Yannick Nézet-Séguin © Jan Regan
Yannick Nézet-Séguin © Jan Regan
The Philadelphia Orchestra 1
Philadelphia Orchestra | Yannick Nézet-Séguin | Angel Blue
This is a composer you should definitely get to know. Born in 1887, Florence Price came from an African American family in Arkansas and, in her own words, had to struggle with two “handicaps” at the same time: being a woman and being Black. Although her First Symphony, which combines folk melodies and chorales with jazzy moments, was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933, her work was subsequently almost forgotten. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra have made it their mission to rediscover Price’s oeuvre: “Perhaps one day her symphonies will become repertoire pieces like those of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff,” the maestro hopes. Rachmaninoff opens the program with the tone poem The Isle of the Dead, based on the painting of the same name by Arnold Böcklin: a night piece of fathomless beauty. And with Valerie Coleman, a contemporary Black composer is on the program. Her music beguiles with its atmospheric intensity and noble, tonally beautiful lyricism. She has written a new song cycle for the soprano Angel Blue, which will be heard in its Swiss premiere.
Philadelphia Orchestra © Ryan_Donnell
Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra can look back over a glorious history of 111 years. Throughout this entire period only seven conductors have held office as music directors. After Fritz Scheel and Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski (1912–41) headed the orchestra, followed by Eugene Ormandy, whose tenure spanned an even longer era, until 1980. Afterward, the top position was held by Riccardo Muti (1980–92), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1993–2003), and Christoph Eschenbach (2003–08). The current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit, will be appointed to conductor laureate in 2012, when he passes on the reins to the young Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin. During the season between September and May, the Philadelphia Orchestra gives some 130 concerts in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2001. The musicians perform as well in annual residencies at New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Mann Center in Fairmount Park, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Upstate New York, and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Colorado; they also make regular appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Phila-delphia Orchestra has been responsible for a remarkable series of premieres: It has given the first American performances of such works as Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder. It was the first American orchestra to undertake a transcontinental tour in 1936 and has similarly been a pioneer with performances in the People’s Republic of China (1973) and in Vietnam (1999). Following a major tour of Asia in 2010, the Philadelphia Orchestra is traveling across Europe this summer, with appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, the Musikfest Berlin, the BBC Proms, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and elsewhere.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 26 August 1982 in Schumann’s Fourth and Mahler’s First Symphony conducted by Riccardo Muti.
August 2011Other dates
Yannick Nézet-Séguin © Hans van der Woerd
Born in Montreal in 1975, Yannick Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec. At the age of 19, he met Carlo Maria Giulini, whom he followed during rehearsals and who became an important model. Following initial positions with his own ensembles and as choral director at the Opéra de Montréal, Nézet-Séguin was appointed Music Director of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal in 2000. From 2008 to the summer of 2018, he served as Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, which subsequently named him Honorary Conductor; since 2012, he has been at the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and since 2018, he has also served as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he will launch new productions of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Verdi’s Don Carlo in 2021-22. Nézet-Séguin appears with the leading European orchestras: the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he was Principal Guest Conductor from 2008 to 2014. In the U.S., he has also conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Nézet-Séguin made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2008 with Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette; he has also appeared as a guest conductor at London’s Royal Opera House, La Scala in Milan, and the Vienna Staatsoper. At the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, he has led a cycle of the great Mozart operas, all of which were recorded. In June 2021, he released his first solo CD as a pianist, Introspection, featuring works by composers from Bach to Berio. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who holds multiple honorary doctorates, is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and an Officier de l’Ordre de Montréal. He was named Artist of the Year by Musical America in 2016.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 13 September 2011, when he led the Vienna Philharmonic in a program of works by Messiaen, Debussy, Schubert, and Ravel.
July 2021Other dates
Angel Blue © Billy Diaz