A heroic reopening

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's The Eroica Symphony opens the new season

1 minute read
Hunt poses in all black in a black and white portrait photo.
Sophia Hunt, the soprano soloist, will be featured in 'The Eroica Symphony.' (Photo by Patrick Wilhelm.)

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will open its season with one of music’s greatest hymns to the embattled human spirit—Beethoven’s Eroica. Beethoven’s symphonies are normally played by orchestras that are twice as big as the Chamber Orchestra. But the Chamber Orchestra has presented the Eroica before.

Big on small talk

Under its last conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, its performances demonstrated that a small orchestra can give us a fresh look at a familiar work. As Solzhenitsyn has pointed out, the premiere performance of the Eroica employed a small orchestra, with three violins in the first violin section.

The Chamber Orchestra’s current leader, Dirk Brossé, has scheduled two related pieces with the Eroica. The opener will be the premiere of the new work Blame Not the Planes that plays with some of the themes in Beethoven’s symphony. The composer is Nathan Bales, an award-winning composer of contemporary classical music who currently studies privately at the Curtis Institute with composer David Ludwig.

Bales’s last local premiere was a Covid-response piece the Philadelphia Orchestra presented at its digital concert in June. His new piece will be followed by a show-stopper—Beethoven’s intensely emotional concert aria Ah Perfido sung by Sophia Hunt, a Brazilian American soprano currently studying at the Curtis, who has made some highly praised local appearances.

What, When, Where

The Eroica Symphony. Conducted by Dirk Brossé. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. $29-$104. Sunday, October 10, at 2:30pm, and Monday, October 11, at 7:30 pm, at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. (215) 893-1999 or chamberorchestra.org.

Proof of vaccination is required. Patrons must wear masks.


The Kimmel Center is an ADA-compliant venue. Patrons can purchase wheelchair seating or loose chairs online by calling Patron Services at (215) 893-1999, or by emailing [email protected]. With advance notice, Patron Services can provide options for personal care attendants, American Sign Language, Braille tickets and programs, audio descriptions, and other services.

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