Philadelphia Orchestra’s virtual gala, from Strauss’s “Till Eulenspiegel” to Valerie Coleman’s “Seven O’Clock Shout,” bluegrass, and more

Posted on: June 24, 2020

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s “at-home gala” on Saturday night “succeeded in doing much of what any institution facing this pandemic-forced shutdown could hope to achieve,” writes Peter Dobrin in Monday’s (6/22) Philadelphia Inquirer. “It told fans that it’s still there, plucky even under grave threat, and that one day it will gather again…. The event brought in money … from almost 700 donors…. About 29,000 viewers listened in…. The variety show format brought prerecorded appearances from artists all over. Yo-Yo Ma put in a plug for the orchestra, and another segment highlighted the group’s work with All City Orchestra…. Steve Martin on banjo was backed by members of the orchestra in a blue-grassy work called Office Supplies. Violinist Nicola Benedetti performed alone, and Wynton Marsalis played the blues. [Principal Horn] Jennifer Montone performed a solo-horn distillation of Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks. Renée Fleming and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin performed Strauss’ Morgen… It was incredibly satisfying to hear the ensemble … in Valerie Coleman’s Seven O’Clock Shout. The piece seems destined to be adopted by orchestras all over…. Seven O’Clock Shout makes your heart full the same way Aaron Copland can. It’s just the message we need right now.”