadelphia Orchestra from the 2008–2009 season through the 2011–2012 season. Mr. Dutoit has a longstanding relationship with the Orchestra, having made his debut with the ensemble in 1980. Highlights of his first season include performances of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet and Requiem, part of Mr. Dutoit’s four-year focus on the works of that composer, and an Orchestra celebration of Krzysztof Penderecki’s 75th birthday. During his tenure, Mr. Dutoit will also showcase the music of the Ballets Russes, beginning in the 2008–2009 season with performances of Stravinsky’s complete music to The Firebird.
Recent Philadelphia Orchestra highlights include the opening of the Orchestra’s Online Music Store, thephiladelphiaorchestra.com; regular broadcasts on NPR; a series of critically acclaimed recordings on the Ondine label; and a $125 million endowment campaign.
The Philadelphia Orchestra annually touches the lives of more than one million music lovers worldwide through its performances, publications, recordings, and broadcasts. Each year the Orchestra presents a subscription season in Philadelphia, education and community partnership programs, annual appearances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and a three-week tour. Its summer schedule includes performances at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts, free Neighborhood Concerts, and residencies at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.