New Hot Music Director “Yannick” conducts a rehearsal of Mahler’s 5th

One of the most important closing events of PIFA is the Philadelphia Orchestra‘s performances of two Stravinsky masterworks, Oedipus Rex and Apollon musagete this evening (Thursday), Friday afternoon and Saturday night. Why so important? Amidst the success of PIFA, the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the greatest musical institutions in the world and Philadelphia’s cultural crown jewel, filed for bankruptcy. Those in the audience for these Stravinsky performances will witness how the creme-de-la-creme rises to the occasion.

There are still tickets available for as little as $20 dollars on

Why not make an evening of it? At the Kimmel Center you can watch the light show (daily at 7 and 10 pm) on the 6,000 bulb Eiffel Tower and experience Paris in the Plaza: wine tasting between 4 and 8 pm, crepes from 5 to 8pm and a live band every night after the Orchestra concert.

And for those of you that wonder why a 30-something like me cares about the Philadelphia Orchestra, I have a little more to say. I’m a classical music devotee and have witnessed first-hand the difficulties the art form has faced during the current economic downturn. I was at the Royal Opera in Stockholm last year when they had trouble paying their pensions, which caused them to cancel the opera in which I was cast. And now I’ve watched the Philadelphia Orchestra go through the same difficulties. I am certain that they will make their way through the current challenges that so many organizations have faced in the past two years and find their way back to financial prosperity.

One of the factors in their filing for bankruptcy are their ticket sales, which have been declining heavily in the past year. What caused this loss of interest in seeing the Orchestra live? It’s worth a long investigation, and one I imagine the Orchestra is looking into heavily as I write. I am sure that with better programming (planning what will be played at concerts) the audience will come back.

I for one would like to see the Philadelphia Orchestra “on demand” on my television, as well as more performances with the leading popular music stars of today. (saw them with Renée Fleming and Paul Simon at the Academy Ball and it was excellent!) I also vote for more “cheap” seats if they can swing it.

There is more, but I’ll keep it short today. Off to practice, practice, practice …

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