The Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s 50th anniversary celebration culminated with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s third residency week under the baton of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Special guest artists included pianist Lukáš Vondráček making his Philadelphia Orchestra debut (August 17); legendary soprano Renée Fleming making her SPAC debut (August 18); and cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han—the co-artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center—alongside violinist Benjamin Beilman (August 20). Additionally, violinist Joshua Bell and trumpet player Chris Botti joined Maestro Steven Reineke for a blockbuster genre-crossing program of classical, jazz, and popular repertoire (August 19). A SPACtacular finale week!
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in rehearsal the morning of August 17.
Before the concert on August 17, SPAC dedicated a walk of fame star to former Music Director Eugene Ormandy, who championed The Philadelphia Orchestra’s involvement at SPAC from the beginning. (Photo: Jan Regan)
Violinist Herbert Light (left) and Associate Principal Bass Michael Shahan (right) unveil the star with SPAC President and CEO Marcia White. Herb and Mike have performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC every season since its opening in 1966. (Photo: Jan Regan)
Lukáš Vondráček makes his Philadelphia Orchestra and SPAC debuts with Yannick, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on Wednesday, August 17. (Photo: Jan Regan)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. (Photo: Jan Regan)
Following the concert on August 17, a special reception celebrating the final week of the residency was held backstage at SPAC. Musicians and donors mingled and enjoyed Stewart’s Shops “Philly Vanilla” ice cream. Pictured: Acting Associate Principal Cello John Koen and Maestro’s Circle member Ken Hutchins.
Chairman of Stewart’s Shops William Dake (left) and Yannick Nézet-Séguin share a moment at the reception.
Renée Fleming makes her SPAC debut on Thursday, August 18, performing a selection of arias and songs, including Verdi’s “The Willow Song” and “Ave Maria,” from Otello, Tosti’s "Aprile," and Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” from Gianni Schicchi.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini on August 18.
Music superstars Joshua Bell and Chris Botti shared the SPAC stage on Friday, August 19 with Maestro Steven Reineke, performing a variety of classical, jazz, and popular programming.
Steve Reineke rehearses The Philadelphia Orchestra.
A packed lawn ready for Bell and Botti to take the stage.
The final program of the Orchestra’s 2016 residency in Saratoga featured a special collaboration with the co-artistic directors of SPAC’s newest resident company, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, along with 25-year-old American violinist Benjamin Beilman, joined the Orchestra and Yannick to perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.
The Saturday, August 20, concert concluded with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, an audience favorite complete with real cannon fire!
Following the Tchaikovsky, Yannick made a special presentation honoring three retiring musicians: violinist Yumi Ninomiya Scott performed with the Orchestra for 32 years; Kazuo Tokito played piccolo for 35 years with the Orchestra, and bassist Henry Scott played for 42 years. We wish them all a happy retirement!
Yumi Ninomiya Scott at the end of her final concert with Yannick and The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Piccolo player Kazuo Tokito receives flowers from Yannick.
Bassist Henry Scott and Yannick.
Thank you for an incredible 50th anniversary celebration, Saratoga! Until next season!