Philadelphia Orchestra cutting back on neighborhood concerts

Posted: September 15, 2011

The Philadelphia Orchestra will play only two of its traditional three free neighborhood concerts this year.

Violinist Leila Josefowicz will join the orchestra Oct. 9 on Penn's Landing's Great Plaza for a 6:30 p.m. performance that includes two works by Kreisler and Massenet's "Meditation" from Thaïs. The ensemble will perform pieces by Elgar, Barber, Copland, and the last movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World").

The orchestra will play Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in the headquarters of Urban Outfitters Inc. at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Works include the first suite from Grieg's incidental music to Peer Gynt and Rossini's Overture to William Tell. The indoor space can accommodate 1,500.

Cristian Macelaru, debuting as assistant conductor, will lead both concerts.

In previous years, the orchestra has performed free concerts in spots including Drexel Hill, North Philadelphia, Villanova, and Camden. This year, instead of a third concert, it worked with sponsor Wells Fargo & Co. to create a program providing access for what the orchestra calls "underserved families" to Christmas concerts and rehearsals.

Free tickets will be distributed through community partners, said Craig Hamilton, the orchestra's vice president for community and government affairs. The bank's sponsorship level remains the same, he said, but "the idea is to reach as much of a diverse audience as possible, and also reach several generations."

Whether the change to two free neighborhood concerts is permanent has not been determined, Hamilton said.

The orchestra also performed an abbreviated schedule of concerts at the Mann Center this summer - three instead of the usual nine.

For more information:, or 215-893-1988.

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