Young People’s Philharmonic to honor retiring founder, Jerry Bidlack

Posted on: March 8, 2016

In Sunday’s (3/6) Morning Call (Allentown, PA), Steve Siegel writes that “the Young People’s Philharmonic Gala on Saturday, March 12 … will honor Jerry Bidlack, the orchestra’s co-founder, who in December announced his retirement as music director and conductor after 40 years…. Kenneth Bean, former conductor and music director of the Junior String Philharmonic, replaced Bidlack last fall…. Bidlack, along with his wife, Nancy, founded the Young People’s Philharmonic, composed of middle school and high school kids, and the Junior String Philharmonic, for fifth- through eighth-graders, in Bethlehem in 1976…. The roots of the two orchestras go back to 1973, when Bidlack joined the music faculty at Lehigh University [where] he founded the school orchestra, taught music theory, and was the director of both the chamber music and string orchestra programs…. Eventually Bidlack started getting calls from parents in the area, asking if their kids could play in the Lehigh orchestra. When asked why they didn’t play in their school orchestras or in a local youth orchestra, the answer was simple—there weren’t any. ‘So my wife and I decided to gather a bunch of teachers together to see if forming a youth orchestra was feasible. They all loved the idea,’ Bidlack says…. Both groups are still going strong.”

Posted March 8, 2016