Hidden from small

Hidden from small

Stokowski Celebration


June 11, 2012

Inviting the Maestro

In my penultimate blog post for the June Stokowski Celebration Concerts, I share some of my ideas around inviting Leopold Stokowski himself to join us for these performances in the Academy of Music. My aim is to allow today’s audiences to hear some words of wisdom from the old Maestro. I want to share with you how, by inviting Stokowski to join us and literally pass the baton to the Orchestra’s new maestro, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, I convinced the Academy to give up one of its most famous ghosts!

June 08, 2012

Some Digital Renderings

We met today with James Alexander and Clark Productions, the stage director and team that are creating the incredible visual experience around our June Stokowski Celebration Concerts in the Academy. James and his team showed us some digital renderings projected onto a detailed scale model of the Academy of Music’s interior—take a look:


June 07, 2012

In the Hall, on the Radio

Stokowski wanted to control and perfect every aspect of how his orchestra sounded, live and over the airwaves. Stokowski had an experimental device created that allowed him to both conduct the orchestra and control the volume levels of the broadcast at the same time. This cartoon, which ran in the Philadelphia Public Ledger on December 28, 1930, depicts Stokowski’s multi-tasking talents as conductor and engineer.

June 05, 2012

Broadcasting With Color

A sketch of Leopold Stokowski from the early 1930s.

On January 27, 1933, Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra teamed up with Bell Telephone Labs in New Jersey to experiment with new technology that allowed for a broadcast of a concert from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. The Orchestra performed live in the Academy of Music while an audience in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., listened to the Orchestra remotely, the audio-only broadcast accompanied by a colored light show. But where was Stokowski?

June 04, 2012

Making Sisters Fly

Whether you’re an opera buff, familiar with the movie Apocalypse Now, or can simply whistle the main theme to "The Ride of The Valkyries," I’m pretty certain you’ll want to know how we are going to get our Valkyries off the ground later this month!

In this video I’d like to tell how I envisage making the Wagnerian heroine Brünnhilde and her eight sisters—that’s right, eight—known as “the Valkyries” appear inside the auditorium of the Academy of Music. Join me as I show you how my simple napkin sketches get converted into cutting-edge technology.

June 01, 2012

What is it?

Among the materials found at Penn was this curious object labeled as a “variable pitch box.” You’ll see the buttons are clearly labeled. But there was no documentation on what this piece of equipment did.

May 30, 2012

Stoki & Disney

In this blog post, I’d like to tell how my team of creative lighting and special effects designers and I will try to compliment, not compete with, the artistic magnificence of the Disney movie Fantasia, excerpts from which Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra will accompany live during the Stokowski Celebration Family Concert on June 23.

May 23, 2012

The Votes Are In!

You have spoken! The final votes are in on the Audience Choice concert and you all put together a fantastic program for Saturday evening, June 23, at the Academy of Music. It was fascinating to watch the close race among the top choices. There were a few lead changes and some surprising results. In the end, here's what came out on top, and how Yannick has organized them into a compelling concert:Bach/orch. Stokowski Toccata and Fugue in D minor

May 21, 2012

One Month Away

The June Stokowski Celebration concerts are just one month away, and we hope you’re as excited as we are to see Yannick lead the Orchestra in its former historic home, the Academy of Music. Now is probably as good a time as ever to encourage you to revisit some of the other posts on this blog to continue familiarizing yourself with Leopold Stokowski, and also to get a better sense of just how spectacular these June concerts will be by watching James Alexander’s behind-the-scenes videos.

May 18, 2012

Stokowski Celebration Concerts - Concert Creators Catch Up

Whether it was pure fate or simple scheduling karma, this week I had a chance to meet up with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Europe. We were able to update each other on the preparations for the Stokowski Celebration concerts in the Academy of Music June 21-23.