The NEPA Phil: 2014 – 2015 Season

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic is ready to kick off another season, and this one TAKES THE CAKE!

Not only is the 2014-2015 Season chock full of great guest artists:

And great music: Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Strauss, Barber, Beethoven, Dvorak, Mozart & more…

…it also marks a HUGE MILESTONE:

Maestro Lawrence Loh’s 10th Anniversary Season!

Maestro Lawrence Loh celebrates his 10th Anniversary Season as Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

Maestro Lawrence Loh celebrates his 10th Anniversary Season as Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

That’s right! It’s already been 10 years since Lawrence Loh, Music Director, came to share his talents and love of music with Northeastern Pennsylvania. The NEPA Phil is celebrating all season long — and so are we!

We’re GIVING AWAY 3 pairs of tickets to experience Masterworks I…


…we’re sharing the inside scoop on Maestro Loh’s 10th season in The Interview.

But first, you don’t want to miss the Phil’s epic season opener.

Here’s what you need to know:

Masterworks I: Tchaikovsky Season Opener

WHO: The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, directed by Mastro Lawrence Loh


  • Maestro Lawrence Loh conducting Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony (the piece he auditioned with 10 years ago)
  • Pianist Jon Nakamatsu performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1

WHEN: Friday, September 19, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre


  • Philharmonic Office: (570) 270 – 4444 (contact Sandy)
  • nepaphil.org
  • …or enter our Season Opener Giveaway (details below)

The Interview: Maestro Lawrence Loh

We invited Maestro Loh to share some thoughts with us about his ten years as NEPA Philharmonic Music Director

The Valenches Music Company: Congratulations on ten years as Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic! We are so fortunate to have you as the face of classical music in NEPA. How does it feel to reach that accomplishment and what does our NEPA Philharmonic mean to you?

Maestro Lawrence Loh: Thank you so much! I can’t believe that it’s already the tenth season! It’s been such an honor to be the Music Director of our Philharmonic and I’m really excited about this season. The Philharmonic and Northeastern Pennsylvania means so much to me. This is the first professional orchestra that gave me the chance to be Music Director and that is a great responsibility. I always dreamed to be the conductor of an orchestra of this caliber. I care deeply about the Philharmonic and the community it serves.

VMC: How has the NEPA Philharmonic changed over the course of ten years and what has the organization gained as a result of your leadership?

MLL: The economic climate for having a professional orchestra has definitely become more challenging during my ten years as Music Director. Some of the challenges arose directly as a result of diminishing music education in schools. As a result, the Philharmonic has implemented many new and innovative educational programs and these are some of my proudest accomplishments. We are always looking for ways for young people to connect with the Philharmonic. By the way, this has been a team effort. Many of these ideas come from board members, musicians and staff. Some of these programs include Kids in the Balcony, expanded Youth and Family concerts, and for budding musicians in the area, the Philharmonic’s biennial Piano Competition and the student side-by-side Mentoring Program which culminates in a concert where the students sit side by side with their Philharmonic mentors!

VMC: You bring an impressive resume of professional music accomplishments to our area. How and when did music become a part of your life?

MLL: Music has always been a part of my life. I grew up in a home where my mother was a professional violinist (in the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra) and a Suzuki Method teacher at home. My siblings and I began music lessons very early, both in violin and piano. I actually can’t remember “starting” music because before I played, I listened. I am so grateful for having had that chance to study music as a young person.

VMC: One of our favorite Philharmonic memories from the past ten years is when your two children, Charlie and Hilary, conducted the Philharmonic. How did you introduce them to music?

MLL: Charlie is now 11 and Hilary is 8. They both started on violin quite early. I remember Charlie was particularly obsessed with the violin as a toddler. I was with the Dallas Symphony at the time, and Charlie (age 2 at the time) would hang out backstage with world famous violinists like Joshua Bell and Sarah Chang. My Mom, seeing his interest, decided to buy him a gift – a 1/16 size violin! Strangely, when he opened the box, he was so shocked that he immediately ran away from the violin! I think he didn’t know they made them that small! Since then, he and his sister Hilary have both embraced the violin and it is a very important part of their lives. They especially enjoyed their chance to conduct the Philharmonic last summer! What a great memory!


VMC: When you put down your baton and step off the podium, how do you spend your time?

MLL: Of course, when I’m not conducting, I’m studying music for future concerts, fund-raising and programming. My job off the podium takes even more time than on. Regardless of my professional duties, carving out time with my wife Jen and my kids is one of the most important things for me. I love to spend that time with them. We play tennis, go biking, play soccer, go to restaurants and travel. This past summer, I took the whole family on a European tour with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra! I led the orchestra in major concert halls in Vienna, Prague, Salzburg and Bratislava. My family had a great time taking in the culture in this incredible cities. In the fall of 2014, my family will be making a stop to Disney World when I go down to conduct The Florida Orchestra in November!

VMC: With orchestras folding and audiences waning, the world-wide classical music scene is very different from that of ten years ago. What is the future of classical music, in your opinion, and how are you, as a musical torchbearer, helping to shape that future?

MLL: Orchestras are in a tricky position because we do need to evolve with the times yet stay true to our reason of existence. We should continue to program exciting and popular masterworks by the great composers of the past, but still program amazing music by contemporary composers and popular artists. In a given season, you may find Beethoven and Tchaikovsky alongside music by Jennifer Higdon or N. Lincoln Hanks. Meanwhile, we perform with artists like violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and the Texas Tenors in the same season.  Since our orchestra is filled with musicians who can play any style, we have no problem making these transitions. Personally, I take pride in the fact that I love music from every direction of style, and I feel comfortable doing it all.

Another very important aspect to our future is embracing the community that we serve. As I talked about before with our educational initiatives, the Philharmonic is doing a lot to connect to the community and this is critical to our future. We perform in a wide variety of venues throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, our musicians go into schools and connect with students, we collaborate with other arts organizations, and I very frequently speak at public venues about music.

VMC: What is your hope for the NEPA Philharmonic 5 years from now?

MLL: I hope that we will always continue to have the highest artistic product because our community deserves it! I have enormous confidence in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and for our future. Members of the community and board recently raised about $400,000 in a very short amount of time to give stability to the orchestra and to fill some very needed positions in our staff and I am very excited about the future.

VMC: Congratulations again on your 10th Anniversary Season! What message would you like to share with the community of Northeastern Pennsylvania?

MLL: In a way, it is a privilege for a community to have an orchestra like the Philharmonic, but I see it as critical. We fill a need for arts, culture and amazing live performances with world-famous artists. What we create live on the stage only exists for that moment and you need to be there to experience it!

Thank you again, Maestro, for sharing your thoughts with us. Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary Season! We look forward to many more years. 

Season Opener Ticket Giveaway

The Valenches Music Company is giving away 3 pairs of tickets to experience the NEPA Philharmonic’s Tchaikovsky Season Opener!

For your chance to win, simply answer this question in the comment section below before 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2014:

Why do you love the NEPA Philharmonic? 

3 Winners will be chosen at random and announced right here on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. Each winner will receive 2 tickets to Masterworks I.

*Special thanks to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic for sponsoring this giveaway.* 

And the winners are…

  • Sarah Sespico

  • Michelle Thoman

  • John Joseph




  • Sarah R. Sespico

    I love the different choice selections each year! I also love Maestro Loh’s animation when he conducts!

  • michelle thoman

    We love the NEPA Philharmonic because the music is beautiful and we learn from the musicians that to play better requires a great deal of practice.

  • John Joseph

    We love the Philharmonic because it’s good music to listen to, and by watching the orchestra I can learn different techniques. It calms me and makes me more relaxed. It helps me with subjects in school such as math, reading, english, and many other subjects in school.