A Centennial Celebration
Curated by Marjorie
Virtuosity on Tour
Wherever it has traveled, in the United States or abroad, it has become known as Philadelphia's most successful envoy to the world since Benjamin Franklin, and its most universally admired export of the twentieth century.
--Herbert Kupferberg in Those Fabulous Philadelphians
In 1900, under the baton of its founding conductor Fritz Scheel, the Philadelphia Orchestra performed one concert in Reading, Pennsylvania during its inaugural seven-concert season. Each subsequent year saw an increase in the number of visits to regional concert halls, eventually leading to week-long tours along the Eastern seaboard and into the Midwest. It was Leopold Stokowski, however, who led the Philadelphians on their first transcontinental tour in 1936: thirty-three concerts in twenty-seven cities in the United States and Canada over a thirty-five day period. Stokowski believed that "Philadelphia must share its orchestra with the whole world," and this tour set his plan in motion.
Under the baton of Eugene Ormandy the Orchestra realized its long-time goal of traveling beyond North America's boundaries with its first transatlantic trip to Great Britain in 1949. Tours to Europe, South America, Japan, China, and Korea followed, each drawing praise from critics and ovations from concert-goers. As cultural ambassadors, as well as musicians, the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra gained world-wide recognition as a result of these trips abroad.
Last update: Thursday, 16-Jun-2011 13:59:36 EDT