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Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s First Tour to Europe Together Serves as Foundation for Shared Economic and Cultural Exchange

May 12, 2015

Orchestra partners with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
HSBC, France’s Rhône-Alpes Region, Saint-Gobain, Pepper Hamilton,
and Brian Communications

Tour marks the first time Orchestra brings residency activities to Lyon and London

Three-week tour begins May 21 in Luxembourg


(Philadelphia, May 12, 2015)—One of the world’s leading global and cultural ambassadors, The Philadelphia Orchestra joins with two delegations representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia to introduce Europe not only to the Orchestra under the leadership of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, but also to promote Pennsylvania as a global destination for tourism, trade, and business development. In addition to concert performances the Orchestra’s visits to Lyon and London will highlight cultural exchange, business growth, and community outreach. The Tour’s primary partner is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; supporting sponsors are HSBC, the Rhône-Alpes Region, Saint-Gobain, Pepper Hamilton, and Brian Communications. Additional support is provided by BDO France, Team PA, the City of Philadelphia, Visit Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and John McFadden and Lisa Kabnick.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2015 Tour of Europe marks Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra’s inaugural tour of Europe together, as well as the 60th anniversary of the Orchestra’s first visit to the European Continent, with 14 concerts in 10 cities over three weeks. Beginning May 21, 2015, the Tour makes debut appearances in Dortmund, where Nézet-Séguin is the Konzerthaus’s artist-in-residence, and Lyon. The Orchestra also makes stops in Luxembourg, Cologne, Dresden, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Amsterdam, concluding on June 6 in London. Both the Berlin and Dresden concerts take place as part of the Dresden Music Festival. Pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Lisa Batiashvili, and pianist Jan Lisiecki join the Orchestra as soloists on the Tour.

A series of special community engagement activities will take place in Lyon and London as a result of key partnerships with the delegations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. As they do in Philadelphia and in the other cities they visit around the globe, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians will engage in residency work, including a chamber concert where members of the Orchestra will sit side-by-side with musicians from the Orchestre National de Lyon. In London, a Community Weekend of Innovation, Music, and Art, a three-day initiative, blends the Orchestra’s two concerts at the Royal Festival Hall with a collection of community events. At St. Paul’s Way Trust School in Poplar, a former industrial borough of East London currently experiencing a cultural revitalization, musicians of the Orchestra and members of the Water City Orchestra will participate in a collaborative community concert. The Water City Orchestra was formed to allow residents, students, and those who work in the area to experience music-making and creating art together.

Trade delegations from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia will sponsor a variety of activities for stakeholders in conjunction with the Orchestra’s concerts in Berlin, Dortmund, Vienna, and Amsterdam, including receptions, seminars, and networking opportunities as a means of showcasing the best of arts and culture for stakeholders’ clients and business associates.

“The Philadelphia Orchestra is proud to ‘wave the banner’ for the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the entire United States as we tour through Europe this spring, supporting multiple initiatives that will collectively promote Philadelphia as the global city it is,” said Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “We are cultural emissaries, bringing people together around music when we travel, as we do at home. We look forward to sharing the electricity between Yannick Nézet-Séguin and our musicians, and the magnificence of the Philadelphia Sound, on the concert stages of the musical capitals of Europe as well as in the communities where the citizens of those cities live and work. All of this is made possible by an outstanding team of sponsors and partners. We are honored and grateful for their support, their continued belief in the power of live music, and their inspirational leadership.”


For several years, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, and the Rhône-Alpes Region, where the city of Lyon is located, have enjoyed a deep-rooted and fruitful trade, investment, and tourism relationship. In 2015 the Commonwealth, under Governor Tom Wolf, coordinates an international trade mission organized around The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2015 Tour of Europe. Working in tandem with the Consul General of France, the Mayor of Lyon, and the President of the Rhône-Alpes Region, The Philadelphia Orchestra conducts three days of performances and residency activities in Lyon and the surrounding region to engage local and international community members and business, civic, and cultural leaders, May 29, 30, and 31. A highlight of the business and cultural festival will convene these members of the Pennsylvania and Rhône-Alpes communities in Lyon around a very special side-by-side performance between musicians from Philadelphia and Lyon.

On May 29 The Philadelphia Orchestra makes its debut in Lyon at the Auditorium de Lyon. This occasion is marked with a special display of a newly-cast Liberty Bell, completed by the Paccard Bell Foundry in honor of the Orchestra’s visit. The Foundry was commissioned in 1950 to cast 55 life-sized Liberty Bells, one for each state in the U.S., many of which sit in each state's Capitol. This Liberty Bell is equipped with a special and unique lighting and video feature, designed by Nicolas Ticot, the founder of XLR Project, one of Lyon’s most creative, artistic, and innovative lighting design studios. The bell symbolizes the close and longtime friendship between the Rhône-Alpes Region and the U.S., particularly the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Orchestra and the Foundry, in conjunction with the U.S. Consulate in France, has arranged for the bell to be placed at the Auditorium de Lyon prior to the Orchestra concert. Concertgoers will have the opportunity to ring the bell and donations will be taken to support UNICEF.

On May 30 and 31 The Philadelphia Orchestra will present community performances around Lyon, including a side-by-side concert on May 31 with the Orchestre National de Lyon. This concert is followed by a reception with the U.S. Consul General, leaders from the Rhône-Alpes Region, and distinguished international business and civic leaders.

Understanding the unique opportunity around The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2015 Tour of Europe, a group of Philadelphia-based civic, cultural, business, and economic development organizations have come together with a commitment to fostering new relationships, cultivating business opportunities, and participating in cultural exchange with peers in the Rhône-Alpes Region. Throughout their time in Lyon, business leaders from Philadelphia and Lyon will gather to make new connections and to share best practices for trade, investment, and tourism. This exchange, built around the cultural stage of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s presence, merges business, arts, and culture, and highlights Philadelphia’s commitment to working together for economic prosperity and global business expansion. Partners include Global Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, Visit Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, and the Franklin Institute.


The Philadelphia Orchestra concludes its European Tour with a three-day community celebration, with activities taking place across the city of London. From June 4 through 6 Orchestra musicians participate in a series of community engagement and business development activities, bringing the Philadelphians’ tradition of collective music-making and partnership across the pond. Sounding the Liberty Bell: A Weekend of Innovation, Music, and Art, begins on June 4 with the Philadelphia-London Enterprise Exchange and Innovative Business Reception, bringing business leaders together to engage in meaningful conversations and cultural exchanges. Also on June 4, business leaders and U.S.-based businesses are invited to participate in a special tour, starting at the foundry where Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell was cast, followed by visits to Olympic Park, the Bromley by Bow Centre, and ending at a large European bank organization for a 90-minute exchange of business opportunities in the area. 

On June 5 Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Lio Kuokman leads a string sectional with musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Water City Orchestra, followed by a community concert on June 6 at St. Paul’s Way Trust School. The concert will be free to residents of the Poplar community. The spirit of Philadelphia’s compelling community murals are brought to London when young Londoners participate in a mural-creating initiative at the Bromley by Bow Centre, sponsored by the Princes Trust. On June 6 the murals will be unveiled to the public prior to the community concert. The Orchestra’s community partners are Andrew Mawson Partners and Water City CIC, and the mural project partners are Frank Creber, Andrew Mawson Partners, and St. Paul’s Way Trust School.

The entire weekend engages the local community, inspires businesses leaders, and builds on The Philadelphia Orchestra’s history of creating empowering, educational, and inspirational social initiatives in each of its tour destinations. The Orchestra partners with Water City CIC, a new neighborhood in East London that brings together the businesses and residents that call the seven-mile network of rivers, canals, and docks across the Lower Lea Valley home. Water City CIC is a facilitator, broker, and enabler that connects the local community and investment opportunities with partners from across London, the United Kingdom, and the world. Central to its ethos is the role that music and the arts can play in regeneration and social involvement, which prompted the development of the Water City Orchestra. Through the Orchestra, residents as old as 80, school pupils as young as eight, and all those in between living in East London can experience making music and creating art.


Tour Itinerary
Thursday, May 21                           Luxembourg City, Luxembourg                    Philharmonie Luxembourg
Friday, May 22                                Luxembourg City, Luxembourg                    Philharmonie Luxembourg
Saturday, May 23                            Cologne, Germany                                      Kölner Philharmonie
Sunday, May 24                              Dresden, Germany                                      Semperoper
Tuesday, May 26                             Berlin, Germany                                           Konzerthaus
Wednesday, May 27                        Dortmund, Germany                                    Konzerthaus
Thursday, May 28                            Dortmund, Germany                                    Konzerthaus
Friday, May 29                                Lyon, France                                               Auditorium de Lyon
Saturday, May 30                            Paris, France                                               Théâtre des Champs-Élysées    
Monday, June 1                              Vienna, Austria                                            Musikverein
Tuesday, June 2                              Vienna, Austria                                            Musikverein
Thursday, June 4                             Amsterdam, the Netherlands                        Concertgebouw
Friday, June 5                                 London, England                                         Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre
Saturday, June 6                             London, England                                         Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre



About The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world. 

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin triumphantly opened his inaugural season as the eighth artistic leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the fall of 2012. His highly collaborative style, deeply-rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble … has never sounded better.” He is embraced by the musicians of the Orchestra, audiences, and the community itself. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he has established a regular forum for connecting with concert-goers through Post-Concert Conversations.

Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership the Orchestra returned to recording with a CD on the Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions; their second disc, of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Daniil Trifonov, is due for release in June 2015. The Orchestra has also returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center but also those who enjoy the Orchestra’s other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn’s Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music, a National Historic Landmark. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level. Since Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore’s arrival in 2010 the Orchestra has reinvigorated and launched new partnerships with Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (FringeArts), Philadanco, the Curtis Institute of Music, Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973, at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The ensemble annually performs at Carnegie Hall while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Festival.

The Philadelphia Orchestra continues its decades-long tradition of presenting learning and community engagement opportunities for listeners of all ages across the Delaware Valley. Concerts for families and schoolchildren; eZseatU, which allows full-time college students to attend an unlimited number of Orchestra concerts for a $25 annual membership fee; free Neighborhood Concerts; and PreConcert Conversations before every subscription concert are only a few examples of ways in which the Orchestra introduces orchestral music to a new generation of listeners.

Musician-led initiatives, including recent highly-successful PlayINs, shine a spotlight on the Orchestra’s musicians, as they spread out from the stage into the community, and serve a key role in growing young musician talent and a love of classical music in their own dedicated roles as teachers, coaches, and mentors.  

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.


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