The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Welcome Steve Martin as Special Guest for the Academy of Music 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball

(Philadelphia, November 29, 2017)—For generations, the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball has been one of Philadelphia’s most anticipated and memorable evenings of the year. On Saturday, January 27, 2018, supporters of the Academy of Music will be treated to a special concert featuring celebrated comedian, actor, and entertainer Steve Martin and The Philadelphia Orchestra led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Martin will play the banjo with the Orchestra in newly created orchestrations arranged specifically for the evening. Ball festivities will follow in an elegantly spirited evening of friendship, music, dinner, and dancing.

“It is always a tremendous joy to return to the Academy of Music, the Orchestra’s original home, for this memorable evening of music and camaraderie,” said Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “I am particularly excited to collaborate with Steve Martin, a brilliant entertainer and talented banjo player. Expect some truly magical moments as he joins the ‘Fabulous Philadelphians’ on stage.”

Always a new and exciting experience, yet rich with treasured traditions, the evening is a night for Philadelphians both young and young at heart. The theme for the Academy of Music 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball is Philadelphia: Past, Present, and Future.

The annual fundraiser benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

“The significance of the annual Anniversary Concert and Ball extends far beyond a spectacular evening,” said Caroline B. Rogers, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Music. “This event supports the ongoing restoration of one of Philadelphia’s most important historic landmarks that is instrumental to the cultural viability of our region.”

Support of the Restoration Fund will enable the completion of important capital projects at the Academy in FY18, including the refurbishment of the Locust Street façade and electrical work.

“This important restoration work would not be possible without the many supporters of the Concert and Ball and the hard work of our co-chairmen, Lydie Szabo Brown and John Fry,” said Matthew Loden, vice president of institutional advancement for The Philadelphia Orchestra and secretary of the Board and chief restoration fund officer of the Academy of Music. “It is an honor for the Orchestra to return to the Academy each year for this highly anticipated and meaningful event that helps to ensure the crown jewel of the Avenue of the Arts thrives for years to come.”

The white-tie celebration will begin at 5:00 PM with the Chairman’s Pre-Concert Reception at the Academy of Music, where guests will mingle while exploring the architectural glories and beauty of the beloved National Historic Landmark. The evening will continue with the concert in the Academy auditorium at 7:00 PM. The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra graciously donate their services for this concert.

The post-concert celebrations will begin with the traditional promenade up the Avenue of the Arts from the Academy to the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Dinner and Ball attendees will fill the reception rooms of the historic building, from the stylish State Drawing Room to the sophisticated Grand Ballroom to the rooftop grandeur of XIX. Six of the region’s most prominent dance orchestras and bands will perform music ranging from the classic American songbook to popular dance hits.

Concert and Ball tickets are available at or by calling the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215-893-1978. Concert-only tickets, priced at $75, can be purchased at or by calling 215-893-1999.

This year’s gala is co-chaired by Lydie Szabo Brown and John Fry. John and Leigh Middleton serve as honorary co-chairmen. The 161st Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball is underwritten as of this release by The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, and; Hyatt at the Bellevue; Philadelphia magazine; Karma Agency; Independence Blue Cross; Innisfree Foundation; PNC Bank; Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; Wells Fargo & Co./Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo Business; Drexel University; Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation; Neubauer Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Eric W. Noll; PECO; Neiman Marcus; Garces Events; halfGenius; Isaacson, Miller; Philadelphia Style; Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP; Beneficial Bank; Franklin Templeton; L.F. Driscoll; aajdesign; SPW Productions; Symphony V; Catering by Design; Aqua America; Boyds Philadelphia; Cara and John Fry; Lydie Szabo Brown and Paul de Janosi; Kathleen and Nicholas Chimicles; Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Edward Hill III; INTECH Construction, Inc.; PwC; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; Caroline B. Rogers; Linda and Steven Seigfried; and WRTI-FM.

History of the Academy of Music and the Anniversary Concert and Ball

Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, the Academy of Music was home to The Philadelphia Orchestra for more than a century, from the ensemble’s founding in 1900 to the opening of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in 2001. The first Anniversary Concert and Ball, which took place on January 26, 1957, featured a star-studded line-up in which Eugene Ormandy shared his podium with Danny Kaye. The historic evening’s guest performers included classical artists Marian Anderson, Hilde Gueden, Arthur Rubinstein, and Isaac Stern, and popular singer Dinah Shore. Since 1957 numerous luminaries of the musical world have performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra as part of the Academy of Music Anniversary concerts. Notable guest artists include sopranos Audra McDonald, Jessye Norman, and Kiri Te Kanawa; mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne; violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Itzhak Perlman; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang; popular artists such as Rod Steward, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Sting, and Paul Simon; and performers such as Hugh Jackman, Al Pacino, and Martin Short.

About the Artists

Steve Martin is one of the most acclaimed and beloved talents in entertainment. His work has earned numerous honors, including an Academy Award®, five Grammy Awards, an Emmy® Award, the Mark Twain Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. Many of Martin’s films are considered modern classics, including The Jerk, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Roxanne, Parenthood, L.A. Story, and Father of the Bride. As an author, Martin’s work includes the novel An Object of Beauty; the play Picasso at the Lapin Agile; a collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel; a best-selling novella, Shopgirl; and his memoir Born Standing Up. His latest play, Meteor Shower, is currently on Broadway in a production starring Emmy Award winner Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Tony Award® winner Laura Benanti, and Jeremy Shamos, and directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks.

Martin is also an accomplished Grammy Award-winning, boundary-pushing bluegrass banjoist and composer. In 2013 he released his third full-length album, Love Has Come For You, a unique collaboration with songwriter Edie Brickell. Love Has Come For You won a Grammy for “Best American Roots Song” for the title track and inspired their musical Bright Star. Bright Star received five Tony Award nominations and received Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score at the Outer Critics Circle Awards. Martin and Brickell’s second album together, So Familiar, was released on Rounder Records and featured 12 remarkable songs that brought the acclaimed duo’s musical collaboration into fresh creative territory. Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers recently released their newest collaboration, The Long-Awaited Album, on Rounder Records.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is an inspired leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra. His highly collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better.” To read his complete bio, please visitézet-séguin-0#/.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making. The Orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging—and exceeding—that level by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit

Event Details

Academy of Music 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball

January 27, 2018, at 7:00 PM – Saturday evening – Academy of Music

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor

Steve Martin Special Guest


The musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra are graciously donating their services for this concert.

This concert will be performed without an intermission.

For more information on the Anniversary Concert and Ball, please call the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at 215-893-1978 or visit

Ashley Berke

Amanda N. Conte