Stéphane Denève - Conductor
Peter Richard Conte - Organ
Didi Balle - Playwright and Director
Milhaud - The Creation of the World
Poulenc - Organ Concerto
Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring
Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève leads two weeks of concerts inspired by the glorious art of the Barnes Foundation.
The Festival will include a panel discussion on the impact of Barnes and Stokowski on the American art scene, chamber performances of contemporary repertoire, composer workshops, and fully-scripted vignettes entitled “The Artful Titans” during the Orchestra performances written and directed by Didi Balle and based on the text of letters between Albert Barnes and Leopold Stokowski, as well as historical accounts of their interactions. Barnes and Stokowski were both importing the best of European culture into Philadelphia in the 1930s, with a shared desire to make that culture accessible to the public. They debated art and music in a series of letters; Stokowski even spoke at the dedication of the original Barnes Foundation building in Merion.
In our second program inspired by the Barnes Foundation, we witness The Creation of the World, courtesy of Frenchman Darius Milhaud, who was energized by the jazz he heard on a visit to Harlem. Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto is a dazzling showpiece for the marvelous Fred. J. Cooper Memorial Organ. The Rite of Spring—first brought to America by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphians— remains a primal, shattering musical masterpiece. Albert Barnes once wrote about the strong link he saw between the works of Henri Matisse and Stravinsky's compositions. This program reveals the intellectual and artistic zeal Barnes and Stokowski shared, which resonates to this day.
Additional details about festival events surrounding both concert weekends will be unveiled later in August.