The Philharmonia Orchestra is delighted to announce that it is appointing Marin Alsop as Principal Guest Conductor, as it launches the first half of the 2023/24 London season.

Following three highly acclaimed programmes with Marin Alsop in the past year, the Orchestra was keen to forge a long-term relationship, recognising her exceptional musicianship, commitment to diversity and education, and the breadth of her repertoire.

Marin Alsop said: “This appointment as Principal Guest Conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra is a fantastic opportunity to deepen my relationship with these wonderful musicians and audiences. My work in London has been some of the most rewarding of my career. I am so looking forward to working more closely with this innovative, forward-thinking orchestra to create programmes and projects that draw from its long history of exceptional music making and continue to embrace the new and the bold.”

Alsop will join the Philharmonia’s artistic family in the 2023/24 season, with a programme to open the Orchestra’s centre-piece Let Freedom Ring series, which exemplifies her trailblazing approach to programming and musical rediscovery. For the following three seasons Alsop will be developing three distinctive projects per season with the Orchestra, which will include new repertoire, concert formats and modes of presentation.

The 2022/23 season marks Alsop’s fourth as Chief Conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. As Chief Conductor and Curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, she conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer residencies. She regularly guest conducts such major international orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala. Her record of achievement in leading significant orchestras on three continents, has contributed to her being widely acknowledged as one of the most important musical figures of her generation.

Marin Alsop and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, recently appointed as Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus, will join a family of titled artists, including Santtu-Matias Rouvali as Principal Conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen as Conductor Laureate, and Christoph von Dohnányi,Honorary Conductor for Life.

Philharmonia Chief Executive, Thorben Dittes said: “I’m thrilled that Marin Alsop is joining the Philharmonia family. She has a tremendous stylistic versatility to bring to our music-making, paired with a passion for audience development. Adding Marin’s and Sir John Eliot’s distinctive, and complementary, artistic voices to that of Santtu, our Principal Conductor, creates a musical powerhouse of excellence and innovation on the Philharmonia platform. I can’t wait to see where the three of them will lead our players and our audiences in the years to come.”

Kira Doherty, President of the Philharmonia said: “We are hugely fortunate to welcome Marin Alsop to the Philharmonia Orchestra under the title of Principal Guest Conductor. Alsop created an immediate rapport with the players in her three concerts with the orchestra last year through her strong musical vision and her collaborative approach to music making. She is a true trailblazer and visionary who challenges the accepted norms of the classical world through her innovative programming and education work. Alsop holds a position in the industry that few have managed to replicate: an esteemed and highly respected custodian of musical tradition who simultaneously works to reimagine its future and ensure its continued relevance. We are thrilled to have her on board in this new and exciting partnership.”

On 19 October, Alsop will open the Philharmonia’s series Let Freedom Ringwith a jazz-infused, all-American programme. Beginning with Drums – A Symphonic Poem, by James P. Johnson, the programme also includes two fanfares – Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man followed by Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, composed by Joan Tower and dedicated to Alsop. Alsop’s mentor Leonard Bernstein features with Three Dance Episodes from On The Town, including the hit New York, New York. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a masterpiece of the jazz age, highlights the virtuosity and almost telepathic rapport of the Marcus Roberts Trio.

Other highlights from the 2023/24 season include:

  • Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducts Verdi’s Requiem for the opening concert of the season. Soloists include soprano Natalya Romaniw.

  • Let Freedom Ring series celebrates the diversity of American music, and the creative crosscurrents between classical music and jazz.

  • Nicola Benedetti and Julia Bullock announced today as Featured Artists for 2023-24 season

  • Esa-Pekka Salonen returns for the first time as Conductor Laureate, in a reunion with Mitsuko Uchida

Principal Conductor Santtu-Mathias Rouvali conducts a huge range of music this season, from Verdi and Tchaikovsky to Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis, you can also catch him playing drum kit in a free performance by the Philharmonia Big Band.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Julia Bullock are our Featured Artists this season and both perform in our series Let Freedom Ring: Celebrating the Sounds of America, alongside leading jazz musicians such as esperanza spalding and Ravi Coltrane.

Dame Mitsuko Uchida, Seong-Jin Cho and Daniil Trifonov all join us at the piano, and Leonidas Kavakos play-directs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in November.

Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali takes the helm to open the Philharmonia’s season (21 Sep) with Verdi’s roof-raising Requiem. Among the soloists are Welsh-Ukrainian soprano Natalya Romaniw, Karen Cargill and Christof Fischesser. For Santtu’s second concert of the season, after a breath of Finnish fresh air from Sibelius (Sixth Symphony), award-winning pianist Seong Jin Cho joins our Principal Trumpet in Shostakovich’s most playful concerto (24 Sep), and the evening concludes with Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony.

Nicola Benedetti, one of our Featured Artists this season, performs a pinnacle of the violin repertoire, Brahms’s Violin Concerto (1 Oct). Romanian conductor Cristian Măcelaru selected Nico Muhly’s moving One Line, Two Shapes, a response to the Covid-19 lockdowns, to open his Philharmonia debut in a programme that also includes Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony.

On 19 November there’s the chance to discover the colourful sound-world of Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolović in a free Music of Today concert.

Let Freedom Ring celebrates the dazzling diversity of American music, the creative crosscurrents between classical music and jazz, and the musicians whose distinctive sounds have shaped their country’s identity. From lesser-known composers such as William Grant Still, Margaret Bonds and James P. Johnson, to the familiar sounds of Gershwin, Bernstein and Copland, it speaks of wide landscapes and restless cities, universal human experiences and extraordinary individuals, struggle and freedom. Leading lights of American jazz perform alongside classical trailblazers including our two Featured Artists, violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Julia Bullock.

Marin Alsop’s concert on 19 October tears down the boundaries between classical music and jazz. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a masterpiece of the jazz age, highlights the virtuosity and almost telepathic rapport of the Marcus Roberts Trio – pianist Marcus Roberts (who is blind), Jason Marsalis on drums (brother of Wynton Marsalis, see 9 Nov), and Martin Jaffe on bass.

A free concert, Philharmonia Chamber Players: It Don’t Mean a Thing (26 Oct) is a microcosm of the whole series, embracing the sounds of 1930s cabaret, Argentinian tango, and the nightclubs of New York.

Let Freedom Ring continues with Copland & Barber (26 Oct) featuring ‘the greatest American symphony ever written’ Copland’s Symphony No. 3. To open, American conductor Ryan Bancroft has chosen Entr’acte by his compatriot, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and in the middle Barber’s Violin Concerto features Renaud Capuçon.

Moving into November (9 Nov) Featured Artist Nicola Benedetti and Santtu-Matias Rouvali continue Let Freedom Ring with music by three American composers bridging the worlds of classical music and jazz. Drawing on America’s myriad migration stories, Wynton Marsalis’s concerto, written for Benedetti, is a fitting companion for Duke Ellington’s tribute to Martin Luther King. Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture features many of the opera’s unforgettable moments, including ‘Bess, You Is My Woman Now’, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, and ‘Summertime’.

After this concert (9 Nov) there will be a free late night Philharmonia Big Band concert – their first ever performance, featuring Santtu-Matias Rouvali on drums kit.

In partnership with EFG London Jazz Festival jazz icon, saxophonist, bandleader and composer, Wayne Shorter, who sadly passed away in March this year, is celebrated with an extraordinary line-up of his long-time collaborators joining the Philharmonia to pay homage to his enduring legacy with The Symphonic Music of Wayne Shorter (19 Nov) Bassist, singer, songwriter and teacher esperanza spalding collaborated with Shorter on both (Iphigenia) and Gaia, a song cycle richly laden with environmental imagery. Shorter’s writing evokes elemental forces, while spalding’s radiant vocals soar between earth and sky. Between these two landmark works, the Philharmonia Orchestra performs a selection from Wayne Shorter’s unrivalled songbook.

At the Let Freedom Ring Insights Day (19 Nov) you can hear from members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and experts including Dr Emily MacGregor in an afternoon of talks, performances and discussion. The day includes music from the Philharmonia’s MMSF Fellows, musicians at the beginning of their professional careers.

For the finale of Let Freedom Ring, the Philharmonia explores the music of the Harlem Renaissance with American soprano and Featured Artist Julia Bullock. Songs from a New World (23 Nov) includes trailblazing Black composer William Grant’s First Symphony, an audience favourite in the US, but not often programmed in the UK. Julia Bullock sings two settings by Margaret Bonds of poems by Langston Hughes and three Gershwin classics. Then Dvořák’s ever-popular ‘New World’ symphony brings the seriesto a close.

Also in November, regular Philharmonia collaborators The Bach Choir perform A German Requiem (2 Nov) including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Solemn Prelude, The Canticle of the Sun by trailblazing American composer Amy Beach and Brahms’s German Requiem.

A programme of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvořák (5 Nov) features Leonidas Kavakos leading the Philharmonia as both soloist and conductor. He play-directs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto before swapping his bow for a baton for Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn and finishing withDvořák’s Symphony No. 8. We put a spotlight on Daniil Trifonov, as he plays Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 (26 Nov), conducted by Paavo Järvi paired with Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, the first of two performances in this season.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali has chosen his favourites from among Dvořák’s lively and memorable Slavonic Dances and is then joined by Gil Shaham for Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. The concert closes with a selection of some of the best loved moments from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (3 Dec) reaffirming Rouvali’s affinity for ballet music.

Having performed together for his farewell Philharmonia concert in June 2021, Mitsuko Uchida and Esa-Pekka Salonen are reunited (25 Jan) for an evening of Beethoven with his Leonore Overture, No. 2 and Piano Concerto No. 2, and closing with Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Legends.