Performance Friday, October 31, 2014 | 8 PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Throughout his life, Mahler maintained that he did not compose music to preexisting programs. But after the 1895 premiere of his “Resurrection” Symphony, critics asked him for a program. He reluctantly gave in and, between 1896 and 1901, provided three programs for the work, all of which he later withdrew. While the three descriptions differ, the sung texts of the symphony’s fourth-movement “Urlicht” (Primal Light) and rapturous choral finale are certainly keys to this remarkable work. “The ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogeneous richness, has never sounded better … The Philadelphia Orchestra seems to have found its ideal music director,” said The New York Times of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
    Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
  • Angela Meade, Soprano
  • Sarah Connolly, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Director


  • MAHLER Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. There will be no late seating.


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra

    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 imagination and innovation on and off the concert stage. The orchestra is 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.

    Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin's 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 since his inaugural season in 2012. Under his leadership, the orchestra returned to recording with a celebrated CD of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions on the Deutsche Grammophon label, continuing its history of recording success. The orchestra also reaches thousands of listeners on the radio with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.

    Philadelphia is home, and the orchestra nurtures an important relationship with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center, and also with those who enjoy the orchestra's other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn's Landing, and other cultural, civic, and learning venues. The orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level.

    Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The ensemble annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, while also enjoying summer residencies in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Vail, Colorado.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra has a decades-long tradition of presenting learning and community engagement opportunities for listeners of all ages. The orchestra's recent initiative, the Fabulous Philadelphians Offstage-Philly Style!, has taken musicians off the traditional concert stage and into the community, including highly successful Pop-Up concerts, PlayINs, SingINs, and ConductINs. The orchestra's musicians-in their own dedicated roles as teachers, coaches, and mentors-serve a key role in growing young musician talent and a love of classical music, nurturing and celebrating the wealth of musicianship in the Philadelphia region. For more information, please visit

    Yannick Nézet-Séguin

    Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin continues his inspired leadership of The Philadelphia Orchestra, which began in the fall of 2012. 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. He has taken the orchestra to new musical heights. Highlights of his third season include an Art of the Pipe Organ festival; the 40/40 Project, in which 40 compositions that have not been heard on subscription concerts in at least 40 years will be performed; and Bernstein's Mass, the pinnacle of the orchestra's five-season requiem cycle.

    Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. He has been music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008, and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. He also continues to enjoy a close relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he was principal guest conductor. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world's most revered ensembles, and he has conducted critically acclaimed performances at many of the leading opera houses.

    Yannick and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) enjoy a long-term collaboration. Under his leadership, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on that label of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions. He continues a fruitful recording relationship with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records; the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir for the LPO label; and the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique.

    A native of Montreal, Yannick studied at that city's Conservatory of Music and continued lessons with Carlo Maria Giulini and with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among Yannick's honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada, a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Canada's National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier, and honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec and the Curtis Institute of Music. To read Yannick's full bio, please visit

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  • Angela Meade

    Soprano Angela Meade is the recipient of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. She made her professional operatic debut on the Met stage in 2008, substituting for an ill colleague in the role of Elvira in Verdi's Ernani. She had previously sung at the Met as one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a process documented in the film The Audition, released on DVD by Decca.

    Highlights of Ms. Meade's 2014-2015 season include her return to the Metropolitan Opera as Elvira opposite Plácido Domingo, conducted by James Levine, and her acclaimed interpretation of the title role in Bellini's Norma for her debut in Seville. She makes her debut with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert in Verdi's Requiem, which she also performs in Oviedo, Spain. She travels with the orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Torino under Gianandrea Noseda to the Edinburgh International Festival and the Stresa Festival in Italy for concert performances as Mathilde in Rossini's Guillaume Tell, repeating the role for a North American tour that includes Chicago, Toronto, Ann Arbor, and Carnegie Hall. Additional projects include a studio recording of Donizetti's Le duc d'Albe with Opera Rara in London and a New York recital under the auspices of the George London Foundation.

    Ms. Meade made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in June 2009 on a Best of Baroque concert and her subscription debut in October 2012 in Verdi's Requiem, after being called again on short notice to replace an ailing colleague. Other highlights of recent seasons include Norma and Verdi's Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as debuts at the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Los Angeles Opera, Torino's Teatro Regio, and the Washington National Opera, where she was subsequently honored as the 2013 Artist of the Year. She has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center and as soloist with numerous orchestras, performing with such conductors as Roberto Abbado, Charles Dutoit, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Ms. Meade is a native of Washington State and an alumnus of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

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  • Sarah Connolly

    British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music, of which she is now a fellow. She was made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 New Year's Honors List; was honored by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award in 2011; and received the Royal Philharmonic Society's Singer Award in 2012. She makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut this season with Mahler's Symphony No. 2.

    Highlights of Ms. Connolly's 2014-2015 season include Berlioz's La mort de Cléopâtre with the City of Birmingham and BBC symphony orchestras, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, and Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. She also gives recitals in London, New York, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, and Schwarzenberg, and returns to the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, in the role of Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Notable highlights on the operatic stage have included Fricka in Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (Covent Garden), Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (La Scala), the Composer in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (Metropolitan Opera), Phèdre in Rameau's Hippolytus and Aricia (Opéra de Paris), the title role in Handel's Giulio Cesare and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde (Glyndebourne Festival), and the title roles in Handel's Ariodante (Aix-en-Provence Festival), Handel's Agrippina (Gran Teatre del Liceu), and Donizetti's Maria Stuarda (Opera North).

    In demand for the lyric mezzo concert repertoire, Ms. Connolly has appeared at the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Salzburg, Tanglewood, and Three Choirs festivals and at the BBC Proms, where, in 2009, she was a guest soloist at the Last Night of the Proms. Recent appearances have also included performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis and Christoph von Dohnányi, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala with Daniel Harding, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées with Philippe Herreweghe, the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Vladimir Jurowski and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Hallé Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder, and the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle. She is a prolific recording artist, twice nominated for a Grammy Award.

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  • Westminster Symphonic Choir

    Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 80 years. It is composed of students at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. The ensemble made its Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1934 with Leopold Stokowski in Bach's Mass in B Minor; in recent seasons, it has been featured in performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Verdi's Requiem, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who studied choral conducting at Westminster Choir College. The choir was prepared for this performance by Joe Miller, Westminster's director of choral activities, who is also conductor of the Westminster Choir and director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA.

    In addition to performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the choir's 2014-2015 season includes Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Jacques Lacombe, and Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Daniele Gatti. Recent seasons have included performances of Berg's Wozzeck with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, and Christopher Rouse's Requiem with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert.

    Westminster Choir College is a division of Rider University's Westminster College of the Arts, which has campuses in Princeton and Lawrenceville. A professional college of music with a unique choral emphasis, Westminster prepares students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for careers in teaching, sacred music, and performance.

    The choir returns to Verizon Hall in the spring of 2015 for Bernstein's Mass and encore performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

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Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection" (In ruhig fliessender Bewegung)
The Philadelphia Orchestra | Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor

At a Glance

Gustav Mahler, in his 20s and 30s, was a very busy man on the rise. He devoted most of his time to building a conducting career, chiefly of opera, and meteorically ascended from provincial theaters to the most prized position in Europe: music director of the Court Opera in Vienna. Such a demanding pace left little time for composing, most of which he did during the summer months. Mahler was conflicted about the kind of music to write and concentrated on songs and program music. What we now know as his Symphony No. 1 was premiered in Budapest as a “Symphonic Poem in Two Parts,” and for some time he planned a sequel with a massive single-movement piece called Todtenfeier (Funeral Rites), which became the first movement of the Second Symphony we hear tonight.

It is remarkable that the Second Symphony, composed over the span of nearly seven years (the longest gestation for any of Mahler’s works), should emerge as one of his most powerful and seemingly unified compositions. When he began writing it in 1888 at age 28, he had no idea where it would go, and the process of discovery—and self-discovery—addressed issues no less weighty than the meaning of life and death. How to conclude the symphony posed a particular problem, and the solution, when it came, proved a revelation: a choral finale setting a “Resurrection” poem by the 18th-century German writer Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, which Mahler adapted with his own words.

What became known as the “Resurrection” Symphony is one of the longest, most ambitious, and profoundly moving orchestral works ever composed; its unusual impact and philosophical import has been recognized ever since Mahler conducted the premiere in Berlin in 1895.
Program Notes
This performance is part of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Fabulous Fridays.