Orchestra of 800 broken instruments to premiere David Lang work in Philadelphia

Posted on: February 7, 2017

More than 800 broken musical instruments belonging to the Philadelphia School District have “been assembled at Temple Contemporary, the art gallery at Tyler School of Art, for use in a new work, Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, to be written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang this summer and then performed for the first (and final) time in October,” writes Samantha Melamed in Wednesday’s (2/1) Philadelphia Inquirer. “After that, instruments that are not beyond repair will be fixed and returned to schools. Until Feb. 8, the musical misfits—cellos with necks snapped off (they’re now good only for percussion), trumpets with stuck valves, autoharps so out of tune they’d make Beethoven sound like John Cage—will be on display at Temple Contemporary.” Frank Machos, executive director of the district’s Office of the Arts and Academic Enrichment, “said most Philadelphia music students relied on the district for instruments. But maintaining them fell by the wayside when budgets were slashed [in 2013]…. Machos hopes to expand the district’s music program, but that would require having more instruments in service. He hopes the project—which includes an adopt-an-instrument campaign—will aid that cause.”

Posted February 7, 2017

Pictured: Emma Method, a 19-year-old Temple freshman, hangs a trombone on the wall for Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, an exhibit and forthcoming symphonic composition at Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art. Photo by Clem Murray / Philadelphia Inquirer