Symphony for a Broken Orchestra is, in many ways, just what its name indicates. The instruments that make up the symphony aren’t just any old broken instruments, though — they’re owned by the School District of Philadelphia.
There are over a thousand musical instruments in Philadelphia public schools that are broken and worn to the point that they cannot be played. And while many of them are not broken beyond repair, the school district doesn’t have the funds to fix them. That’s where Symphony for a Broken Orchestra steps in.
The ambitious project is led by Temple Contemporary in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Boyer College of Music & Dance, the Curtis Institute for Music and other musicians and music groups citywide. They’ve all teamed up to stage an original composition written specifically to capture the sound of these broken instruments, and hundreds of musicians will come together to play the piece live this Sunday, December 3, at 23rd Street Armory.
The composition, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, doesn’t sidestep the broken and distorted sound of the instruments, but rather showcases the need for their repair. The day after the performance, Temple Contemporary will begin repair work on the broken instruments, with the goal of returning them to the schools by next fall.
Read NPR’s feature on Symphony for a Broken Orchestra here.
Watch a short video on the project below and find more information, including tickets for this weekend’s performance, at symphonyforabrokenorchestra.org.
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