All events Friends event

Open Rehearsal in London: Dvořák’s New World Symphony

Sold out

Julia Bullock performing with the Philharmonia at Royal Festival Hall


Jordan de Souza – conductor
Julia Bullock – singer


Still Symphony No. 1, 'Afro-American'

Gershwin Somebody from Somewhere

Bonds The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Gershwin Summertime

Bonds Winter Moon

Gershwin Soon

Dvořák Symphony No. 9, 'From the New World'

We explores the music of the Harlem Renaissance with compelling American soprano Julia Bullock. Then Dvořák’s ever-popular ‘New World’ symphony brings our series Let Freedom Ring to a close.

It’s a fitting finale for this series exploring American music. Inspired by the spirituals and folk music Dvořák heard while he was working in New York in the 1890s, it may well be the most popular symphony composed in America.

But for the most popular symphony composed by an American, we must look to William Grant Still, a prolific and trailblazing Black composer and a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s. His First Symphony is an audience favourite in the US, but not often programmed by British orchestras. Its four short movements, ‘Longings’, ‘Sorrows’, ‘Humor’, and ‘Aspirations’, are threaded through with the sounds of the Blues, ragtime and jazz, and it culminates in a triumphant hymn of hope.

Julia Bullock is one of our Featured Artists this season. Known for her intense, authentic performances and commanding stage presence, she is also an eloquent advocate for equity and inclusion in the arts.

She sings two settings by Margaret Bonds of poems by Langston Hughes – both composer and writer were leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. Bonds discovered Hughes’ poetry while at university and was inspired to continue her studies in the face of terrible racism, and later she and Hughes became lifelong friends. Between the Bonds songs are three Gershwin classics, including the poignant lullaby from Porgy and Bess (see our 9 November concert), ‘Summertime’.

Part of Let Freedom Ring

Need to know




Not a Friend yet?

Support the Philharmonia and join us from only £5 a month to get access to Open Rehearsals, priority booking and more.

Join today

Running time

Approximately 3 hrs

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Digital programme notes available closer to the rehearsal.

Contact the Friends team

Phone: 020 7921 3906

Concerto and Symphony Friends

Concerto Friends and above can claim their complimentary pair of Open Rehearsal tickets by emailing


Open Rehearsals are not performances. Playing may be paused at various intervals in order for the conductor, soloist and orchestra to agree on specific styles and dynamics.

Open Rehearsals are working processes for the conductor and the Orchestra. Times and repertoire being rehearsed will be confirmed prior to the rehearsal date, as these schedules are subject to change. Please check our website for up-to-date information.


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

View on Google Maps

Get closer to the music

Become a Philharmonia Friend for access to Open Rehearsals, priority booking, and opportunities to meet our players – all without booking fees.

Join now

2023/24 London Season

Explore our 2023/24 season at the Royal Festival Hall.

Browse concerts

Sold out