The Broken Symphony Orchestra Is Trying To (And Will) Break Your Heart
Amidst the myriad other problems that plague the School District of Philadelphia, there are over 1,000 broken violins, cellos, flutes, trombones and other instruments to deal with. But after this weekend, when Pulitzer-prize-winning minimalist composer David Lang’s Symphony For A Broken Orchestra makes its debut, scores of those instruments will have been “adopted,” refurbished to working order, and returned to the schools from whence they came.
Helmed by Temple Contemporary and aided by the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Boyer College of Music & Dance, the Curtis Institute and an all-volunteer orchestra, the project’s been underway for some time. For the last year or so, Lang and his team have been collecting the broken instruments and sampling whatever sounds they could make in their broken condition. From these sounds, Lang has set about to compose said Symphony, which will debut in three performances this weekend at the 23rd Street Armory. What will it sound like? If Lang’s previous work — to say nothing of the clip above — is anything to go by, it will be sad, beautiful and completely necessary.