John Williams and Stéphane Denève Conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra, February 20, 2024 – Reviews, Photos & Video (Updated with New Photos)

February 20, 2024, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center of the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by JOHN WILLIAMS and Stéphane Denève
Yo-Yo Ma, cello *


Conducted by Stéphane Denève

  • Just Down West Street … on the left
    First Philadelphia Orchestra performance
  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra *
    I. Theme and Cadenza
    II. Blues
    III. Scherzo
    IV. Song


  • Theme from Schindler’s List *


Conducted by John Williams

  • Olympic Fanfare and Theme
  • Excerpts from The Book Thief
  • Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra, from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    First Philadelphia Orchestra performance
  • Marion’s Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Princess Leia’s Theme from Star Wars
  • Adventures on Earth from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


  • Helena’s Theme from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  • Main Title from Star Wars
  • The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back



  • The Philadelphia Inquirer – Menace came to Verizon Hall Tuesday night. Pride, tenderness, and a buoyant elation, too. The Philadelphia Orchestra was the sensitive tool releasing these emotional charges — conjured by an unassuming 92-year-old magician in the fine art of portraying what it means to be human. – Full review
  • BNN – Imagine, if you will, a night under the resonant dome of a grand concert hall, where the air itself seems thrum with anticipation. On this particular evening, the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the luminescent glow of the stage lights, prepared to embark on a journey through the soundscapes of America’s most beloved composer, John Williams, at the ripe age of 92. The concert, a rich tapestry woven from the threads of Williams’ expansive career, featured not just his iconic film scores but also his intricate concert pieces, revealing the depth of his genius. – Full review


Review by ‘rpvee’ (original post)

A magical evening with the Maestro! I’m sooooo glad he did the second half of the concert instead – hearing him introduce his own iconic pieces and conduct them himself just can’t be beat! Williams was in great form, telling the usual funny stories with even greater humor and joy than usual (and noting that Empire is when he “put clothes on Darth Vader and Yoda” when telling the Luke-Leia-love-them story before Leia’s Theme). He also seemed more spry than the last time I saw him, walking much more quickly and easily and even bending down multiple times to pick up his massive score books. At one point, his baton even fell to the ground and he was about to pick it up himself before a cellist did for him.

Needless to say, Yo-Yo Ma was brilliant during the Concerto and Schindler’s List Theme in the first half, but the second half with Williams himself stole the show, and the energy of the audience alone demonstrated that. The second half encores were Helena’s Theme, Star Wars Main Title Suite, and Imperial March. So, no surprises this time, but still a wonderful concert full of classics and amazing energy from both Williams and his audience.

My only “critiques” would be that beyond Williams coming out before and after Schindler’s to bow with Yo-Yo Ma, there was no other interaction between them, and you’d have expected Williams to conduct Yo-Yo at some point given their double headline spots in the concert. And additionally, Williams’ security needs to chill a bit. A kid who couldn’t have been older than 14 walked up to the stage with a CD and sharpie in hand towards the end of the concert when Williams was exiting, and a security guard standing stage right began motioning to the kid to leave and ultimately came down to tell him to go away. Let’s not forget Williams used to come out the stage door after Boston shows and greet everyone. I know eBay scalpers ruined that, and now Williams is up in age, but for security to get on a kid’s ass just because he was holding a CD was sad. Not necessarily Williams’ fault, of course, and also not surprising since Williams hasn’t signed for people in years, but it definitely showed how times have changed.

Anyway, looking forward to experiencing this wonderful program again at the legendary Carnegie Hall in a couple days! Hopefully Williams does the second half there, too. It really enhanced the entire evening. Tonight was my 30th time seeing him conduct live, and I certainly hope there will be many more ahead!


Official photos (credit: Charles Fox / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

(More photos at The Philadelphia Enquirer )

Photos by rpvee:

Photos by MSM:

Photos by Steve Vertlieb:


The Imperial March