The Philadelphia Orchestra is among the world’s leading orchestras. Renowned for its artistic excellence since its founding in 1900, the Orchestra has excited audiences with thousands of concerts in Philadelphia and around the world.Artistic Leadership
With only seven music directors throughout more than a century of unswerving orchestral distinction, the artistic heritage of The Philadelphia Orchestra is attributed to extraordinary musicianship under the leadership and innovation of Fritz Scheel (1900-07), Carl Pohlig (1907-12), Leopold Stokowski (1912-41), Eugene Ormandy (1936-80), Riccardo Muti (1980-92), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1993-2003), and Christoph Eschenbach (2003-08).
After 30 years of a celebrated association with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Charles Dutoit continues the tradition as Chief Conductor. With the 2012-13 season, the Orchestra honors Mr. Dutoit by bestowing upon him the title Conductor Laureate. July 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of his debut with the Orchestra and since those first appearances, Mr. Dutoit has led hundreds of concerts in Philadelphia, at Carnegie Hall, and on tour, as Artistic Director of the Orchestra’s summer concerts at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra’s summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and now as Chief Conductor. His role as Conductor Laureate extends this strong and steadfast relationship.
In June 2010 Yannick Nézet-Séguin was named the next Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, immediately joining the Orchestra’s leadership team as Music Director Designate. Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s leadership era as Music Director begins with the 2012-13 season. In addition to concerts led by Mr. Dutoit and Mr. Nézet-Séguin, audiences will be treated to the artistry of acclaimed guest conductors from around the world throughout the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
The Philadelphia Orchestra annually touches the lives of more than one million music lovers worldwide, through concerts, presentations, and recordings. The Orchestra enjoys residence during the winter season (September–May) at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it takes stage at both the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall as well as in the 650-seat Perelman Theater for chamber music concerts. Its summer schedule includes an outdoor season at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts as well as free Neighborhood Concerts throughout Greater Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music, as it has since 1957, where it performed for 101 seasons. It returns to the historically-certified theater every January for the highly-anticipated Academy Anniversary Concert and Ball.
The Philadelphia Orchestra can also be found year-round throughout Greater Philadelphia with its many educational outreach and community partnership programs.
Beyond Philadelphia the Orchestra presents a series of concerts each year at New York’s Carnegie Hall and a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Upstate New York. The ensemble also performs numerous concerts each year at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and regularly appears at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.Firsts and Foremost
The Philadelphia Orchestra has an unparalleled legacy of firsts. Signature to its reputation are world or American premieres of such important works as Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”), Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, and Barber’s Violin Concerto.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s tour history is characterized by landmark events. In 1936 the Orchestra became the first American orchestra to undertake a transcontinental tour; in 1949 it toured Great Britain as the first American orchestra to cross the Atlantic after World War II; in 1973 it became the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China; and in 1999 it became the first American symphony orchestra to visit Vietnam.
On its 2010 Tour of Asia, the Orchestra was received with great enthusiasm in China, Japan, and Korea, marking another important milestone in its storied history of ambassadorship through powerfully uniting music.
The Orchestra also boasts an extraordinary record of media firsts. It was the first symphonic orchestra to make electrical recordings (in 1925), the first to perform its own commercially sponsored radio broadcast (in 1929), the first to perform on the soundtrack of a feature film (Paramount’s The Big Broadcast of 1937), the first to appear on a national television broadcast (in 1948), and the first major orchestra to give a live cybercast of a concert on the internet (in 1997). The Orchestra also became the first major orchestra to multi-cast a concert to large-screen venues through the Internet2 network.
The Philadelphia Orchestra announced a collaboration with SpectiCast in June 2009 that enables the broadcast of select Orchestra concerts to private theaters and auditoriums, including senior living communities and colleges and universities. In January 2010 the Orchestra formed a new distribution partnership with IODA, through which live recordings are now made available on popular digital music services such as iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, and HDtracks, among others.
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