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The Philadelphia Orchestra

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Now in his fifth season as music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is leading the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra into a new golden era. The Financial Times has called him “the most compelling, most accomplished conductor of his generation,” and The New York Times has said the orchestra “has never sounded better.” The dynamic partnership comes together for two symphonies: Bernstein’s riveting “Jeremiah,” with its unforgettable lament for Jerusalem, and Schumann’s nostalgic and joyous Symphony No. 2. There’s also a rare appearance by the great Radu Lupu in a performance of Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 24.


The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Sasha Cooke, Mezzo-Soprano
Radu Lupu, Piano


BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah"

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491

SCHUMANN Symphony No. 2

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

Sponsored by DeWitt Stern, a Risk Strategies Company

At a Glance

The three works on this program—spanning the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries—are among the most personal utterances of their composers, offering journeys of the soul.

At age 23, Leonard Bernstein began writing the first of his three symphonies and soon afterward made his legendary conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic as a last-minute replacement in a nationally broadcast concert. His three-movement “Jeremiah” Symphony uses texts from the biblical Book of Lamentations. Decades later, Bernstein stated that many of his compositions are “about the struggle that is born of the crisis of our century, a crisis of faith. Even way back, when I wrote ‘Jeremiah,’ I was wrestling with that problem.”

Among Mozart’s dozens of piano concertos and symphonies, only two in each genre are in minor keys. These particularly intense works, among them the Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, have long invited speculation about possible autobiographical connections.

Robert Schumann struggled throughout his life with depression—it ran in his family and led ultimately to a suicide attempt that landed him in a mental asylum for the last two years of his life. He composed his Second Symphony during a period of poor health and admitted that the deeply felt work “told a tale of many joys and sorrows.” 


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 ...

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.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

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.

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Sasha Cooke

Grammy Award-winning American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is sought-after by the world's leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber ensembles for her versatile ...

Grammy Award-winning American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is sought-after by the world's leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music. Operatic highlights of her 2016-2017 season include Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel at Seattle Opera and the world premiere of composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell's The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera. Orchestral engagements include appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti in Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible, Bernstein's First Symphony with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and a staged version of Verdi's Requiem with Houston Grand Opera under Patrick Summers. Her season also features performances of Christopher Theofanidis's Creation/Creator with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Robert Spano; Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Edo de Waart; Duruflé's Requiem with The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Matthew Halls and with the National Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles; Handel, Mahler, and Mozart with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Krzysztof Urbański; and Mozart's Requiem with the Oregon Symphony.

Ms. Cooke appears with the Minnesota Orchestra to sing and record Mahler's Symphony No. 2 conducted by Osmo Vänskä, and with the Nashville Symphony for John Harbison's Requiem, also being recorded. On DVD, she can be seen in the Metropolitan Opera's productions of Hänsel und Gretel and John Adams's Doctor Atomic under conductor Alan Gilbert, which won a Grammy Award. Her recordings can be found on the Hyperion, Naxos, Bridge Records, Yarlung, GPR Records, and Sono Luminus labels.

Ms. Cooke made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in Handel's Messiah in 2013. A graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School, she also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen and Marlboro music festivals, the Ravinia Festival's Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and Central City Opera's Young Artist Training Program.

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Radu Lupu

Pianist Radu Lupu is firmly established as one of the most important musicians of his generation and is widely acknowledged as a leading interpreter of the works of ...

Pianist Radu Lupu is firmly established as one of the most important musicians of his generation and is widely acknowledged as a leading interpreter of the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert. Since winning the prestigious Van Cliburn (1966) and Leeds (1969) piano competitions, he has regularly performed as soloist and recitalist in the musical capitals of Europe and the United States. He has appeared many times with the Berliner Philharmoniker since debuting with that ensemble at the 1978 Salzburg Festival under Herbert von Karajan, and with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, including the opening concert of the 1986 Salzburg Festival under Riccardo Muti. He is also a frequent visitor to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and all the major London and American orchestras. He made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1973. He has played at most of the notable music festivals and has been a regular guest at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals.

This season Mr. Lupu performs with the Munich Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also gives recitals in Leipzig, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Berlin.

Mr. Lupu has made more than 20 recordings for London/Decca, including the complete Beethoven concertos with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta; the complete Mozart violin and piano sonatas with Szymon Goldberg; Grieg and Schumann concertos; Debussy and Franck violin and piano sonatas with Kyung Wha Chung; and numerous solo recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert. He also has two recordings with pianist Murray Perahia (CBS); two albums of Schubert lieder with soprano Barbara Hendricks (EMI); and a disc of Schubert works for piano, four hands, with Daniel Barenboim (Teldec). His recordings have won Grammy and Edison awards.

Born in Romania, Mr. Lupu began studying the piano at age six. He made his public debut with a complete program of his own music at age 12 and won a scholarship to the Moscow State Conservatory. He is the recipient of the 2006 Premio Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli award.

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