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Yannick Nézet-Séguin Extends Tenure as Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra through 2021-2022 Season

January 30, 2015

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Extends Tenure as Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra through 2021-2022 Season

The Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association Simultaneously Renews Chairman Richard B. Worley and  President & CEO Allison Vulgamore 

Miller-Worley Foundation Pledges $10-Million Gift to Orchestra


(Philadelphia, January 30, 2015)—The Philadelphia Orchestra today announces that Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin extends his tenure with the Orchestra through the 2021-22 season, his first contract renewal since beginning his tenure as the Orchestra’s eighth music director in September 2012.

Of the renewal, Nézet-Séguin commented: “The warm embrace of The Philadelphia Orchestra and its audiences has been humbling and exhilarating since I made my debut in 2008. Knowing that this love affair with the Orchestra and the City of Philadelphia will continue is an immense joy. I believe what we are doing artistically is so important, and it’s having a big impact on this community. But to do this work takes time, so I am thrilled that I will continue here as music director for at least another five years. Our work together is in many ways really just beginning, and now being able to settle in and think and plan long-term is really wonderful. And it is all the more gratifying that my close collaborations with both Rich and Allison will also continue.”

Simultaneously, the Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has renewed Chairman Richard B. Worley and President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, ensuring that the collective mission and vision established by the leadership triumvirate will continue to steward The Philadelphia Orchestra’s artistic growth and financial stability.

The Orchestra further announced today a remarkable gift from the Miller-Worley Foundation of $10 million. The lead gift, given by Leslie Anne Miller and Richard Worley through their foundation, will floor the Orchestra’s Comprehensive Campaign.

Heralded for inspiring and revitalizing the Orchestra in his early tenure, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has developed a deep connection with the musicians of the ensemble that has resulted in thrilling performances. He has brought fresh inspiration to the repertoire, created new access points for community members of all backgrounds, and built audiences by transforming the concert experience. Under his leadership the Orchestra has presented over 50 world, U.S., or Philadelphia Orchestra premieres, partnered with Opera Philadelphia for groundbreaking performances of Strauss’s Salome, celebrated the Kimmel Center’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ with an Art of the Pipe Organ festival, launched a five-year requiem cycle, honored former Music Director Leopold Stokowski with a Centenary Celebration, and in the 2015-16 season will mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S. premiere of Mahler’s Eight Symphony, given by The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Stokowski. Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Orchestra in 18 weeks annually, 16 weeks during the main season and on tour and two weeks in its summer homes.  

“I am extraordinarily honored and humbled to continue in a leadership role with The Philadelphia Orchestra and to do so alongside Yannick and Allison is a privilege beyond compare,” said Richard Worley. “The Board’s validation of our work strengthens our resolve to advance the Orchestra’s global stature while bolstering our commitment to the City of Philadelphia. Leslie and I wanted to continue our support with this gift, and offer it as further incentive for others to join us in underpinning the success of this vibrant orchestra we so love.”

“I am honored to continue to serve this gifted organization, its leadership and the worldwide community of our Orchestra’s fans and supporters,” said Vulgamore. “Working alongside of our extraordinary musicians, Rich, Yannick, and I have been able to not only sustain, but build on the legacy and tradition that is soul of The Philadelphia Orchestra. With creativity driving us forward, we seek to strengthen and support our initiatives to date, and soar into the next phase of imaginative offerings for our ever expanding audiences.

“As we celebrate the extension of his contract and our continuing collaboration, I speak on behalf of all my distinguished colleagues in expressing heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Yannick Nézet-Séguin,” said Concertmaster David Kim. “Yannick is one of the world's most profound, dynamic, and sought-after maestros. We look forward to many years of triumphant concerts on stages here at home and around the world."  
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director since 2012, continues in that role until the 2021-22 season. Widely recognized for his musicianship and charisma, Nézet-Séguin has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. His collaborative style, musical curiosity, and fresh approach to orchestral programming have been heralded by critics and audiences alike.

As a master interpreter of the Philadelphia Sound, Nézet-Séguin has brought musicians and audiences alike to the edge of their seats, propelling this sound forward and bringing it ever more to life. This generosity of spirit, and understanding of the musicians’ ensemble playing, unites and distinguishes The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin from all others. The New York Times has called Nézet-Séguin “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.”

Nézet-Séguin has embraced the closeness of the Philadelphia music-making community, rooting himself in the fabric of the city, fostering the next generation of musicians and music lovers by engaging with the young musicians of Play On, Philly!, the All City Orchestra, and Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He has conducted free pop-up concerts and the Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert, among other community connections. He serves as the Curtis Institute of Music’s first mentor conductor for its Conducting Fellowship program.

Globally, Nézet-Séguin wide ranging interest in a breadth of classical repertoire and his international footprint has brought extraordinary collaborators and artists to the stage of Verizon Hall, the Orchestra’s home.  

Nézet-Séguin has taken The Philadelphia Orchestra to new heights in concerts at home in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, at the Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. His most recent artistic initiatives include an Art of the Pipe Organ festival; the 40/40 Project, in which 40 great compositions not heard on subscription concerts in at least 40 years, or ever; and the pinnacle of the Orchestra’s five-season requiem cycle, Bernstein’s profound and theatrical MASS. He made his inaugural tour with The Philadelphia Orchestra with the 2014 Tour of Asia, leading seven concerts throughout China, Japan, and Taiwan, and makes his first tour of Europe with the ensemble in May-June, 2015.

Under Nézet-Séguin’s leadership the Orchestra returned to recording with a newly-released CD on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions. Beginning in Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season the Orchestra has also returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.

Richard B. Worley, Chairman, Board of Directors
Richard B. Worley has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association from 1997 to 2003 and from 2006 to the present, having served as chairman since 2009. He will now continue in this position through August 2018. During his tenure Worley has led The Philadelphia Orchestra through a remarkable transformation, including the hiring of both Vulgamore and Nézet-Séguin. Since the 1980s he and his wife Leslie Anne Miller have contributed extraordinary time and treasure to The Philadelphia Orchestra, including the $10-million gift from the Miller-Worley Foundation. Worley has been an ambassador and staunch advocate for the Orchestra’s cultural legacy, inspiring the Philadelphia philanthropic community to give record-breaking contributions to the Orchestra.

Worley is founder and managing director of Permit Capital Group LLC, a private investment partnership, and previously served as president and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Investment Management. He was chairman of Miller Anderson and Sherrerd, a leading institutional investment management firm, from 1987 until it was acquired by Morgan Stanley in 1996. From 1970 to 1978 he worked as an economist for Goldman Sachs. He currently serves on the Investment committee of Mount Holyoke College, is a Director at Neuberger Berman Group.  He is a former Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and he has served on the executive committee of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and is a trustee of the National Constitution Center and the University of Pennsylvania.

Allison Vulgamore, President and CEO
Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 2010, will continue to bring innovative and visionary thinking to the Orchestra and to recruit and grow the talent of the Orchestra administration. She has spearheaded important strategic initiatives since her arrival including a creative process that brings together a collaborative group that curates seasons with a deepened and diversified mix of concert programs and offerings. She brought  to Philadelphia “theater of a concert” presentations—unique dramatic multimedia and lighting effects and theatrical elements, all designed to enhance the concert experience. Vulgamore has expanded the Orchestra’s commitment to community engagement, creating a new focus on collaborative learning that brings together people in such collective music-making activities as pop-up performances; PlayINs; free events held throughout the neighborhoods of the city, and a Free Concert for Giving Tuesday. She has launched new partnerships and collaborations with Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (FringeArts), Philadanco, Opera Philadelphia, the Curtis Institute of Music, Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others. Audiences of tomorrow have been cultivated through the eZseatU and Young Friends programs and innovative programs such as the LiveNote app and LiveNote Nights concerts. Vulgamore has revitalized and expanded the Orchestra’s global presence, creating groundbreaking residency work with its historic partner, the People’s Republic of China.

Since Vulgamore’s appointment audiences for the Philadelphia Series have grown in both volume and revenue.  Earned income has grown from 30% of total expenses in FY11 to 37% of total expenses in FY14. Her dedication to developing future audiences has seen measureable traction: 18% of student eZseatU members have graduated into the Orchestra’s Young Friends program. During her tenure the Association has raised more than $168 million, including more than $70 million to implement the successful reorganization that serves as the foundation to sustain the Orchestra’s artistic pre-eminence. The Association has nearly doubled the Annual Fund in just two years, from $6.6 million in FY12 to $12 million in FY14, and annual Board giving is now at its highest levels in the Association’s history, including $2.7 million in annual giving alone in FY14.