This week, The Philadelphia Orchestra marks the 100th anniversary of legendary Leopold Stokowski's assumption of the leadership of the orchestra in 1912. From June 21 through 23, the orchestra—under the baton of its new Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin—performs four concerts at Philadelphia's Academy of Music combining music with cutting edge HD visual effects to celebrate its earlier maestro with programs closely associated with his tenure.
Stokowski's history with Carnegie Hall began almost as long ago as his history with Philadelphia. He first conducted here with—guess who—The Philadelphia Orchestra, 98 years ago on January 21, 1914, in a benefit concert in support of the Sisters of the Assumption. The program consisted of works by Brahms and R. Strauss, with soprano Alma Gluck joining in for music by Mozart and Charpentier.
It is unlikely that anyone could have predicted that Stokowski would go on to have such a deep connection with the Hall. Over the span of almost 60 years—1914 through 1972—he conducted close to 450 times at Carnegie Hall. More than a quarter of those were with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Other orchestras closely associated with Maestro Stokowski at the Hall were the New York Philharmonic, Symphony of the Air, and the American Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed at Carnegie Hall for the final time just over four decades ago on May 9, 1972. His final program here was an all-Russian affair—Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has an even longer history with Carnegie Hall. The orchestra's debut took place 110 years ago on November 26, 1902. Fritz Scheel conducted a program of Goldmark, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Liszt. That long history with Carnegie Hall continues in 2012–2013 with three concerts—two conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin (October 23 and February 22) and one by Sir Simon Rattle (May 17).
Furthermore, we are delighted that The Philadelphia Orchestra has agreed to join us in presenting a season-long series titled The American Orchestra, which in 2011–2012 featured the St. Louis Symphony. More about that next month but in the meantime, head to Philadelphia this week to get an exciting preview of what you can expect at Carnegie Hall next season!
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