The Philadelphia Orchestra’s new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will face some of city’s youngest musicians this weekend.
High school students in the All-City Orchestra will go under the baton of Nézet-Séguin as part of a weekend music retreat at the Curtis Institute.
“This is just a huge honor that Yannick is going to do this,” said Don Liuzzi. “We hope it’s indicative of more to come as far as his ability to really connect with all of Philadelphia.”
For more than 70 years, the All-City Orchestra has attracted some of the finest teenage musicians in the Philadelphia School District. In March, it will present its annual music festival with the All-City Choir and All-City Band, so this weekend they will spend a day getting ready, with master classes by Curtis Institute faculty and Philadelphia Orchestra musicians.
It’s very rare for the orchestra’s maestro to attend these retreat. The last one to drop in was Cristoph Eschenbach during his tenure.
“The last rehearsal I had with them, I pleaded with them: Practice!” said Luizzi, who is also principal timpanist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “I gave them a little bit of the fear of God at our rehearsals early in January. But then I had an email sent saying, ‘Here it comes, this weekend. Don’t worry, he’s a really nice guy. He’s one of the best in the world, but he’s a really nice guy.'”
Last week Liuzzi performed Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nézet-Séguin’s baton. The All-City Orchestra will perform excerpts of the Fifth Symphony at the All Philadelphia High School Music Fest, on March 4, also under Nézet-Séguin’s baton.
“He really took some breakneck speeds in the last movement,” Liuzzi warned. “The accelerando that happens in the first five minutes of the last movement is faster than any ride you’ve been on at Dorney Park.”