Next season, the Philadelphia Orchestra will present a series of world premieres, the return of former chief conductor Charles Dutoit, and French music never before played by the ensemble.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is currently in the middle of its season — next week, it will play the last of a series of concerts of music from Vienna. For its 2016-2017 season, the ensemble will continue the concept of concerts about a particular place.
Composers from Paris or expatriate composers living in Paris or Parisians who left the City of Light to write, will be featured — including chestnuts by Stravinsky and Ravel, and music by lesser-knowns Florent Schmitt and Joseph Canteloube, whom the orchestra has never played before.
A diverse range of cultures converged in Paris, creating a unique hotbed of music, said music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
“As a Quebecoise, we all think we come from Paris,” said Nézet-Séguin, who is from Montreal. “People in Quebec tend to say ‘Europe,’ but they mean ‘Paris.’ My first visit was when I was 12. Now, I’m conducting two or three times a year in Paris. It remains the most beautiful city in the world. Is it a city I would like to live in, that’s a different story — but I adore Paris to visit.”
The Philadelphia Orchestra will also deliver world premieres by American composers, including a new work commissioned for Verizon Hall’s Fred Cooper Memorial Organ, composed by Christopher Rouse. It celebrates the 10th anniversary of the largest concert organ in the United States.
“He has a special talent for things that are large forces,” said Nézet-Séguin of Rouse. “To have the largest concert organ, and the biggest-sound orchestra — he will use this with full power.”
The season will also premiere “Imaginary Day,” a duo for vibraphone and marimba orchestrated by the orchestra’s principle percussionist, Christopher Deviney. It is based on the songs of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
“It’s not an arrangement. It is music and themes and structures from Metheny, but composed as a symphonic suite by Deviney,” said Nézet-Séguin. “Chris has wanted for years to have this performed, but it needed the right context. I was so excited to read the score. His passion about Metheny was contagious.”
Nézet-Séguin will not be conducting the world premiere of the Metheny-inspired piece; neither will Metheny be performing.