Whoopi Goldberg to Host Fanfare for the Future: An Online Gala Celebrating the Academy of Music with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Posted on March 22, 2021

Featuring performances by Nézet-Séguin, The Philadelphia Orchestra,

Renée Fleming, and more, and segments

hosted by CBS 3’s Ukee Washington


 May 13, 2021, at 8:00 PM ET


Event will raise funds for Academy of Music

restoration and preservation

(Philadelphia, March 22, 2021)—Home to renowned performing arts institutions and an essential part of Philadelphia’s cultural landscape, the Academy of Music has hosted world-class performances and memorable life events for generations of Philadelphians and visitors from around the world. On Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 8:00 PM ET,acclaimed artist and arts advocate Whoopi Goldberg will host Fanfare for the Future: A Celebration of the Academy of Music with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. In celebration of the National Historic Landmark’s illustrious history and bright future, the online event will raise funds for the Academy’s continued restoration and preservation. Fanfare for the Future will take place online on May 13, 2021, at 8:00 PM ET. The concert will be available for viewing through May 20, 2021, at 11:00 PM ET. Tickets, starting at $50, can be purchased at www.philorch.org/fanfare beginning April 15, 2021. Sponsorship packages are available now, and include additional pre- and post-concert opportunities to connect with fellow attendees and interact with Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and special guest artists.

“The Academy of Music has been the exquisite setting for inspiring performances and iconic moments throughout history,” said Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “It is heartening to know that so many Philadelphians and visitors to the region hold dear their memories of the Academy, whether it was the site of their first-ever cultural event or where they proudly walked the stage to accept their high school diploma. We look forward to an unforgettable evening with Whoopi Goldberg and some of our favorite collaborators such as Renée Fleming as we celebrate the Academy’s important role in our lives.”

In addition to segments featuring host Whoopi Goldberg, Fanfare for the Future will include a performance by acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Nézet-Séguin will also join the Orchestra at the piano for the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, and he will lead the Orchestra in Johann Strauss, Jr.’s“On the Beautiful Blue Danube” Waltz. Concertmaster David Kim, Assistant Principal Violin Dara Morales, violist Burchard Tang, Associate Principal Cello Priscilla Lee, and Acting Assistant Principal Bass Nathaniel West will perform Jessie Montgomery’s Voodoo Dolls from the Academy stage. The program will also feature young music students from the region who will perform a medley in tribute to Marian Anderson’s historic Academy of Music performances.

Segments led by CBS 3 News Anchor Ukee Washington will turn the spotlight on the Academy’s place in Philadelphia’s artistic and civic life. Washington will lead viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour complete with glimpses of artifacts from the building’s storied history as the home of Broadway, opera, ballet, classical music, and so much more. An alumnus of the Philadelphia Boys Choir who has performed at the Academy of Music, Washington will speak with Jeremy Allen, a current member of the Choir who has sung in several productionsat the Academy. Jazz trombonist Robin Eubanks, whose graduation from Central High School took place at the Academy, will share his recollections of that day and will perform from the Academy stage. Orchestra musicians will also share Academy memories with Washington.  

“The Academy of Music was home to The Philadelphia Orchestra for more than a century, and we treasure every opportunity to return to its stage,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra. “The Academy is for everyone, and it is central to the social and cultural fabric of our region. We cannot wait for the time when it will once again be enlivened through incredible art and momentous occasions. Until then, as the proud steward of this grand landmark, The Philadelphia Orchestra looks forward to hosting a spectacular online event that reflects our ongoing commitment to the arts and to our communities and helps enhance the Academy for generations to come.”

“The Academy of Music is the heartbeat of Philadelphia’s arts community and an iconic location to all who cherish it,” said Caroline B. Rogers, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Music and member of the Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra. “We hope that viewers will recollect their own memories—and know that there are countless memories still to be made—as they experience incredible performances and hear fascinating stories shared by participants in the program. We are proud to celebrate the Academy’s history while looking ahead to the important and varied roles it will play in the region’s post-pandemic revitalization and in the lives of generations to come.”   

Fanfare for the Future benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Complimentary tickets will be offered to the Orchestra’s civic and education partners, as well as community partners throughout the region, including collaborators from the Our City, Your Orchestra series.

The event is co-chaired by Caroline B. Rogers and Ralph Muller. Rogers is chair of the Academy of Music’s Board of Trustees and a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Board of Directors. Muller is chair of the Orchestra’s Board of Directors and trustee of the Academy of Music.

Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the GRAMMY, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy, and a Tony. She is also a prolific producer and is well-known around the world for her many humanitarian endeavors. Born and raised in New York City, she performed in San Diego and the Bay Area with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theater troupe. It was there that she created the characters that became The Spook Show and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album, and the HBO special that helped launch her career. Goldberg has worked with a number of charities and organizations focused on children’s issues, homelessness, substance abuse, and more. She was recognized for her continued work in supporting the gay and lesbian community and was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2003.

Renée Fleming is one of the most highly acclaimed singers of our time, honored with four Grammy® awards and the US National Medal of Arts. In 2014, she became the first classical artist ever to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Fleming has sung for momentous occasions from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. She has recorded everything from complete operas to jazz, and the soundtracks of Best Picture Oscar winners The Shape of Water and The Lord of the Rings. A leading advocate for research at the intersection of arts, health, and neuroscience, she has presented with scientists around the world on this subject. Among her awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, and France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.


About Yannick Nézet-Séguin


About The Philadelphia Orchestra


Fanfare for the Future: A Celebration of the Academy of Music Presented by The Philadelphia Orchestra

May 13, 2021, at 8:00 PM ET – May 20, 2021, at 11:00 PM ET


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor and Piano

Whoopi Goldberg Host

Renée Fleming Soprano

David Kim Violin

Dara Morales Violin

Burchard Tang Viola

Priscilla Lee Cello

Nathaniel West Bass


Program includes:

Montgomery Voodoo Dolls, for string quintet

Mozart First movement from Piano Concerto No. 12

J. Strauss, Jr. “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” Waltz


Yannick Nézet-Séguin holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair.

Dara Morales holds the Anne M. Buxton Chair.


# # #


Ashley Berke


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Natalie Lewis


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Ashley Stahmer


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