The Philadelphia Orchestra at 100

7. The Future

FRANK J. OTERI: My one last big question has to do with, you do the season, it happens, and now we’re in the 21st century. What happens in the 21st century? What is the long term plan for the Philadelphia Orchestra in terms of integrating more recent music? You have these commissions that are coming up. What can we expect to see two seasons from now? Another season that’s majority Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn? How is this new approach to programming going to carry out in the coming years?

JOSEPH H. KLUGER: First of all, we have a commitment to continue to commission new works, which we’re making decisions now for works that are going to be in the pipeline and be produced each year, I think we’re planning now as far out as 2005. In terms of the programing focus, we are committed as an orchestra to presenting the broadest spectrum of symphonic music, and are actively coming up with the particular focus for the 2001-2002 season and beyond. I’ll tease you a little bit by saying the specifics are going to have to wait, other than to say that we are very encouraged by the positive response we’ve gotten from people who have heard about this season’s programming and saying, “Wow, that’s really exciting. We encourage you to have a thematic focus to what you do and to continue to take risks.” That doesn’t mean that in the future we’re going to abandon in the core repertoire. Manny Ax said recently that the core symphonic repertoire is like the Bible, and it continues to be at the core of what we do and continues to benefit from renewed interpretation. But we’re also very committed to making sure that we move our art form forward. At the same time we present the canon of symphonic literature, we’re identifying those works that will be part of the standard repertoire in the future.

SIMON WOODS: It’s worth adding one thing to that, which is that my personal belief that there are many areas of the repertoire, not only in contemporary music, which are worth exploring. We play a relatively small repertoire and we’ll continue to go on playing the key masterpieces, but we’re also playing the Stenhammar Concerto and the season after next I can tell you we’re going to play the Franz Xaver Scharwenka Fourth Piano Concerto, which was the piece that Stephen Hough has been playing and making famous, a fabulous romantic work. There are many backwaters from the 19th and early 20th century, which we can also play. All of this is about making the repertoire a mix of things that are familiar and things that are less familiar, that I think are new and exciting.

FRANK J. OTERI: Despite the press announcements and your own materials and our conversation today about doing an all-20th-century season, even in this season, there are two Beethoven symphonies and a performance of Handel’s Messiah. I guess we can’t escape this music no matter how hard we try.

EDWARD CAMBRON: [laughs]

JOSEPH H. KLUGER: They’re not on subscription, though. They’re only on special event concerts. Every single work in the 96 subscription concerts was written after 1900.

FRANK J. OTERI: That’s great. But yet the very first concert, opening night, is all 19th century repertoire, with the exception of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville 1915.

SIMON WOODS: But that’s not related to our theme. Our theme is related to our subscription concerts. The other special-event concerts throughout the season have been programmed just as normal.

EDWARD CAMBRON: Opening night is a one night fundraiser.

FRANK J. OTERI: I’d like to thank you all for this unique opportunity to talk about this unique orchestral season. Would anybody like to add a final thought?

EDWARD CAMBRON: When any of your surfers are in Philadelphia, I hope they come by and see us at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

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