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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Kensho Watanabe leads two sparkling Mozart masterworks

Kensho Watanabe
Irina Belashov
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Kensho Watanabe leads The Philadelphians in an all-Mozart program on WRTI.

Join us on Sunday, September 11th at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, and Monday, September 12th at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2 when our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast brings you a performance recorded live in November, 2021.

Kensho Watanabe, who served as The Philadelphia Orchestra’s assistant conductor from 2016 to 2019, leads Mozart's Symphony No. 36 in C major, known as the “Linz” symphony, and his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, with onstage historical commentary from Charlotte Blake Alston, the Orchestra’s resident storyteller and narrator.

In between the two symphonies, you’ll hear musicians of the orchestra in a chamber-music presentation of a movement from a Mozart concerto, with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin as piano soloist.

The two symphonies on this program were composed five years apart. Mozart conceived, composed, and premiered the Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425, known as the “Linz” Symphony, in the space of only five days in November 1783.

The story goes Mozart was passing through the Austrian city of Linz, and was invited to give a concert. Having no suitable music with him, he simply composed a new symphony — one of his grandest and most expansive works.

In 1788, Mozart performed a similar feat by generating his final three symphonies in a period of six weeks. The Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 is one of only two he wrote in a minor key, and represents one of his most profound and passionate musical statements.

Conductor Kensho Watanabe talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis

The young American conductor Kensho Watanabe is well known to Philadelphia Orchestra audiences. He was the orchestra’s assistant conductor from 2016 to 2019, and made his subscription concert debut in 2017. This season he is busy making debuts with orchestras internationally, including the London Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic, and the Turku Philharmonic in Finland. He has also collaborated with the Detroit, Houston, and San Antonio symphony orchestras, among others.

We’ll also bring you some chamber music by Mozart — the first movement of his Piano Concerto No. 12, which can be played as a quintet for piano and strings. Yannick performs with members of the orchestra.

Read detailed program notes from the concert here.

PROGRAM:

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C major, K. 425 (“Linz”)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414: I. Allegro

Mozart: The Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Kensho Watanabe, conductor
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, pianist

Listen to The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, streaming at WRTI.org, on the WRTI mobile app, and on your favorite smart speaker. Listen again on Mondays at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2. Listen for up to two weeks after broadcast on WRTI Replay. 

Melinda has over 30 years of experience in classical music public radio. As an award-winning broadcaster, she created and hosted classical music programs and reported arts news for NPR, WQXR—New York, WHYY–Philadelphia, and American Public Media. WRTI listeners may remember her years hosting classical music for WFLN and WHYY.
As senior producer of arts and culture, Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and producer of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series, to which she also contributes weekly intermission interviews. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.