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Osmo Vänskä Conducts the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center January 25

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January 18, 2015, Philadelphia, Pa.—Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä, one of the world's premier Sibelius interpreters, leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, January 25 at 3 p.m. at the Kimmel Center. Mr. Vänskä conducts Sibelius's beloved Symphony No. 5 and the virtuosic Concerto for Orchestra by Lutosławski, one of the pre-eminent Polish composers of the 20th century. Conducting fellow Kensho Watanabe ('13) opens the concert with Sibelius's Swan of Tuonela.
 
Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä has won numerous accolades for his Sibelius interpretations, including a Grammy for his 2014 recording with the Minnesota Orchestra of Sibelius's first and fourth symphonies. His landmark Sibelius cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra was described by Gramophone as "the finest survey of the past three decades."
 
Join the Curtis Symphony Orchestra for both upcoming Kimmel Center performances with a two-concert subscription, priced $10 to $76 and available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or www.curtis.edu/Tickets. Single tickets are $5 to $50 and are available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or www.ticketphiladelphia.org. This concert is part of the 2014–15 series of Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts. 
 
This concert is part of the 2014–15 All-School Project, Russia: A Land and its Influence. In performances all season, Curtis students celebrate the musical riches of this immense land, performing works by Russian composers and those with Russian influences. Coursework in the liberal arts and musical studies will explore Russian art, dance, drama, film, literature, music, and history--from the Tsar to Stalin to political controversies of the modern day.

Music director of the Minnesota Orchestra for over a decade, Osmo Vänskä has received  exceptional acclaim for his work with many other leading orchestras. Recent and upcoming engagements include returns to the Chicago and San Francisco symphony orchestras, Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Mr. Vänskä regularly conducts the Finnish Radio, London, and Vienna symphony orchestras; the London and Netherlands Radio philharmonics; and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. He has developed regular relationships with the New World Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival, and BBC Proms; and is principal guest conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
 
Formerly principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Vänskä holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Minnesota and in 2005 was named Musical America's Conductor of the Year. In 2013 he received the Annual Award from the German Record Critics' Association for his BIS recordings of the complete works of Sibelius.
 
Kensho Watanabe, from Greenwich, Conn., received a diploma in 2013 from the Curtis Institute of Music, and returned in Fall 2013 as the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow. Recent conducting experiences with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra include works by Bartók, Glinka, Higdon, Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner at Verizon Hall. In Fall 2013 he conducted the Curtis Opera Theatre's double bill of Ullmann's Emperor of Atlantis and Bach's Ich habe genug. Mr. Watanabe previously was the assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra under Toshiyuki Shimada, leading the YSO in concerts at Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel. He has also served as the music director of Yale's Berkeley College Orchestra and as a cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony and Symphony in C. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Yale College and a master's degree in violin performance from Yale School of Music. He performs regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute violinist and spends his summers at the Greenwood Music Camp, where he serves as orchestra conductor.
 
The Curtis Symphony Orchestra has been called "an orchestra that any city would be lucky to have as its professional ensemble" (Philadelphia Inquirer). Recent visiting conductors include Charles Dutoit, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Curtis's mentor conductor for the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowship Program. This professional training has enabled Curtis alumni to assume prominent positions in America's leading orchestras, as well as esteemed orchestral, opera, and chamber ensembles around the world.

One of the world's finest and most selective conservatories, the Curtis Institute of Music offers a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture to 175 students from all corners of the world. Nurtured by a celebrated faculty, its extraordinary young musicians graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history. From Leonard Bernstein to Alan Gilbert, Samuel Barber to Jennifer Higdon, Anna Moffo to Eric Owens, Richard Goode to Jonathan Biss, Curtis alumni personify the school's commitment to excellence—onstage and in their communities—inventing careers with impact. Recent graduates forging 21st-century careers include violinist Adrian Anantawan, a performer and teacher dedicated to helping young people with disabilities make music; Joseph Conyers, director and founder of Project 440 and assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Jennifer Koh, a violin soloist recognized for both her dazzling virtuosity and impassioned musical curiosity, dedicated to performing repertoire of all eras, from traditional to contemporary.
 
A busy schedule of performances, including more than 200 a year in Philadelphia and around the world, is at the heart of Curtis's distinctive "learn by doing" approach. Dedicated to a tradition of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1924, Curtis is looking toward its centenary in a flexible and forward-thinking way, evolving strategically to serve its time-honored mission.
 
 
Curtis Symphony Orchestra
The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts
Sunday, January 25 at 3 p.m.
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia
 
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Kensho Watanabe ('13), conductor
 
SIBELIUS  The Swan of Tuonela
LUTOSŁAWSKI  Concerto for Orchestra
SIBELIUS  Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 82               
 
Two-concert subscriptions available: $10, $20, $40, $58, $76; available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or www.curtis.edu/Tickets
 
Single tickets: $5, $10, $25, $35, $50; available at the Kimmel Center Box Office and from Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999 or www.ticketphiladelphia.org
 
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