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This summer, The Philadelphia Orchestra goes to the movies, performing the scores to five unforgettable films with equally as memorable scores. We asked conductor Steven Reineke––who frequently leads orchestra performances of film scores across the country––what is so special about conducting film music, specifically John Williams’s score to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which he leads the Orchestra in at the Mann Center on July 26.

“I’m a HUGE film music fan. In fact, after I graduated from college, I moved to Los Angeles for two years to pursue the possibility of being a film composer myself. Although my career took a turn toward conducting, I am still enamored with many of the glorious scores for motion pictures, in particular the music of John Williams. John’s scores are always lush, magical, incredibly challenging, and so rewarding to conduct. I prefer to conduct his film scores by using only visual technical aids, meaning we do not use a click track to synchronize the music to the picture. His music is written so organically to what’s happening onscreen that it almost feels as if I’m conducting a ballet. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban happens to be my favorite book and film in the franchise so I can’t wait to perform this brilliant score with the incredible Philadelphia Orchestra!”

To learn more about the Orchestra's performance of Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban at the Mann, or to purchase tickets, click here.

Photo by Jordan August

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The Philadelphia Orchestra is proud to be the lead artistic partner for the School District of Philadelphia’s All-City Orchestra. In addition to Orchestra musicians conducting the All-City Orchestra rehearsals and participating in side-by-side rehearsals with All-City Orchestra musicians, The Philadelphia Orchestra presents the annual All-City Concert in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

The Orchestra also mentors 12 talented young musicians selected through a rigorous audition and interview process—the All-City Orchestra Fellows. These exceptionally talented musicians receive additional program support to break down the obstacles that challenge students of under-represented communities. They receive individual lessons and mentoring from Philadelphia Orchestra musicians, tickets to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, and opportunities to interact with internationally acclaimed artists appearing as soloists and conductors.

Seven of the Fellows were seniors this year, and all of them are continuing their musical studies at renowned schools, including the Royal Conservatory in London, Temple University, Yale University, the University of the Arts, and Carnegie Mellon. We wish them the best of luck!

Akili Farrow

Violin, String Theory School

Teachers: Jennifer Lee, Kimberly Fisher

Primavera Artist; Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artist; Philadelphia Youth Orchestra; Philadelphia Sinfonia; Marian Anderson Scholarship Award; Play On, Philly!

Going to the Royal Conservatory in London

Nathan Kim

Cello, Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School

Teacher: Gloria dePasquale

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12, Region 6; Pennsylvania All State Orchestra

Going to Yale University with a performance and academic scholarship

Davey Hiester

Bassoon, Central High Sschool

Teacher: Holly Blake

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artist; Philadelphia Youth Orchestra; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 and Region 6 Band; District 12 and Region 6 All State Orchestra

Going to the University of Texas at Austin on scholarship

Malique Bennett

Trombone, Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

Teachers: Jason Stein, Brian Ewing, Nanette Foley

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artist; Temple Community Music Scholars Program; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 and Region 6 Band

Going to Carnegie Mellon University with a full scholarship and a trombone donated by Paul Bryan

John Polanco

Trumpet, The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush

Teachers: Anthony Prisk, Jacob Hernandez, Najib Wong

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artist; Temple Community Music Scholars Program; Philadelphia Sinfonia; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 and Region 6 Band; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 Orchestra; Pennsylvania All State Jazz Band; National Jazz Band

Going to University of the Arts on full scholarship

Derrick Pondexter

Violin, Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

Teacher: Dara Morales

Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth Artist; Philadelphia Youth Orchestra; Temple Community Music Scholars Program; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 Orchestra

Going to Temple University

Dan McCain

Double Bass, The Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush

Teacher: Joseph Conyers

Temple Community Music Scholars Program; Philadelphia Sinfonia; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 and Region 6 Band; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 12 Orchestra; Pennsylvania All State Jazz Band; National Jazz Band

Going to University of the Arts on full scholarship

Photos by Pete Checchia

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Most of the Orchestra musicians returned home on the 6th, but a few stayed behind for the final residency activities. Musicians waited on the bus for the trip to Ben Gurion International Airport. Photo by Jan Regan

The luggage was packed and ready to go. Photo by Jan Regan

A string quartet from the Orchestra performed a concert at the Jeanne and Bennet Tanenbaum Conservatory of Music in Netivot. The Sdot Negev Regional Council, which includes Netivot, is home to more than 40,000 residents, including many immigrants from North Africa, the former Soviet Union, and Ethiopia. Photo by Jan Regan

Mandolin player Shmuel Elbaz joined the Orchestra musicians, (left to right) violinist Mei Ching Huang, violinist Paul Arnold, cellist Ohad Bar-David, and violist David Nicastro), to perform a mandolin concerto by Vivaldi. Photo by Jan Regan

Photo by Jan Regan

One of the highlights of the patron tour was a dinner prepared by famed Philadelphian Israeli chef Michael Solomonov. It was originally scheduled to be held in the Negev, a desert region in southern Israel, but was moved to the Ella Valley Vineyards, closer to Tel Aviv, for safety reasons. . Photo by Jamie Gordon

Michael Solomonov and his team prepare the dinner. Photo by Jamie Gordon

Photo by Jamie Gordon

A group of local musicians performed at the dinner. Photo by Jamie Gordon

Michael Solomonov poses with Philadelphia Orchestra musicians at the dinner: (left to right) violinist Paul Arnold, Solomonov, violist David Nicastro, violinist Mei Ching Huang, and cellist Ohad Bar-David.

The final activity of the tour was a concert by Orchestra musicians, the Lod Youth String Program, and the Lod Youth Concert Band at the Lod Music School for the Gifted and the Excellent. Established 40 years ago, the School is operated by the Ministry of Education and its music activities are for all segments of Lod’s population—Arabs, Christians, and Jews—as well as for newcomers from all over the world. Children between the ages of six and 18 study at the School, and graduates have gone on to enjoy professional careers with the Israel Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, and other orchestras around the world.

Violinist Philip Kates joined the students from the Youth String Program for their performance. Photo by Jan Regan

The string ensemble was conducted by Berl Portnoy. Photo by Jan Regan

Nir Erez (left), principal trombone of the Israel Philharmonic, joined the Philadelphia musicians, including Principal Trombone Nitzan Haroz. Photo by Jan Regan

The quartet of Philadelphians performing: (left to right) Kates, Haroz, Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi, and violist Judy Geist. Photo by Jan Regan

Don Liuzzi joined the performance by the Lod Youth Concert Band. Photo by Jan Regan

Haroz is originally from Israel so this tour gave him the opportunity to visit with family. His father, Uri, came to the event in Lod. Photo by Jan Regan

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Philadelphia Orchestra musicians gave master classes today at both the Jerusalem Music Centre and the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna. There was also a panel discussion on cultural diplomacy and the final full Orchestra concert of the tour.

 

Horn player Ernesto Tovar Torres instructs a student during his master class at the Jerusalem Music Centre. Photo by Jan Regan

Concertmaster David Kim adjusts the position of a student’s violin at his Music Centre master class. Photo by Jan Regan

Clarinetist Socrates Villegas coaches a chamber music group at the Music Centre. Photo by Jan Regan

Flutist Erica Peel demonstrates a passage during a master class at the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna.

Assistant Principal Second Violin Dara Morales helps a student at the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna.

The panel discussion on cultural diplomacy was held at the King David Hotel. Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Ohad Bar-David (far left), a native Israeli, is joined by (left to right) Yossi Maurey, Hebrew University musicologist; James Snyder, former director of the Israel Museum; and Ryan Fleur, interim president of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner warms up before the evening’s concert at the ICC Center Jerusalem. Photo by Jan Regan

A group of young audience members looks down from the balcony onto the stage before the concert begins. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick greets three conducting students backstage prior to the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

Substitute bass player Braizahn Jones brought a group of African Hebrew Israelites to the concert and introduced them to Yannick backstage. Photo by Jan Regan

Backstage at the ICC Center Jerusalem before the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick leads the Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Photo by Jan Regan

As a thank you to the audience, Yannick introduces the encore, Elgar’s Salut d’amour. Photo by Jan Regan

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There were a number of residency activities today: a side-by-side concert with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic and numerous master classes, both involving the participation of students from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. Founded in 2005 as a unique partnership between Tel Aviv University and the Israel Philharmonic, the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music trains outstanding young musicians and prepares them for professional careers.

Bassist David Fay figures out a way to make his bass fit on the bus to go to the side-by-side at Tel Aviv University. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher gets to know her stand partner from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Symphony. Photo by Jan Regan

Oboist Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia shares a laugh with a Buchmann-Mehta student. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Trumpet David Bilger explains something in the score to two trumpet students prior to the pre-concert rehearsal. Photo by Jan Regan

Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe leads the combined side-by-side orchestra in rehearsal. Photo by Jan Regan

The sold-out crowd for the side-by-side concert waits to enter Tel Aviv University’s Smolarz Auditorium. Photo by Jan Regan

The side-by-side concert. Photo by Jan Regan

A number of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians gave master classes to students from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, at Tel Aviv University. Principal Tuba Carol Jantsch works with a student. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Cello Hai-Ye Ni during her master class. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams listens intently during his master class. He divulged a secret technique for keeping moisture from building up in the instrument: waterproofing boot spray, applied carefully and with warnings not to breathe it in. Photo by Jan Regan

The full Orchestra gathered again in the evening for a concert at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, with Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Students held signs welcoming the Orchestra in front of the Charles Bronfman Auditorium before the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Librarian Robert Grossman prepares the music for the concert backstage. Photo by Jan Regan

Concertmaster David Kim and other members of the violin section during Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Photo by Jan Regan

Violists Anna Marie Ahn Petersen and David Nicastro during the Tchaikovsky. Photo by Jan Regan

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It was a busy few days with a delayed flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv, a welcome party upon arrival in Israel, a residency activity at Oasis of Peace, and the first concert of this leg of the tour, in Haifa.

Assistant Principal Cello Yumi Kendall waits at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport for the buses to take the tour party to their hotel. It was a long travel day from Vienna, with a two-hour delay on the tarmac waiting for paperwork to clear for departure. Photo by Jan Regan

Associate Principal Timpani and percussionist Angela Zator Nelson and Victoria Morales pass the time waiting for the buses by playing catch. Photo by Jan Regan

Bina and Michal (second and third from left), two students from HillelInternational (the world's largest Jewish college organization), welcome the tour party to their hotel upon arrival in Tel Aviv. Pictured with them are substitute flutist Niles Watson (far left) and violist Marvin Moon and First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang (far right).

The Orchestra partnered with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on the Israel portion of the tour, which included a patron tour. A welcome reception was held at the hotel, sponsored by members of the patron tour. Naomi Adler, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, welcomes everyone to the reception. Photo by Jan Regan

Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn, the founding rabbi of the Tel Aviv Synagogue and founding president of ME-Tzion (the Institute of Zionism and Jewish Heritage) performs for the guests. Photo by Jan Regan

Philadelphia Orchestra Board Chairman Richard Worley also spoke. Photo by Jan Regan

Musicians and members of the patron tour at the reception. Photo by Jan Regan

The next day a quartet of Orchestra musicians, Yannick, and other members of the tour party took a trip to Oasis of Peace, a community halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that was jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. The Oasis of Peace community, which is not affiliated with any political party or movement, is based on the concepts of mutual acceptance, respect, and cooperation.

Musicians from the local school prepare to perform for Yannick, the Orchestra members, and friends and family who had gathered for the event. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick and his partner, Pierre Tourville, clearly enjoyed the students’ performance. Photo by Jan Regan

The Orchestra musicians who performed were (l to r) violinist Amy Oshiro-Morales, Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales, cellist Ohad Bar-David, and violist Meng Wang. Bar-David was key in arranging this residency activity. Photo by Jan Regan

Photo by Jan Regan

A final group photo to end the visit. Photo by Jan Regan

Hélène Grimaud performs Brahms’s First Piano Concerto to open the Orchestra’s first concert in Israel, at the Haifa Auditorium. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick leads the Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony to close the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa and bassoonist Angela Anderson Smith. Photo by Jan Regan

Part of the brass section during the Tchaikovsky. Photo by Jan Regan

Photo by Jan Regan

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The month of May brought to citizens of the Delaware Valley a microcosm of what The Philadelphia Orchestra does on a broad basis throughout the entire year. Beginning with concerts that showcased music from the Baroque era led by early-music specialist Nicholas McGegan and moving on to standards of the repertoire with Yannick and pianist Hélène Grimaud, the subscription season concluded with symphonically staged performances of Puccini’s opera Tosca, with a cast of world-renowned opera stars.

In the midst of that, musicians from the Orchestra took part in the third of four Free Neighborhood Chamber Concerts, at Historic Strawberry Mansion, generously supported by the William Penn Foundation (the final free concert will be July 21 at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown). The month closed out with Yannick and the musicians taking their artistry to Europe and Israel, with a variety of works by Brahms, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Wayne Oquin, and Strauss. Such a diverse offering of performances speaks to the talent and virtuosity of the musicians—truly world class.

Read some reviews:

Beautiful Baroque: “The Respighi suite exuded much of that far-too-often-underrated composer’s irresistible charm. … The Stravinsky was quite sufficiently entertaining. … But it was the Rossini piece that … came closest in my judgment to pure fun in the rousing performance that McGegan drew from the marvelous Philadelphia Orchestra.”—Seen and Heard International

Yannick and Hélène: “If it’s possible to speak volumes in a single note, Grimaud did so in the movement’s final seconds, first by delaying the harmonic conclusion and then by coloring the note with a sound distinct from everything else that has come from her coloristic palette. Yes, it was quite a performance.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Tosca: “It is these moments of sheer musical theatricality which showcase the value of pairing a world-class symphonic orchestra with a timeless operatic classic. … In short, this was a great artistic amalgamation that did not disappoint.”—OperaWire

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Yannick, the musicians, and the rest of the tour party take their annual selfie on the flight from Hamburg to Vienna.

The outside of the Musikverein in Vienna, showing a poster for the Orchestra’s first concert with a sold-out sticker across it. Photo by Jan Regan

The crew unload the trunks at the Musikverein. Photo by Jan Regan

Violinist Dmitri Levin warms up prior to the sound check. Photo by Jan Regan

The Orchestra plays a portion of Strauss’s Don Juan during the sound check. Photo by Jan Regan

Co-Principal Bassoon Mark Gigliotti and bassoonist Holly Blake during the sound check. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick checks the balance. Photo by Jan Regan

Violists Anna Marie Ahn Petersen and David Nicastro. Photo by Jan Regan

Simone Saxer, from the Weichmann Tourism Service, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (PHLCVB) international representation office for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, proposes a toast during a pre-concert reception. PHLCVB is a supporting sponsor of the Europe portion of the tour. Photo by Jan Regan

The space in the Musikverein is so tight the crew has to tip the piano on its side to get it on and off the stage. Photo by Jan Regan 

Yannick, pianist Hélène Grimaud, and the Orchestra take a bow following the performance of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Photo by Jan Regan

On the second day in Vienna there were a few hours of free time before the evening concert. For Principal Percussion Chris Deviney, that allowed time to visit the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), where you can find the graves of many famous composers, including Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg, Antonio Salieri, and Johann Strauss, Jr. Chris made several grave rubbings to frame once he returns home, including Brahms’s tombstone. Photo by Jan Regan

Horn player Shelley Showers takes a self-guided tour of the city. Photo by Jan Regan

Three portraits of longtime musicians who will retire at the end of the 2017-18 season warming up prior to the start of the concert: Associate Principal Flute David Cramer. Photo by Jan Regan

Associate Principal Percussion Anthony Orlando. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick leads the Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Photo by Jan Regan

Many music halls, including Vienna’s Musikverein, do not allow photography during performances. Perhaps as a compromise for frustrated photographers and others who need to stay backstage, little peep holes that offer some view of the stage can often be found. Photo by Jan Regan

The audience applauds the end of the Tchaikovsky. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick leaves the stage after an encore of Elgar’s Salut d’amour. Photo by Jan Regan

First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang signs a program after the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

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Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen during the morning rehearsal of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”). Photo by Jan Regan. Photo by Jan Regan

Later that evening the musicians and tour staff returned to the Elbphilharmonie for the concert. The building sits atop an old warehouse and is located in the HafenCity district of Hamburg, formerly part of the Port of Hamburg. It is now being revitalized with new hotels, shops, office and residential buildings. Photo by Jan Regan

WRTI host Gregg Whiteside (left) and engineer Ray Devine get ready to broadcast the May 28 concert from Hamburg back to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties the broadcast had to be postponed until May 30. They will travel to Vienna and Israel for additional broadcasts. Photo by Jan Regan

Principal Trumpet David Bilger (left) and horn player Ernesto Tovar Torres chat backstage prior to the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick conducts the Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Photo by Jan Regan

Photo by Jan Regan

Audience members leave the hall with the sun setting in the windows behind them. As Hamburg is quite far north, it stays light late into the evening at this time of year. Photo by Jan Regan

Yannick threw a party for the musicians and staff following the concert. Photo by Jan Regan

May 30 was a rare day off during the tour. Some musicians decided to do some sightseeing, while others had a more relaxing day, to reenergize themselves for the remainder of the tour.

(L to r): Tour doctor Glenn Newell, cellist Derek Barnes, and substitute cellist Glenn Fischbach rented bikes and took a long ride along the Elbe River. Photo by Jan Regan

(L to r): Violist Anna Marie Ahn Petersen, violist Meng Wang, Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner, and Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen took the opportunity to try one of Hamburg’s fine restaurants. Photo by Jan Regan

(L to r): Associate Principal Clarinet Samuel Caviezel, oboist Jonathan Blumenfeld, and Associate Principal Flute David Cramer on their way to dinner. Photo by Jan Regan

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Learn what it's like to tour as an organist from Paul Jacobs, soloist on the 2018 Tour of Europe and Israel. He performed Wayne Oquin's Resilience with the Orchestra in Brussels, Luxembourg, and Hamburg.

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