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The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI 90.1: Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms with Conductor David Afkham

Gisela Schenker
Conductor David Afkham

Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms are all composers dear to the German-born conductor David Afkham, and he makes his Philadelphia Orchestra debut directing performances of works by these greats on this  Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Friday, May 1st at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, and the night before at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.

WRTI's Debra Lew Harder talks backstage with pianist Seong-Jin Cho.

Just before intermission, a performance of Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto by the young pianist who came to the world’s attention in 2015 when he won First Prize at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, Seong-Jin Cho. In the following year, he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and is a major celebrity in his native Korea.

Following intermission, a work Johannes Brahms spent at least fourteen years completing, his Symphony No.1.

Among the 23 concertos Mozart produced in his prime, none has aroused as much enthusiasm through the ages as the 20th in d-minor, K. 466. Pianist Charles Rosen called it "as much a myth as a work of art.”

And as for the First Symphony of Brahms, this is a polyphony of different musical ideas all happening simultaneously – a network of interrelated musical lines churning away in counterpoint at the same time. One has to go as far back as Bach to truly appreciate what Brahms was doing here! He was attempting, as Tom Service put it, “to make a symphony that works in musical space as well as time, one that has all the internal consistency and multi-dimensional splendor of a Bach fugue, but also has the dynamism and energy of a large-scale orchestral work.” No wonder it took him fourteen years to compose it.

The concert begins with the overture to the incidental music Beethoven composed for Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s play about the Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. The Coriolan Overture is music of heroic power, drama, and quiet tenderness.

During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder speaks with Seong-Jin Cho backstage, and Susan Lewis has a conversation with Maestro Afkham.

Not to be missed, that’s Friday, May 1st from 1 to 3 PM here on WRTI 90.1 and streaming at WRTI.org. You can also hear the concert on Thursday, April 30th at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.


Beethoven: Coriolan Overture

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20                                                                                                                        Seong-Jin Cho, piano


Brahms: Symphony No. 1                                                                                                                                       

The Philadelphia Orchestra                                                                                                                                    David Afkham, 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 WRTI.org, and on our mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2

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.