LSM Newswire

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Conduct Play On, Philly! Students at St. Francis de Sales School and in Verizon Hall

(Philadelphia, April 11, 2014)—Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the acclaimed music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, rehearses with Play On, Philly! (POP) students at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 23, and then leads them in a performance on the stage of Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 25.

This is the third consecutive year that The Philadelphia Orchestra and Play On, Philly! have partnered in a performance at the top of an Orchestra subscription concert, but the first under the baton of Nézet-Séguin, who says, “We are committed to working with young musicians such as those in Play On, Philly! Our love and passion for music, for great music, is contagious.... I personally want to encourage their hard work and talent, and inspire them to persevere, enjoy making music, and live their dream.”

POP seeks to provide young Philadelphia students—who otherwise would not have the opportunity—access to a high-quality music education. The after-school program is inspired by the successful El Sistema music education system of Venezuela. 

Nézet-Séguin rehearses an excerpt from Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (A Little Night Music) with POP’s St. Francis de Sales Firebird String Orchestra at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia. The students later perform the piece at the top of the Orchestra’s Friday, April 25, concert, at 8 PM in Verizon Hall. POP’s performance will be followed by the Orchestra’s regularly scheduled subscription concert, a Mozart celebration featuring the composer’s Overture to Don Giovanni, Piano Concerto No. 20 with pianist Jan Lisiecki, and Symphony No. 40.

The collaboration with POP continues the Orchestra’s community initiative The Fabulous Philadelphians Offstage—Philly Style!, which celebrates the wealth of musicianship in the Philadelphia region. This season the Orchestra has held a free Pop-Up concert; three of four scheduled PlayINs; a side-by-side rehearsal with two student orchestras; a Neighborhood Concert at Temple University; and its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert at Girard College.

Founded in 2011 with 110 students at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, Play On, Philly! is proving that music education can be a force for social change in Philadelphia. The POP philosophy is that shared musical experience promotes the academic, social, and developmental-skills necessary for future success. POP added a second site last year at Friere Charter Middle School in Center City, and now provides more than 200 students a tuition-free opportunity to master a standard orchestral instrument as well as instruction in choir, general music, composition, chamber music, and orchestra. Professional teaching artists from the Philadelphia region deliver music instruction during daily three-hour practice sessions, and students receive opportunities to publicly perform and be inspired by world-class artists. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a decades-long tradition of presenting learning and community engagement opportunities for listeners of all ages across the Delaware Valley. Among the ways in which the Orchestra introduces orchestral music to a new generation of listeners are concerts for families and schoolchildren and eZseatU, which allows full-time college students to attend an unlimited number of Orchestra concerts for a $25 annual membership fee. Community concerts include free Pop-Ups, an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert, and Neighborhood Concerts. PreConcert and Post-Concert Conversations bring concert-goers closer to the music, musicians, and conductors. Musician-led initiatives such as the PlayINs shine a spotlight on the Orchestra’s musicians, as they spread out from the stage into the community, and serve a key role in growing musician talent and a love of classical music in their own dedicated roles as teachers, coaches, and mentors.   

The Philadelphia Orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level. Since Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore’s arrival in 2010 the Orchestra has reinvigorated and launched new partnerships with Opera Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (FringeArts), Philadanco the Curtis Institute of Music, the Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been heralded by critics and audiences alike for his highly collaborative style, deeply-rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming. He is embraced by the musicians of the Orchestra, audiences, and the community. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses and he has established a regular forum for connecting with concert-goers through PostConcert Conversations, as well as returning the Orchestra both to recording and to regular radio broadcasts. He is increasingly engaged with musicians in the Philadelphia community having conducted a Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert, a Neighborhood Concert, and a free Pop-Up Concert, in addition to leading the All-City Orchestra and Choir and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times has called Nézet-Séguin “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble … has never sounded better.”

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit

Play On, Philly! (POP) is an innovative education and social initiative that enriches the lives of Philadelphia youth by providing tuition-free musical instruction in communities that have little access to music education.

They further encourage children to expand their horizons through collaborations with local universities and orchestras and with major artists like Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Simon Rattle, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, and Anthony McGill.

POP strives to engage the entire community through partnerships, community events, and frequent performances in venues across the Philadelphia area. 
For more information about Play On, Philly! visit

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