Penn Library

Eugene Ormandy
A Centennial Celebration

Curated by Marjorie Hassen
Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania

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Orchestral Premieres: Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances

Sergei Rachmaninoff began his long relationship with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1909, when--at the invitation of then conductor Carl Pohlig--he appeared for the first time on an American podium to conduct his 2nd Symphony. Later, under Leopold Stokowski's baton, the Orchestra offered several Rachmaninoff world premiere performances, including his 4th Piano Concerto (1927), Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (1934), and 3rd Symphony (1936).

Audio excerpt, recorded circa 1973, of Ormandy discussing an early encounter with Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff and Ormandy
Academy of Music, Philadelphia, 1941
Photographer: Adrian Siegel

Ormandy continued to foster this relationship and conducted numerous performance of Rachmaninoff's works in his early years in Philadelphia, on several occasions (1938, 1939, and 1941), with the composer at the piano. When, in 1940, Rachmaninoff completed his Symphonic Dances, he offered the world premiere to Ormandy. Dedicated to "Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra" and first performed in January 1941, the work would be Rachmaninoff's last orchestral composition, written just two years before his death.

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Symphonic Dances
New York: C. Foley, 1941
Conducting score, marked for performance by Ormandy

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Last update: Thursday, 04-Apr-2019 11:42:56 EDT
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