Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

The 2012-2013 concert season of the Philadelphia Orchestra marks the one hundredth anniversary of the appointment of Leopold Stokowski as the Orchestra’s Conductor. Over the course of his twenty nine-year tenure with the PO, Stokowski developed it into one of the world’s greatest musical ensembles and helped establish Philadelphia as a center of excellence and innovation in classical music.

As part of its activities to recognize the Stokowski Centennial, the Orchestra engaged Jack McCarthy as Consulting Archivist to locate archival documents, artifacts, and information to be used in celebrating the Stokowski-Philadelphia Orchestra legacy. Working primarily with the Orchestra’s extensive archives, which are housed in the Academy of Music, and the Stokowski Collection at the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Jack developed a number of exhibits and presentations on various aspects of Stokowski’s history with the PO. A highlight of the Stokowski Centennial celebration was a series of concerts in June 2012 at the Academy of Music that were recreations of original early twentieth century Stokowski/PO programs. These concerts featured archival displays throughout the Academy of Music as well as projections of archival images on stage before and during the concerts. For the current October 2012-May 2013 PO season there are several sets of concerts that focus specifically on the Stokowski legacy. These concerts feature archival exhibits in the lobby of the Kimmel Center.

Jack occasionally blogs on Stokowski’s history with the PO on the Orchestra’s website: http://www.philorch.org/topics/stokowski.

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