Subscriber login

What you need to know for 08/23/2017

Philadelphia Orchestra announces premieres and soloists for SPAC

Philadelphia Orchestra announces premieres and soloists for SPAC

The Philadelphia Orchestra will return to its summer stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center from A
Philadelphia Orchestra announces premieres and soloists for SPAC
Béla Fleck’s Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra will be performed at SPAC on Aug. 21. (Brian Tietz/The Associated Press)

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Philadelphia Orchestra will return to its summer stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center from Aug. 7 to 24, to present a season of classical and contemporary programs that will include the world premiere of a new work by Richard Danielpour commemorating the 150th anniversary of Saratoga Race Course.

Saratoga premieres of works by Jennifer Higdon, Béla Fleck and Bramwell Tovey are also scheduled.

Among the programs during the three weeks will be tributes to Elton John and Leonard Bernstein, as well as a multimedia concert featuring Disney’s “Fantasia.” The 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” also will be celebrated.

Among the world-renowned guest conductors will be the first-time SPAC appearance of Boston Pops maestro Keith Lockhart.

Heading the lineup of soloists will be cellist Yo-Yo Ma; violinists Sarah Chang and Gil Shaham; pianist Daniil Trifonov; and percussionist Colin Currie.

Philadelphia Orchestra schedule

Ticket prices for SPAC’s Orchestra performances start at $24 for lawn seating; inside seating ranges from $32 to $80. The Kids in Free program entitles children 12 and under to free lawn admission. The Student Discount program gives students of all ages a 25 percent discount for lawn and inside seating. Tickets go on sale online to the public beginning March 18 at

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 8 p.m.: Stéphane Denève, conductor; Gil Shaham, violinist. Sibelius: “Lemminkäinen’s Return” from Four Legends from the Kalevala (Sibelius), Violin Concerto (Sibelius), Symphony No. 8 (Dvorák)

Thursday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.: 150th Anniversary of the Race Course Concert. Keith Lockhart, conductor. Overture to Light Cavalry (Suppé)

Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo (Copland), “The Horse,” with film (Courage/P. Williams), Serenade (Danielpour), Selections from “Seabiscuit” (Newman), Dartmoor 1912 from “War Horse” (J. Williams), Overture to William Tell (Rossini)

Friday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m.: Bernstein Extravaganza with New York City Ballet. Stéphane Denève, conductor; Jamie Bernstein, host; NYCB dancers.

Fancy Free (Bernstein), Suite from “Les Biches” (Poulenc), Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (Bernstein), La Valse (Ravel)

Saturday, Aug. 10, 8 p.m.: Stéphane Denève, conductor; Yo-Yo Ma, cello. Cello Concerto (Elgar), Concertino Cusqueño (Frank), La Mer (Debussy)

Wednesday, Aug. 14: Pops concert, “Elton John & More,” featuring music of Elton John and others. Steven Reineke, conductor.

Selections including John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Your Song,” “Yellow Brick Road,” “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer” and hits by the Eagles, Paul McCartney and Lynyrd Skynyrd

Thursday, Aug. 15, 8 p.m.: Bramwell Tovey, conductor; Colin Currie, percussion

Urban Runaway (Tovey), Percussion Concerto (Higdon), Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)

Friday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m.: Sarah Chang, violin; Gianandrea Noseda, conductor. Finlandia (Sibelius), Violin Concerto (Barber), Symphony No. 3 (Tchaikovsky)

Saturday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m.: Gianandrea Noseda, conductor; Jonathan Biss, piano. Piano Concerto No. 4 (Beethoven), The Rite of Spring (Stravinsky)

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 8 p.m.: Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Béla Fleck, Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra. Festival Overture (Shostakovich), Three Cornered Hat Suite No. 2 (Falla), Capriccio Espagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov)

Thursday. Aug. 22, 8 p.m.: Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor. Symphony No. 5 (Tchaikovsky)

Friday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m.: Cristian Macelaru, conductor.

“Fantasia” without film: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, “Dance of the Hours,” “Clair de Lune,” “Night on Bald Mountain”;

“Fantasia” with Film: Suite from The Nutcracker, “Pastoral” Symphony, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

Saturday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m.: “Tchaikovsky Spectacular.” Cristian Macelaru, conductor; Daniil Trifonov, piano. Polonaise from “Eugene Onegin” (Tchaikovsky), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Rachmaninoff), Polovtsian Dances from “Prince Igor” (Borodin), 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky), followed by fireworks

‘Spectacular’ ending

A SPAC tradition for the Philadelphia Orchestra will end the season on Aug. 24 when the musicians feature a night of Tchaikovsky. The “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” will be capped by the 1812 Overture, including cannons and fireworks.

“We are thrilled to present a magnificent program by The Philadelphia Orchestra, rich with classical masterworks and innovative treasures that will showcase the artistic depth and range of this premier orchestra,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s president and executive director, in announcing the season.

Opening night will be Wednesday, Aug. 7, featuring conductor Stéphane Denève and violin virtuoso Gil Shaham, who will perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

The following night, Aug. 8, SPAC will pay tribute to the 150th Anniversary of Saratoga Race Course by presenting the world premiere of “Serenade,” an orchestral composition by Grammy-winning American composer Richard Danielpour.

It was commissioned by SPAC for The Philadelphia Orchestra, and made possible by the gift of Saratoga 150 chairman Charles V. Wait and his wife, Candace. The equestrian-themed program will also include selections from the films “Seabiscuit” and “War Horse.” Leading the program will be Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart in his debut appearance at SPAC.

Percussionist Colin Currie will perform Jennifer Higdon’s Grammy-winning Percussion Concerto on Thursday, Aug. 15. Positioned front and center onstage, Currie will maneuver among nearly 20 instruments, including the bass drum, bongos, brake drum, castanets, clave, cowbell, gong, vibraphone, temple blocks, timbales and the marimba.

Banjo Premiere

Banjoist Béla Fleck makes his first appearance with the orchestra at SPAC on Wednesday, Aug. 21, performing the Saratoga premiere of his Concerto for Banjo. Fleck is best known for his work with the bands New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones with his eclectic style that fuses jazz, rock, bluegrass and classical.

Another SPAC premiere is set for Friday, Aug. 10, with Gabriela Lena Frank’s Concertino Cusqueño, a work commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra and premiered in October to honor Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural year as the orchestra’s eighth music director.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s tradition-shattering masterpiece “The Rite of Spring,” the orchestra will present a performance of the work on Saturday, Aug. 17, with Gianandrea Noseda conducting.

Originally written by Stravinsky for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the premiere of the piece in Paris in 1913 provoked outrage and riotous protests from the audience. Its startling costumes and choreography, pagan themes and dissonant score were perceived as shocking.

Yet less than a year later at its performance as an orchestral concert piece, the same composition elicited rapturous response. Since that time, it has been generally recognized as one of the seminal works of the 20th century.

Special guests

Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma will return to SPAC on Aug. 10 in a performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto.

Hailed as one of the world’s great violinists, Sarah Chang will be back on the SPAC stage Friday, Aug. 16, in a performance of the Barber Violin Concerto.

Russian piano prodigy Daniil Trifonov, who won medals at three of the world’s most prestigious international music competitions, will mark his debut at SPAC on the final night, Saturday, Aug. 24, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

The orchestra will pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein on Friday, Aug. 9, in a concert that will be hosted by Jamie Bernstein, the composer’s daughter, and feature New York City Ballet dancers.

A pops concerts on Wednesday, Aug. 14, will feature the music of Elton John, as well as the Eagles, Chicago, Paul McCartney and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Disney’s “Fantasia” will take the spotlight on Friday, Aug. 23, with a multimedia show based on the music used in that innovative animated film released in 1940.

View Comments
Hide Comments
0 premium 1 premium 2 premium 3 premium 4 premium 5 premium 6 premium 7 premium article articles remaining SUBSCRIBE TODAY

You have reached your monthly premium content limit.

Continue to enjoy Daily Gazette premium content by becoming a subscriber.
Already a subscriber? Log In