In Philadelphia, a musical response to Orlando massacre

Posted on: June 21, 2016

“Sometimes in the face of abject destruction, the only thing you can do is to draw yourself up to the beauty of creation as closely as you possibly can, and listen,” writes Peter Dobrin in Tuesday’s (6/21) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Sunday afternoon’s musical response to the Orlando massacre could have achieved quite a lot with any number of pieces of music, but the repertoire choices were particularly wise. About 300 packed the pews of First Presbyterian Church … for the concert by conductor Andrew Senn, a chamber orchestra of mostly freelancers, and a chorus of about three dozen (all donating their time and talent),” including members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Academy of Vocal Arts, and Opera Philadelphia. “It was exactly the right gesture at exactly the right moment.” On the program were Mozart’s Ave verum corpus; “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” from the Brahms Requiem, “which seemed to hold the audience within protective walls of sound”; Barber’s Adagio for Strings; and “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. “After the music, 50 silvery organ chimes were struck, one for each life lost in Orlando on June 12. In the still moments that followed, a few wiped their tears, and, in silence, listeners filed out into a different reality.”

Posted June 21, 2016

Pictured: Musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Academy of Vocal Arts, Opera Philadelphia, and other groups perform “A Concert to End Gun Violence” at First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, June 19, 2016. Andrew Senn conducts, timpanist William Wozniak is in foreground. Photo by Clem Murray