Philly rolls out Mirga and Dude

Philly rolls out Mirga and Dude


norman lebrecht

March 24, 2020

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has announced Philadelphia’s 2020/21 season.

It includes slots for Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Gustavo Dudamel, both of whom are spreading their American wings, and a conducting date for composer John Williams, with his constant companion Anne-Sophe Mutter.

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis will be subjected to “computer dreaming”, whatever that might be, and there will be lots of women composers.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2020–21 Season: Our World NOW The Natural World, WomenNOW, Identity, and the Digital Age

The Natural World
Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank’s Picaflor: Retelling of a Peruvian creation myth through the voices of Philadelphia students and visuals from Mural Arts Philadelphia
Commissioned works from women composers: Melody Eötvös, Robin Holcomb, Wang Xi, and Hilary Purrington on melting icebergs, California wildfires, the relationship between nature and the human body, and nature in poetry

The sea and the earth: Nézet-Séguin conducts Debussy’s La Mer and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde

Philadelphia Orchestra premiere of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 conducted by Nézet-Séguin Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla returns for two-week residency
Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Wagner, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky Xian Zhang makes Philadelphia Orchestra subscription debut

Assistant Conductor Erina Yashima and Conducting Fellow Lina Gonzalez-Granados lead Family Concerts


South Pacific 2021: Radical restaging of the Broadway musical explores institutionalized racism, gender inequity, nationalism, and imperialism, in partnership with University Musical Society, University of Michigan

Tchaikovsky ballet trilogy with Brian Sanders’ JUNK: Reimagining fairy tales through a modern mash-up of Tchaikovsky ballets

The Digital Age

Beethoven’s Missa solemnis 2.0: Verizon Hall transforms into a virtual, multi-denominational cathedral by digital artist Refik Anadol World premiere of Mason Bates’s Suite from The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

(Philadelphia, March 24, 2020)—Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky today announced the 2020–21 season of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Our World NOW, a musical exploration of relevant and essential facets of this moment in time: the environment and fragility of nature, the essential role of women in music, the complexity of identity, and the ubiquitous influence of the digital age.

Throughout the season, Yannick and the Orchestra will be joined by music’s most compelling voices—some not yet known, others emerging, and many beloved and celebrated—and will convene artists of other disciplines to collaborate on musical events that offer creative juxtapositions.

“For me, music is more than an art form. It’s an artistic force connecting us to each other and to the world around us,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “I love that our concerts create a space for people to gather as a community—to explore and experience an incredible spectrum of music. Sometimes, we spend an evening in the concert hall together, and it’s simply some hours of joy and beauty. Other times there may be an additional purpose, music in dialogue with an issue or an idea, maybe historic or current, or even a thought that is still not fully formed in our minds and hearts. What’s wonderful is that music gives voice to ideas and feelings that words alone do not; it touches all aspects of our being. Music inspires us to reflect deeply, and music brings us great joy, and so much more. In the end, music connects us more deeply to our world now.”

with soloist Seong-jin Cho


  • Barry says:

    I complained loudly about the lineup of guest conductors they programmed for the current/now probably over season. But I’m very happy with who they’re bringing in next season. In addition to the above-named Dude and Mirga, Sokhiev and Shani are back on there, among others.

    On top of that, for me personally, nothing is more thrilling than seeing Yannick will conduct Shostakovich’s eighth. The piece is a favorite of mine and I’ve never seen it performed by the Philadelphians in the over 30 years I’ve been attending their concerts.

    • Alan says:

      Nathalie Stutzmann is excellent. She’s been Principal Guest conductor here in Dublin for the last three years and has been very well recieved.

      • Barry says:

        She has done good work with them in her first two appearances. I think she has been the most impressive of the female conductors who have been here in recent seasons and will probably be on the annual guest conductor lineup for the foreseeable future.

    • Robin Mitchell-Boyask says:

      Welser-Möst led it here (Phila.) back in the 90s.

      • Barry says:

        I’ll add that to the list of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts I regret missing during my early years of concert-going (it just kills me that I could have seen Tennstedt conduct Mahler’s 9th, but just didn’t care enough about Mahler and didn’t know who Tennstedt was at that point …. my main interest early on was in seeing Muti and as much Beethoven as possible). Shostakovich has been one of my favorite composers for years, but probably not quite early enough for me to have felt the need to go to that concert. I remember I had tickets to see Welser-Möst conduct Mahler’s 6th in Philly, but he cancelled and was replaced by James Conlon. I think that was right around the time that his Cleveland appointment was announced.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    It will happen. Great things to look forward to. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

  • Talking the talk says:

    Isn’t there a children’s fairytale about this sort of thing?

  • Robin Mitchell-Boyask says:

    Mirga, with the now incredibly rare 2-week visit, becomes the betting favorite to succeed Yannick when the inevitable happens. This is the first season fully planned by Tarnopolsky, and, if it’s a sign of what’s to come in the future, I’m really excited by his work. No more the same 6 pieces of music every freaking season.

    • Lincoln Herring says:

      I enjoyed Mirga when she conducted Mozart and Mahler with them in 2018. I thought the players followed her lead at least for the most part

    • Barry says:

      You’re right about a two-week stint being a rarity. I think it’s been a few years since anyone other than Deneve, their Principal Guest Conductor has done that. But I hope you’re wrong about her succeeding Yannick. The thought did enter my mind that they may be looking at her to replace Deneve as PGC.

      It’s too soon to say who will replace Yannick, whose contract isn’t up for six years (in fact, it’s too soon to say if he’ll leave in six years or stay longer). But It would be nice to see the Orchestra develop a relationship with promising young conductors who have the potential to possibly eventually become Music Director, as they did with Yannick and Jurowski some years back. That’s why I’m happy to see Sokhiev and Shani back on the schedule (I’m not saying I want Shani to succeed Yannick at this point, but it would be interesting if it happened in light of the fact that they’d be establishing a Rotterdam to Philly pipeline).

    • Hal Sacks says:

      Mirga is pretty well attached to LA principal guest for now. She cancelled this year along with other commitments to take care of her newborn. Now she is expecting again and last I heard she was quarantined after a positive Convid19 test. Hope it all turns positive and we get to see her, the Dude and John Williams in 2021. Fingers crossed on any of them.

      • M2N2K says:

        The current principal guest of the LA Phil is named Susanna Malkki and to the best of my knowledge MGT is definitely NOT “pretty well attached” to her. In fact, MGT was NEVER the PGC in LA.

  • Identity programming is old news says:

    One realizes just how ridiuclous identity programming looks when there’s a real crisis in the world. Good luck.

  • Amos says:

    I thought last year Mirga announced she was canceling all guest conducting offers to focus on Birmingham? Then again if the PO called I’d certainly take their call.

  • frank says:

    Disappointing! Lots of trendy foolishness and La Boheme. The verdict is in on Yannick: Damnation, silly, silly, pose.

  • fflambeau says:

    Very creative. AND he looks so happy in doing it.

  • Mark says:

    Little Yannick, the Dude and Mirga ? Mediocrities of the world, unite !!!

  • sorin braun says:

    Figaro qua Figaro la Figaro su Figaro giu ! a che bel vivere che bel piacere.
    Boring conductors and boring orchestras and pieces that we’ve heard at least 915 times before.
    God knows what’s in the mind of current concertgoers except showing off the new Versace clothes and Rolex and da gamba & latest fancy new cars in the drive out and in of the parking rituals.

  • Incredulous says:

    Makes no difference. None of this will happen. All vanity and foolishness.

  • Monsoon says:

    Not exactly unique to Philadelphia, but the programs aren’t all that different than what they were in 1960 — so, so many war horses.

    And look, I accept there is always going to be a lot of Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, etc. and I’m fine with that, but why does it always have to be the same handful of pieces?

    • sorin says:

      because the classical repertoir is extremely limited , and most other pieces are not worth more than whale’s shit.
      this concertgoing to hear for the 11000th time a Brahms 4 , and probably a worse performance than you can get from a 1 minute-long download , is part of the past.