/ News / Curtis Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Gary Graffman on October 27 at Immaculata University and October 28 at Verizon Hall

Curtis Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Gary Graffman on October 27 at Immaculata University and October 28 at Verizon Hall

Program pays tribute to Graffman for his 90th birthday, features Van Cliburn-winning pianist Haochen Zhang

PHILADELPHIA—October 4, 2018—Giancarlo Guerrero leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and soloist Haochen Zhang in concerts celebrating the 90th birthday of Curtis’s former director and longtime piano faculty member Gary Graffman in Alumnae Hall at Immaculata University on Saturday, October 27 at 3 p.m. and in Verizon Hall at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m.


Pianist Gary Graffman joined the Curtis family at the tender age of seven, when he was accepted as a student. Throughout a celebrated career as soloist, teacher, and administrator, he has left his mark on music through his own performances and those of his students. In celebration of Mr. Graffman’s 90th birthday, alumnus and recent Van Cliburn winner Haochen Zhang (’12) returns to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, a romantic powerhouse and staple of the Graffman legacy. The dynamic Giancarlo Guerrero, a Curtis favorite, also conducts Igor Stravinsky’s beloved ballet Petrushka, a house specialty since the days when conductor Leopold Stokowski led the Curtis orchestra. Opening the program is Brio—led by Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow Yue Bao—a 2018 work exuding vitality and virtuosity by this year’s composer in residence, Augusta Read Thomas.


Three-concert subscriptions to Verizon Hall starting at $60 and single tickets to Immaculata for $20 are available from the Curtis Patron Services Office at (215) 893-7902 or Curtis.edu/Tickets. Single tickets to Verizon Hall start at $25 and can be purchased through the Kimmel Center Box Office at (215) 893-1999 or KimmelCenter.org. This concert is supported by the Jack Wolgin Curtis Orchestral Concerts Endowment Fund.


Giancarlo Guerrero is the music director of the Nashville Symphony and the Wrocław Philharmonic, and principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon. A passionate proponent of new music, he has championed the works of several of America’s most respected composers and has presented eight world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, several of which were released as recordings. He developed and guided the creation of Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab and Workshop initiative, together with composer Aaron Jay Kernis, to further foster and promote new American orchestral music.


Mr. Guerrero’s recent guest conducting engagements include the Boston, Detroit, Queensland, and Sydney symphony orchestras; the Cleveland Orchestra; the Brussels Philharmonic; and the Residentie Orchestra in the Hague. He has appeared with many of the prominent North American orchestras, including those of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. In Europe he has appeared with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony; the Brussels, London, and Netherland philharmonics, and the radio philharmonic orchestras of France and Germany. He was principal guest conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra Miami from 2011 to 2016, and music director of the Eugene Symphony from 2002 to 2009.


Mr. Guerrero made his debut with Houston Grand Opera in 2015 conducting Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. For the Costa Rican Lyric Opera, he has conducted Carmen, La bohème, and Rigoletto. In 2008 he gave the Australian premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar at the Adelaide Festival.


Since winning the gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination, and spectacular virtuosity. In 2017 he received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.


Highlights of Mr. Zhang’s 2017–18 season included his recital debut at Carnegie Hall and performances with the China and Taiwan philharmonics; the California, Guangzhou, and Lahti symphony orchestras; the Shenzhen Concert Hall’s 10th Anniversary Gala; and a Chinese New Year concert with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. He has also appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Los Angeles, and Munich philharmonics; the Kansas City, London, Pacific, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, and Sydney symphony orchestras; and the Mariinsky Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he has participated in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Summerfest.


This season, Mr. Zhang gives recitals in Mexico City, Madrid, and Boston, among other venues; and debuts with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. His latest CD, released by BIS in 2017, includes works by Schumann, Brahms, Janáček, and Liszt. His performances at the Van Cliburn Competition were released by Harmonia Mundi in 2009.


Mr. Zhang is a 2012 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Gary Graffman.


Acclaimed for its “otherworldly ensemble and professional level of sophistication” (New York Times), the Curtis Symphony Orchestra offers a dynamic showcase of tomorrow’s exceptional young talent. Each year the 100 extraordinary musicians of the orchestra work with internationally renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, and Yannick Nézet Séguin, who also mentors the early-career conductors who hold Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellowships. 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.




Enduring Legacies: A 90th-Birthday Tribute to Gary Graffman (’46)

The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concerts


Saturday, October 27 at 3 p.m.

Alumnae Hall, Immaculata University, 1145 King Road, Immaculata, Pa.


Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m.

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


Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor

Haochen Zhang (’12), piano

Yue Bao, conducting fellow


RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30
STRAVINSKY  Petrushka (1947)



Single tickets: $20, sold by the Curtis Patron Services Office at Curtis.edu/Performances, or (215) 893-7902.



3-concert subscription: $60–204, sold by the Curtis Patron Services Office at Curtis.edu/Performances, or (215) 893-7902.

Single tickets: $25–85, sold by the Kimmel Center Box Office at KimmelCenter.org, or (215) 893-1999.


The guest conductor for this Curtis Symphony Orchestra performance is made possible by the Gustave and Rita Hauser Chair.          



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