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6abc Loves the Arts: Philadelphia Orchestra Festival

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The Philadelphia Orchestra is bookending the month of April with a series of concerts that celebrate a Russian powerhouse, a prodigy and the evolution of technology. (WPVI)

The Philadelphia Orchestra is bookending the month of April with a series of concerts that celebrate a Russian powerhouse, a prodigy and the evolution of technology.

The orchestra starts the month with a wide-ranging concert, led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, filled with everything from futuristic sounds to the familiar.

“Yannick loves exploring such a wide variety of repertoire and this program really defines who he is as a music director,” explains Jeremy Rothman, the orchestra’s Vice President of Artistic Planning.

The concert opens with a work composed by Beethoven in the dawn of the 19th century: The Creatures of Prometheus, “the creator of fire; so when you talk about the ultimate human technology, it all started with fire,” Rothman says.

The Grammy-nominated American composer and DJ Mason Bates takes it from there.

“There’s sound system. There’s auto parts, and percussion instruments,” says Rothman of the work called Alternative Energy, which spans four movements and hundreds of years, from a 19th century junkyard in the Midwest to a futuristic Chinese nuclear plant and finally an Icelandic rainforest.

“It’s the full orchestra and then Mason Bates introduces this technology, so digital sounds that transport us from scene to scene, from era to era,” says Rothman.

The orchestra also reunites with Daniil Trifonov, a Russian pianist prodigy who earned a Grammy nomination in 2015 for best classical instrument solo in a recording with the Fabulous Philadelphians.

Then, at the end of April, the orchestra celebrates its relationship with a Russian titan of 20th century music with the Rachmaninoff Festival.

“He wrote many of his most popular works for the Philadelphia orchestra. He conducted the orchestra. He performed his piano solos with the orchestra. He recorded with the orchestra,” says Rothman.

The three-day festival includes concerts and chamber music but also memorabilia-filled exhibits and original plays.

“Each night is going to be a different play that will dramatize Rachmaninoff’s relationship with Philadelphia,” says Rothman, “this is unparalleled anywhere else in the musical world.”

For tickets and show times to any of the Orchestra’s April events, visit www.TheArtsInPhilly.org. And follow them on Twitter for regular chances to win tickets to area events. @TheArtsInPhilly

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