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It's official. Allison Vulgamore, as rumored last week, is taking over as President and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Initially, she has a two-year contract with a group that she describes as "fiscally more challenging than I've seen any orchestra be."

Vulgamore, who comes to Philadelphia after a glowing 17-year term with the Atlanta Symphony, was for five years in the 1980s Artistic Administrator and General Manager of the National Symphony Orchestra.

* * *

Earlier this week, it was announced that James Levine is cancelling all of his upcoming performances to undergo immediate surgery for a herniated disk. This affected not only performances of the Metropolitan Opera's controversial new "Tosca" and the upcoming "Der Rosenkavalier" revival (Edo de Waart is jumping in for that one), but, even more significantly, opening night at Carnegie Hall tonight with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The question of a substitute was complicated by the fact that the program, which the BSO played for its home opener last week, includes a new work by John Williams, written for the orchestra's long-time and now retiring principal harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, which a substitute would have to learn at extremely short notice for a high-profile outing. Daniele Gatti has now taken it on.
(read more after the jump)

This scenario isn't altogether unfamiliar: two years ago Dorothea Röschmann, the soprano, appeared at Carnegie's opening as a last-minute replacement for Thomas Quasthoff. That performance was being televised; I'm not sure this one is. Washington residents are already familiar with part of the program, at least, since Evgeny Kissin already played the Chopin 2nd concerto with the NSO for the orchestra's opening gala at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night.

By Anne Midgette  |  October 1, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  national , news  
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Good luck to Ms. Vulgamore. She'll need it.

Interesting thing about Gatti. He'll also conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra this season; could he be a contender for Music Director? In my experience he's an uneven conductor but his best stuff is great. I also know Jens F. Laurson thinks high of him - in fact he thinks Gatti as the only possible replacement for Christian Thielemann as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic (though l'affaire Thielemann is becoming more and more interesting...)

Anyway, tomorrow I will be attending my first ever live Aida at the Met, in no small part due to the presence of Gatti at the helm.

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | October 1, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Is it my imagination or does not the Boston Symphony Carnegie Hall gala programming tonight – in terms of gala programming -- sit rather nicely between the fascinating but ambitious New York Philharmonic gala programming (Lindberg, Messiaen, Berlioz -- televised), and the attempted goulash of the National Symphony Orchestra’s gala programming?

I would like to think that such thoughtful and uncompromising programming might win several hundred new and highly intelligent converts from among the jet-setting, moneyed classes:

BEETHOVEN Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
JOHN WILLIAMS On Willows and Birches, for harp and orchestra (NY Premiere)

And I wish we could all take a breather from hiking and portaging through our National Parks to see this gala on public television this evening.

(I also hope that bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff – mentioned above -- will still choose to create a few special operatic world premiere roles at this stage of his wonderful career.)

Posted by: snaketime1 | October 1, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"And I wish we could all take a breather from hiking and portaging through our National Parks to see this gala on public television this evening."

@snaketime1, now look what you did. I misread what you wrote and thought you were encouraging PTV watchers to switch from watching Burns' documentary to watching the BSO Carnegie gala on another PTVS. So I'm off on a wild goose chase looking for what other DC area PTVS is airing it and finding none before rereading what you wrote and realizing you meant you wish it were an option not you wish people would chose the option of BSO over Burns. Sigh.

It would be nice if there were some cable station (like an Ovation Live) where you might get such an offering so that way you can not only hear the thing but see it in HD on your tv and not some lousy monitor. Even if for a monthly or modest ppv fee. You'd think cable companies would grab onto it because since live events (particularly sports, breaking news) are becoming the only reason to have cable, you'd think they find more live events to telecast! I suppose it might kill the DVD market for these galas. Do those sell much anyway?

Posted by: prokaryote | October 1, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

But the BSO program is not especially adventurous, and John Williams music, outside film, is fairly mediocre.

Posted by: cicciofrancolando | October 1, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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