This week's broadcast, on Sunday, March 24, 2 to 4 pm, takes us back to November, 2011, when then-Music Director Designate Yannick Nezet-Seguin was appearing with greater frequency in Philadelphia, winning over the hearts of the Orchestra as well as Verizon Hall audiences.
One of the most memorable of these early concerts was the Italian-themed program scheduled for rebroadcast this Sunday - Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, followed by the ever-popular fourth symphony of Mendelssohn, and - following Intermission - Verdi's overture to his opera La Forza del Destino, one of his finest overtures, and Respighi's exciting orchestral showpiece The Pines of Rome, a long-time favorite of Philadelphia audiences.
Susan Lewis talks with Philadelphia Orchestra Organist Michael Stairs about how the Kimmel Center organ has changed the sound of his part in The Pines of Rome.
Intermission Features: As part of Women's History Month, Meridee Duddleston will take a closer look at The Philadelphia Orchestra's first female player, harpist Edna Phillips, the first woman to be appointed a principal player of any American orchestra. And afterward, Susan Lewis will speak with today's principal harpist, Elizabeth Hainen - one of the world's great ambassadors for the instrument.
**Audio for Intermission features will be added to this post on Monday morning.
The performances that you'll hear in this broadcast were widely admired, receiving high praise from critics and concert-goers alike. So don't miss this opportunity to re-live them, this Sunday, March 24th, from 2 to 4 pm.
A new biography reveals what it was like to be the first woman to enter the all-male sanctum of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston discovered the powerful combination of talent and fear.
On September 14, 1930, the headline of the Philadelphia Public Ledger read: "Solo Harpist to Be First Girl in Philadelphia Orchestra." A young Edna Phillips entered the single-sex fortress of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930 - a year after pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff called it "the finest orchestra the world has ever heard." She’d played the harp for only five years when she was hired as the first female member and principal harpist. Her "musicalité" may have been obvious to the pioneering Leopold Stokowski, but was she ready? What was it like to be the only woman among men at a time when gender equality and workplace mores were far different from what they are today?
Author Mary Sue Welsh worked with the observant, warm, and funny Phillips on her story during Phillips’ lifetime, completing it after the first harpist’s death in 2003. True to Phillips’ desire, it’s as much about the challenges and triumphs of her own life, as about how the Orchestra grew and responded to its conductors - particularly Leopold Stokowski.