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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI: Violinist Lisa Batiashvili plays Szymanowski and Chausson

Violinist Lisa Batiashvili
Chris Singer
Violinist Lisa Batiashvili

Join us on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. on WRTI 90.1, and Monday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. on WRTI HD-2 when our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series brings you a performance recorded live in January, 2022.

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, this concert features violinist Lisa Batiashvili as soloist in two sumptuous concerted works: Karol Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto and Ernest Chausson’s Poeme. The program concludes with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s mysterious tone poem, The Isle of the Dead.

The program marks the first time The Philadelphia Orchestra has played a subscription-season concert at the Academy of Music since moving to Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in 2001. The opulent Academy was the Orchestra’s home for just over a century, and has been the venue for a number of special concerts since 2001, notably the annual Academy gala and ball.

Szymanowski wrote his First Violin Concerto in 1916. Wishing to make the solo part as idiomatic as possible, he worked closely with his friend, the great Polish virtuoso Pawel Kochanski, who ultimately played the concerto’s American premiere in 1924 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. Chausson’s lush Poeme is indeed poetic and almost seems to tell a story through its eloquent dialogue between soloist and orchestra. The composer initially gave the work a title that hinted at a story line: “Song of Triumphant Love.”

Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote The Isle of the Dead in 1909, inspired by an eerie painting by the Swiss artist Arnold Boecklin. Twenty years later, he conducted his favorite orchestra — The Philadelphia Orchestra — in the tone poem’s first recording, made at the opulent Academy of Music where the orchestra offered most of its concerts for more than a century before moving to Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in 2001. This broadcast concert brings the work full circle, as it takes place at the beloved and historic Academy. The Orchestra has returned to its former home many times for special concerts, but this program represents the first subscription program offered at the Academy in almost 20 years.

Listen during the broadcast for Yannick's comments from the stage about Rachmaninoff’s relationship with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and for a portion of Susan Lewis’ interview with Lisa Batiashvili.

Violinist Lisa Batiashvili talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about Szymanowski violin concerto

Detailed program notes from the concert are here.

Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1
Chausson: Poeme for Violin and Orchestra
Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Lisa Batiashvili, violin

Listen to The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 p.m. 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 p.m. on WRTI HD-2. Listen for up to two weeks after broadcast onWRTI Replay.

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