Philadelphia Orchestra is taking requests for opening weekend

The Philadelphia Orchestra has planned its upcoming season of concerts, but it leaving open a slot for you. The public is invited to vote for which pieces the orchestra will play during its opening weekend.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s website has a list of 15 pieces of music, ranging from the surprising (a piece from Rossini’s opera “The Italian Girl in Algiers”) to the contemporary (“New Era Dance” by Philadelphia native Aaron Jay Kernis).

The top three vote-getters will be performed during the three opening concerts in September.

This democratic programming method came out of talk-back sessions which music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin has following every concert he conducts.

“So often those conversations revolve around works people are interested in hearing,” said Jeremy Rothman, the orchestra’s vice president of artistic planning. “They raise their hand and suggest a piece of repertoire they want to hear: ‘It hasn’t been done here, and why don’t you do it?’ He’s very curious to hear that kind of feedback from the audience.”

This is not a new idea. The orchestra’s legendary director Leopold Stokowski used to close every season — some 90 years ago — with a concert of the people’s choices.

This voting process, which ends Aug. 18, is part of the orchestra’s celebration of Nézet-Séguin’s upcoming 40th birthday. The season will feature 40 works it has not performed in at least 40 years.

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