The program begins with Jennifer Higdon's thrilling Concerto for Orchestra, which wowed audiences and music professionals when the Philadelphians premiered it in 2002; its 2004 recording by the Atlanta Symphony garnered four Grammy nominations. The second half of the concert is devoted to one of the orchestral repertoire's monuments of celebration: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, with its "Ode to Joy" finale.
On the podium is Rossen Milanov, the Philadelphia Orchestra's Associate Conductor and the artistic director of the Mann Center season.
This open-air summer series continues with eight more programs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings through July 27. Among the guest conductors scheduled are Ludovic Morlot (assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony), Long Yu (music director of the China Philharmonic and the Guangzhou Symphony) and Jun M‹rkl (music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon). Soloists on the roster include Itzhak Perlman (playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto), Alisa Weilerstein (in the Saint-SaêŠns Cello Concerto No. 1), Lang Lang (in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 and the Yellow River Concerto, the most famous musical artifact of China's Cultural Revolution), Midori (playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto), Andr_ Watts (in Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto), Elissa Lee Koljonen (performing Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1) and Christopher O'Riley (leaving aside Radiohead for Beethoven's "Emperor" Piano Concerto).
The grand finale of the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2007 Mann Center season comes on Friday, July 27, with Milanov conducting an all-Tchaikovsky program featuring soprano Krassimira Stoyanova in arias and songs and closing with the 1812 Overture accompanied by a fireworks display.
The 4,000 free lawn seats for Mann Center concerts are now sold out for the entire nine-concert season. But seats inside the center's pavilion, priced at $30 and $50, as well as additional lawn seats at $10, remain available. Tickets, as well as more information on the concerts, are available at www.philorch.org.