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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: A Debut for Finnish Conductor Susanna Malkki

Simon Fowler
Conductor Susanna Malkki

On Sunday, January 18th at 1 pm, the Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert brings us the music of Respighi, Stravinsky, and Brahms, conducted by the brilliant young Finnish Maestra, Susanna Malkki, who makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with this performance from last November, 2014 at Verizon Hall.

All three of the works on the program pay homage to older musical traditions, from Gregorian chant to courtly Renaissance dances, to the towering Baroque example of J.S. Bach.Ottorino Respighi was inspired to write his Botticelli Triptych after viewing the three paintings of the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli: Spring, The Adoration of the Magi, and The Birth of Venus, all of which hang in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

Next on the program, it’s Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, played by The Philadelphia Orchestra’s First Associate Concertmaster, Juliette Kang. It’s a concerto that looks back to Bach as reflected in the delicate textures of the orchestration, the interplay between soloist and ensemble, and the subtitles of the movements (Toccata, Aria, Capriccio).

Susan Lewis interviews the Philadelphia Orchestra's First Associate Concermaster, Juliette Kang.

And finally, after intermission, it’s Brahms, who, among great 19th-century composers, was no doubt the one most historically well informed. For the last movement of his final Fourth Symphony, which we'll also hear, he used the Baroque procedure of the "passacaglia," in which a musical theme is constantly repeated, in this instance one based on a brief passage from Bach’s Cantata No. 150.

During imtermission, WRTI's Susan Lewis speaks with with Ms. Kang and WRTI's Jim Cotter speaks with Ms. Malkki.

Join us on Sunday, January 18th, 1 to 3 pm.

Respighi: Botticelli Triptych
Stravinsky: Violin Concerto 
Juliette Kang, violin
Brahms: Symphony No. 4
Susanna Malkki, conductor

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.