November 11, 1990
In our Philadelphiacentric view of the world, cities like Newark, N.J., Detroit and Cleveland exist on Earth primarily for the purpose of enabling us to feel good about our city. And so it was with a certain amount of alarm that we read a story the other day about how Newark has hired an architect for a new $140 million concert hall in un-beautiful downtown Newark. After all, it seems like it was only a few months ago that we were writing about how Newark's bond rating was going up at roughly the same time that Philadelphia's was going down.
July 26, 1995 |
It's a good week for the city's struggling Avenue of the Arts. A key project, the proposed new orchestra concert hall has avoided a disastrous setback, and the University of the Arts, a major force on South Broad Street, has gotten a $22 million grant. The Sidney Kimmel Foundation, named for the Jones New York clothing magnate, yesterday announced it will extend the deadline on its September 1993 promise to give $12 million toward the construction of an orchestra concert hall.
June 8, 1995 |
If the Philadelphia Orchestra is pushing two big rocks up a hill at once - trying to renovate the historic Academy of Music and build a new concert hall - it's at least managed to keep one from rolling back down. After meeting yesterday, the Pew Charitable Trusts has decided to renew its $7.5 million commitment to the renovation of the Academy, a gift the board decided to reconsider after billionaire Walter Annenberg recently grumbled about progress. Annenberg's $10 million grant and Pew's gift represent the bulk of money raised so far toward the $27 million renovation.
April 17, 1998 |
The new concert hall promises to be a tourist attraction as much as a cultural landmark. Planned as an architectural marvel, the Regional Performing Arts Center will offer a state-of-the-art orchestra hall and recital theater. The 2,500 seats in the main concert hall and another 650 seats in the recital theater will join 2,900 seats at the Academy of Music, 1,600 at the Merriam and 300 at the Wilma. That's a whopping 8,000 seats in two blocks. The designers contacted more than 58 local performing organizations for input on the smaller space, finally deciding that it made more sense to have an adaptable 650-seat recital theater than an intermediate hall duplicating the Merriam's seating.
December 23, 1990 |
Media Borough taxpayers will not get a property tax increase in 1991, but they may get a rock-and-roll concert hall, which they vehemently oppose. That was the consensus among a packed audience at the Borough Council's Thursday night meeting, the last and longest and perhaps loudest of the year. The meeting began at 8 p.m. and ran for almost 3 1/2 hours. The council adopted a $3,099,236 general-fund budget calling for no change in the current 15-mill tax rate, the lowest in Delware County.
December 28, 1989 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra announced yesterday that it had received a $3 million challenge grant from the William Penn Foundation, the first gift from a major Philadelphia foundation for the proposed $95 million concert hall. "It's a very significant sign," said Peter Wyeth, director of development for the orchestra. The foundation grant, he said, gave the concert-hall project "the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. " According to a statement by Bernard C. Watson, president of the William Penn Foundation, the grant "reflects our belief that the concert hall project is an extremely important one for Philadelphia.
January 6, 1991 |
A proposal to turn the now-closed Media Theater into a rock-and-roll concert hall has raised concerns that the owners actually plan to use the building for office space. Media Real Estate Co., owner of the theater, owns another Delaware County movie house that was converted for office use after a brief fling as a rock- and-roll hall. That was the College Theater along Chester Road in the Swarthmore section of Springfield Township, which closed as a movie house in 1987 and for a short period was leased to a rock concert promoter.
September 8, 1996 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra has decided it is unable to build a concert hall itself and will let someone else have a try. The orchestra's board has voted to turn the project over to a new, as yet unformed nonprofit corporation that would build, own and operate a new concert hall along with a new performing-arts center - perhaps as a single structure. It would also manage, though not own, the Academy of Music, the orchestra's present home. The board's decision marks a significant turning point in the orchestra's rocky path to a new home.
April 2, 1993 |
"I can't tell you how happy I am to be here," soprano Dawn Upshaw told the audience at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington a week ago. "This is my first time at your hall and it's been such a wonderful experience rehearsing here. " The soprano isn't the only one who has noticed the superb acoustics and beauty of the Grand, an 1,110-seat house built as a concert hall by Baltimore architect Thomas Dixon in 1871. There's hardly a Philadelphia musician, let alone an opera ensemble, that wouldn't kill for a chance to put the concert hall on a flatbed truck and drag it to the venue-starved big city.
October 17, 1989
THE AURA OF MUSIC NO RECORDING CAN CAPTURE Record technology is changing the way some people view our art. With the continuing refinement of compact discs, and the promise of video discs, some people are beginning to suggest that electronic media could replace the live concert experience. We must never let this happen. No matter how good the recording is technically, or how realistic the sound may be, a disc cannot substitute for live performance. Music is a living, breathing thing that audiences and performers share.