The Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Reach Agreement to Separate
In achieving resolution, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops ensure that both entities continue to thrive as important—yet distinct—cultural institutions for their valued audiences within the region.
(Philadelphia, September 19, 2011)—The Philadelphia Orchestra Association (POA) today filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District terms of an agreement with the Board of Directors for Encore Series Incorporated (ESI) and Maestro Peter Nero to separate Peter Nero and the Philly Pops ® (PNPP) from The Philadelphia Orchestra Association. This settlement, within The Philadelphia Orchestra Association’s reorganization process, brings to a close a seven-year business partnership between these organizations and allows for their respective ensembles to continue making extraordinary music for their audiences.
The 2011-12 season for Peter Nero and the Philly Pops will be one of transition as The Philadelphia Orchestra Association will provide a limited amount of administrative, production, and financial resources to assist with the execution of the upcoming PNPP season. This support, as agreed to by both parties, will cease June 30, 2012, when the Board of Directors for ESI will assume all responsibility with Maestro Nero for the planning, promotion, and execution of Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association will recognize the exclusivity of Peter Nero to promote, present, and conduct Peter Nero and the Philly Pops concerts and concert series for as long as he wishes to do so.
This agreement between the POA, ESI, and Maestro Nero is important as it not only allows The Philadelphia Orchestra to take an important step toward achieving long-term financial stability, but also provides the necessary resources for planning and executing the upcoming season for Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.
The POA, ESI, and Maestro Nero leave this partnership with mutual respect and admiration for the incredible talent each organization brings to the City of Philadelphia and wishes each other success in all future endeavors.
For important news and updates related to The Philadelphia Orchestra, its 2011-12 season, and to learn the many ways to support this legendary ensemble, please visit www.philorch.org. For more information regarding the cultural treasure Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, including details of its upcoming season, please visit www.phillypops.org or www.peternero.com.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is among the world’s leading orchestras. Renowned for its artistic excellence since its founding in 1900, the Orchestra has excited audiences with thousands of concerts in Philadelphia and around the world.
With only seven music directors throughout more than a century of unswerving orchestral distinction, the artistic heritage of The Philadelphia Orchestra is attributed to extraordinary musicianship under the leadership and innovation of Fritz Scheel (1900-07), Carl Pohlig (1907-12), Leopold Stokowski (1912-41), Eugene Ormandy (1936-80), Riccardo Muti (1980-92), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1993-2003), and Christoph Eschenbach (2003-08). After 30 years of a celebrated association with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Charles Dutoit continues the tradition as chief conductor.
Since Mr. Dutoit’s debut with the Orchestra in July 1980 he has led hundreds of concerts in Philadelphia, at Carnegie Hall, and on tour, as artistic director of the Orchestra’s summer concerts at the Mann Center, artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestra’s summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and now as chief conductor. With the 2012-13 season, the Orchestra honors Mr. Dutoit by bestowing upon him the title conductor laureate. Yannick Nézet- Séguin assumed the title of music director designate in June 2010, immediately joining the Orchestra’s leadership team. He takes up the baton as The Philadelphia Orchestra’s next music director in 2012.
The Philadelphia Orchestra annually touches the lives of countless music lovers worldwide, through concerts, presentations, and recordings. Each year the Orchestra presents a subscription season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, education and community partnership programs, and annual appearances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center; it also regularly tours throughout the world. Its summer schedule includes performances at the Mann Center, free Neighborhood Concerts throughout Greater Philadelphia, and residencies at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of Peter Nero’s recording career, which eventually produced 69 recordings. In 1960 he was signed to a three-year contract with RCA Victor records, which was then renewed for another five years, producing more than 26 LPs, including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto in F with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. In 1961 he was honored with his first of two Grammy Awards, as “Best New Artist of the Year.”
In October 2009 pianist and conductor Peter Nero was honored with lifetime achievement awards from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the Philadelphia Musicians Union Local 77, AFM. He also received the Mario Lanza Award, in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of music, in November 2009.
“If the perfect pops conductor could be conjured, ... he might answer to this description,” wrote Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Peter Dobrin: “Huge talent with polymath abilities and catholic tastes. Musician who actually enjoys giving audiences what they want. Plays piano like a dream. ... [H]e might look something like Peter Nero.”
“Peter Nero is, of course, known for his piano playing, covering a range from classical concert repertoire to straight-ahead jazz. His fingers stretch as far as Art Tatum’s, and he practically knows no limits on the Steinway. He is also a fine conductor ... Philadelphia is lucky to have him and his, by now, trademark Philly Pops,” said All About Jazz’s Victor L. Schermer on May 8, 2009.
A two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, Peter Nero leads his unrivaled Pops orchestra blending classical, swing, Broadway, blues, and jazz—all performed with virtuosity, authenticity, and an inviting sense of humor. The Washington Post has called him “the epitome of the Pops Conductor/Performer.”
One of his greatest achievements is being the founding Music Director of the world renowned Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. On January 27, 2007, Mr. Nero joined Rod Stewart from the piano for a performance of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” at the Academy of Music 150th Anniversary Concert. Mr. Nero’s recent guest performances include engagements with the Indianapolis Symphony, the National Arts Centre Symphony in Ottawa, the Charlotte Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony, among others. His complete concert schedule can be found at www.peternero.com.
As a Steinway artist for over 50 years, Mr. Nero returned to New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2003 to perform at a gala celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Steinway with many noted pianists, including Dr. Billy Taylor, Herbie Hancock, and Michel Legrand.
Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Nero began his formal music training at the age of seven. By the time he was 14, he was accepted to New York City’s prestigious High School of Music and Art and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. Constance Keene, his teacher and mentor, once wrote in an issue of Keyboard Classics that “Vladimir Horowitz was Peter’s greatest fan!”
In addition to his two Grammy awards, he has garnered 10 additional nominations and released 69 albums. After his early association with RCA Records, he moved to Columbia Records, which resulted in a million-selling single and album— The Summer of ’42—now available on CD.
His recordings over the last 14 years include two CDs with the Philly Pops, Holiday POPS! and Broadway Showstoppers, and three CDs with full symphony orchestra: On My Own, Classic Connections, and My Way. He also recorded Peter Nero and Friends, which contains collaborations with Mel Tormé, Maureen McGovern, and Doc Severinsen, among others. His latest CDs are romantic albums titled Love Songs for a Rainy Day and More in Love. By popular demand, four of his earlier vinyl recordings have been re-issued on CD. Music lovers of all generations can now hear him on Rod Stewart’s album As Time Goes By ... The Great American Songbook, Volume II.
Mr. Nero’s first major national success came in 1951 at age 17, when he was chosen to perform Rhapsody in Blue with the ABC Symphony conducted by Paul Whiteman. Four years later Mr. Nero appeared as guest soloist on a nationally- televised 75th birthday tribute to Mr. Whiteman, hosted by Bing Crosby. Mr. Nero subsequently appeared on many television variety and talk shows, including 11 guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and numerous appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Hailed as one of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, Mr. Nero starred in the Emmy Award-winning NBC Special “S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin.” Other TV credits include performances on PBS-TV’s “Piano Pizzazz” and with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., on its July 4th special titled “A Capitol Fourth.” He served as music director and pianist for the PBS-TV special “The Songs of Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous for Words” with co-stars Johnny Mathis, Melissa Manchester, and the Philly Pops.
Among Mr. Nero’s long list of honors are six honorary doctorates (the most recent from Drexel University in 2004) and the prestigious International Society of Performing Arts Presenters Award for “Excellence in the Arts.” He is also included on two historic walks of fame—one in Philadelphia, and one in Miami, Florida. In 1999 he received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Arts Award, presented by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. Previous honorees include Marian Anderson, James Michener, Andrew Wyeth, and Riccardo Muti. In February 2009 the Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of Philadelphia presented Mr. Nero with its prestigious Lincoln Award as part of its Lincoln Day 2009 celebration. The Award is given to persons of distinction who, through their actions, have significantly contributed to the United States of America.
When not touring the world, Peter Nero makes his home in the Philadelphia area. He has two children—Beverly, a successful film producer residing with her husband in California, and Jedd, a commercial real estate entrepreneur residing with his wife near New York City. Both children have made him a grandfather.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops
Recently hailed by allaboutjazz.com as “arguably the best pops ensemble on the planet today,” Peter Nero and the Philly Pops was founded in 1979 under the musical leadership of pianist and conductor Peter Nero. Maestro Nero’s unique talents and innovative programming ideas blend all musical genres making their concerts widely popular in the pops world. POPS concerts run the gamut from great classics to jazz improvisation, big band to Broadway hits, ragtime to rock ’n’ roll. Peter’s participation as piano soloist is always received with boundless enthusiasm and acclaim. Guest artists— both established stars as well as outstanding new vocalists from Broadway and the concert stage—join The POPS each season. The Voices of The POPS, the resident vocal group, has become a member of the Philly Pops family as well.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is the Official Pops Orchestra of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a significant part of Philadelphia’s cultural scene. The POPS has produced continuously growing and loyal audiences and performs to regularly sold-out crowds as a resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops has played a role in the City of Philadelphia’s Fourth of July celebration for over 30 years. On July 3, 2011, for the eighth consecutive year, Peter and The POPS performed a free outdoor concert in front of Independence Hall. This immensely popular annual event, which includes a musical tribute to all branches of the armed forces, draws thousands of attendees. The 2008 concert also featured Peter and The POPS performing music for the wedding of premier historic re-enactors Ralph Archbold and Linda Wilde, better known to Philadelphians as Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. On July 4, 2006, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performed a free outdoor concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Their concert on the Parkway the previous Independence Day, featuring Sir Elton John, Patti LaBelle, and Bryan Adams, reached over a half million people. Other notables who have joined them for past city celebrations include James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Ray Charles, Boyz II Men, and Dionne Warwick.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops celebrated its 32nd anniversary during the 2010-11 season. Their Holiday POPS! CD featuring vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway is available on DRG Records. Peter Nero and the Philly Pops had the honor of performing at the opening of the National Constitution Center in 2003, and participating in National Public Radio’s nation-wide radio broadcast on July 4, 2002. Another highlight took place in April 2002, when Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn made a guest appearance with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, in a special performance of Peter’s original composition Voyage into Space at the Kimmel Center. Peter and The POPS was featured on ABC-TV’s “Independence Day 2001,” a live, star-studded national broadcast, sharing the stage with such luminaries as Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Whoopi Goldberg, and Garth Brooks.
Other memorable moments through the years include a performance at the Republican National Convention during the summer of 2000; a Washington, D.C., gala performance to commemorate NASA’s 40th anniversary in 1998; Philadelphia’s “We the People” concert, the 1987 celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, which was broadcast nationally on CBS-TV; and a debut at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 1984, with a return visit in 1997.
For many years Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performed in the historic Academy of Music. In December 2001 they became the second largest resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art, world-class venue on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is presented by Encore Series, Inc., a non-profit organization enriching the cultural life of Philadelphia through the performing arts. For more information, please visit www.phillypops.org. or www.peternero.com