Com­ing up in Philly music: Net­work for New Music primes a new generation

2 minute read
The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra carries on tradition. (Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.)
The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra carries on tradition. (Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.)

This Sunday, you can choose between two concerts that showcase younger musicians. At the Kimmel Center, you can hear a particularly attractive program presented by the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. At the University of Pennsylvania, in the Rose Recital Hall, you can find out what six young composers have been up to.

The Youth Orchestra concert features two of Philadelphia’s leading musicians in two of the most enjoyable pieces in the repertoire. Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy evokes the charms of the Highlands without any attempt to imitate bagpipes. Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony is the top item in the small number of pieces that combine the power of the organ with the power and variety of the orchestra. The guest soloist in the Bruch will be the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, violinist David Kim. The organist in the Saint-Saëns will be Peter Richard Conte, an organist with a national reputation who is best known locally for his daily workout with the Wanamaker organ in Macy’s.

At Penn, the Network for New Music will present a program featuring chamber works by millennial composers. The performers include Network regulars like Philadelphia Orchestra musicians Hirono Oka (violin) and Burchard Tang (viola). The composers include Opera Philadelphia’s current composer-in-residence, Rene Orth, and pianist/composer Andrew Hsu. Roth’s contribution will be a trio for piano, viola, and cello commissioned by the Network. Hsu will display both sides of his career in a performance of his piece Erebus for clarinet and piano. All the composers on the program are still in their 20s and 30s — old enough to have track records, young enough that they’re still developing and acquiring followings. Most of their pieces employ standard ensembles but one includes electronics and some experiment with unusual combinations like violin and cello.

The Network for New Music is the leading new-music organization in the Philadelphia area, consistently presenting well-chosen new music performed by some of the top musicians in the region. The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra has been a major Philadelphia institution for 79 years. It’s an important asset in the infrastructure that supports classical music, providing hands-on musical education for future musicians and young people who plan to pursue other careers. Its graduates hold positions in most of the top 20 orchestras in the United States, with 12 currently playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra will present works by Bruch, Saint-Saëns, and Strauss on February 17 at 3pm at Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 to $30 and they’re available via phone (215) 893-1999, online, and at the door.

The Network for New Music will present Millennial Music on Sunday, February 17, at 3pm at Rose Recital Hall, University of Pennsylvania (3340 Walnut Street, 4th Floor). Tickets are $20 (seniors $15, students $5) and they’re available online and at the door.

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