Spotlight on composer James Primosch, Professor of Music at Penn
Alexander Freeman · Posted May 27, 2020
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...
Penn generations join forces in harmony as part of Israel's worldwide Independence Day celebration
Kristin Winch · Posted May 20, 2020
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...
From Penn Today: Celebrated Penn alumnus John Legend surprises the Class of 2020 at the University’s virtual Commencement ceremony
Posted May 18, 2020
Penn live-streamed its “first” 264th Commencement (an on-campus ceremony will be held for the Class of 2020 in May 2021) for graduates and their families across the city, nation and world. The celebration concluded with a stunning performance by graduating students in Penn’s A Cappella Council
, and featured a special surprise guest: EGOT winner John Legend
, C'99. Legend played piano while singing the iconic “The Red and Blue.” No doubt graduates will remember the performance, and the unprecedented occasion, for the rest of their lives.
Read the full story on Penn Today.
Spotlight on Priscilla Felten, Wharton '20
Katherine Blodgett · Posted May 14, 2020
Photo courtesy of Priscilla Felten
The universe of performing arts is going to need talented and committed people like Priscilla Felten, W’20, when it emerges from the pandemic.
With a degree from the Wharton School and years of hands-on experience as both performer and highly-motivated intern, Felten will be uniquely positioned to figure out new ways for the entertainment industry to carry on when we return to the “new normal.” “There are a lot of open questions,” she says. “How can it be cost-effective for those that must sell a lot of tickets to survive? Will people even want to go into theaters or will they prefer to consume entertainment and culture from home? Will there be a hybrid of live performances and online streaming? How will artists stay safe onstage and off? How might policies and contracts change?” Read more...
Penn honors composer Henry Threadgill with an Honorary Doctor of Music
Alexander Freeman · Posted May 13, 2020
Photo by Caitlin Ochs / The New York Times
Last year, Annenberg Center staff clocked in to work very early in the morning on Monday, May 20. The caterers wheeled in the continental breakfast at 4:30 AM. By 7 AM, Facilities had set up chairs and flags throughout the main lobby, and the Penn Bookstore arrived to begin setting up their regalia stations. Faculty members arrived around 8:30 to robe and mingle over bagels and coffee, and by 9 AM, President Gutmann made brief remarks to the 390 people that had gathered. By 9:30, everyone exited the Annenberg Center in an orderly fashion, and the 263rd Commencement Procession began, complete with marching bands blaring down Locust Walk. It was one of the most important celebrations of the academic year.
This year, the 264th Commencement will be held Monday, May 18th at 11 AM. Like every year since 2003, the event will be live-streamed; however, due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, this year’s celebration will take place exclusively on-line. Read more...
Spot Gourmet Burgers owner Josh Kim responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by giving back to communities in need
Katherine Blodgett · Posted May 6, 2020
Photo by Steven Falk / Philadelphia Inquirer
If you’ve been to the Philadelphia Children’s Festival in recent years, you know the Spot Gourmet Burgers
food cart, which serves up the best burgers, fries and hot dogs, hands-down. Spot Burgers is owned by Josh Kim, and his food cart is one of the most well-loved additions to the Festival. In fact, Spot (and Kim’s companion hot dog cart, Winky’s) quickly became the Annenberg Center’s official, exclusive food vendor of the Festival. While he opened an actual brick-and-mortar restaurant on Girard Avenue in 2016, Kim still continues going out to events and festivals because he loves the human and community connection that has always been part of his work. Read more...
The Pennchants present Social Distance-SING, in partnership with Philabundance
Posted April 29, 2020
were formed in 1989 as an all-male subgroup of the Penn Glee Club with an interest in singing songs outside of the Glee Club’s standard barbershop and musical theatre repertoires. Opting to instead perform arrangements of the latest hit songs, The Pennchants became an overnight sensation within the campus music scene, leading them to a victory in the inter-Penn a cappella competition within a year of their inception. Praise rolled in from across the nation and The Pennchants eventually left the Glee Club in 2001. They have since experienced huge success as an award-winning, internationally touring ensemble. Read more...
Penn alumnus John Legend participates in the #TogetherAtHome Concert Series
Rachel Messeck · Posted April 22, 2020
As Penn’s center for the performing arts, we were so pleased to see one of our University’s most celebrated alumni, John Legend, participating in the #TogetherAtHome Concert Series. The series, organized by Global Citizen, the World Health Organization (WHO) and a growing group of artists, serves to bring joy, optimism, and a shared sense of humanity during this time of uncertainty and challenge. We certainly felt hopeful watching Legend sing a few tunes with his family close by, from a Stevie Wonder cover, to Beauty and the Beast
(at his daughter’s request!), to one of his biggest hits, “All of Me.” Watch a replay of the performance below.
During his time as a student, Legend was President and Music Director of Penn’s oldest, co-ed a cappella group, Counterparts. Days before Penn announced that it was transitioning to remote classes due to COVID-19, Counterparts performed some of their material for Legend over their spring break, in what would soon be one of the group’s final performances with their graduating seniors. Our hearts go out to all of the Penn performing arts groups who had to cancel shows they had been working towards, and especially those who won’t have the opportunity to perform together again once we return to campus. Help us show Penn’s student performers some love and follow < Read more...
Virtual Tour of In the Company of Harold Prince: Broadway Producer, Director, Collaborator
Posted April 16, 2020
In the Company of Harold Prince was a free exhibit at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts that explored the creative trajectory of the late Harold Prince. "Hal," as he was known to those close to him, was a famed Broadway contributor and an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania. Highlights from his career as a Broadway producer and director include West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Phantom of the Opera.
The exhibit was originally scheduled to run through Mar 31, but was cut short when the museum closed due to COVID-19 precautions. In an effort to make sure the exhibit is still seen, curator Doug Reside created a virtual tour for all to enjoy.