New film about impact of “Symphony for a Broken Orchestra” instrument-repair project

Posted on: July 10, 2019

Composer David Lang’s Symphony for a Broken Orchestra “was planned and delivered as a one-time-only performance,” writes Eileen Cunniffe in Monday’s (7/8) Nonprofit Quarterly. The work featuring damaged musical instruments “lasted for 40 minutes and featured 400 musicians—from public school students and teachers to members of the Philadelphia Orchestra—on December 3, 2017. The concert—and therefore the fundraising project—received national media attention… On the morning following the performance, the instruments were delivered to repair shops so that the work of restoring them could begin. In the [new] film ‘Broken Orchestra,’ Lang states that ‘the entire life cycle of the piece was a success,’ because by the time the concert took place, enough money had already been raised to repair those 400 instruments.… The film, directed by Charlie Tyrell, reports that 1,500 instruments have now been repaired and placed back into the hands of Philly students.… Schools have also received repair kits, so that simple repairs can be made by teachers…. While the participants are clearly thrilled with the impact of ‘Symphony for a Broken Orchestra,’ several note that it is too soon to declare victory over the budget woes and other problems that hinder public schools—in Philadelphia and elsewhere.”

Posted July 10, 2019