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Yo-Yo Ma and The Philadelphia Orchestra LIVE on WRTI: Tribute to John Williams, May 1st at 2 PM

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma

The celebrated cello maestro Yo-Yo Ma kicks off a two-week Philadelphia Orchestra celebration of John Williams' music for concert hall and film this week, and Sunday’s concert will be broadcast LIVE at 2 PM here on WRTI.

The centerpiece of this program will be John Williams’ Cello Concerto, written specifically for Yo-Yo Ma, at the suggestion of Seiji Ozawa.

Not too many fans of John Williams’ film music are aware of how seriously he took composing for concert hall performance; this concerto, in fact, is one of ten concertos by the award-winning composer.

WRTI's Debra Lew Harder speaks with guest conductor, Ste?phane Dene?ve.

The legendary conductor Seiji Ozawa himself is celebrated right at the very beginning of this concert, under the direction of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Stephane Deneve, who conducts Williams' Tributes! For Seiji, written in honor of Ozawa's 25th anniversary with the Boston Symphony.

Following intermission, during which WRTI’s Susan Lewis will speak with Yo-Yo Ma, and Debra Lew Harder will interview Stephane Deneve, the Philadelphians perform two excerpts from one of Claude Debussy's most popular works, "Clouds and Festivals" from his Nocturnes; and, to conclude the concert, it’s Modest Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition – not in the best known orchestral version by Maurice Ravel, but in the more Slavic, and more mysterious, version by Leopold Stokowski, who arranged and orchestrated it for the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1939.

During intermission, WRTI’s Susan Lewis will speak with Yo-Yo Ma. Debra Lew Harder will interview Stephane Deneve.

Not to be missed, that’s this Sunday, May 1st, LIVE from Verizon Hall from 2 to 4 PM on WRTI 90.1 FM in Philadelphia and streaming online at WRTI.org

Read detailed program notes from The Philadelphia Orchestra here


Williams: Williams Tributes! For Seiji (First Philadelphia Orchestra performances) Williams: Cello Concerto

Yo-Yo Ma, cello (First Philadelphia Orchestra performances)


Debussy: from Nocturnes: Clouds II. Festivals

Moussorgsky arr: Stokowski: Pictures at an Exhibition

Stephane Deneve, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts on WRTI 90.1 FM in Philadelphia and streaming online at WRTI.org, every Sunday from 1 to 3 pm.

Gregg was the host of WRTI's morning drive show from 2012 until his retirement from WRTI in January, 2021. He began producing and hosting The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcasts in 2013, joining the Orchestra in Hong Kong for the first-ever live international radio broadcasts from that island in 2016, and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for two historic broadcasts in 2018. You can still hear Gregg as host of the Orchestra broadcasts every Sunday and Monday on WRTI.