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The Philadelphia Orchestra

Monday, October 10, 2016 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Mahler touches the heart’s deepest, most tumultuous emotions in his Sixth Symphony. His opening movement includes a rapturous musical portrait of his wife, Alma. But the work's devastating conclusion is eerie and agitated. The original finale surges up three times, stopped in each case by a tremendous hammer stroke, presaging tragedies in Mahler’s life: the loss of his Vienna State Opera position, the death of his daughter, and the diagnosis of a heart condition that would prove fatal. Superstitious, Mahler eventually removed the third stroke, but his symphony remains one of his most powerful creations.


The Philadelphia Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor


MAHLER Symphony No. 6

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. 

Perspectives: Sir Simon Rattle

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At a Glance

Mahler performed his Sixth Symphony just three times in his career; on the last occasion, in Vienna, the title “Tragic” was printed in the program. While so much of Mahler’s music is deeply personal, and much of it despairing, he plumbed new depths in this work.

Long after Mahler’s death, his widow recounted elaborate stories about the autobiographical meanings of the symphony, which culminates with “blows of fate” sounded by a hammer in the final movement. The possible meanings the Sixth Symphony may have held for Mahler can never be determined, but its passion, integrity, and innovations remain extraordinarily powerful for performers and audiences alike more than 100 years after its composition.


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 ...

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 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.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin's connection to the orchestra's musicians has been praised by both concertgoers and critics since his inaugural season in 2012. Under his leadership the orchestra returned to recording, with two celebrated CDs on the prestigious 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 continues to discover new and inventive ways to nurture its relationship with its loyal patrons at its home in the Kimmel Center, and also with those who enjoy the orchestra's 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, all of which create greater access and engagement with classical music as an art form.

The Philadelphia Orchestra serves as a catalyst for cultural activity across Philadelphia's many communities, building an offstage presence as strong as its onstage one. With Mr. Nézet-Séguin, a dedicated body of musicians, and one of the nation's richest arts ecosystems, the orchestra has launched its HEAR initiative, a portfolio of integrated initiatives that promotes Health, champions music Education, eliminates barriers to Accessing the orchestra, and maximizes impact through Research. The orchestra's award-winning Collaborative Learning programs engage more than 50,000 students, families, and community members through programs such as PlayINs, Side-By-Sides, PopUP Concerts, free Neighborhood Concerts, School Concerts, and residency work in Philadelphia and abroad.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the US. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China (at the request of President Nixon in 1973), the ensemble today boasts a new partnership with Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, and in 2017 will be the first-ever Western orchestra to appear in Mongolia. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall while also enjoying summer residencies in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Vail. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit philorch.org.

Sir Simon Rattle

Conductor Simon Rattle made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1993 conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 9, and has been a familiar presence on the podium with the Philadelphians ever since. It is the only US orchestra he appears with this season. He has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2002, and this season undertakes an extensive tour of the US with the ensemble. In the 2017-2018 season, he becomes music director of the London Symphony Orchestra. From 1980 to 1998, he was principal conductor and artistic adviser, then music director, of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Rattle is currently leading the season-opening performances of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Metropolitan Opera. He is also a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist for the 2016-2017 season.

Mr. Rattle has made more than 70 recordings for EMI (now Warner Classics) and has received numerous international awards for recordings on various labels. Releases with the Berliner Philharmoniker on EMI include Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance; Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique; Mahler's Symphony No. 2; and Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. In August 2013, Warner Classics released Rachmaninoff's The Bells and Symphonic Dances. Mr. Rattle's most recent releases (the Beethoven, Sibelius, and Schumann symphonies, and the Bach passions) have been for Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings--the orchestra's in-house label, established in early 2014. He regularly conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos with Alfred Brendel.

Born in Liverpool, Mr. Rattle studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He was knighted in 1994 and in the New Year Honours of 2014 received the Order of Merit from the Queen of England. His partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker has broken new ground with the educational program Zukunft@Bphil, which has earned numerous prizes. He and the Philharmoniker were also appointed international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, the first time the honor has been conferred on an artistic ensemble. Mr. Rattle appears by kind permission of the Metropolitan Opera.

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