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Orchestra Hall

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ENTERTAINMENT
November 30, 1986 | By Thomas Hine, Inquirer Architecture Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 2, 1990 | By Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
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.
NEWS
July 2, 1989 | By Thomas Hine, Inquirer Architecture Critic
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.
NEWS
June 20, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
December 15, 1986 | By Dan Rottenberg
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.
LIVING
January 6, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
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.
NEWS
October 7, 1990 | By DAVID R. BOLDT
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.
NEWS
February 15, 1989 | By Maria Gallagher, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
March 17, 1992 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
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.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 20, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 25, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
With its recent tumult of labor strife and money woes, the Kimmel Center seems an unlikely site to stage a musical spring. Yet there it was last weekend, the irrepressible stirring of renewal. At Saturday morning's first Philadelphia Orchestra family concert this year, cellist John-Henry Crawford, 18, a Curtis student and winner in the orchestra's Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition, projected polished charisma and a singing sound in the first movement of Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto . His was only one voice among a hundred the next afternoon at the season's first outing of the Curtis Institute of Music orchestra beyond its luxurious new tailor-built rehearsal room.
NEWS
October 30, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Yakov Kreizberg is the kind of conductor you bring in when you want to hear music expressed in bold strokes. He's not exactly a detail man. And as for the ability to establish a rapport with an orchestra based on subtle gestures that get a nuanced response, well, Kreizberg is just not that kind of communicator. But for the program he put together Tuesday night in Verizon Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Kreizberg was just fine. Dvorak's Carnival overture was propelled by animal energy, and quite exciting in its own way. The Ravel Bolero that ended the concert was like any other - that is, it ticked by with the inevitability of a time bomb, the ending assured to get a standing ovation pretty much regardless of who was on the podium.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin and David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITICS
So, how's the new hall? For even the casual eavesdropper on the orchestra scene, that question was the question last season. Nine months after the Kimmel Center's opening night, it's still the question. Does the Philadelphia Orchestra, which opened its first full season in Verizon Hall last week, finally play in a great orchestra hall? The answer, alas, is no. A "dry," "pale," "piercing," no. At least, that's what many critics from across the country so far have said.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Sometimes things just click. There's a moment when various factors come together to telegraph the message that everything's going to be OK. For the Philadelphia Orchestra and its rocky move into a new home, such a moment arrived Thursday night - specifically, during Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3. That's really the first time it became apparent that Verizon Hall stands a good chance of being a truly worthy home to the orchestra....
NEWS
December 13, 2001 | By David Patrick Stearns and Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITICS
The notion grew to become one of those incontrovertible laws of Philadelphia physics - this idea that the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music were one and the same. But the cultural universe turned upside down last night as the orchestra performed its last concert in the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street, its home since the orchestra played its first Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on Nov. 16, 1900. Now, it will play in what retired concertmaster Norman Carol called, in a post-concert speech, "the cello-shaped young girl" down the street.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 9, 2001 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Philadelphia Orchestra decided it had had enough of the Academy of Music. It needed a home built especially for its needs. A prominent Philadelphia architect was hired to design a 2,800-seat concert hall with a chamber-music room for 500 listeners. Could the orchestra afford it? Wouldn't it be better to raise money for an endowment? And what was wrong with the Academy of Music, anyway? The year was 1908. History does have a way of repeating itself, and looking back at the idea for a new home for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the same themes emerge, playing over and over with only a few variations: concert hall plus chamber-music hall.
NEWS
March 8, 2001 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The cost of hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra will jump next season by an average of 16 percent - the biggest increase since 1987. In addition, the ticket surcharge will double to $2 per ticket. A small number of ticket prices will stay the same or even drop slightly. But most listeners will pay substantially more, depending on seat location, to experience the orchestra live in the future. The increase comes as the orchestra prepares to become a tenant in a new hall that will be both more expensive to operate and will offer fewer seats than the Academy of Music.
LIVING
December 14, 2000 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Somewhere beneath the soaring steel beams going up at Broad and Spruce, down past the drying concrete and dangling wires and dead-end air vents, is a spot in the Philadelphia Orchestra's new concert hall so close to the stage that you feel you could reach out and tug at the maestro's long black tails. There's another seat just like it. And another. In fact, the new orchestra hall, a year away tomorrow from opening its doors to the public, contains 2,500 such listening perches - each promising to bring audiences closer to orchestral music than has ever before been possible in this town.
NEWS
October 28, 1999 | By Inga Saffron, INQUIRER ARCHITECTURE CRITIC
At a time when the west side of Broad Street was still a marshy wilderness, when City Hall was a mere gleam in the eye of politicians, when the Union League was still homeless, city leaders built the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust Streets to assert and assure Philadelphia's position as a major American city. Broad Street was very much the outskirts of Philadelphia in 1853, when the corner site was acquired for the new opera house, yet few doubted that the city would eventually fulfill William Penn's original plan and stretch from river to river.
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