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 three 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 broadcasts on WRTI-FM and SiriusXM.
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.
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 2018–2019 season; he is currently 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 three 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.
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 84 years. The choir made its Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1934 with Leopold Stokowski in Bach’s Mass in B Minor. In addition to tonight’s performance, highlights of the 2017–2018 season include Holst’s The Planets with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Cristian Măcelaru, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Pablo Heras-Casado, Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic and Andrew Manze, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Rossen Milanov. 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. Westminster Choir College is a division of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts, which has campuses in Princeton and Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
Keystone State Boychoir (KSB) and Pennsylvania Girlchoir (PG) are brother-sister choirs made up of more than 300 young people between the ages of eight and 18 who serve as choral ambassadors for Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the nation. At home, they sing over 60 concerts a season in venues that range from under-resourced schools to Philadelphia’s major venues, including the Academy of Music, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and the Kimmel Center. They have sung for popes, presidents, and Nobel Peace Prize winners, and have toured to more than 30 countries. In 2009, they made history as the first choral organization to sing in Antarctica, making them the only choirs to have sung on all seven continents. Both KSB and PG have performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra on numerous occasions throughout the last two decades. The young people singing tonight wish to thank Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Tod Machover for this extraordinary opportunity. KSB and PG are part of the Commonwealth Youthchoirs family, an organization that transforms the lives of more than 600 young people—half of whom are underserved—through the power of making music together. Visit cychoirs.org for more information.
Sister Cities Girlchoir (SCG), which is making its Philadelphia Orchestra debut, is a girl-empowerment choral academy that serves communities in Philadelphia, Camden, and Baltimore. Rooted in access and excellence, SCG programming is provided to families at little to no cost. SCG was founded in Kensington in 2012 with a dozen singers, and now serves moer than 400 students. Founder Alysia Lee was selected from an international pool of applicants as the first classical vocalist to be accepted as a Sistema Fellow at the New England Conservatory of Music. The choirs are led by a decorated team of professional musicians committed to community building and artistry. The girls cherish their past performances with Opera Philadelphia, Temple University, the Philadelphia Singers, El Sistema New Jersey, the Greater South Jersey Chorus, and local youth choirs. SCG holds the unique honor of performing for President George Bush and the Honorary Blondell Reynolds Brown. This season, SCG sends its traveling ensemble abroad for the first time to Montreal. SCG families, staff, and singers are beyond thrilled to participate in the Philadelphia Voices project. Please visit sistercitiesgirlchoir.org for more information.