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The Philadelphia Orchestra

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yannick Nézet-Séguin by Jan Regan Photography, Hélène Grimaud by Mat Hennek / DG
Take a vividly orchestrated musical journey through the Alps and experience a majestic sunrise, a violent storm, awe-inspiring views from the peaks, and more. With nearly 130 instruments on stage—including wind and thunder machines—Strauss’s vivid portrait of nature’s beauty has visceral power. While Strauss scales the heights, Bartók’s concerto looks inward with gentle folk melodies, chorale-like themes, and episodes of bird song, as well as moments of dazzling bravura.

Part of: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Perspectives

The Philadelphia Orchestra is also performing March 13, March 20, March 26, and April 3.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is also performing November 22, December 15, March 13, March 20, March 26, April 3, June 12, and June 16.


The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Hélène Grimaud, Piano


VALERIE COLEMAN Umoja (arr. for orchestra; NY Premiere)

BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 3

R. STRAUSS Eine Alpensinfonie

Event Duration

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

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.

At a Glance

This evening’s concert opens with a Philadelphia Orchestra commission: the full orchestral version of Umoja by American composer Valerie Coleman. She originally composed this vibrant piece for women’s chorus and then arranged it as a woodwind quintet for her acclaimed chamber music group, Imani Winds. Umoja, which means unity in Swahili, calls upon Afro-Cuban, jazz, and classical styles, and now can shine forth in all its colorful brilliance in this new version.

Béla Bartók fled his native Hungary during the Second World War and settled in America. He had nearly completed his Third Piano Concerto, written as a birthday gift for his pianist wife, when he died of leukemia in September 1945. Tibor Serly, for some years a violist in The Philadelphia Orchestra, orchestrated the final measures of the concerto. The Philadelphians gave its world premiere in 1946, with Eugene Ormandy conducting and György Sándor as soloist.

Richard Strauss conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra during both of his trips to America, in 1904 and 1921. Eine Alpensinfonie was his final large-scale orchestral work and charts a mountain climbing expedition, observing nature’s wonders as well as its challenges, such as a terrifying storm. The majestic work calls for an enormous orchestra that includes wind and thunder machines, cowbells, organ, and a brilliant offstage brass ensemble.


The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the world’s preeminent orchestras. It strives to share the transformative power of music with the widest possible audience, and to create joy, ...

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the world’s preeminent orchestras. It strives to share the transformative power of music with the widest possible audience, and to create joy, connection, and excitement through music in the Philadelphia region, across the country, and around the world. Through innovative programming, robust educational initiatives, and an ongoing commitment to the communities that it serves, the ensemble is on a path to create an expansive future for classical music, and to further the place of the arts in an open and democratic society.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now in his eighth season as the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. His connection to the ensemble’s musicians has been praised by both concertgoers and critics, and he is embraced by the musicians of the orchestra, audiences, and the community.

The Philadelphia Orchestra takes great pride in its hometown, performing for the people of Philadelphia year-round, from Verizon Hall to community centers, The Mann Center to Penn’s Landing, classrooms to hospitals, and over the airwaves and online. The orchestra continues to discover new and inventive ways to nurture its relationship with loyal patrons.

The Philadelphia Orchestra continues the tradition of educational and community engagement for listeners of all ages. It launched its
HEAR initiative in 2016 to become a major force for good in every community that it serves. HEAR is a portfolio of integrated initiatives that promotes Health, champions music Education, enables broad Access to orchestra performances, and maximizes impact through Research. The orchestra’s award-winning education and community initiatives engage more than 50,000 students, families, and community members through programs such as PlayINs, Side-by-Side Rehearsals, PopUP Concerts, Neighborhood Concerts, School Concerts, sensory-friendly concerts, the School Partnership and School Ensemble programs, and All-City Orchestra Fellowships.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, and recordings, the orchestra is a global ambassador. It performs annually at Carnegie Hall, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. The orchestra also has a rich history of touring, having first performed outside Philadelphia in the earliest days of its founding. It was the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China in 1973, launching a now five-decade commitment of people-to-people exchange.

The orchestra also makes live recordings available on popular digital music services and as part of the Orchestra on Demand section of its website. Under Yannick’s leadership, the orchestra returned to recording, with five celebrated CDs on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label. The orchestra also reaches thousands of radio listeners with weekly broadcasts on WRTI-FM and SiriusXM. For more information, please visit philorch.org.

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through at least the 2025–2026 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. ...

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through at least the 2025–2026 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he became the third music director of the Metropolitan Opera in August 2018, and he is a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist for the 2019–2020 season. 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 eighth season as music director include a complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies, juxtaposed with new compositions, in celebration of the composer’s 250th birthday; Bach’s Mass in B Minor; and symphonically staged performances of Strauss’s Elektra.

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 artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal since 2000, and in summer 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He also served as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he remains an honorary conductor. 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 signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon in 2018. Under his leadership, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with five CDs on that label. In Yannick’s inaugural season, the orchestra returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly broadcasts on WRTI-FM and SiriusXM.

A native of Montreal, Yannick studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal’s Conservatoire de Musique du Québec 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; and honorary doctorates from the Universit
é du Québec, Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College, McGill University, Université de Montréal, and University of Pennsylvania. To read Yannick’s full bio, please visit philorch.org/conductor.

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Hélène Grimaud

French pianist Hélène Grimaud made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2000 and has enjoyed many collaborations with her friend Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Born in ...

French pianist Hélène Grimaud made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2000 and has enjoyed many collaborations with her friend Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence, she was accepted into the Conservatoire de Paris at age 13 and made her recital debut in Tokyo in 1987. That same year, Daniel Barenboim invited her to perform with the Orchestre de Paris, marking the launch of her musical career, one highlighted by concerts with most of the world’s major orchestras and many celebrated conductors.

Ms. Grimaud’s recordings have been awarded numerous accolades, among them the Cannes Classical Recording of the Year, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Diapason d’Or, Grand Prix du Disque, and ECHO Klassik. She has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon (DG) artist since 2002. Her most recent album, Memory, was released in September 2018 and includes works by Chopin, Debussy, Satie, and Valentin Silvestrov. In 2017, she released Perspectives, a two-disc personal selection of highlights from her DG catalog. Recent performance highlights include a recital tour of Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium featuring repertoire from Memory; a US tour focusing on Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto (which she performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2018) and Ravel’s G-Major Concerto at venues that included Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall; and a series of performances of the Schumann Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Hamburg, Paris, Luxembourg, Munich, and Vienna.

Ms. Grimaud has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist, and a writer. Between her debut in 1995 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado and her first performance with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur in 1999, she established the Wolf Conservation Center in New York State. Her love for the endangered species was sparked by a chance encounter with a wolf in northern Florida. Ms. Grimaud is a member of Musicians for Human Rights, a worldwide network of people working in the music field to promote a culture of social change. She is also the author of three books.

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