The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Hilary Hahn, Violin
THOMAS ADÈS Powder Her Face Suite (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
BERNSTEIN Serenade (after Plato's Symposium)
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 1
BACH Gigue from Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
At a Glance
At age 24, the brilliant British composer Thomas Adès composed his first opera, Powder Her Face, about the scandalously hedonistic life of a debauched duchess. A decade later, Adès extracted instrumental moments from the original chamber opera to create a three-movement Suite for full orchestra, and now, after a further 10 years, he has re-orchestrated and expanded the material to create the eight-movement Suite we hear tonight in its New York premiere.
This season marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, which is being celebrated internationally. The occasion offers the welcome chance to reconsider this brilliant and multi-talented musician, who was perhaps even better known during his lifetime as a conductor, writer, advocate, and educator than as a serious composer. Bernstein based his Serenade—a violin concerto of sorts accompanied by a string orchestra, harp, and percussion—on Plato’s Symposium, the ultimate dialogue in praise of love.
Bernstein ultimately triumphed as a national monument of American music, as Adès is emerging for contemporary British music. Jean Sibelius filled this role for Finland at the beginning of the 20th century at a time when his country was dominated by Russia to the south. His music, most famously the tone poem Finlandia, evokes the landscape and history of his country. Tonight we hear the first of his seven symphonies.
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.
Hilary Hahn, Violin
Three-time Grammy Award–winning violinist and Philadelphia Orchestra 2017–2018 artist-in-residence Hilary Hahn is renowned for her virtuosity, expansive interpretations, and creative programming. She was 14 years old when she made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1993 as a winner of the Children’s Division of the orchestra’s Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition. As artist-in-residence this season, she plays a free concert to promote the eZseatU college membership program, performs in two subscription weeks and a Chamber Postlude, and participates in the orchestra’s ongoing educational activities. Also in the 2017–2018 season, she returns to repertoire from the 19th and 20th centuries, performing the Tchaikovsky and Dvořák concertos and Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto across the US and Europe. In addition to concerts with the Philadelphians, she performs Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and with the Houston Symphony at home and on tour in Belgium, Poland, Austria, and Germany as part of the celebrations of Bernstein’s centennial season.
Ms. Hahn has released 16 albums on the Deutsche Grammophon and Sony labels, in addition to three DVDs, an Oscar-nominated movie soundtrack, an award-winning recording for children, and various compilations. Her recordings have received every critical prize in the international press and have met with equal popular success. Her 17th album will be a retrospective collection that also contains new live material and art from her fans, in keeping with a decades-long tradition of collecting fan art at concerts.
Ms. Hahn is an avid writer, posting journal entries on her website, hilaryhahn.com, and publishing articles in mainstream media. On her YouTube channel, youtube.com/hilaryhahnvideos, she interviews colleagues about their experiences in music. In addition, her violin case comments on life as a traveling companion on Twitter and Instagram at @violincase. In 2001, she was named America’s Best Classical Musician by TIME magazine. She has participated in a number of non-classical productions, collaborating on two records by the alt-rock band … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, on the album Grand Forks by guitarist Tom Brosseau, and on tour with folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter.
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.