Earlier this week The Philadelphia Orchestra kicked off its Collaborative Learning Week, an intensive celebration of educational activities showcasing the wealth of music-making opportunities for music students across the Philadelphia area. The Orchestra joins many community partners in special events for children, teens, and adults, many of which are free and open to the public.
Cellist Kathryn Picht Read and a student from Philadelphia Sinfonia during a Side-by-Side Rehearsal in 2012. Photo by Jessica Griffin
The week began on Monday, March 2, at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, where the School District of Philadelphia celebrated the annual All-City Music Festival, presented with the Curtis Institute and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. This event has been a special highlight for the District in music education since the 1950s, showcasing student achievements in musical performance of the highest caliber. Over 400 students hailing from more than 30 public high schools throughout the city participated in the concert, which featured the All-City Orchestra, Band, and Choir. Of note, Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted the finale of the concert, leading the Orchestra and Choir in three works by Verdi.
On Tuesday, March 3, a special Musicians in the Schools visit takes place at Charles Kelly Elementary School of the Upper Darby School District. This particular program was sponsored by the Orchestra’s Volunteer Committees and will be highlighted at the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers (AMSOV) Conference later this week. Five Philadelphia Orchestra musicians performed an introduction to orchestral strings program.
The activities continue on Thursday, March 5 at 10:30 AM at Verizon Hall, when over 700 students from 16 schools experience an open rehearsal featuring world renowned pianist Emanuel Ax and Yannick conducting. Also on March 5 at 6 PM in Verizon Hall, Yannick joins the Orchestra’s entire cello section and participants for a Cello PlayIN, a musical experience allowing players ranging from novice to professional to perform side-by-side with the Orchestra musicians. More than 100 cellists have registered to play with the Orchestra and be led by Yannick. This event is free and open to the public.
The weeklong celebration culminates in a Side-by-Side rehearsal with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) on Saturday, March 7, at 10 AM at Verizon Hall, which is also free and open to the public. As part of PYO’s 75th anniversary celebration, this unique joint rehearsal gives participating students the opportunity to connect with their professional counterparts for one-on-one coaching and mentoring while performing a selection of masterworks. Yannick leads the rehearsal, giving over 100 of the best and brightest young musicians in the Philadelphia region the experience of a lifetime, as they learn from some of the best artists in the world. This year, the students will rehearse Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
Violinist Yumi Ninomiya Scott (center), Assistant Principal Viola Kerri Ryan (background, center), and violinist Elina Kalendarova (second from right) during the Suzuki Violin PlayIN in October 2014. Photo by Jeff Fusco
Can’t get enough of The Philadelphia Orchestra? Join us on Monday, March 9, at Reading Terminal Market for a special Pop-Up concert at noon! During the performance, led by Scott Terrell, audience members may step up and take the baton to conduct the 11 participating musicians themselves. PECO, a longtime partner of The Philadelphia Orchestra, sponsors this special lunchtime treat for Market shoppers.
Making the musical impact even greater for Philadelphia area students, PECO sponsors numerous Musicians in the Schools events, Monday, March 9, through Friday, March 20, as part of the national Music in Our Schools Month. Philadelphia Orchestra musicians perform a number of interactive programs in four schools representing Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks counties: Samuel K. Faust Elementary School of the Bensalem Township School District; Henry C. Lea Elementary and C.C.A. Baldi Middle schools of the School District of Philadelphia; and Norristown High School of the Norristown School District. These performances are produced in collaboration with Project 440, the special program of Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Principal Bass Joseph Conyers.
The Collaborative Learning celebration continues with the annual Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition Finals on March 24, which is free and open to the public. Finally, on Saturday, March 28, at 11:30 AM in Verizon Hall, the Orchestra presents Make Your Own Musical Adventure, a Family Series concert featuring Assistant Conductor Lio Kuokman and host/narrator Charlotte Blake Alston.
For more information on the Orchestra’s Collaborative Learning initiatives, please visit philorch.org/education.