Concerts Canceled, But The Philadelphians Perform Beethoven's 5th, 6th for All To Hear on WRTI

Mar 5, 2020

The Philadelphians and Yannick Nézét-Seguin present a symphonic journey that begins with a world premiere, and then traverses both the 5th and 6th symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven. This concert, which was to be performed to a sold-out house at Verizon Hall but had to be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, will be heard exclusively on WRTI 90.1 on Friday, March 13th at 2 PM, and Sunday, March 15th at 1 PM, and Monday night, March 16th at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.

Composer Iman Habibi
Credit Hamid Payombarnia

The Iranian-Canadian composer and pianist Iman Habibi has composed a work inspired by nature that, like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, is based on a direct quote from Beethoven, Jeder Baum sprichtor every tree speaks, translating from German.

The work is an imagining of Beethoven’s response to today’s climate crisis. We know from Beethoven’s letters that he took frequent walks in nature and that he loved the forest. Habibi himself comments that his work is a commentary on the environmental crisis that we’re living today, but it ends with hope for our future.

Beethoven's iconic Fifth Symphony was on the program when the Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, and it's an epic tour de force that has resonated through the centuries down to the present day.  Then, in the wake of its rousing conclusion come the verdant valleys and sweet smells of the woods of the Austrian countryside, as captured in Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, which premiered at the same time. We'll enjoy them both on Sunday afternoon!

With Yannick on the podium, recporded live from Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, this promises to be an unforgettable concert. Listen on WRTI 90.1, or our classical web stream at on Friday, March 13th at 2 PM and Sunday, March 15th at 1 PM.

Read the detailed program notes for the concert here.


Habibi: Jeder Baum spricht  (World Premiere, Philadelphia Orchestra Commission)

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5


Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral")

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézét-Seguin, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of  The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, streaming online at, and on our mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2

Read a message from WRTI General Manager Bill Johnson here