Philadelphia Orchestra Launches Season with Special Opening Night Celebration Featuring Yo-Yo Ma

Philadelphia Orchestra - Yannick Nézet-SéguinYannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director (Image courtesy of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Credit: Jessica Griffin)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Philadelphia Orchestra announced it will launch its 122nd season on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with a special Opening Night Celebration, led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring a performance by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The program features selections by Villa-Lobos, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and the Verizon Hall premiere of Valerie Coleman’s Seven O’Clock Shout, commissioned by the Orchestra and dedicated to the frontline workers of the COVID-19 pandemic. The evening also welcomes Philadelphia Orchestra Storyteller, Narrator, and Host Charlotte Blake Alston in her official debut in this newly created role.

“Opening Night is an important ritual—to celebrate art together and reunite with our beloved audiences at our home in Verizon Hall,” said Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will begin his tenth season with the Orchestra. “We are thrilled that Yo-Yo Ma joins us, along with our dear friend Valerie Coleman, for what will be a most joyous evening to remember—one that symbolizes a new season full of renewed vitality and forward motion.”

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President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky added, “Informed by the impact of the pandemic, the social justice movement in America, and the drive toward creative equity and inclusion, our 2021–22 season seeks to move the world of orchestral music forward. The incomparable Yo-Yo Ma, one of classical music’s greatest ambassadors and a musician without borders, is the perfect beloved guest to offer inspiration. Ravel’s timeless Bolero will serve as a musical metaphor for our long-awaited reunion with audiences, and Valerie Coleman’s joyous Seven O’Clock Shout will serve as an expression of gratitude for those on the front lines. We owe heartfelt thanks to the Volunteer Committees of The Philadelphia Orchestra for making this celebratory evening possible.”

The Opening Night concert takes place at 6:00 PM in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at 215.893.1999 or

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In lieu of an Opening Night post-concert benefactor dinner, the Orchestra will host a celebration for sponsors when it is safe to gather for dining and camaraderie. A Season Closing Celebration Dinner will take place on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin are graciously donating their services for the Opening Night concert. This year’s Opening Night Celebration is organized under the direction of Opening Night Co-Chairs Lenora Hume, First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang (Joseph and Marie Field Chair), and Orchestra board member Adrienne Simpson, as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Board of Directors and dedicated Volunteers.

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