Marc Mostovoy establishes the Concerto Soloists 16. Their repertoire consists mainly of Baroque and Classical works, featuring members of the ensemble as soloists. The ensemble quickly garners a reputation for quality on the regional, national and international scene.
Mission & History
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.
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.
In the 2018-2019 subscription season, the Orchestra will perform five concert programs, from October through May, in the Kimmel Center’s 600-seat Perelman Theater.
Successful tours of Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Belgium and Israel and standout performances at Carnegie Hall highlight the group’s early development. Mostovoy seeks out unusual works not in the standard repertory and commissions over sixty new works, many by American composers.
As the number of concerts significantly increases, Mostovoy brings in internationally-famed and respected maestro, Max Rudolf, professor of conducting at The Curtis Institute of Music and former conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony and Metropolitan Opera, to share the podium with him. Rudolf serves as Conductor Laureate from the early 1980s until just prior to his death in 1995.
Ignat Solzhenitsyn joins the Orchestra while a student at The Curtis Institute of Music as Assistant Conductor, then as Associate Conductor, and later as Principal Conductor. He soon receives acclaim as “an interpreter of probing intellect as well as an avid risk-taker” (The Washington Post).
The ensemble is renamed The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and selected as one of eight founding resident companies of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. In its new home—the intimate, 600-seat Perelman Theater—The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia brings great music—performed with the utmost integrity and on the highest possible level of artistic excellence—to the people of Philadelphia.
Ignat Solzhenitsyn is named Music Director and continues to expand the Chamber Orchestra’s repertoire to include more compositions from the Classical and early Romantic periods, as well as fascinating 20th-century works. Highlights of Solzhenitsyn’s first season include performances with soloists cellist Steven Isserlis and violinist Leila Josefowicz and leading the ensemble from the keyboard in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 60, as part of an All-Beethoven program in April, 2005, which then toured to New York and Michigan.
Dirk Brossé is named Music Director of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. An internationally-acclaimed conductor and composer, our audiences enjoyed him during two “Guest Conductor” appearances with the Chamber Orchestra in 2008 and 2009. As Music Director Elect, Brossé conducted the Orchestra’s Free Family Concerts in May 2010. The talent, versatility and broad experience that Maestro Brossé brings to the orchestra is sure to be enjoyed by audiences in many seasons to come.
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Under the baton of Music Director Dirk Brossé, the Chamber Orchestra commemorates the ensemble’s founding and the rich history it has enjoyed with a renewed commitment to timeless music, artistry, and excellence in musicianship. As Philadelphia’s premier chamber ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra looks forward to another 50 incredible years.