The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 8
CARLOS SIMON Fate Now Conquers
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.
At a Glance
The Philadelphia Orchestra and Carnegie Hall were about to embark on a cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies in March 2020 to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth—a celebration that was shut down the day of the first concert by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first few months of this new season offer the cycle as a belated birthday present, continuing tonight with two symphonies and a new work they inspired.
Among Beethoven’s nine symphonies, some tend to get somewhat lost among more famous siblings. A listener unaware of their actual chronology might find the order rather surprising: The most famous odd-numbered symphonies alternate with more Classical ones. The Eighth is Beethoven’s shortest and looks back to Haydn—a delightful work that brims with witty touches.
Beethoven premiered his Seventh Symphony in 1813 at the height of his popular fame and success. By then he was generally recognized as Europe’s greatest composer, and in this work—unveiled as victory in the Napoleonic wars was close at hand—he brilliantly captured the celebratory spirit of the time. In Beethoven’s day, it was his most successful symphony, especially the miraculous second movement that one critic called “the crown of instrumental music.”
The young American composer Carlos Simon was commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra to write a new work in dialogue with Beethoven. He explains that Fate Now Conquers uses “musical gestures that are representative of the unpredictable ways of fate: jolting stabs along with frenzied arpeggios in the strings that morph into an ambiguous cloud of free-flowing running passages depicting the uncertainty of life that hovers over us.”
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, 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 10th 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.
In March 2020, in response to the cancellation of concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the orchestra launched the Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra, a portal that hosted video and audio of performances for free on its website and social media platforms. In September 2020, the orchestra announced Our World NOW, its reimagined season of concerts filmed without audiences and presented on its Digital Stage. The orchestra also inaugurated free offerings: HearTOGETHER, a series on racial and social justice; educational activities; and Our City, Your Orchestra, a series of small ensemble performances from locations throughout the Philadelphia region.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s award-winning education and community initiatives engage more than 50,000 students, families, and community members of all ages through programs such as PlayINs, side-by-sides, PopUP concerts, Free Neighborhood Concerts, School Concerts, the School Partnership Program and School Ensemble Program, 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 touring history, having first performed outside Philadelphia in its earliest days. In 1973, it became the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China, launching a 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 Listen On Demand section of its website. Under Yannick’s leadership, the orchestra returned to recording, with 10 celebrated releases 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.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is currently in his 10th season as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Additionally, he became the third music director of the Metropolitan Opera in 2018. Yannick, who holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair, is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia 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 “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”
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 2017 he became an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He also served as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is now an honorary conductor. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world’s most revered ensembles and 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 10 releases on that label.
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; Companion to the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Quebec; an Officer of the Order of Montreal; Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; ECHO Klassik’s 2014 Conductor of the Year; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award; the Virginia Parker Prize; the Prix Denise-Pelletier; the Oskar Morawetz Award; and honorary doctorates from the Université du Quebec, Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, McGill University, Université de Montréal, University of Pennsylvania, and Laval University. To read Yannick’s full bio, please visit philorch.org/conductor.