Dear Friends, Musicians, Artists, Composers, Supporters, Journalists, the extended Philadelphia Orchestra Family, and our Neighbors and Friends in Philadelphia and the United States:
Over these past days and nights, following the tragic killing of George Floyd, the people of Philadelphia—and so many places throughout our country—have been stating unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. The Philadelphia Orchestra believes deeply in this inalienable truth.
On Saturday, June 6, we had planned to present HearNOW: An At-Home Gala. That event will now take place on June 20. This Saturday, June 6, at 7 PM, we will live stream HearTOGETHER: A Healing Conversation in Music and Words. HearTOGETHER will feature a conversation with Wynton Marsalis and Valerie Coleman, as well as a performance by Wynton and the world premiere of Valerie’s Seven O’Clock Shout, her second Philadelphia Orchestra commission, dedicated to frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. The HearTOGETHER live stream will be available on www.philorch.org and our Facebook page.
We dedicate HearTOGETHER to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and the countless Black Lives wrongfully and tragically lost before them, and to the value and dignity of all Black Lives. This essay, which Wynton wrote and posted a few days ago, helps us to understand the history and pain that has led us to this American watershed. Please read it.
With this event, we publicly restate our responsibility for, and commitment to, creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive institution dedicated to the art form of orchestral music. We know we have work to do. We are, every day, building a Philadelphia Orchestra that all are proud to say is My Philadelphia Orchestra.
We hope you will join us on Saturday for HearTOGETHER.
In solidarity, and in a warm and caring spirit,
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director
Matías Tarnopolsky, President and CEO