It's fun. It's laid back. It's Off the Cuff.

Marin Alsop explores the backstory on classical music's greatest works and shares their secrets, scandals and twists. This unique series engages you in an entertaining and informative forum, including a thrilling performance of the music. It's fun. It's laid back. It's Off the Cuff!

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Marin AlsopEin Heldenleben

October 24-25

Marin Alsop, conductor

R.Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

If musicians have a favorite orchestra showpiece, this just might be it. Richard Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) is a masterpiece for the ages. Who is the hero portrayed in this stunning work? What journey must he overcome? It might take some serious brass to create the sounds of battle, bravery and heroism, but Strauss’ score exploits the full instrumental range of the BSO in one epic punch.


Richard PoeNotes for Stalin

November 14-15

Marin Alsop, conductor
Didi Balle, Playwright-In-Residence
Jared McLenigan, actor
Richard Poe, actor
Tony Tsendeas, actor

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

More than 75 years ago, Shostakovich set out to write his now legendary Fifth Symphony. The result was an appealing and triumphant score full of contradictions and hidden messages. Is it a tribute to the greatness of the Soviet virtues or a parody of its leadership? How could an artist create a work of such power and optimism under such harsh and restrictive conditions?

World Premiere, Philadelphia Orchestra, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, March 1, 2013


Marin AlsopThe Rite of Spring

January 9-10

Marin Alsop, conductor

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

With its clashing harmonies and explosive rhythms, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was an historic turning point in modern music 100 years ago. Marin Alsop guides the audience through the complexities and elements that even today make this rambunctious work feel edgy. If there’s a riot like there was in 1913 Paris, won’ t you want to be there?


Nicholas McGeganThe Bach Family

February 13-14

Nicholas McGegan, conductor 
Jonathan Carney, violin 
Igor Yuzefovich, violin 
Dariuz Skoraczewski, cello 
Emily Skala, flute 
Katherine Needleman, oboe


J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major 
J.S. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D minor 
C.P.E. Bach: Symphony, Wq 179 
J.C. Bach: Sinfonia concertante for Flute, Oboe, Violin, and Cello in C Major

A case of nature vs. nurture? Musical genius was undoubtedly a hereditary gift in the Bach family tree. Conductor favorite Nicholas McGegan makes a guest appearance on the Off the Cuff series to explore seminal works by J.S., J.C. and C.P.E. Bach and their respective legacies that put them at the forefront of Baroque music. 


Didi BalleTchaikovsky's 5th Symphony

April 10-11

Marin Alsop, conductor
Didi Balle, director and Playwright-in-Residence

If Beethoven’s Fifth is “Fate knocking at the door,” wrote a commentator, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth is “Fate trying to get out.” Things just got interesting. Marin Alsop and Playwright-in-Residence Didi Balle join forces once again to guide audiences through Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a heady mix of drama, vigor and passion. Enjoy dramatic interpretation on the stage that breaks down the musical elements that give this masterpiece its hyper-Romantic character, followed by the work in its entirety.


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