Soprano Michelle Johnson sings Strauss, Verdi, and H.T. Burleigh and talks about why she’s looking forward to singing Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido”.
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To be a sustainable musical institution that brings the intimate experience of a world-class chamber orchestra performance to the greater Philadelphia area, enriching the musical life of the City and region by the integrity and excellence of its musicianship, the boldness and vitality of its programming, and by cultivating and building the loyalty of its audiences, musicians and supporters.
Founded in 1964.
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The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, a founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, is a 33-member professional ensemble led by Music Director, Sir Dirk Brossé. Established in 1964 by Marc Mostovoy, and originally named Concerto Soloists, the orchestra has a well-established reputation for distinguished performances of repertoire spanning the Baroque period through the 21st century.
The inception of the ensemble was motivated, in part, by the desire to provide performance opportunities for young professional musicians emerging from the Curtis Institute of Music and other regional training programs, as well as the intention to contribute meaningfully to the region’s cultural life. Over time, its mission and programming have broadened, inspired by a desire to help secure the future of classical repertoire by placing it in a broader context of contemporary works (including new commissions), other musical genres and traditions, and lesser-known pieces from the traditional repertoire which deserve modern audience attention. Creative collaborations with other major arts institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Clef Club of Jazz, and the Annenberg Center, have been a key focus of those ambitions – all with the intention of enriching the musical experiences of Philadelphia audiences through original programming choices that stretch boundaries and invite fresh perspectives. In total, the organization has commissioned and premiered over seventy new works. It remains committed to showcasing emerging young performers of exceptional talent.
Ignat Solzhenitsyn, a concert pianist and conducting graduate from the Curtis Institute, was named Principal Conductor in 1998 and Music Director in 2004. As Conductor Laureate (since 2010), Maestro Solzhenitsyn has gone on to a distinguished international career as concert pianist and conductor but remains closely associated with the Orchestra.
The current Music Director is Maestro Sir Dirk Brossé, a composer and conductor of international acclaim who performs regularly with major orchestras around the world. Maestro Brossé is a prolific and versatile composer, whose broad body of work encompasses concerti, oratorios, lieder, chamber music and symphonic pieces, as well as scores for cinema, television and stage.
Over the course of the ensemble’s rich and diverse history, the Chamber Orchestra has performed with a remarkable roster of world-renowned artists, including Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Rudolf Serkin, The Eroica Trio, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Steven Isserlis, Joseph Silverstein, and Catherine Michel, as well as virtuosos of contemporary music genres such as Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Mark O’Connor, Elvis Costello, and Sylvia McNair.