The Natural World

Natural World

When the young Jane Goodall walked into the African jungle to begin her fascinating and lifelong study of chimpanzees, she initiated a new era in how we understand the natural world. Her devotion and keen observations inspired generations to follow her path.

How we perceive and relate to our environment is an underlying theme this season, beginning with the showing of Jane, the acclaimed National Geographic documentary with the Orchestra performing Philip Glass’s film score. And we extend the exploration of Our World NOW throughout the season with five Philadelphia Orchestra commissions by women composers writing music inspired by the natural world, showing us how music can change the way we think about the world around us.

Composer Melody Eötvös evokes the thunderous cracking of melting icebergs with When It Hits the Ocean Below. Robin Holcomb’s Paradise is fueled by fire, an experiential response to California’s deadly wildfires. Xi Wang’s Ensō, named for a sacred Buddhist symbol meaning “circle,” considers the flow and togetherness of nature and people. New England-based composer Hilary Purrington’s work has included music related to the effects of climate change. While Composer-in- Residence Gabriela Lena Frank wonders how it all may have begun in Picaflor, which examines life creation myths from Latin America through the eyes of a hummingbird.

Due to rapidly evolving developments, and in accordance with the City of Philadelphia’s recommendation that all large gatherings be suspended to limit community transmission of COVID-19, all scheduled Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsals, performances, and events through May 10, 2020, are cancelled. Learn more