This performance is proudly supported by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
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.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now confirmed to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through the 2025-2026 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he becomes music director of the Metropolitan Opera beginning with the 2021-2022 season. Yannick is an inspired leader of the orchestra. His intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm 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, with works by Leonard Bernstein, Christopher Rouse, Mason Bates, and Christopher Theofanidis; a Music of Paris festival; and the continuation of a focus on opera and sacred vocal works, with Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and Mozart's C-Minor Mass.
Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling 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 was also principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2014. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world's most revered ensembles and has conducted critically acclaimed performances at many of the leading opera houses.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) enjoy a long-term collaboration. Under his leadership, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with two CDs on that label. He continues fruitful recording relationships with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records; the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the LPO label; and the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique.
A native of Montreal, Yannick studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal's Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among Yannick's honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada, Musical America's 2016 Artist of the Year, Canada's National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier, and honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec, Curtis Institute of Music, and Westminster Choir College. To read Yannick's full bio, please visit philorch.org/conductor.
Twenty-six-year-old American violinist Benjamin Beilman made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2009 at the Mann Center and his subscription debut in 2015. In addition to his return to the orchestra for performances in Verizon Hall and Carnegie Hall, highlights of his 2016-2017 season include appearing as soloist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's new music series, MusicNOW; performances with the Detroit and Atlanta symphony orchestras and the San Diego and Grand Rapids symphonies; and recital debuts in San Francisco and Vancouver. Abroad, he makes debuts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and at the Dvořák Festival in Prague; returns to London's Wigmore Hall; and appears in recital on a 10-city tour of Australia, including debut appearances in Sydney and Melbourne.
In March 2016, Warner Classics released Mr. Beilman's debut recital CD of works by Schubert, Janáček, and Stravinsky. He also has recorded Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin on the Analekta label. His performance highlights last season included a debut with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of a new concerto written for him by Edmund Finnis with the London Contemporary Orchestra. Mr. Beilman also returned to Europe to play Beethoven with the London Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, and for recitals at the Louvre, Wigmore Hall, and the Verbier and Aix-en-Provence festivals. He is a frequent guest artist at such festivals as Music@Menlo, Music from Angel Fire, and Chamber Music Northwest, as well as at the Bridgehampton, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Sedona chamber music festivals.
Mr. Beilman is the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, a 2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a 2012 London Music Masters Award. In 2010, he won first prizes in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the Montreal International Musical Competition. In 2009, he was a winner of Astral Artists' National Auditions. Mr. Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. He plays an Antonio Stradivari violin kindly loaned to him through the Beare's International Violin Society.
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 82 years. The choir made its Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1934 with Leopold Stokowski in Bach's Mass in B Minor. In recent seasons, the ensemble has been featured in performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Bernstein's Mass, and Mahler's Symphony No. 8, "Symphony of a Thousand," under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who studied choral conducting at Westminster Choir College.
Highlights of the choir's 2016-2017 season include two additional appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Britten's War Requiem, conducted by Charles Dutoit; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw with the New York Philharmonic; and Rachmaninoff's Vespers, as part of the New York Philharmonic's Tchaikovsky and His World festival. Recent seasons have included performances of Berg's Wozzeck with London's Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen; Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 and Estévez's Cantata criolla 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.
The ensemble is composed of juniors, seniors, and graduate students at Westminster Choir College. The choir is led by Joe Miller, director of choral activities at the college and artistic director for choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA. Dr. Miller has made three recordings with the 40-voice Westminster Choir, which is part of the larger Symphonic Choir: Noël, a collection of French Christmas music and sacred works; The Heart's Reflection: Music of Daniel Elder; and Flower of Beauty, which received four stars from Choir and Organ magazine and earned the ensemble critical praise from American Record Guide as "the gold standard for academic choirs in America." Westminster Choir College is a division of Rider University's Westminster College of the Arts, which has campuses in Princeton and Lawrenceville, New Jersey.