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Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be rededicated as Marian Anderson Hall, home of The Philadelphia Orchestra


The Curtis Institute of Music

Curtis Symphony Orchestra: Berlioz, Ortiz, and Barber

A Celebration of Orchestral Splendor

Jan 27, 2024
3:00 PM

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Michael Stern, Conductor

Benoit Gauthier, Conductor

Curtis Symphony Orchestra

GABRIELA ORTIZ      Kauyumari

BARBER                       Symphony No. 1 (In One Movement), Op. 9

BERLIOZ                      Symphonie fantastique


Acclaimed conductor Michael Stern (‘86) leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in an afternoon of extraordinary emotional contrasts. The program opens with the Philadelphia premiere of Latin GRAMMY-nominated composer Gabriela Ortiz’s kaleidoscopic Kauyumari (“The Blue Deer”) under the baton of first-year student Benoit Gauthier, Curtis’s Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow. A rhythmic tour-de-force, this thrilling work follows the hoofed blue spiritual guide of the Huichol people of Mexico on a peyote-fueled journey through the invisible world as they communicate with their ancestors, heal the wounds of the soul, and serve as guardians of the planet.  

The concert continues with legendary 20th-century composer and Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber’s (’34) soaring First Symphony (in One Movement)—a muscular, lyrical work that packs a powerful wallop within the span of twenty minutes, condensing the dramatic intensity, delicacy, and sweeping grandeur of a traditional four-movement symphony into one.

The afternoon concludes with one of the repertoire’s most popular and influential symphonies, Hector Berlioz’s astonishing Symphonie fantastique. Revolutionary at the time of its 1830 Paris premiere, not only for its innovative orchestration but for its groundbreaking programmatic nature—telling an entire story across five movements—this extraordinary psychological self-portrait conjures up a dark tale of unrequited love and opium-laced hallucinations. One artist’s self-destructive obsession with a woman leads him to a sumptuous 19th-century ball; a rustic countryside on a summer night, right before a thunderous storm; a harrowing march to the scaffold; and a diabolical witches’ sabbath full of ghosts, sorcerers, and terrifying monsters. 

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Verizon Hall

Kimmel Center

300 S Broad St

Philadelphia, PA 19102

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