The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin Announce New Programs and Updates to 2019–20 Season

Posted on August 05, 2019

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin Announce New Programs and Updates to 2019–20 Season

Details Released as Individual Tickets Go On Sale

Tan Dun Conducts Celebration through Music: A China Story (October 12)

Vienna Boys Choir Visit Philadelphia (December 15)

Fabio Luisi Returns (April 23-25)


(Philadelphia, August 5, 2019)—As The Philadelphia Orchestra prepares to launch its 120th season, the eighth under Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin,changes and additions have been made to select programs of the 2019–20 concert calendar. Additions include the return of Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun to Philadelphia (October 12), a presentation of the Vienna Boys Choir (December 15), and an appearance by Italian conductor Fabio Luisi (April 23-25).

On the heels of a successful 2019 tour to China, a concert has been added on October 12 that will highlight the Orchestra’s steadfast relationship with China. Led by composer and conductor Tan Dun, the program will include music by Tan Dan and John Adams as well as works celebrating Chinese musical culture.

Just in time for the holidays, the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir returns to Philadelphia with an extraordinary program featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and holiday favorites. This program does not feature The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Since his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in February 2011, Italian conductor Fabio Luisi has become a beloved collaborator with the Orchestra. He returns in April to lead a program that includes Bent Sørensen’s Evening Land, Nielsen’s Flute Concerto performed by Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony (April 23–25).

In addition to individual program updates, the Orchestra has released new details about the upcoming season of Sound All Around, a series of concerts that introduces young children to orchestral music through interaction and storytelling, each of which has a sensory-friendly presentation.

The 2019–20 season embraces and explores the range, creativity, and power of women in music on the podium, in composition, and on stage. The season brings contemporary relevance to the music of Beethoven, juxtaposed with new compositions, in the iconic composer’s 250th birthday year. Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra demonstrate the transformative power of music, and the organization’s enduring and evolving place among the communities of its home in Philadelphia. A diverse range of music’s most compelling emerging voices will be heard alongside beloved and celebrated figures in music throughout the season.

Individual tickets go on sale tomorrow, August 6, to current subscribers, donors, Young Friends, and volunteers, and on August 13 to the general public at

Please note that these updates supersede previous press materials related to these concerts. An updated version of the chronological calendar can be found HERE for your use.

For more information, and to purchase tickets to any of these programs, please visit



Season-long programSound All Around

Event addition: Full season of Sound All Around programs added to season calendar

September 14* & 16, 2019

October 19* & 21, 2019

November 16* & 18, 2019

February 8* & 10, 2020

March 21* & 23, 2020

Location: Academy of Music Ballroom

Time: Concerts begin each date at 10:00 AM and 11:15 AM

Sound All Around, a concert series endowed in perpetuity by the Garrison Family Fund for Children’s Concerts, introduces young audience members to the joy of music through fun, engaging programs designed for 3–5 year olds. Each performance focuses on a different family of instruments, giving young music lovers an informal opportunity to listen to stories with live music performed by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and get an up-close look at instruments. Concerts are 45 minutes and are hosted by award-winning storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston.

* indicates sensory-friendly performance



 September 18, 2019—Opening Night

Repertoire additions: Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier; Giordano’s “Nemico della patria,” from Andrea Chénier; Oliveros’s “Tuning Meditation,” from Four Meditations for Orchestra (first Philadelphia Orchestra performance); the Violetta and Germont Duet from Act II of Verdi’s La traviata

Artist addition: Adela Zaharia, soprano (Philadelphia Orchestra debut)

Plácido Domingo is a paragon of the opera world, continuing to add roles to his repertoire while amassing raves all over the world. The truly legendary Spanish tenor is joined by Yannick, the Orchestra, and, making her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, soprano Adela Zaharia in an evening of beloved highlights from the opera stage.



 October 12, 2019—Celebration through Music: A China Story

Event addition: Concert added to calendar

Location: Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Time: 8:00 PM

Artist addition: Tan Dun, conductor

The program will include music by Tan Dan and John Adams, as well as works celebrating Chinese musical culture. 



December 1, 2019—Organ and Brass Christmas

Artist addition: 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.



December 5-7—Bach’s Mass in B minor

Artist additions: Carolyn Sampson, soprano; Karen Cargill, mezzo-soprano; Jonas Hacker, tenor; Benjamin Appl, baritone (Philadelphia Orchestra debut)

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.



December 15—Vienna Boys Choir—Christmas in Vienna

Event addition: Concert added to calendar

Location: Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Time: 7:30 PM

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.



 December 22—Messiah

Artist additions: Susanna Phillips, soprano; Paula Murrihy, mezzo-soprano (Philadelphia Orchestra debut); Jonas Hacker, tenor; Henry Waddington, bass-baritone (Philadelphia Orchestra debut)

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.



January 3-5—Disney’s Fantasia—Live in Concert

Repertoire additions: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (orchestrated by Stokowski/Orchestra only); excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 1 from The Nutcracker; excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5; excerpts from Stravinksy’s Suite from The Firebird; Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours,” from La Gioconda; Debussy’s “Clair de lune,” from Suite bergamasque (orchestrated by Stokowski/Orchestra only); excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”); Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Artist addition: Aram Demirjan, conductor

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.



February 27-29—Respighi’s Pines of Rome

Artist update: Due to a scheduling conflict, Donald Runnicles has regrettably withdrawn from this program. A replacement will be announced at a later date.

Two journeys to Italy bookend this program. Respighi’s Pines of Rome is a sweeping pictorial of the Italian landscape. Edward Elgar’s scintillating tone poem In the South commemorates a family holiday; the richly textured music conveys the Italian Riviera in all its warmth. Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro is a showcase for strings. Inspired by the theater organ in William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon (fictionalized as Xanadu in Citizen Kane), Michael Daugherty’s lush Once Upon a Castle brings out what the composer calls the “Technicolor” nature of the instrument. Keyboard virtuoso Paul Jacobs returns to the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ.


These concerts are part of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience.



March 5-7—Porgy and Bess

Artist additions: Kevin Short, Crown/Jake (Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut); Morgan State University Choir (Eric Conway, director)

This American classic is the story of a man trying to rescue a woman from her distressing life. To help create his masterpiece, George Gershwin immersed himself in African-American life and culture on Charleston’s Catfish Row, honoring the area’s folk traditions with timeless melodies. Pioneering conductor Marin Alsop leads our performances of this tale of oppression, struggle, hope, and love. The cast includes soprano Angel Blue (hailed by Plácido Domingo as “the next Leontyne Price”) and celebrated baritone Lester Lynch.



March 7—Carnival of the Animals—Family Concert

Artist addition: Lina Gonzalez-Granados, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra debut)

Lions and tigers and ... pianists? Oh, my! Camille Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals is a musical journey through the animal kingdom that’s fun for all ages. Verizon Hall will be magically turned into a zoo through your child’s imagination as animals are conjured up by the musicians of the Orchestra.



April 23-25—Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony

Repertoire update: Sørensen’s Evening Land (first Philadelphia Orchestra performances) replaces Šerkšnytė’s De Profundis; Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 replaces Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4

Artist change and addition: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is postponing her return with The Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2019–2020 season due to maternity/family leave following the birth of her first child. She looks forward to returning the following season. Conductor Fabio Luisi has graciously agreed to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra for the April 23–25 performances.

Italian conductor Fabio Luisi returns to conduct a program that opens with Bent Sørensen’s Evening Land. The piece was inspired by an image of the evening light that Sørensen recalled from his childhood in Denmark. Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner is especially pleased to be performing the Nielsen Concerto. “I love the back and forth in the orchestration; it's a lot of fun to play and listen to!” Famous for its ingenious use of a “fate” theme, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony progresses from a somber beginning to an uplifting, triumphant march in the final movement. It's Tchaikovsky at his soulful best!


These concerts will be LiveNote® enabled.



 May 2—The Life and Times of Beethoven—Family Concert

Artist addition: Erina Yashima, conductor

Professor Nigel Taproot, the affable and learned classical music aficionado, invites you to an original Really Inventive Stuff program for families celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, his remarkable age, and four famous notes. Featuring the music of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, with a playful peppering of fascinating facts and timely trivia. (Did you know Washington was president during Beethoven’s lifetime? Roller skates were invented, too!) This enlightening performance is a splendid introduction to Beethoven’s musical genius.



June 25-27—Bugs Bunny at the Symphony

Event addition: Concerts added to calendar

Location: Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Time: 7:30 PM

Artist addition: George Daugherty, conductor



LiveNote is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the William Penn Foundation.


The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience (Frederick R. Haas, Artistic Advisor) is supported through a generous grant from the Wyncote Foundation.


About The Philadelphia Orchestra


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