The harp is one of the world’s oldest instruments. And now, thanks to the efforts of Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Harpist Elizabeth Hainen, concert grand harps are once again being played in Philadelphia schools.
As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Hainen is the driving force behind The Lyra Society, an organization she founded in 2004 to promote the harp through new commissions and lessons in the Philadelphia schools.
The Lyra Society presents A Harpist's Homecoming, with Philadelphia students and former Boston Symphony Principal Harp Ann Hobson Pilot, on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 6 pm at Philadelphia High School for Girls at Broad and Olney Streets. Information here.
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.