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Michael Stern Conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center October 20

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(September 30, 2013) The Curtis Symphony Orchestra celebrates the centenary of Stravinsky’s incendiary Rite of Spring with a performance at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 20 at 3 p.m. Noted American conductor and Curtis alumnus Michael Stern leads the opening concert with a program that also features Rachmaninoff's colorful Symphonic Dances. In performances all season, Curtis celebrates the musical riches and influences of Russia, examining this vast culture in the all-school project titled "Russia: A Land and its Influence."

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a ballet and orchestral work written for the 1913 season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, caused a near-riot on opening night. As one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire, The Rite of Spring's rhythmic intensity and bi-tonal chords still sound as powerful and revolutionary to audiences today. To warm the passions of the audience, the performance opens with Kensho Watanabe ('13), the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, leading the orchestra with Richard Strauss's seductive "Dance of the Seven Veils" from the opera Salome.

Join the Curtis Symphony Orchestra for all three 2013-14 Kimmel Center performances with a subscription, priced $15 to $110 and available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Single tickets are $5 to $45 and are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or The concert is part of the 2013-14 series of Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts.

An additional performance presented by the Allentown Symphony Association takes place on Saturday, October 19 at 8 p.m. Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, Pa. Tickets and more information are available at (610) 432-6715 or

Conductor Michael Stern is in his eighth season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. Mr. Stern and the orchestra, joined by an amazing collection of guest artists, have performed to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences in their new world-class performance home, Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Stern is also the founding artistic director and principal conductor of IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. This unique group, now in its second decade, has been widely praised for its virtuosity and programming, and has produced a string of recordings and acclaimed commissioned new works by American composers. Other positions include a tenure as the chief conductor of Germany's Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra's history) and as permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for five years, and a stint as the principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille, France.

Mr. Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and the Vienna Radio Symphony, among many others.

In North America, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared regularly at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Stern received his music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf.

Kensho Watanabe, a recent Curtis graduate and the school's inaugural Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, hails from Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. Watanabe earned a diploma from Curtis in 2013 and studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He recently led the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral and a vocal duet from Tchaikovsky's unfinished opera Romeo and Juliet in Verizon Hall, as well as the world premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Consecration for soprano and chamber orchestra in Gould Rehearsal Hall. Mr. Watanabe previously served as the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra under Toshiyuki Shimada, leading the YSO in concerts at Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel. He was also the music director of Yale's Berkeley College Orchestra from 2006 to 2009.

Praised for its "otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication" (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra presents three concerts annually under the direction of eminent conductors in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America's leading orchestras, as well as ensembles around the world.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world’s leading conservatories, Curtis provides its 171 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive "learn by doing" approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber to current stars Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang. Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world's leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series.

Curtis's innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills. The school's facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

Curtis Symphony Orchestra
The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts
Sunday, October 20 at 3 p.m.

Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia

Michael Stern, conductor ('86)
Kensho Watanabe, conductor ('13)

STRAUSS "Dance of the Seven Veils" from Salome, Op. 54
RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

Subscriptions for three Curtis Symphony Orchestra concerts: $15, $30, $55, $82, $110; available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or

Single tickets: $5, $10, $22, $33, $45; available in August at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or

Additional performance:
Saturday, October 19 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Allentown Symphony Association, Inc.
Miller Symphony Hall, 23 North 6th Street, Allentown, Pa.

Tickets and more information: (610) 432-6715,


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