Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Lead The Philadelphia Orchestra on 2018 Tour of Europe and Israel May 24-June 5, 2018


Tour marks only the second time the Fabulous Philadelphians have traveled to Israel and Nézet-Séguin's debut there

In partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Israel portion of tour commemorates the nation's 70th anniversary

Concerts bring the "Philadelphia Sound" to devoted fans in six European cities and three Israeli cities with pianists Hélène Grimaud and Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloists

Orchestra's commitment to cultural diplomacy highlighted through residency activities, patron tour featuring chef Michael Solomonov, and business development trip

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its commitment to cultural diplomacy, The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will tour Europe and Israel from May 24 through June 5, 2018. The visit to Israel—in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia—coincides with the country's 70th anniversary and marks only the second time The Philadelphia Orchestra has traveled there since its inaugural visit in 1992. The Philadelphia Orchestra is the only major American symphony orchestra to travel to Israel during this anniversary year and only the third to ever visit the country; the last time an American orchestra visited Israel was in 1996.

Following a highly successful 2015 European tour, Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra will return to the continent, bringing the renowned "Philadelphia Sound" to devoted fans in important musical cities, including debut performances at the Jean Nouvel-designed Philharmonie de Paris and the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Other cities on the tour include Brussels, Luxembourg City, Düsseldorf, and Vienna. From there, the Orchestra will travel to Israel for performances in Haifa (Philadelphia Orchestra debut), Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Pianists Hélène Grimaud and Jean-Yves Thibaudet will join the Orchestra as soloists.

"To have this remarkable opportunity to travel to Israel with the extraordinary Philadelphia Orchestra is a dream come true," said Nézet-Séguin, who will make his first visit to Israel on this tour. "I also look forward to returning to Europe, where classical music is so deeply admired, and where we will bring our distinctive sound to some of the world's most esteemed concert halls. It is incredibly fulfilling to represent our Philadelphia community abroad as cultural ambassadors. We look forward to bringing the spirit of our hometown audiences with us on our journey, as we share our magnificent music-making with those around the globe."

Tour Concert Schedule:
Brussels, Belgium May 24 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, BOZAR
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg May 25 at the Philharmonie Luxembourg
Paris, France May 26 at the Philharmonie de Paris
Düsseldorf, Germany May 27 at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf
Hamburg, Germany May 28 & 29 at the Elbphilharmonie
Vienna, Austria May 31 & June 1 at the Musikverein
Haifa, Israel June 3 at Rappaport Hall
Tel Aviv, Israel June 4 at the Charles R. Bronfman Auditorium
Jerusalem, Israel June 5 at the International Convention Center  

The Orchestra will present works by Schumann, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky. Grimaud will perform Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Thibaudet will perform Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra ("The Age of Anxiety"), in celebration of the Bernstein Centennial and Bernstein's love of, and impact in, Israel. The tour will also feature Wayne Oquin's Resilience, for organ and orchestra, with organ soloist Paul Jacobs. Performances of Resilience are made possible in part through support from the Wyncote Foundation for the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Experience. Click here for a complete listing of concert information.

WRTI 90.1 FM will bring the excitement of the tour to audiences back home. Concerts on June 1 in Vienna, June 4 in Tel Aviv, and June 5 in Jerusalem will be simulcast to the U.S. and hosted by WRTI's Gregg Whiteside. WRTI is the classical music station in Philadelphia and radio partner of the Orchestra. Additionally, the June 1 concert in Vienna will be recorded for delayed broadcast across Europe through the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF, and the June 4 performance in Tel Aviv will be recorded for delayed broadcast throughout Israel on Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation KAN.

Patron Tour and Residency Activities in Israel

The Israel portion of the itinerary marks a new partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Orchestra, designed to engage new members of the Philadelphia community. The partnership will include a special patron tour and mission led by the Jewish Federation from June 1 through 7, 2018, with invitees from both organizations. An immersive exploration of music, food, history, and Israeli modern-day life, the patron tour will include Orchestra events and a culinary adventure led and curated by renowned Israeli-born chef Michael Solomonov, known for his landmark Philadelphia restaurant, Zahav.

"We are honored to partner with The Philadelphia Orchestra on this historic tour of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, in celebration of its 70th anniversary," said Naomi Adler, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. "The tour and patron mission will reinforce the powerful bond between Philadelphia and Israel and will create new opportunities for musical, cultural, and educational exploration. Israel holds an incredibly special place in our hearts, and we look forward to sharing this extraordinary experience with one of Philadelphia's preeminent cultural institutions."

Highlights of the patron tour include:

  • A walking tour of Jaffa with dual perspectives from Jewish and Arab guides
  • Activities with the Lod Youth Concert Band
  • A briefing on the state of Israel today with journalist Alon Ben-David
  • A tour of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, which boasts Israel's largest archive of Jewish music and instruments
  • An interfaith walking tour of Jerusalem's Old City
  • Solomonov-curated culinary tours of the Negev and Jerusalem
  • A Solomonov-prepared dinner in the desert

"I am thrilled to work with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on this historic trip to Israel," said Solomonov. "My life's work is to help people in the United States and around the world experience the depth and distinct beauty of Israeli cuisine and I look forward to sharing an amazing culinary adventure with the guests on this trip."

For more information and to book a reservation for the patron tour, visit

Orchestra musicians will also participate in cultural diplomacy activities throughout Israel in collaboration with Israeli citizens, including students and musicians. Residency activities will include:

  • Master classes with students from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music
  • A pop-up concert on the campus of Tel Aviv University
  • An arts administration roundtable conversation

Additional events will be added at a later date.

"We are incredibly proud of our rich history of cultural diplomacy, representing the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States abroad," said Orchestra Interim Co-President Ryan Fleur. "Our goal is to share the universal power of music across the globe, through our full Orchestra concerts and people-to-people activities. We look forward to this special tour, which will unite us all through the common language of music."

Lead support for the Israel portion of the tour comes from the Neubauer Family Foundation and Constance Smukler.

Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) is the official education and healthcare partner for the Israel portion of the tour. The trip is being coordinated with the formal inauguration of the Jefferson Israel Center, one of several multi-institutional collaborations with Jefferson and Israel. 

Business Delegation

In partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia, the tour will also bring a business delegation to Europe and Israel to promote state and city trade and tourism. This group of business leaders will develop and strengthen bonds with key European and Israeli counterparts.  Business delegation trips on past tours have resulted in foreign investment in Pennsylvania and the creation of new jobs.

"In addition to being one of the most renowned orchestras in the world, The Philadelphia Orchestra plays a vital role as a cultural ambassador for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," said Governor Tom Wolf. "As a result of the business delegation trips that are a trademark of the Orchestra's tours, Pennsylvania has built new relationships and seen additional foreign investments."

The Philadelphia Orchestra's History on Tour and in Europe

The Philadelphia Orchestra's tour history is as long and legendary as the Orchestra itself. Just four days after their inaugural concert on November 16, 1900, the musicians were already on the road. Over the next three decades, they performed regularly across the United States. The Orchestra first performed outside the United States in 1936, led by Music Director Leopold Stokowski. The transcontinental tour—which included a concert in Toronto, Canada—was the first of its kind by any American orchestra. In 1949 the Orchestra and Music Director Eugene Ormandy made their first overseas tour—the first for an American orchestra following World War II—traveling to Great Britain by boat, giving 28 concerts in 27 days. Six years later they crossed the Atlantic again, making their first visit to the European Continent. Since that time, the Orchestra has crossed the globe on a regular basis, becoming one of the most-traveled American symphonic ensembles. The Orchestra regularly travels to Asia with a focus in China since its historic 1973 visit, the first to that country by a major American orchestra. The Philadelphians last visited Europe with Nézet-Séguin in 2015.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's History in Israel

The 2018 tour marks the second time the "Fabulous Philadelphians" have traveled to Israel. The first was in 1992 under the direction of then-Music Director Riccardo Muti. Only two other major American orchestras have visited the country (New York Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony)—the last time in 1996. This tour also continues a tradition of Philadelphia Orchestra celebrations of important Israeli anniversaries. The ensemble marked the 50th and 60th Israel anniversaries with special concert programs in Philadelphia, including a 1998 "side-by-side" concert with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2018 Tour of Europe and Israel is supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Team PA. PHLCVB is a supporting sponsor of the Europe portion of the tour. Additional support for the Israel portion of the tour comes from John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick; Sandy and David Marshall; Joan N. Stern in memory of Clarence and Diana Stern; Miriam Klein Charitable Foundation; the Leslie and Richard Worley Foundation; the Paul E. Singer Foundation; Tobey and Mark Dichter; the Moses Feldman Foundation; Rachelle and Ron Kaiserman; Lynn and Joe Manko; Sherrie R. Savett; Adele K. Schaeffer; Linda and Harold B. Yaffe; and Joseph S. and Renee M. Zuritsky.

About The Philadelphia Orchestra

About the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

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SOURCE Philadelphia Orchestra Association


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