It was as a pianist that Rachmaninoff first distinguished himself, and the three concerts celebrate his virtuosity as composer for the keyboard. Chinese phenomenon and Curtis Institute of Music graduate Haochen Zhang and Russian sensation Nikolai Lugansky share pianistic laurels by performing all four of Rachmaninoff's piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
All three performances begin with Rachmaninoff's signature Vocalise, once for strings (heard with Rachmaninoff and The Philadelphia Orchestra via recording), once for piano four-hands (including Stéphane Denève), and once for voice and orchestra (featuring soprano Vanessa Vasquez). The repertoire for the performances April 27-29 also includes a work without which any Philadelphia Orchestra Rachmaninoff celebration would be incomplete: the composer's Symphonic Dances. Rachmaninoff's final completed work, it was dedicated to Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and premiered by the ensemble in 1941.
In fact, half the orchestral works in this Festival were premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra. The composer himself was at the keyboard when the Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski gave the premieres of the Piano Concerto No. 4 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in 1927 and 1934, respectively.
Ticket holders are also invited to enjoy pre- and post-concert activities.
April 29—Finding a Musical Home
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center
6:30 PMThe Rachmaninoff Trilogy,
Play Three: "A Musical Marriage in Philadelphia"
John Hutton Sergei Rachmaninoff
Todd Cerveris Eugene Ormandy
Judith Lightfoot Clarke Natalia/Female Reporter
David Beach Alfred Swan
Peter Bradbury Dr. Nickolai Dahl / Alexander Siloti
Didi Balle Director/Script Writer
The Rachmaninoff Trilogy revolves around the real-life performances and events surrounding Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra's 1939 historic anniversary "Rachmaninoff Cycle" concert series featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff as pianist, composer and conductor. In "A Musical Home in Philadelphia" Rachmaninoff composes his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and his Third Symphony. These works are premiered by Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra in Rachmaninoff's renewed life as a composer.
8 PM Concert (program listed above)
Chamber Postlude immediately following the concert:
Rachmaninoff String Quartet No. 1
Marc Rovetti Violin
William Polk Violin
Kerri Ryan Viola
Priscilla Lee Cello
Rachmaninoff “C'était en avril”
Sarah Shafer Soprano
Stéphane Denève Piano
Rachmaninoff Romance in A minor
Ying Fu Violin
Natalie Zhu Piano
Tchaikovsky/trans. Rachmaninoff “Lullaby,” Op. 16, No. 1
Haochen Zhang Piano