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The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra on WRTI: Philadelphia Firsts, Aug. 21 at 3 PM

Members of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

WRTI continues its series of concert broadcasts of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra with Music Director Louis Scaglione on the podium. This Sunday it's music of Samuel Barber, Roland Szentpali, Jennifer Higdon, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The concert, recorded in June of this year, was the 76th annual festival concert by the orchestra, and was highlighted by the selection of the 3rd annual Ovation Award for Outstanding Leadership in Music Education.

The world premiere of Barber’s Toccata Festiva was given at the Academy of Music in 1960, celebrating the dedication of the new organ installed there. Eugene Ormandy conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra, with Paul Calloway soloing. In this performance, one of the leading concert organists of our time, Alan Morrison, joins the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in this rousing work.

Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral, her loving memorial to her brother, was commissioned and premiered by the Curtis Institute of Music in 2000. It is one of the most-performed orchestral works by a living composer.

Hungarian composer and tubist Roland Szentpali wrote the four movements of his Symphony Concertante to be played on the unusual combination of brass instruments: serpent, cimbasso, ophicleide, and saxhorn, but one euphonium can also do it all! PYO’s Bravo Brass alum Joel Collier takes on this work, demanding for soloist and orchestra alike, in this North American premiere.

Of course, Philadelphia is known for its long association with Sergei Rachmaninoff, and his orchestral showpiece Symphonic Dances first saw the light of day here in town in 1941, with Eugene Ormandy again leading The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Hear the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in this remarkable concert of Philadelphia firsts, this Sunday from 3 to 5 pm on WRTI.

Samuel Barber: Toccata Festiva
     Alan Morrison, organ
Higdon: blue cathedral
Roland Szentpali: Symphony Concertante for Euphonium and Orchestra
     Joel Collier, euphonium
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

Louis Scaglione, conductor