Carnegie Hall's Opening Night Gala
The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Lang Lang, Piano
Chick Corea, Piano
Maxim Lando, Piano
BERNSTEIN On the Waterfront Symphonic Suite
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
BERNSTEIN Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Gala Lead Chairmen
Mercedes T. Bass
Hope and Robert F. Smith
Gala Chairmen Committee
Len and Emily Blavatnik
Aisha and Gbenga Oyebode
Annette de la Renta
Sana H. Sabbagh
Beatrice Santo Domingo
Brian and Adria Sheth
David M. Siegel and Dana Matsushita
Margaret and Ian Smith
Joan and Sanford I. Weill
Dennis M. Nally
PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.
Opening Night Gala Lead Sponsor: PwC
At a Glance
The Opening Night Gala of Carnegie Hall’s 2017–2018
season celebrates American music, New York City, and Leonard Bernstein,
whose 100th birthday is being honored worldwide this season.
The program starts with the Symphonic Suite from Bernstein’s only film score, Elia Kazan’s Academy Award–winning On the Waterfront, which explores the gritty side of New York’s docks. The concert concludes with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from the beloved musical West Side Story, the famous story of star-crossed lovers—a retelling of Romeo and Juliet for the 20th century.
Bernstein brilliantly combined classical and jazz styles in many of his scores. So, too, did his great precursor George Gershwin, nowhere more so than in Rhapsody in Blue. The piece created a sensation at its 1924 premiere in New York at a concert presented by the legendary bandleader Paul Whiteman with Gershwin as piano soloist. Tonight, three soloists share the spotlight: Lang Lang is joined by legendary jazz artist Chick Corea and 14-year-old Maxim Lando, an alumnus of the Lang Foundation’s Young Scholars Program.
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 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.
The orchestra continues to discover new and inventive ways to nurture its relationship with its loyal patrons at its home in Philadelphia’s 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 orchestra is a global cultural ambassador for Philadelphia and for the US. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, the ensemble today boasts new five-year partnerships with Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Shanghai Media Group. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall, while also enjoying summer residencies in Saratoga Springs and Vail. For more information, please visit philorch.org.
Few artists can claim to have the same profound impact on the world of music as Lang Lang. As a pianist, educator, and philanthropist, as well as an influential ambassador for the arts, he has fully embraced new technology and innovation, leading the way in bringing classical music into the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing or for a few hundred children in a public school, he is a master of communicating through music. He has performed sold-out concerts across the globe; formed ongoing collaborations with conductors who include Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Barenboim, and Christoph Eschenbach; and played with all the world’s top orchestras. He is known for thinking outside the box and frequently steps into different musical worlds. His performances at the Grammy Awards with Metallica, Pharrell Williams, and Herbie Hancock were hailed by millions of viewers.
Lang Lang, who made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2001, began playing the piano at age three and gave his first public recital by the time he was five. He entered Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music at nine and won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians at 13. He subsequently went to Philadelphia to study with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute of Music. He was 17 when his big break came, substituting for André Watts in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Mr. Eschenbach.
For the past decade, Lang Lang has contributed to music education worldwide. In 2008, he founded the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, aimed at cultivating tomorrow’s top pianists, championing music education at the forefront of technology, and building a young audience through live music experiences. In 2011, he was honored with the highest prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, and in 2013, he was designated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace. For further information, visit langlang.com and langlangfoundation.org.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is confirmed to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through the 2025–2026 season--an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he becomes the third music director of the Metropolitan Opera beginning with the 2021–2022 season, and from 2017–2018 is music director designate. Yannick, who holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair, is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. 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 sixth season include a yearlong celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth; music from and inspired by the British Isles in a three-week festival; and the continuation of a focus on vocal works, including Puccini’s Tosca and Haydn’s The Seasons.
Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling talents of his generation. He is in his 10th and final season as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. 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 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, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestre Métropolitain. In Yannick’s inaugural season, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to the radio airwaves with weekly Sunday-afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.
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.
Chick Corea has attained iconic status in music. The keyboardist, composer, and bandleader is a member of the DownBeat Hall of Fame and an NEA Jazz Master, as well as the fourth–most-nominated artist in Grammy history with 63 nods and 22 wins, in addition to his numerous Latin Grammy Awards. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, and children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, he has touched an astonishing number of musical bases since playing with the genre-shattering bands of Miles Davis in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Yet he has never been more productive than in the 21st century, whether playing acoustic piano or electric keyboards, leading multiple bands, performing solo, or collaborating with a who’s who of music. He has been named Artist of the Year three times this decade in the DownBeat Readers Poll.
Born in 1941 in Massachusetts, Mr. Corea remains a tireless creative spirit, continually reinventing himself through his art. His classic albums as a leader or co-leader include Now He Sings, Now He Sobs; Paris Concert; Return to Forever; Crystal Silence; My Spanish Heart; Remembering Bud Powell; and Further Explorations. A venturesome collaborator, he has teamed with artists from jazz legends Lionel Hampton, Gary Burton, and Herbie Hancock to new-generation pianist Stefano Bollani and vocal superstar Bobby McFerrin. In 2015, he reunited with Mr. Hancock for a widely acclaimed world tour—their first as a duo since 1978. Mr. Corea’s latest album, The Musician, documents his career-spanning 70th birthday party, featuring Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, John McLaughlin, and many more.
Rare for a “jazz musician,” Mr. Corea received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award from Chamber Music America in 2010. He broke new ground as a composer with The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra, released in 2013 by Deutsche Grammophon. He recorded his first album of solo piano works in 1971, continuing his intimate journey with the instrument on Solo Piano: Portraits. For the 2013 album The Vigil, he put together a new-era electro/acoustic quintet, featuring himself on keyboards and longtime associate Tim Garland on reeds, alongside several acclaimed young players. Tonight’s concert marks his Philadelphia Orchestra debut.