The Philadelphia Orchestra has spent the past year performing in-depth research on the great legacy of Leopold Stokowski’s tenure in Philadelphia. In addition to using reference material from the Orchestra’s Archives (housed in the Academy of Music), our journey has taken us to the Leopold Stokowski Papers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, among others. We have interviewed individuals who were closely connected with Stokowski personally; reviewed hours of audio and video materials; sorted through hundreds of letters, photographs, and newspaper articles; and unearthed unique artifacts to reveal a compelling portrait of this legendary artist.
Leading the charge with us is Jack McCarthy—a certified archivist and longtime Philadelphia area archival/historical consultant—who has worked with numerous historical and cultural organizations. In addition to his work for The Philadelphia Orchestra researching and locating archival materials relating to Leopold Stokowski, he is currently directing a project for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the archival collections of the region’s many small, volunteer-run historical institutions. Jack is also a music historian and professional musician. He has a master’s degree in music history from West Chester University and has been a professional pianist and piano teacher for many years. He is particularly interested in the history of Philadelphia music and is a contributor on that subject to the online magazine Hidden City Philadelphia.
Today marks what would have been Stokowski’s 130th birthday, and we felt it a fitting tribute to tie the launch of this blog to a particularly important day in this fascinating conductor’s life. Come back and join us on this blog as we share with you these unique discoveries as they unfold.