What does Philadelphia sound like? Here are the thoughts of the four composers.

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Start along the path of mirrored glass fragments and tile mosaics, then turn right at the bicycle wheel.

Art is the center of the real worlda message on the floor shows.

Constantly, past seashells, ceramic plates and broken bottles, a surprising series of floating objects and jets of life transports you into the Enchanted Garden, a pop by Isaiah Zagar And the fantastic South Street art installation.

is full of eyes. However, do all these visual stimuli sound translated into rhythm, melody and harmony?

Augusta Red Thomas decided to find out.Chicago Composer’s magic garden It will premiere at the Perelman Theater on Sunday, with the Rolleston String Quartet in a (postponed due to the pandemic) concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Philadelphia Music Foundation.

“It’s definitely a treasure in Philly,” Thomas said of Zagar’s creation. When she looked at it, it seemed “many little notes interlocked in counterpoint. So musically it spoke to me.”

Somewhere in Philadelphia with sirens and garbage truck hiccups, birdsong and horse hooves hitting a Belgian neighborhood, the city has another soundtrack — something deeper that expresses its identity. Thomas and three other composers have been listening to it, and the resulting score will be released on Sunday, capturing every aspect of the urban experience nowhere else but Philadelphia.

Composer Stephen Jaffe drew inspiration from bells—not the city’s most famous bells, but Junzi Gao’s bell sculptures by Schuylkill and Reginald Beauchamp near the Philadelphia Museum of Art whispering bells Sculpture outside the African American Museum on Seventh and Arch Streets. three arcs It will be performed by the Network New Music Ensemble and the Pennsylvania Girls Choir.

Roberto Sierra sees graffiti’s ‘ephemeral images’ and bold colors as the work of four saxophonists Doodle IIperformed by the PRISM Quartet.

in the field 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner Tania León couldn’t get ready in time for Sunday’s concert. The Cuban-American writer took a walk in Philadelphia with a loop of songs inspired by Carlos Pintado, and her work is now scheduled to premiere next season with the Curtis Institute’s 20/21 Ensemble.

“Choosing a composer is a big deal and a rigorous process,” said Linda Reichert, president of the Music Foundation. The Society asked 11 nominees to recommend 8 to 10 composers representing various styles. Each of the 104 suggested composers was then invited to submit two sample pieces for screening for craftsmanship, style and “a very powerful compositional voice,” Reichert said.

After receiving 48 submissions, a panel of Philadelphia-area composers and musicians reviewed the scores without being told the names of the composers and narrowed it down to four. Composers were instructed to write new compositions that reflected a certain Philadelphia theme.

Bringing new works to audiences is something the Music Foundation has been doing since its inception. Formed in 1820, the group is Philadelphia’s leading musical performer, with touring artists at the Music Foundation Hall – Charles Dickens, pianist Louis Moreau Gottschack and “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lin Germany et al.

After a period of decline, the lobby on Locust Street near Eighth Street was sold to a developer for $25,000 by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in 1980 and converted into condos. The building retains its historic (though not original) appearance. Today, the Music Fund Association supports musicians and the music industry through its grants and awards.

No Philadelphia composer was ultimately selected for the Society’s Bicentennial Committee, although Thomas did have important ties to the city in the past. Her husband, composer Bernard Rands, was composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1990s. Soon after, she held the same role with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“We had an apartment in Academy House for seven or eight years. We lived there, but I was commuting to Eastman,” she said, referring to the respected music school in Rochester, N.Y.

Zagar had a presence in Philadelphia at the time—he was one of the pioneers of the South Street revival in the 1960s—and his work could be found all over the city. Thomas remembers seeing it in her Philadelphia days and was recently inspired by an online virtual tour of the Enchanted Garden.

The first movement of Thomas’s work is called “Scherzo”, which uses a mosaic-like theme, the instruments echo each other, and the theme undergoes a series of changes. “The changes are very imaginative. They’re short, but you never know what I’m going to do next, and it’s like a magic garden because you turn a corner and you don’t know what you’re going to see,” Thomas said.

“Ritual,” the second movement, has a spiritual feel that Thomas has embedded in the movement, “almost like you’re trying to capture the whole vibe of a man who has spent his life creating this work and many others that Mr. Zagar has created in Philadelphia and all around the world.”

Thomas said the Enchanted Garden fascinated her with its “intricate, fantastical and handcrafted pieces, where every little piece fits perfectly with the artist’s hand” [aspect], and a ton of different kinds of things floating around. “

She says the place has color, talent, willfulness, and even humor.

“However, it’s also a very serious place, the Enchanted Garden, and in a sense it’s a huge piece of art of epic proportions.”

Three of the Music Fund Society’s four bicentennial commissions will be staged at the Perelman Theatre, Broad Street and Spruce Street on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $30. pcmsconcerts.org215-569-8080.

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