Exhibits Prepared for the University of Pennsylvania
Ormandy and Television
“Coming to the Small Screen: Ormandy and Television” was on display in the Ormandy Exhibit Gallery of the Otto E. Albrecht Music Library from November 2005 until November 2007. Includes correspondence and photographs related to Eugene Ormandy’s television appearances and his efforts in the 1950’s and 1960’s to gain more exposure on the “small screen.”
“I firmly believe that the time has now come when a symphony orchestra, properly presented, can be a very important part of future telecasts.”—Eugene Ormandy, 1956
An exhibit on Philadelphia musician and composer Francis Johnson, curated by Griscom and on display in the Van Pelt Library from 2007 to 2009, is available as a web exhibit, Francis Johnson: Music Master of Early Philadelphia. Johnson’s music survives today in piano arrangements published during his lifetime, and the exhibit offers examples of sheet music acquired in 2007 from the estate of the Kurt Stein as well as performances by pianist Tim Ribchester.
Ormandy in Minnesota
“The Midwest Experience: Ormandy in Minnesota” was on display at the University of Pennsylvania from January 2010 through March 2012, commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Ormandy’s recording sessions with the Minneapolis Symphony in 1934 and 1935 and his appointment as co-conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra in January 1936.
Although conductor Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) is best remembered for his forty-four years at the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he made his first lasting mark in Minnesota, where he was conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra) for five years in the early 1930s. Ormandy quickly improved the musicianship of the orchestra, and through tours of the South and Midwest, frequent nationwide radio broadcasts, and recordings for Victor, he established an enthusiastic following and positioned himself for his appointment as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ormandy in China
“Ormandy in China: The Historic 1973 Tour” was on display from November 2012 through summer 2014.
The 1973 tour of the People’s Republic of China by the Philadelphia Orchestra was a landmark political and cultural event. In the late 1960s, as tension mounted between China and the Soviet Union, the United States saw an opportunity to establish diplomatic ties with China and increase pressure on their common enemy, the Soviet Union. Following on the heels of Ping Pong Diplomacy (reciprocal visits by American and Chinese table tennis players) in 1971 and U.S. President Richard Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, the tour by the Philadelphia Orchestra’the first trip to mainland China by an American orchestra’marked an important milestone in the improvement of relations between the two countries.
In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of this historic tour, “Ormandy in China” reexamines the ten-day visit and places the tour in the context of the political and cultural climate of the time. The trip was full of surprises for Ormandy and the orchestra, ranging from program changes dictated by Jiang Qing (Mao Zedong’s wife) to an unexpected layover in Alaska on the return flight, but the tour was considered a great success and eventually led to subsequent visits to China by the orchestra, most recently in spring 2012.