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The Philadelphia Orchestra Partners with Play On, Philly! for Second Year

May 14, 2013

Internationally Acclaimed Guest Conductor Simon Rattle Leads Young West Philadelphia Musicians in Verizon Hall Performance, May 18


(Philadelphia, May 14, 2013)—In continuation of a relationship begun last year, The Philadelphia Orchestra and guest conductor Simon Rattle will open the Saturday, May 18, Orchestra concert with a performance by Play On, Philly! (POP). An after-school music education program inspired by the successful El Sistema music education system of Venezuela, POP seeks to provide young Philadelphia musicians—who would not otherwise have the opportunity—access to a first-rate music education. Conducted by Maestro Rattle, the POP Symphony Orchestra will give a performance of an arrangement of the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 at the top of the concert, followed by The Philadelphia Orchestra’s regularly-scheduled subscription concert featuring Webern’s Passacaglia, Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck, Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”). This is the second performance of the POP Symphony Orchestra with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Mr. Rattle.

Founded in 2011 with 110 students at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, Play On, Philly! is proving that music education can be a force for social change in Philadelphia. The POP philosophy is that shared musical experience promotes the academic, social, and life-skills necessary for future success.  POP added a second site this year at Friere Charter Middle School in Center City, and now provides close to 250 students a tuition-free opportunity to master a standard orchestral instrument as well as instruction in choir, general music, chamber music, and orchestra. Professional teaching artists from the Philadelphia region deliver music instruction during daily three-hour practice sessions, and students receive opportunities to publicly perform and be inspired by world-class artists.  

As chief conductor and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic, Mr. Rattle has participated in creative educational programming, and with the Philharmonic has had close ties to the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, playing an active role in the development of the El Sistema program. By working together with The Philadelphia Orchestra and POP, he is helping both organizations fulfill their commitment to the Philadelphia community and highlight the importance of music education in the lives of young people.

For more information about Play On, Philly! please visit http://www.playonphilly.org/.


About The Philadelphia Orchestra

Renowned for its distinctive sound, beloved for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of “firsts” in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin became the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra beginning in the 2012-13 season and brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music into the vivid world of opera and choral music. He follows an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in the Orchestra’s 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit, who served as chief conductor from 2008 to 2012.

The Philadelphia Orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level. Since Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore’s arrival in 2010 The Philadelphia Orchestra has reinvigorated or launched new partnerships with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (Fringe Festival), Philadanco, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Marian Anderson Award, the Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center but also those who enjoy the Orchestra’s other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn’s Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music, a National Historic Landmark.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also has an important tradition of presenting educational programs for local audiences—a tradition dating back to 1921 when Leopold Stokowski initiated concerts exclusively for children. Today the Orchestra reaches Philadelphia-area families, teachers, students, and children through a multitude of education and community partnership programs. From Sound All Around (designed for children ages 3-5) to Family Concerts (aimed at children ages 6-12 and their families) to eZseatU (a membership program for full-time college students), The Philadelphia Orchestra seeks to introduce orchestral music to a new generation of listeners through these special programs. Further, the Orchestra aims to engage adult audiences more deeply in its performances through learning programs, including free PreConcert Conversations, which occur before every subscription concert, and Lecture/Luncheons with guest speakers.

In an effort to connect more directly with the youth of Philadelphia, the Orchestra has implemented the Billy Joel School Concert Program, which improves access to the Orchestra’s School Concerts for underserved city schoolchildren and serves approximately 90 elementary and middle schools chosen from within the School District of Philadelphia. The Orchestra’s School Partnership Program also offers students incomparable exposure and access to The Philadelphia Orchestra and its musicians inside the classrooms of five selected schools in the Philadelphia region. The program’s teaching artists work side by side with classroom teachers using curriculum and materials created by the Orchestra’s education department. Finally, The Philadelphia Orchestra collaborates with schools interested in having Orchestra musicians work with their students through the Musicians in the Schools program. These school visits take the form of assembly programs, performances or demonstrations, clinics, and master classes or sectionals, and generally involve a solo musician.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the U.S. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The Orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail festival. 

The ensemble recently joined with SpectiCast to deliver simulcasts of Orchestra concerts into theaters, schools, and performing arts centers. The Orchestra also recently announced a partnership with WRTI (90.1 FM) to broadcast pre-recorded versions of its subscription concerts from February through May 2013. The ensemble maintains an important Philadelphia tradition of presenting educational programs for students of all ages. Today the Orchestra executes a myriad of education and community partnership programs serving nearly 50,000 annually, including its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, and eZseatU. In February 2013 the Orchestra announced a recording project with Deutsche Grammophon, in which Yannick and the ensemble will record Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.


Play On, Philly! (POP) is an innovative education and social initiative that provides opportunities for personal development to children through the study of music. POP seeks to enrich the lives of Philadelphia youth by providing daily tuition-free musical instruction in communities that have little access to music education.  POP focuses on providing an environment of opportunity through the collective practice of music in orchestral playing and choral singing as models of academic and life skills development, social organization, and community building. POP provides an educational and social preparedness program while developing musical knowledge and performance skills at a high level.

Established in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, POP started with 110 youth, ages six to 13, with the goal of making a significant and sustaining impact on their lives. In 2012, POP established its second site at Freire Charter Middle School, expanding its reach to close to 250 students. During daily three-hour after-school sessions taught by the region’s most talented teaching artists, students take group instrumental lessons as well as instruction in choir, general music, chamber music, and orchestra. Students receive opportunities to publicly perform in their communities and throughout Philadelphia and be inspired by world-class guest artists. As it grows, POP aims to build ensemble programs in every Philadelphia neighborhood.

For more information about Play On, Philly! visit www.playonphilly.org.