Penn Library

Leopold Stokowski:
Making Music Matter

Curated by Marjorie Hassen

Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania


The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Grand Court Organ
John Wanamaker Department Store
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
24 March 1920


Leopold Stokowski flanked by organists Pietro Yon & Charles Marie Courboin

In March 1919 Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra joined forces with the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, the largest organ in the world, in what one critic called "a musical event without parallel." From 1919 through 1926 Stokowski and the Orchestra participated in four Wanamaker concerts. The first concert featured the American premiere of Charles Marie-Widor's Organ Symphony No. 6 performed in the composer's arrangement for organ and orchestra. An audience of 12,000 crowded onto the main floor and balconies of the Grand Court to hear the concert, which was performed without intermission to avoid any undue movement among the attendees.

Attendance at the second "Assembly," presented on 24 March 1920, was similarly overwhelming. On that occasion Pietro Yon gave the world premiere of his Concerto Gregoriano for organ and orchestra, and Courboin was soloist in the first performance with orchestra of César Franck's Pièce Héroïque.

Program

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