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The venerable classical music recording label Deutsche Grammophon (DG) celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, with gala performances around the world featuring some of their most recognizable artists. But only one of these soirées will take place in the US: on Saturday, December 9, at Verizon Hall, the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The program features Philly music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, pianist Hélène Grimaud, violinist María Dueñas, and musical pioneer Moby—all DG artists—in a varied program of classical and crossover.
The Philadelphia setting is fitting, according to Philadelphia Orchestra chief programming officer Jeremy Rothman. “The Orchestra has enjoyed a renewed relationship with Deutsche Grammophon during the tenure of Yannick Nézet-Séguin,” Rothman said in an interview. “The relationship has afforded the Philadelphia Orchestra its first-ever Grammy win for our recording of the music of Florence Price.”
The concert will feature works by composers who have been central to the Philadelphia Orchestra’s history, including Price, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Igor Stravinsky. “It was a very natural fit for us to do a program that celebrated Deutsche Grammophon’s amazing 125-year history and recording legacy and to also celebrate what the orchestra has done with recordings as well,” Rothman said.
Dueñas, a rising star for the label, will perform Ravel’s Tzigane, as well as Kreisler’s “Caprice viennois.”
“Tzigane is a very well-known and virtuosic piece,” she said in an interview. “I think it’s really interesting because you first get to know the solo violin because the piece begins without the orchestra. I think it shows a lot of the range of the instrument and its colors. And I will bring a little bit of the Vienna flavor with the Kreisler piece, which defines me very well because I live in Vienna.”
Dueñas signed with DG in 2022, a year after taking first prize at the Yehudi Menuhin Competition. Her first album for the label, Beethoven and Beyond, was released earlier this year.
“To be a Deutsche Grammophon artist is a dream,” Dueñas said. “Of course, I grew up listening to recordings from the ‘Yellow Label,’ as we know it. Being part of this family means so much to me, and I feel very honored. They are such an amazing team, and they are very open to new ideas. I think what is so important is that they take the artist into consideration.”
Having made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Nézet-Séguin at the Mann Center this past May, Dueñas looks forward to the swift return. “The first thing I noticed when I went onstage for rehearsal was how much the orchestra really loves the music,” she said. “It’s really important to bring this passion for music to the audience. Having Yannick as a conductor, I felt like I was working with a family. As a soloist, they reacted so well to every little detail I made. It really didn’t feel like I just came and played—it felt like a work in progress for all of us.”
At top: Rising star Maria Dueñas will perform in the celebration. (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra.)
What, When, Where
Deutsche Grammophon 125th Anniversary Celebration. Featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra (Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor), Maria Dueñas, Hélène Grimaud, and Moby. Saturday, December 9, 2023, at Verizon Hall, 300 S Broad Street, Philadelphia. (215) 893-1999 or philorch.org.
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