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The Philadelphia Orchestra Returns to SPAC

Photo Credit: Chris Lee

The Philadelphia Orchestra Returns to SPAC August 2 – 19

The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, returns to its beloved summer home at Saratoga Performing Arts Center for three weeks of exhilarating, diverse performances. The season, August 2 – 19, encompasses wide-ranging classical and contemporary repertoire, world renowned musicians and conductors, family-oriented multi-media offerings and an opera evening. 

Season Highlights:
  • Russian, American and French mini-festivals celebrate the vital musical traditions of each culture.
  • Celebrated cellist YO-YO MA highlights an orchestra community PlayIN and an evening performance
  • An ALL-GERSHWIN program features the composer’s most iconic works including Rhapsody in Blue, which is given a jazzy reimagining by renowned pianist MARCUS ROBERTS and his trio.
  • A “Philadelphia for Families” series presents CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE and Movie Nights – E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
  • The Orchestra’s own Music Director YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN leads the third week’s French Festival and A Night at the Opera.
  • Guest conductors STÉPHANE DENÈVE, MARIN ALSOP, BRAMWELL TOVEY, STEPHEN REINEKE and DAVID NEWMAN take the podium during the Orchestra’s season.
  • The music of the icons of popular song, from Ella Fitzgerald to Billie Holiday, comes alive in a SOPHISTICATED LADIES pops program featuring Broadway’s MONTEGO GLOVER, CAPATHIA JENKINS and N’KENGE.
  • Guest artists CONRAD TAO and STÉPHANE TÉTREAULT make their SPAC debuts and LOUIS LORTIE returns for the first time since 1992.
  • The Orchestra performs the SPAC debut of CHRIS DEVINEY’S Imaginary Day, with the composer on vibraphone and She-e Wu on marimba.
  • “A Night at the Opera” with Metropolitan Opera singers ISABEL LEONARD, SUSANNA PHILLIPS and MATTHEW POLENZANI serves as the season finale.

Opening Week – Russian Festival


8 PM  Introducing Conrad Tao

Praised by NPR Music as a “…musician of deep intellectual and emotional means,” pianist Conrad Tao will make his SPAC debut performing Rachmaninoff’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Stéphane Denève. This multi-talented artist who has garnered numerous awards recently made news for a holding a performance in a basement crypt of the Church of the Intercession in Harlem.  This rich program also features Glinka’s sparkling Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, his most well-known work.

6 PM  Pre-Show: BlueStarry Nights @ SPAC

This evening features BlueStarry Nights @ SPAC, a gourmet pre-performance tasting event offering guests samples of craft beer and spirits and gourmet edibles, all free as part of admission to the evening’s performance. Samples will be provided by vendors including Mionetto, Saratoga Courage, Wine World Wide, Albany Distilling and Davidson Brothers. A special highlight of the pre-show is the second installment of the Home Rangers Cooking Competition featuring amateur home chefs engaged in a culinary battle. The winner of this round will advance to the semi-final on August 17 and the chance to challenge celebrity judge Suvir Saran at the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival on Sept. 9 and win a $3,600 pro-style BlueStar range.


8 PM  Cirque de la Symphonie 

The grand finale of the Russian Festival will be a spectacular bravura of physical exertion—a Russian-themed Cirque de la Symphonie performance. Russian musical history, ranging from the grandiose emotional expression of the “Big Five” Russian romantics in St. Petersburg to the 20th-century masters Stravinsky and Shostakovich, will be embodied in the choreography of exceptional aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers, and strongmen from around the world.

6 PM Pre-Show: CDPHP Family Night

With a mix of activities that are both enjoyable and educational, CDPHP Family Nights are a great start to an evening at the orchestra. Taking place on the lawn, these events feature FREE Stewart’s ice cream, Albany Medical Center Workshops on the Lawn, an Instrument Petting Zoo, balloon animals and photo booths. New this year is the Young Performers Circle offering drumming lessons, dance classes more.


8 PM  E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 

Steven Spielberg's cinematic masterpiece E.T. The Extra--Terrestrial will be shown on four HD screens and accompanied by a live performance of John Williams's Academy Award®-winning score. One of the brightest stars in motion picture history, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial follows the moving story of a lost alien who befriends a 10-year-old boy.   E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved.

10 PM  Post-Performance: Live at the Jazz Bar

The richness and exuberance of traditional Cuban music comes alive in the talented hands of Alta Havana members, Gerardo Contino (vocals), Itai Kriss (flute), Keisel Jimenez (percussion) and Jorge Gomez (keyboard/piano). All highly acclaimed musicians who have performed independently and with other ensembles on major festival stages around the world, the collaboration of their unique styles is a fresh, exciting take on Cuban music. Guests can enjoy Alta Havana in the Hall of Springs Jazz Bar and on the Patio. The bar is open to the public; a ticket to the evening’s SPAC performance is not required for entry.

For more information and complete schedule, go online to


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