Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Kimmel Friendlier, Orchestra Healthier?

One of the now-forgotten goals of the Kimmel Center was to wrap the Philadelphia Orchestra in friendlier packaging. The elegant Academy of Music was formal, some argued, and put the orchestra at arm's length. The Kimmel, it turns out, hasn't done a very good job of making new friends for the orchestra, and you might wonder if the move to the Kimmel has contributed to the orchestra's attendance problems and, by extension, its bankruptcy.

Kimmel Friendlier, Orchestra Healthier?

One of the now-forgotten goals of the Kimmel Center was to wrap the Philadelphia Orchestra in friendlier packaging. The elegant Academy of Music was formal, some argued, and put the orchestra at arm's length. The Kimmel, it turns out, hasn't done a very good job of making new friends for the orchestra, and you might wonder if the move to the Kimmel has contributed to the orchestra's attendance problems and, by extension, its bankruptcy.

That's a bigger topic we'll soon explore - that, plus the questions of whether the Kimmel's rent is indeed high (as the orchestra claims), and the extent to which the arrival of a hungry new cultural organization has drawn fund-raising support away from the orchestra.

But for today, on the subject of whether the Kimmel can be made friendlier, we have coverage of a master plan for which Kimmel leaders are now raising money. The big renovation will come in phrases, with the most likely next steps (after this summer's already funded work) to involve the basement Innovation Studio, which will be given its own entrance and lobby space.

The Kimmel is in its tenth season, and still a work in progress.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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