– Philadelphia Orchestra’s summer season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center features three weeks of glorious music, debut performances, and movies including “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Jurassic Park.”
– Notable performances include David Kim’s 24th season with the orchestra, Isata Kanneh-Mason’s debut with Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto featuring Philippe Tondre.
Alright, folks, fasten your seatbelts because the Philadelphia Orchestra’s summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is about to take off, and it’s going to be a wild ride. The plan is to start the season with three weeks of glorious music, two movies, and a bunch of debut performances from artists so talented they make the rest of us look like we’ve been playing “Chopsticks” on a Fisher Price toy piano.
The opening concert starts with some good old Tchaikovsky classics, the 1812 Overture and Symphony No. 5. But the pièce de résistance is going to be David Kim’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. This will be Kim’s 24th season with the orchestra, and he’s become something of a pro at this concerto. I mean, the man has memorized all 35 minutes of the piece and plays it with the precision of a neurosurgeon.
Then there’s British pianist, Isata Kanneh-Mason, making her debut with Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1. She’s only 26, but already an artist-in-residence with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She’s so comfortable, she’s looking forward to playing outdoors. Just hope she doesn’t get bird poop on the piano keys.
Following Kanneh-Mason’s performance, the audience will be treated to Pink Martini with vocalist China Forbes playing from classical to jazz. Then, a double feature of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Jurassic Park” will give the orchestra a much-needed breather.
But don’t worry, they’ll be back in full swing on August 9 with Mozart’s Oboe Concerto featuring the orchestra’s principal oboist, Philippe Tondre. Now, Tondre is a bit of an overachiever. The 34-year-old Frenchman has won awards and established himself as a soloist in both Europe and Asia. And when he’s not wowing audiences, he maintains his position with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and joined the Curtis Institute faculty.
Other notable performances include Audra McDonald, singing Broadway favorites, promising more drama than a Kardashian family dinner. Canadian pianist Bruce Liu, fresh off his victory at the International Chopin Piano Competition, will also make his debut along with violinist Gil Shaham playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Saint-Georges’ Violin Concerto.
With this lineup, I’m expecting a lot of standing ovations, a few misty eyes, and possibly a fainting spell or two. If you’re a fan of great music, or just enjoy sitting outside in the summer pretending to understand great music, then this is the place to be. So grab your picnic blankets, your wine coolers, and your pretentious music critique lingo, and let’s get this party started!