"Humor has many sides. Mozart's musical wit is cheerful and precocious, while Shostakovich's humor is dark and cynical," said music director Christoph Eschenbach.
The season opens on September 21 with the overture to Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, and pianist Lang Lang playing Chopin's Piano Concerto No 1. From November 30 to December 3, Eschenbach will be conductor and pianist in Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 12 and 23.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich's birth, Eschenbach will lead performances of the composer's Fifth Symphony September 22-October 3. Andr_ Watts plays Shostakovich's first and second piano concertos on October 12-14.
Other highlights of the season include new works by Henri Dutilleux and John Harbison as well as the continuation of the orchestra's five-year Mahler survey, which includes the composer's complete symphonies and song cycles. Eschenbach conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection") with soprano Barbara Bonney, mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef, and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale May 3-5; Mahler's Symphony No. 4, with soprano Marisol Montalvo, will be performed November 16-28. The cycle began in the 2003-04 season.
Former music director Riccardo Muti returns to conduct the orchestra in Schubert, Hindemith, and Strauss November 2-4. Valery Gergiev leads the ensemble in Debussy and Schubert February 8-11. Other guest conductors include Rafael Fr‹hbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, Marin Alsop, and Peter Oundjian.
Returning guest soloists during the season include violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and pianists Martha Argerich and Yefim Bronfman. Making their Philadelphia Orchestra debuts will be violinists Baiba Skride and Janine Jansen, and pianists Lars Vogt and Piotr Anderszewski.