November 30, 1986 |
It seemed as if it would never happen, but it has. The Philadelphia Orchestra board of directors has voted to move the ensemble from the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust to a new concert hall, yet undesigned, at the southwest corner of Broad and Spruce Streets. Opening night is planned for September 1991, which means it is probably a bit early to start shopping for a new dress. Even though the idea has been discussed for years, this actual commitment by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association board will have implications that have scarcely been considered.
January 2, 1990 |
For the music lover, the upcoming decade marks the end of the rainbow with the opening of a new Orchestra Hall. And, if the architects and acoustical wizards are successful, the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Riccardo Muti, will not only have an audio recording venue, but a location capable of live audio and video broadcasting via satellite. European orchestras have been performing live on cable for years, and our great orchestra will be able to jump into the global market along with the wealth of concerts available to us. The new site at Broad and Spruce streets will also attract more opera and ballet to a renovated Academy of Music stage.
July 2, 1989 |
The idea of a new hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra is not something that people here have taken much to heart, and it is not difficult to understand why. The Academy of Music, where the orchestra has played since it was founded, is one of the most beautiful theaters anywhere. The music and the place have become so thoroughly identified with each other that many loyal concertgoers would not wish to have to choose one or the other. Until last week, the apparent choice was between a familiar, beloved place and setting off for something unknown.
December 15, 1986 |
When Philadelphia's Academy of Music was built in the 1850s, many of the city's movers and shakers opposed the project, partly because the dominant Quaker tradition disapproved of music altogether. It was supported only because of another Quaker tradition - tolerance. The result of that communal decision, of course, was a building that is today recognized as the oldest, handsomest and grandest concert hall in America - "this marvelous place to sing," as Luciano Pavarotti once described the academy.
June 20, 2015 |
Neil Courtney, 82, of Center City, a double bass player with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 48 years and the "king of the double bass in Philadelphia," died Wednesday, June 17, at home after many years of declining health from heart disease. He joined the orchestra as a section player in 1962, and served as assistant principal double bassist from 1988 until his retirement in 2010. Mr. Courtney liked to compare the double bass' range to that of a baritone singer, but bemoaned its limited repertoire and listening public.
January 6, 1998 |
The Chicago Symphony enters the new year housed in a boldly expanded building that has been transformed in less than six years from creaky concert hall to expansive social center. Symphony officials call it a template for all orchestras trying to find their place in the new century. Musicians, accustomed to the old hall's vagaries and harshness, say it is letting Chicagoans hear their orchestra for the first time. The Symphony Center, built and renovated in a $110 million project, opened Oct. 4 at the end of a construction schedule that moved with the precision of clockwork, according to Henry Fogel, the symphony's president.
October 7, 1990 |
There was a mood of at least light anxiety within the splendid red, gold and ivory confines of the Academy of Music as the Philadelphia Orchestra began its performance last Monday evening. The reason for the anxiety was simple. The composer of the first number on the program was - how can we say this nicely? - well, the composer was not yet dead. This is almost always a bad sign, and this particular composer, Richard Wernick, a professor of music at Penn, had put audiences at the academy through what some recalled as a particularly painful episode some years ago during the world premiere of a strikingly dissonant string sonata.
February 15, 1989 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's next home was unveiled today as being more practical but less plush than its current digs, the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust streets. Orchestra officials gave a "design-in-progress" view of the $95 million, five-story Orchestra Hall, scheduled to open in 1993 just south of the academy. The 2,700-seat hall will be compatible to the demands of digital technology, and its acoustics will provide a "warmer" sound than exists at the academy, said orchestra executive director Stephen Sell.
June 15, 1988
When the Chicago Symphony Orchestra completed its first European tour back in 1971, the city honored its members with a full-fledged parade from Orchestra Hall to City Hall, where the late Mayor Richard Daley presented the musicians with a huge trophy. In Philadelphia, where only athletes rate parades, the citizens have long taken their world-class symphony orchestra for granted. There was no cheering crowd at the airport when the orchestra returned earlier this month from its triumphant tour of South America, and none was required.
March 17, 1992 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's three-day radiothon held last weekend produced pledges of more than $252,000. Sibby Brasler, chairman of the radiothon, said that pledges were still being processed and that it would be several days before final results were known. She said that a goal had not been publicized before the radiothon, but that it had been informally agreed that $250,000 was a reasonable expectation. The orchestra reinstituted the radiothon with WFLN-FM (95.7), Philadelphia's classical music station, last year after a lapse of seven years.