You Choose the Philadelphia Orchestra Conductor

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Philadelphia Orchestra Philadelphia Orchestra (Ryan Donnell)

Thursday night, WQXR broadcasts the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by its new Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, live from Carnegie Hall.

To get ready for that performance, this week's Showdown took a look back at the orchestra’s four most recent music directors: Christoph Eschenbach (2003-2008), Wolfgang Sawallisch (1993-2003), Riccardo Muti (1980-1992), and Eugene Ormandy (1936-1980).

There are either some serious Eschenbach fans or pipe organ fans — or both — out there because the majority of you voted for Eschenbach leading the Philadelphia Orchestra in Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, "Organ." We played it at noon.

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Comments [19]

Mary from Green Twp, NJ

Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra playing " A Midsummer Nights Dream" was the first classical LP I ever purchased and, years later, the first classical CD I ever purchased. Incomparable!

Jan. 16 2013 11:49 AM
Almenia from NYC

I can ALWAYS enjoy whatever work Mr. Ormandy has conducted. He isn't in the lead now but I just love his interpretations. When I was a student I had the pleasure of meeting him and I'll never forget his liveliness, so jovial. That is what I remember when I hear one of his concerts. Should he not be played at noon, his musicianship and humor will still remain superb in my thought. Thank you for this opportunity to share.

Jan. 16 2013 11:39 AM
Linda Douglas


I could go with nostalgia on this one since Ormandy's recordings with the
Philadelphia Orchestra were my introduction to classical musical 55 years
ago. However, I want to hear Saint-Saens'" Organ" Symphony.

Jan. 16 2013 11:25 AM
Richard from Philadelphia

What a difficult conductor showdown. All are excellent. For today however I shall make my choice Wolfgang Sawallisch. I have an autographed baton from him and have always appreciated the personal connection.

Jan. 16 2013 11:24 AM
Eliane Lordello from Vitória. ES. Brazil.


Christoph Eschenbach, for sure! Let’s give present day a chance for a contemporary orchestra respecting the entire past legacy.

Kind regards from Brazil!
Eliane.

Jan. 16 2013 11:18 AM
Waldo from MANHATTAN

EUGENE ORMANDY OF COURSE...THE ONE & ONLY!
WOULD THERE HAVE BEEN A PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA WITHOUT HIM?
WOULD THERE HAVE BEEN A PHILADELPHIA?

Jan. 16 2013 11:03 AM
Catherine from Manhasset , NY

My love for classical music began when I was 12 when a neighbor loaned me his beloved lp's of the Philadelphia orchestra led by Eugene Ormandy. Included were pieces by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven & Debussy. When my neighbor passed, he left his beloved collection to me, which I still treasure to this day.

Jan. 16 2013 11:02 AM
dorit straus from new york City

My father David Grunschlagt was first violinist with the Philadelphia orchestra from 1959- 1984 ( following a great career as one of the founidng members of the Israel Philhamonic Orhcestra in 1936 aqnd becoming its concertmaster in 1942 ). Most his Philadelphia career was playing under Ormandy and then under Muti - but for most of my the years that I spent in Philadelphia I would come to concerts conducted by Maestro Ormandy, so for nostalgia's sake I prefer to hear the Philadelphia orchestra under Ormandy.

Jan. 16 2013 11:01 AM
Carol B from Bronxville, NY

Confession time - I voted for the music rather than the conductor on this one. Although Eugene Ormandy means Philadelphia to me, I want to hear Hindemith today. I probably voted for the outlier but, once again, you have presented us with incredible options! You're making Wednesday my favorite day of the week!

Jan. 16 2013 10:57 AM
Tim from Washington DC

We had so many Ormandy records when I was growing up in the 60s, he and the Philadelphia will always be a match in my book, like Szell and Cleveland and Bernstein and NY. Gotta go with Ormandy. Thanks for another great contest!

Jan. 16 2013 10:53 AM
Beth from NJ

I grew up in England listening over and over to my mother's extensive collection of Philadelphia/Ormandy recordings, and when I wound up living in Philadelphia many years later I had a subscription during the Muti and Sawallisch years. Muti without hesitation.

Jan. 16 2013 10:41 AM
Counce from CT

The highlight of the year for me was always the Philidelphians visits to Carnegie Hall under Ormandy. He was guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic for a complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies just after he had announced his retirement. When he walked on stage at Avery Fisher for the first performance, he got a standing ovation in an outpouring of love and thanks. It was one of those moments one lives for as a music lover.

Jan. 16 2013 10:35 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Tchaikovsky and a winter day - perfect together!

Jan. 16 2013 10:22 AM
Thomas Cassidy from Rockaway, New Jersey

I grew up in Philadelphia and after entering Temple Univeristy in 1963, I sang with the chior and we had a wonderful opportunity to sing a Christmas program with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. It is a memory I treasure for ever. He was so dynamic and demanded perfection!

Jan. 16 2013 10:13 AM
Walter G. Blenderman from North Plainfield, NJ

I had the good fortune to have had subscription series during the tenures of both Ormandy and Muti; like both of them, but have to go with Ormandy here.

Jan. 16 2013 10:12 AM

When I was young I was fortunate enough to see Eugene Ormandy, in concert, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, I was amazed at how short he was, compared to his stature as a conductor (he was a giant) He was brilliant!

Jan. 16 2013 08:53 AM
Gev Sweeney from The Jersey Shore

Muti ... Carnegie Hall, November 6, 1984 ... forever drool-worthy ...

Jan. 16 2013 08:50 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Ormandy is my choice. The world-famous sumptuous tone was a marvel, as his recordings attest. Though he and Stokowski weren't best friends, Ormandy remarked that he knew he should leave the Philadelphia Orchestra as it was as shaped and developed under Stokowski's tenure.

Jan. 16 2013 06:29 AM
Reader from Long Island NY

Ormandy. He upheld the precision of the Philadelphia first made famous by Stokowski, and also made some of its most famous recordings.

Jan. 16 2013 04:20 AM

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