New orchestra with a new mission: the Philadelphia Public Orchestra

Posted on: October 5, 2021

“Backed by a $700,000 Pew grant, the Philadelphia Public Orchestra ambitiously seeks to redefine just what an orchestra is—and what it plays,” writes Victor Fiorillo in Thursday’s (9/30) Philadelphia Magazine. “The just-launched Philadelphia Public Orchestra … is the result of a collaboration between the Curtis Institute of Music and Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. It’s … presided over by Berlin-based composer and musician Ari Benjamin Meyers and Philly’s own Anthony Tidd, the bassist, Roots pal and producer who will serve as musical director of the orchestra…. The application process for the Philadelphia Public Orchestra just began… You don’t … even need to be able to read music. What you need is an instrument or access to one…. ‘Some people learn [music] by ear. Others use … chord charts, graphical scores, all kinds of things,’ Tidd says.… Meyers and Tidd will assemble the 50-person orchestra, and then the composers will write the music for whatever instrumentation is available…. Each musician will receive a $2,000 honorarium…. Repertoire for this first season [will include] world premiere commissions by Meyers, Germantown spoken-word artist Ursula Rucker, Brooklyn-based musician Xenia Rubinos, and the beautifully unique Sun Ra Arkestra, a Philadelphia institution.”