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Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Raymond Leppard, Branford Marsalis, Lynn Harrell, and Kelli O'Hara among musical masters joining the orchestra World-class artists, powerful and compelling programs, affirm Philharmonic's virtuosity and tenacity Purchase, N.Y. - The Westchester Philharmonic's 2011-12 season brilliantly merges its earned reputation for superb artistry and ongoing attraction to the world's leading soloists. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Branford Marsalis, Lynn Harrell, Kelli O'Hara, and Raymond Leppard are just a few of the musical masters who will join the Philharmonic over the course of the season that runs October through May 2012. Also joining the Phil are conductors George Manahan, Tomomi Nishimoto, and Ted Sperling; harpist Ann Hobson Pilot; and baritone Ben Davis. Concerts are held at the Purchase Performing Arts Center in Purchase, NY."Each program, each artist, and each work, is extraordinarily compelling," said Philharmonic executive director Joshua Worby. "Yet when taken together, the full arc of the season defines what a truly great symphony orchestra can do: The breadth of styles and eras, the sheer sonic power, the emotional intimacy, the raw beauty...and in our case, the unmistakable sound of true virtuosity." Looking forward to the coming season, Philharmonic Concertmaster Robert Chausow commented: "As a group we insist on challenging ourselves. We know we can play well, but to us that's just a starting point. We take risks that keep us on the edge of our seats and, as it turns out, it does the same thing for the audience. That's when things start to fly. You simply have to be there because it's unforgettable." From the season's opening downbeat in October through the finale in May, the Westchester Philharmonic will continue to earn its reputation as the Hudson Valley's finest performing arts ensemble and Westchester's signature music organization. If there were such a thing as a classical music Hall of Fame, Raymond Leppard and Lynn Harrell would be first-ballot inductees. These two giants open the season on Saturday, October 1, 2011 and Sunday, October 2, 2011 with a program that defines pure symphonic perfection: Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, Dvorák's Rondo for cello and orchestra, and Elgar's Enigma Variations. Rarely heard in most performances of ‘Enigma' is the optional part Elgar wrote for pipe organ. The Philharmonic is literally "pulling out the stops" when it rolls out the magnificent Flentrop organ that is housed in the Organ Room adjacent to The Concert Hall. Weighing 21,000 pounds with some 3,721 pipes, and made of African mahogany, it is one of the largest Flentrop instruments in the eastern United States. It will take two to three hours to move it hydraulically onto the stage. On Saturday, November 12, 2011 and Sunday, November 13, 2011 audiences will have a rare opportunity to experience the exquisite technique and electrifying podium presence of Japanese maestra Tomomi Nishimoto. The Philharmonic also welcomes Ann Hobson Pilot, who recently concluded her 40-year tenure as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's principal harpist, the first African-American woman to win a principal chair with a major orchestra. On Willows and Birches was commissioned in her honor by the BSO and composed by multiple Oscar- and Grammy-winner John Williams. The concert opens with Liszt's haunting symphonic poem, Les Preludes, and concludes with Rimsky-Korsakov's exultant Scheherezade. Sold out for four consecutive seasons, the Philharmonic's annual Winter Pops concert returns on Sunday, December 18, 2011 with the finest Broadway ballads, duets, and orchestral suites, from Rodgers' Carousel, Bernstein's West Side Story, Weill's Street Scene, Porter's Kiss Me Kate, and more. This program, performed recently with the New York Philharmonic to critical acclaim, features multiple Tony-nominated and awarding-winning stars including Broadway star Kelli O'Hara, who the New York Times called "the most accomplished Broadway ingénue to emerge in years". She will be joined by tenor Ben Davis, most recently from Knickerbocker Holiday at Lincoln Center, and both will be led by Tony-winning conductor Ted Sperling. The orchestra returns in the spring with renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg on Saturday April 14, 2012 and Sunday, April 15, 2012, as she "sits in" with the Phil as soloist-leader of a unique, conductor-less program that allows the close-knit virtuoso musicians of the Philharmonic to shine. Works include Rossini's Sonata for Strings; Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's buoyant and riveting Four Seasons of Buenos Aires; the vivid and mesmerizing Quartet No. 8 ("Chamber Symphony") by Shostakovich, which is perhaps one of the most important string works of the 20th century; and Brahms' Hungarian Dances. The season comes to a close with a member of the jazz world's "first family," saxophone superstar Branford Marsalis, on Saturday, May 19, 2012 and Sunday, May 20, 2012. Marsalis' accessibility and virtuosity transcend genre: He has toured with rock/pop star Sting, was the leader of the Tonight Show Band, and has performed with symphony orchestras around the world. Conductor George Manahan reunites with the Philharmonic to guide Marsalis in Glazunov's not often heard Concerto for Saxophone. Opening with an audience favorite, Mozart's Symphony No. 38 ("Prague"), the program, and the season come to a triumphal conclusion with Mussorgsky's famed Pictures at an Exhibition. All events take place at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. Free open rehearsals are scheduled for Saturdays October 1, November 12, April 14 and May 19 at 10 am in The Concert Hall. Additional pre-concert discussions are TBD. Please visit www.westchesterphil.org for updates. High resolution photos and artist bios are available and may be downloaded from: www.westchesterphil.org/pressphotos.asp Concert Tickets All performances will take place in The Concert Hall at The Performing Arts Center Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York. Five and four concert subscriptions are available and range from $357-$89. Single tickets range from $85-$25. Student/child/group discounts are available. To purchase tickets and for additional information call the Westchester Philharmonic Box Office at (914) 682-3707 ext. 10.  Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card accepted.  Visit the Westchester Philharmonic's website at www.westchesterphil.org. About the Westchester Philharmonic The Westchester Philharmonic orchestra is the only fully-professional symphony orchestra devoted to serving the people of Westchester County. Founded in 1983 by Paul Lustig Dunkel, who was named Music Director Emeritus, and most recently led by the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Philharmonic fulfills its mission in the concert hall, in the community, and in the classroom. The Philharmonic performs a main stage Concert Series at the Performing Arts Center Purchase College and partners with local agencies to present free and low-cost concerts for all County residents. Its award-winning education program serves over 2,000 elementary school students. The orchestra is comprised of the finest musicians from the greater New York area and has worked with the world's finest soloists, including Midori, Joshua Bell, and the late Isaac Stern. With a focus on presenting the best music of the past and present, the orchestra places particular emphasis on providing young musicians with an opportunity to perform with, or compose for, a professional symphony orchestra early in their careers. The Philharmonic has become a home for living American composers and has proudly commissioned many orchestral works such as Melinda Wagner's Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The orchestra is dedicated to inviting and attracting people of diverse backgrounds to its concerts and continues to explore new partnerships with local schools, libraries, and community centers, so that all in the community have the opportunity to experience the joy of a live, classical music concert. This season is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties. This season is also made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from Westchester County Government. Generous underwriting provided by Entergy Nuclear and Westchester Magazine.

Contact:

 

Lenore Eggleston

(914) 682-3707 ext. 15

leggleston@westchesterphil.org