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Carnegie Hall Presents

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Friday, April 8, 2022 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yannick Nézet-Séguin by Todd Rosenberg
Be uplifted by the unprecedented grandeur of sound and emotional intensity of Beethoven’s colossal Missa solemnis. A dramatic opening sets the tone for ecstatic voices singing in the Gloria, ascends to magnificent heights with the Benedictus section’s ethereal violin solo, and culminates in a beautiful prayer for peace that celebrates both the Almighty and humanity. 

Performers

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Jennifer Rowley, Soprano
Karen Cargill, Mezzo-Soprano
Rodrick Dixon, Tenor
Eric Owens, Bass-Baritone
Philadelphia Symphonic Choir
Amanda Quist, Director

Program

BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis

Event Duration

The program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating. 

This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

At a Glance

“From the heart—may it again—go to the heart!” Beethoven inscribed these words in the manuscript of his mighty Missa solemnis, one of his last and largest compositions. His initial motivation was to honor his friend, student, and patron, Archduke Rudolph, who was to be installed as Archbishop of Olmütz in March 1820. But the project grew in proportions, and Beethoven missed the deadline by several years.

The work came at a crucial juncture in Beethoven’s life as the aging and deaf composer increasingly withdrew from society. While much of the music he wrote has spiritual elements—such as reverence for nature in the “Pastoral” Symphony—the Missa solemnis is rooted in the liturgical words of the Mass that composers had set for centuries. Beethoven studied that tradition and carefully wrote out a German translation as he sought to understand nuances of the Latin text and find its ideal musical expression. The result is a supreme expression of personal belief.

Bios

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 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 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.

The orchestra also makes live recordings available on popular digital music services. 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.

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin

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 ...

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.

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Jennifer Rowley

Soprano Jennifer Rowley made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in May 2018 in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, a role she has also sung at the Metropolitan Opera. This season she ...

Soprano Jennifer Rowley made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in May 2018 in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, a role she has also sung at the Metropolitan Opera. This season she makes her debut at Opéra de Rouen Normandie with her signature role of Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore, sings the title role in Verdi’s Aida at the Serbian National Theatre, returns to the Semperoper Dresden for Tosca, reprises the role of Amelia Grimaldi in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Zurich Opera House, and makes her Palm Beach Opera debut in Lehár’s The Merry Widow. She performs a solo concert at the National Theatre in Belgrade and sings concert performances of Tosca with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra led by Zubin Mehta. She also returns to Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio for her fourth artist residency, where she will teach lessons and master classes. Additionally, she teaches master classes for Vincerò Academy, Penn State University School of Music, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in Verdi’s Requiem with The Cecilia Chorus of New York, followed by performances at New York City Opera as Orasia in Telemann’s Orpheus.

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Karen Cargill

Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2013. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was the winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award.  ...

Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2013. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was the winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award. In July 2018, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater and is currently its interim head of vocal studies. Her performances this season and beyond include Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Cristian Măcelaru; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2,“Resurrection,” with the Spanish National Orchestra and Choir and David Afkham, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Rafael Payare, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Robin Ticciati; and Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. With the BBC Scottish Symphony and Alpesh Chauhan she performs Schoenberg’s “Lied der Waldtaube” from Gurrelieder and records Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. Her past opera highlights have included appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera. She is also a patron of the National Girls’ Choir of Scotland.

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Rodrick Dixon

Tenor Rodrick Dixon made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2008. He has worked with leading conductors, orchestras, and opera companies throughout North America, including the Los Angeles  ...

Tenor Rodrick Dixon made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2008. He has worked with leading conductors, orchestras, and opera companies throughout North America, including the Los Angeles Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, the Todi Music Festival, Portland Opera, Opera Columbus, Virginia Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Opera Southwest. On the concert stage, he is a regular guest of the Cincinnati May Festival. Other notable appearances include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as at the Sydney, Bravo! Vail, and Ravinia music festivals. He appeared with the Longfellow Chorus in a program of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, which was recorded and included in a film about the composer. He was also part of the original cast of Ragtime on Broadway. His additional engagements this season include Mozart’s Requiem with the Florida Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Richmond Symphony and Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and the title role in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg at the George Enescu Festival in Romania. His recordings for Sony/BMG include Liam Lawton’s Sacred Land and Rodrick Dixon Live in Concert.

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Eric Owens

Bass-baritone Eric Owens made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in April 1994. He has starred as Porgy in James Robinson’s production of Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera, the ...

Bass-baritone Eric Owens made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in April 1994. He has starred as Porgy in James Robinson’s production of Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera, the recording of which won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. His other operatic career highlights include performances at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He received critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel at LA Opera. He also enjoys a close association with John Adams, performing the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at San Francisco Opera. Doctor Atomic was later recorded and received the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Owens began his musical training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by oboe studies at age 11 under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and Louis Rosenblatt of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice at Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. Since 2019, he has been co-chair of the Curtis Institute’s opera department.

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Philadelphia Symphonic Choir

The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir made its debut in December 2016, performing in three programs with The Philadelphia Orchestra that season. Consisting of talented vocalists auditioned from ...

The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir made its debut in December 2016, performing in three programs with The Philadelphia Orchestra that season. Consisting of talented vocalists auditioned from around the country, the ensemble was created to marry gifted and unique voices of Philadelphia and beyond with the legendary Philadelphia Sound. In the 2017–2018 season, the choir appeared in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performances of Haydn’s The Seasons and Puccini’s Tosca. In the 2018–2019 season, the ensemble sang in performances of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish,” and Rossini’s Stabat Mater, as well as holiday performances of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. In the 2019–2020 season, the choir joined the Philadelphians for Handel’s Messiah. The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir is directed by Amanda Quist, director of choral activities for the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. She directs the graduate program in choral conducting and is conductor of the award-winning Frost Chorale and Bella Voce. She was previously chair of the Conducting, Organ, and Sacred Music Department and associate professor of conducting at Westminster Choir College.

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