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The Philadelphia Orchestra: Porgy and Bess

conductor leading orchestra

The program will open with two SPAC premieres by contemporary female composers including Gabriela Frank’s Escaramuza, the second of Frank’s works to be featured this season, and Jessie Montgomery’s Coincident Dances marking the composer’s SPAC debut. Escaramuza signifies “skirmish” in the Spanish language, and is highlighted by asymmetrical rhythms and a relenting energy, while Coincident Dances seeks to capture the soundscape of Montgomery’s native New York City.

An American classic, Porgy and Bess is the story of a disabled beggar, Porgy, who is transformed by his unexpected and improbable love for Bess. To help create his masterpiece, George Gershwin immersed himself in African-American life and culture on Charleston’s Catfish Row, honoring the area’s folk traditions with timeless melodies. Pioneering conductor Marin Alsop leads this tale of oppression, struggle, hope, and love on SPAC’s stage for the first time. Additional soloists will be announced at a later date.


  • Frank: Escaramuza
  • Montgomery: Coincident Dances
  • Gershwin: Highlights from Porgy and Bess
Tags: orchestra

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