Rachmaninoff’s relevance in Philadelphia is well documented, but it's worth remembering that his words were clear that Philadelphia was his favorite orchestra. He was very inspired by the “Philadelphia Sound” when writing many of his orchestral pieces. As a result, The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered a number of his works, sometimes even with the composer as soloist at the piano.
Sometimes we associate Rachmaninoff with being overly Romantic, but I believe that he is someone who used the orchestra to talk about his own soul and the feelings of loss or being in exile. We can all relate to that at some point in our lives. And, purely on a virtuosic level, I believe that Rachmaninoff helped the orchestral language develop. He was so inspired by The Philadelphia Orchestra that in turn he challenged the musicians by writing increasingly demanding parts. We maybe take that for granted now when we hear The Philadelphia Orchestra play these works or we hear great soloists like Yuja Wang, who is joining us for our celebration playing all the piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody. So, I think it’s very important in Philadelphia to keep nurturing this ownership of Rachmaninoff's music.