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The Philadelphia Orchestra Gives the Gift of Music this Holiday Season

November 18, 2019

Festive highlights include the Glorious Sound of Christmas,

Jane Glover conducting Messiah, and concerts for the whole family

including Disney’s Fantasia

 

Holiday season also includes

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leading

Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal and Stéphane Denève

conducting The Firebird

 

(Philadelphia, November 18, 2019)—ʼTis the season for musical cheer in Verizon Hall! Beginning in November, The Philadelphia Orchestra presents a spectacular lineup of programming surrounding the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year takes flight with The Firebird (November 21–23) conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève and featuring mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor. For the first time in Philadelphia, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will take the stage with Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, of which he is artistic director and principal conductor (November 24). Nézet-Séguin’s contract with the Montreal-based orchestra was recently renewed for life, in an open-ended commitment. Led by Susanna Mälkki, the Orchestra kicks off its BeethovenNOW celebration during Thanksgiving weekend with the composer’s Violin Concerto featuring Gil Shaham (November 29–30). December begins with Organ and Brass Christmas (December 1), followed by three performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor (December 5–7) conducted by Nézet-Séguin. The festivities continue with Wynton Marsalis’s Blues Symphony (December 12–14) and the annual Christmas Kids’ Spectacular Family Concert (December 14), with a special appearance by Santa Claus. The Vienna Boys Choir will perform Christmas in Vienna (December 15), featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, and holiday favorites. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without The Glorious Sound of Christmas® (December 19–21), a tradition since 1962 led this year by beloved composer and conductor Bramwell Tovey. Jane Glover returns to the Orchestra to lead a performance of Handel’s timeless Messiah (December 22). Closing out the month of December (and the decade), Bramwell Tovey and The Philadelphia Orchestra will ring in 2020 with the annual New Year’s Eve concert (December 31), which will be broadcast live by WRTI-FM. Disney’s Fantasia—Live in Concert (January 3–5) is the perfect post-holiday activity for kids and adults alike as the Orchestra brings beloved characters to life. Tickets for all holiday programs can be purchased at www.philorch.org.

 

In the spirit of giving, the Orchestra is participating in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ “Warmth for the Holidays 2019” donation drive with Urban Affairs Coalition. Guests are asked to donate hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves for children and adults. The project supports Grand Central and Center for H.O.P.E. Donations can be dropped off at designated donation boxes in the Kimmel Center lobby.

 

The best gift this holiday season is the gift of music! Concert tickets and gift certificates make great presents for loved ones. The Orchestra will hold a Cyber Monday sale on December 2, 2019, during which most individual concert tickets will be available for $49 with no additional fees. For more details, visit www.philorch.org.

 

2019 Philadelphia Orchestra Holiday Programming 

 

The Firebird

November 21 at 7:30 PM––Thursday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

November 22 at 2:00 PM—Friday afternoon—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

November 23 at 8:00 PM—Saturday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Stéphane Denève Conductor

Kelley O’Connor Mezzo-soprano

 

Auerbach                     Icarus for Orchestra

Lieberson                    Neruda Songs

Stravinsky                   The Firebird (complete ballet)

 

With these concerts our esteemed colleague Stéphane Denève begins his sixth and final season as our principal guest conductor. Soviet-born American composer Lera Auerbach says she was drawn to the myth of Icarus because of “his wish to reach the unreachable, the intensity of the ecstatic brevity of his flight, and the inevitability of his fall.” Her adventurous musical palette exploits the full sonic range of the orchestra: shimmering, soaring, and ultimately dying away. Stravinsky describes a different myth about feathered flight in his Firebird. He mined everything from Russian folk music to his classical forebears (especially his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov) to tell this story of a prince, an evil king, and, of course, a magical firebird. Peter Lieberson set five love poems by Pablo Neruda to music in this touching work written for his wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who gave the world premiere.

 

 

Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal

November 24 at 2:00 PM––Sunday afternoon––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor

Joyce DiDonato Mezzo-soprano

 

Mozart                                    Overture to La clemenza di Tito

Mozart                                     “Parto, ma tu ben mio,” from La clemenza di Tito

Mozart                                     “Non più di fiori,” from La clemenza di Tito

Bruckner                                 Symphony No. 4 (“Romantic”)

 

Yannick has been artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain in his hometown of Montreal since 2000. Nézet-Séguin’s contract was recently renewed for life, in an open-ended commitment. Hear him conduct the ensemble for the first time in Philadelphia, leading a masterpiece by his beloved Bruckner. The radiant Joyce DiDonato joins for two ethereal arias by Mozart.

 

 

BeethovenNOW: Gil Shaham

November 29 at 8:00 PM––Friday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

November 30 at 8:00 PM—Saturday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Susanna Mälkki Conductor

Gil Shaham Violin

 

Jolas                            A Little Summer Suite

Beethoven                   Violin Concerto

Prokofiev                     Symphony No. 5

 

Beethoven's only violin concerto is “an amazing trip,” says Gil Shaham, from the opening drumbeats, through some of “the most sublime, most beautiful violin passages ever,” to the “perfect fiddling” of the final dance. Susanna Mälkki, renowned interpreter of new music, leads Betsy Jolas's A Little Summer Suite, written in 2015 on the eve of the composer's 90th birthday. The deceptively simple opening of Prokofiev's rhapsodic Fifth Symphony gives way to a rich and complex display of his expansive talents, conceived, in the composer's words, as “a symphony of the greatness of the human spirit.”

 

 

Organ and Brass Christmas

December 1 at 2:00 PM––Sunday afternoon––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Brass Section

Peter Richard Conte Organ

Erina Yashima Conductor

 

Hark the herald trumpets (and horns, trombones, and tuba) sing! The unmatched sound and musicality of The Philadelphia Orchestra's legendary brass section usher in the holiday season on a high note. And the glory of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ adds another heavenly voice to this collection of treasured Christmas music, with master organist Peter Richard Conte at the keyboard for this festive presentation.

 

Please note: The Philadelphia Orchestra does not perform on this concert.

 

This concert is part of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience, supported through a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

 

 

Bach’s Mass in B minor

December 5 at 7:30 PM––Thursday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 6 at 2:00 PM––Friday afternoon––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 7 at 8:00 PM––Saturday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor

Carolyn Sampson Soprano

Karen Cargill Mezzo-soprano

Jonas Hacker Tenor

Benjamin Appl Baritone

Westminster Symphonic Choir

Joe Miller Director

 

Bach                Mass in B minor

 

This work of towering musicality and deep spirituality is a fitting summation of J.S. Bach's epochal career; he finished it the year before he died. It's “above and beyond every piece of music that's been created for liturgical purposes,” says Yannick Nézet-Séguin. A setting of the complete Latin Mass, it demands superlatives, at the same time rendering them inadequate. Yannick's mastery of vocal music, the Westminster Symphonic Choir, distinguished vocal soloists, and the inimitable Philadelphia Orchestra will bring the Mass to life as a peak musical and spiritual experience for every listener.

 

This concert is part of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience, supported through a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

 

 

Wynton Marsalis’s Blues Symphony

December 12 at 7:30 PM––Thursday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 13 at 2:00 PM––Friday afternoon––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 14 at 8:00 PM––Saturday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Cristian Măcelaru Conductor

Leonidas Kavakos Violin

 

Shostakovich               Violin Concerto No. 1

Marsalis                       Blues Symphony

 

Pulitzer Prize-winner Wynton Marsalis switches from jazz band to symphony orchestra for his Blues Symphony. “Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance,” says Marsalis, and he uses the classic 12-bar musical form as the basis for this work, which celebrates all types of American and African-American music, from spirituals to ragtime, from marches to bluegrass. This Philadelphia premiere is conducted by our long-time friend Cristian Măcelaru. Shostakovich's emotional First Violin Concerto reveals the pure power and technical prowess of orchestra and soloist. Leonidas Kavakos, “a marvel of exactitude” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), describes the dialogues between the two as “absolutely breathtaking.”

 

 

Christmas Kids’ Spectacular Family Concert

December 14 at 11:30 AM––Saturday morning––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Aram Demirjian Conductor

Charlotte Blake Alston Storyteller

Rock School for Dance Education

Bojan and Stephanie Spassoff Directors

Garden State Girlchoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir

Dr. Elizabeth Parker Artistic Director

 

Coleridge-Taylor            Christmas Overture

Tchaikovsky                   Selections from The Nutcracker

Rouse                             “Little March of the Three Kings,” from Karolju

Bizet                               “Farandole,” from L'Arlésienne

Williams                         “Somewhere in My Memory,” from Home Alone

Bass                               The Night Before Christmas

Various                           A Holly and Jolly Sing-Along

Anderson                        Sleigh Ride

 

It's the start of the holiday season! Join us for a festive celebration of all your favorite Christmas sounds and sing-alongs. Listen closely for those jingle bells, too—you never know who might pay a special visit to Verizon Hall. Add these tickets on to your subscription today as this one sells out each year!

 

 

Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna

December 15 at 7:30 PM––Sunday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

The Vienna Boys Choir

 

The world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir has been delighting music lovers across the globe for six centuries with their purity of tone, distinctive charm, and popular repertoire. Christmas in Vienna showcases these gifted young musicians with voices of unforgettable beauty in an extraordinary program featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and, of course, holiday favorites.

 

Please note: The Philadelphia Orchestra does not perform on this concert.

 

 

The Glorious Sound of Christmas®

December 19 at 7:00 PM––Thursday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 20 at 7:00 PM—Friday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 21 at 7:00 PM—Saturday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Bramwell Tovey Conductor and Piano

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

Paul Rardin Artistic Director

 

Traditional                   “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

Mendelssohn               “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”

Vaughan Williams       Fantasia on “Greensleeves”

Traditional                   “Personent hodie”

Niles                            “I Wonder as I Wander”

Leontovich                  “Carol of the Bells”

Schubert                      “Ave Maria”

Hairston                      “Mary's Boy Child”

Moore                          “The Night Before Christmas,” a poem with music

Prokofiev                     “Troika,” from Lieutenant Kijé

Anderson                     Sleigh Ride

Gruber                         “Silent Night”

Traditional                   “Deck the Halls”

Tovey                          “The Rittenhouse Carol”

Pierpont                      Jingle Bells Overture

Traditional                   “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”

Wade                           “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

 

The Glorious Sound of Christmas has been a Philadelphia Orchestra tradition since the Philadelphians and Eugene Ormandy released the now-iconic recording in 1962. Make these concerts part of your holiday tradition with these jubilant and family-friendly concerts.

 

 

Messiah

December 22 at 2:00 PM––Sunday afternoon––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Jane Glover Conductor

Susanna Phillips Soprano

Paula Murrihy Mezzo-soprano

Jonas Hacker Tenor

Henry Waddington Bass-baritone

Philadelphia Symphonic Choir

Joe Miller Director

 

Handel                         Messiah

 

Shortly after sending Handel his libretto for a new oratorio, Charles Jennens wrote to a friend, hoping that the composer “will lay out his whole genius and skill upon it.” In 24 days of feverish writing, Handel did just that, creating his immortal Messiah. Pioneering conductor and Handel expert Jane Glover brings her decades of experience with opera and Baroque music back to the Kimmel Center for our holiday presentation of this masterwork, with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir joining the Orchestra for a revelatory performance.

 

This concert is part of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience, supported through a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

 

 

New Year’s Eve

December 31 at 7:30 PM––Tuesday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

Bramwell Tovey Conductor

 

The popular Bramwell Tovey returns, bringing his inimitable flair and irrepressible joy to our New Year's Eve concert. Bring on the bubbly and ring in 2020 with the Fabulous Philadelphians.

 

 

Disney’s Fantasia—Live in Concert

January 3 at 7:00 PM––Friday evening––Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

January 4 at 7:00 PM—Saturday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

January 5 at 2:00 PM—Sunday afternoon—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

 

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Aram Demirjian Conductor

 

Bach/orch. Stokowski             Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Orchestra only)

Tchaikovsky                            Excerpts from Suite No. 1 from The Nutcracker

Beethoven                               Excerpts from Symphony No. 5

Stravinsky                               Excerpts from Suite from The Firebird

Ponchielli                                “Dance of the Hours,” from La Giocanda

Debussy/orch. Stokowski        “Clair de lune,” from Suite bergamasque (Orchestra only)

Beethoven                               Excerpts from Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)

Dukas                                      The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

 

Fantasia is a pinnacle of cinematic art, and a landmark in The Philadelphia Orchestra's incredible tradition of innovation. This groundbreaking 1940 collaboration between the visionary genius Walt Disney and the Orchestra's commanding maestro Leopold Stokowski has never lost its capacity to move, delight, and astonish audiences all over the world. There is simply nothing like a live performance of this classic by your Philadelphia Orchestra. 

 

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts ©. All rights reserved.

 

 

About The Philadelphia Orchestra

 

 


 

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CONTACTS:

 

Ashley Berke                                                   

215.893.1939                                                

aberke@philorch.org                                         

 

Natalie Lewis                                                   

215.893.3136                                                

nlewis@philorch.org

 

Ashley Stahmer

215.893.3142

astahmer@philorch.org