Did Philly just kill the subscription season?

Did Philly just kill the subscription season?


norman lebrecht

January 26, 2023

The orchestra has just announced its 2023-24 season.

Peter Dobrin reports in the Inquirer that it has shrunk the number of concerts in the subscription series.

This could set a trend.

Subscrptions are in longterm decline, accelerated by Covid.

Impulse purchases are increasing.

For the first time since Rachmaninov was around, Philly is ahead of the game.


  • Anthony Sayer says:

    HAS Philly just killed the subscription season?

    There. Fixed it for you.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Did Philly just kill the subscription season? The answer is yes, because what is offered in not worth subscribing.

  • anon says:

    Lots of mediocre woke pieces.

  • MacroV says:

    They cut back a couple subscription concerts less likely to sell; hardly the death knell of the subscription series model.

    I’m surprised they don’t do more performances with John Williams – THAT’s the one thing that will sell out a bunch of shows. He did 3 performances with the Berlin Phil.

    • James says:

      More Johnny Williams and pop musak sound tracks-USians love that stuff. It fills halls and pays all those huge 990 tax form admin salaries.

  • Phila says:

    What happened to the newly hired Associate Principal Percussion who was asked resign due to sexual assault related stuff? Does anyone know?

  • The View from America says:

    Yannick is doing the Rach Symphony 1 in October — but only on Thursday night for the die-hards, and the rest of the weekend is Symphony 2 instead.

    Another trend?

    Broadly speaking, not much looks worth traveling in from out of town to attend …

  • Leporello says:

    I remember when Andre Previn was once
    criticized for conducting ONLY 15 subscription weeks with the Pittsburgh
    Symphony – and this is when there were
    three to four concerts for each weekend
    series … How can a music director only
    conduct 8 subscription weeks and still
    be called a music director ?

    • Martin says:

      This happens all over. The music directors guest conduct other orchestras while the assistant and other visiting conductors fill in those weeks which can also be subscription weeks.

  • James Weiss says:

    “Pride concerts.” Composers whose works are forgotten for a good reason. John Williams. Inclusivity. What do any of these things have to with presenting classical music in the best possible performance?

  • Alfred Wachs says:

    I have been both saying and advocating for this at least since 2004 when I participated at NCI and gave a presentation to the League… There are other models.

  • Alexander Hamilton says:

    A few things that could bring back audiences:

    1) New music director.

    2) Program good European classical music. No atonal or woke programming based on the concept of “paying back” certain ethnic groups, women, and orientations or try to play music by living composers just because it happens to be ‘new.’

    3) Go back to wearing white tie and tails or tuxedos for night time concerts instead of the awful all black. Suits for day time shows for men. For women black dresses – no Hillary Clinton/Nancy Pelosi pant suits.

    4) Move back to the Academy of Music and make it the orchestra’s permanent home – turn the Kimmel Center into a parking lot.

  • Thornhill says:

    I must be reading a different article.

    It says that the orchestra is only playing to a hall at 64 percent capacity; the number of concerts are being reduced; prices are being cut. That seems like a disaster. I mean, if there are fewer concerts and tickets cost less, does that mean everyone’s salary is going to get cut during the next round of labor negotiations?

    And looking at the schedule, there are no concerts in December and January, and only one week in April. Will they be touring during that time? Will there be non-subscription concerts?

  • Bedrich Sourcream says:

    More like, they are stumbling from one disaster after another. Having attempted to murder Philly Pops, this is not very surprising. They’ve been alienating subscribers ever since they left the Academy of Music, a trail of broken promises. And every new gaffe lost them another 10% of subscribers. Now, what do they offer? Yuja Wang playing all ten piano concertos by Rachmaninoff in one program, probably nude.

  • Scorn says:

    Never mind the orchestra, I have just hit the link provided in the article. A large yellow square appeared and informed me that I had reach the limit of my free articles. Limit? I haven’t read 1.