ANNENBERG CENTER @ HOME / BLOG

Welcome to Annenberg Center @ Home

Christopher A. Gruits  ·  Posted April 7, 2020

Welcome to Annenberg Center @ Home, our newly-launched blog. During this time of great change and uncertainty, shared across the world, we’re hoping to stay connected with you in spirit. We take our mission seriously: to connect our audiences with visionary artists and innovative ideas, resulting in transformative artistic experiences. If we can’t do this together in person, then we’ll join together here in the digital realm for virtual experiences, still bringing you the best of the performing arts.

The Annenberg Center team has been working hard to gather and curate a collection of rich content to share with you: masterclasses, performances, videos, music, and conversations by many of the artists who have graced our stages, as well as fun activities for children and families and Penn-centric initiatives. We hope these opportunities provide you with some solace, contemplative moments, humor, and joy. In other words, food for the soul.

I look forward to going down this path together, as we work toward seeing you again in person very soon. Stay well!

Join us tomorrow on YouTube Live for pianist Jenny Lin

Posted May 27, 2020

Virtual Stage New Music Annenberg Center Recommends

With our launch of Annenberg Center @ Home, this spring has been a season of new beginnings. Tomorrow evening at 7 PM, we take another new step into the world of livestreamed events.

In March, we presented pianist and Steinway artist Jenny Lin at the Penn Museum. Little did we know at the time that it would be our final performance for the season, not to mention the conclusion of Lin’s own spring concert schedule. With this in mind, we invited Lin back for our first-ever livestreamed event, a watch party and live discussion with Christopher Gruits, our Executive & Artistic Director. Read more...

Take in Penn's glorious Morris Arboretum from home

Posted May 27, 2020

Family

While we wait for the day when we can again visit the glorious gardens of the Morris Arboretum we checked out some of the free family-friendly activities they're offering. One of our cultural partners, Morris Arboretum is Penn’s historic public garden as well as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Enjoy interactive jigsaw puzzles depicting the lush landscapes of the gardens; downloadable garden-inspired coloring book pages showing flowers currently in bloom, features of the Arboretum and items from their archives; and a variety of nature-based word search puzzles. Get to know Morris Arboretum now, from home, so you’ll be ready when it comes time to visit in person!

Spotlight on composer James Primosch, Professor of Music at Penn

Alexander Freeman  ·  Posted May 27, 2020

Special Features

At the top of May, acclaimed composer and Penn Professor of Music James Primosch wrote on his blog, “Sometimes not much is happening, but suddenly when things do happen they come in clumps. I’ve seen it with performances that cluster together, with empty weeks before and after. And now I have two CDs coming out a week apart.” How fortunate for music-lovers: proverbial May flowers in the form of magnificent music.

The album Descent/Return features piano and vocal works by Primosch and John Harbison, Primosch’s teacher, mentor and friend. Primosch studied composition with Harbison in the summer of 1984 during his Tanglewood Fellowship. Read more...

ListenUp: Zeitgeist Playlist

Posted May 27, 2020

New Music ListenUp

In October 2019, joined by Bowerbird and Penn’s Department of Music, we presented Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90, a three-concert festival that celebrated more than seventy years of music by Grammy® and Pulitzer Prize®-winning composer George Crumb. Crumb is one of the most frequently performed composers today. His music often juxtaposes contrasting musical styles, ranging from the western art-music tradition, to hymns and folk, to non-Western music. Many of his works include programmatic, symbolic, mystical and theatrical elements, which are often reflected in his beautiful and meticulously notated scores. Crumb retired from Penn in 1997 after more than 30 years of teaching. He was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Penn in May 2009. This week’s playlist celebrates the music performed during Zeitgeist including Apparition, Metamorphoses, Madrigals, Book I-IV and the Vietnam War-haunted Black Angels, in addition to a selection of Crumb’s early compositions. Listen in to this sweeping retrospective of the work of this essential American composer.

The Crossing's new album CARTHAGE features music by James Primosch

Madeline Bell  ·  Posted May 26, 2020

New Music Annenberg Center Recommends


The Crossing @ Christmas at the Church of the Holy Trinity
Photo by Ryan Collerd
We were thrilled to partner with The Crossing this season as our choir-in-residence, and deeply disappointed when their residency was cut short due to COVID-19. We presented The Crossing @ Christmas in December, followed by the unforgettable Knee Plays in February as part of our three-week #GLASSFEST honoring Philip Glass. We then closed our doors just days before the choir’s final residency performance of the season, the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s Travel Guide to Nicaragua with cellist Maya Beiser. While we had hoped to reschedule the performance, we ultimately had to cancel it as the pandemic continued to unfold.

Nevertheless, The Crossing, like many performing ensembles, has carried on in the virtual landscape. Every morning since March 16, Rising with The Crossing has provided us with daily selections from the choir’s best performances and recordings. Read more...

ListenUp: New Music Playlist

Posted May 21, 2020

ListenUp New Music

We ring in this week’s playlist with the sound of bells. Sō Percussion, slated to make their Annenberg Center debut this past April, has been rescheduled for October, when they’ll perform the world premieres of works by graduate students in composition from Penn’s Department of Music. Here, we feature the ensemble’s recordings of music by Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, and Glenn Kotche. Next up on the playlist is a sampling of The Crossing’s gorgeous recording of Robert Convery’s Voyages, which is set to Hart Crane’s early 20th-century poem of the same name. Although The Crossing’s residency at the Annenberg Center this year was cut short, we can’t wait to bring them back in future seasons. We round out our new music playlist by revisiting two solo piano works we heard at Jenny Lin’s Glass Reflections recital at the Penn Museum this past March: Philip Glass’ hypnotic Etude No. 2 and György Ligeti’s intricate first étude, Désordre.

Penn generations join forces in harmony as part of Israel's worldwide Independence Day celebration

Kristin Winch  ·  Posted May 20, 2020

Special Features


As a hub for the arts at the University of Pennsylvania, we are always on the lookout for current Penn students and alumni in the limelight. We found both in a streaming performance of the 2020 Worldwide Celebration of Israel’s Independence Day. Composer, songwriter, singer and 1995 Penn graduate Gabriel Mann scored a new arrangement of “Ahavat Olam” for the celebration, which was performed by the Platt brothers—who also have roots at Penn. If you missed the live stream, treat yourself to the three-minute performance above. Read more...

Dig into Penn Museum At Home with the whole family

Posted May 20, 2020

Family

Our buildings might be empty right now but our University cultural partners join us in keeping the lights on virtually. This week we salute the Penn Museum. While their entire website is a treasure trove of offerings for all visitors, here we focus on two family-friendly categories within the Penn Museum At Home section. At-Home Anthropology for Kids invites learners of all ages to create legendary creatures or Roman mosaics, design a personal museum or learn how to mummify fruits and vegetables. Each week the Museum adds new projects so children and their grown-ups can add some fun, new projects to their weekly mix. Older children and teenagers might want to check out the Digital Daily Dig, a three-minute video posted on the Museum’s Facebook page at 1 PM each weekday, with a substantial archive available on the Museum’s website. Billed as “One artifact. Three minutes. Endless insights.” this quick and clever feature brings to life Etruscan sandals, Roman ketchup, Foo Lions and many other fascinating objects within the Museum’s collection.

Artists lead a national conversation in the Abbey Theatre's Dear Ireland video series

Madeline Bell  ·  Posted May 20, 2020

Theatre Annenberg Center Recommends


The Abbey Theatre's Two Pints sold out the Blarney Stone last season.
Dublin’s historic Abbey Theatre is an Annenberg Center favorite that we have welcomed to our stages on multiple occasions. Most recently we presented the sold-out Philadelphia premiere of the Abbey’s hilarious Two Pints at our local pub, the Blarney Stone. Now, in spite of theatre closures and cancelled performances across the globe, the Abbey stands fast by its mission to tell the Irish story through art with its candid new video series, Dear Ireland.

The Abbey is widely recognized for its transformative artistry, creating works that are provocative and reflect many different facets of Irish society. Dear Ireland was created with the Irish theatre arts community in mind, employing 50 Irish playwrights to each write a monologue and then nominate an actor to video-record it at home in social isolation. Read more...

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