In Sunday’s (10/19) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes that the “brand new Pennsylvania Philharmonic makes its debut Saturday in a splashy Ravel/Gershwin program with star pianist Simone Dinnerstein at Pottstown High School,” located 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. “The new orchestra’s mandate is primarily educational, playing concerts in schools; the performances with Dinnerstein are only its most public activity. ‘There’s a huge gap in the cultural life of this community—and in the tri-county area’ encompassing parts of Chester, Montgomery, and Berks Counties, said Myra Forrest, executive director of the Foundation for Pottstown Education…. The model involves ongoing partnerships with schools.” The ensemble’s music director is Michael Butterman—who also holds conducting posts with the Boulder (Colo.) Philharmonic Orchestra, Shreveport (La.) Symphony Orchestra, Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic, and Jacksonville (Fl.) Symphony Orchestra. M. Scott Robinson, former executive director of the Lancaster (Pa.) Symphony Orchestra, is the orchestra’s founder and chief executive. “ ‘Building an orchestra from the ground up with community engagement being the driving force … is very appealing, but also a bit of a blank slate. We have to experiment and try things out,’ Butterman said.”

Posted October 22, 2014