Penn Live Arts Blog

5 Questions with Alan Pierson

Posted September 20, 2021

We are so excited to open our 21/22 season with Alarm Will Sound on September 25. Hailed as “the future of classical music” by The New York Times, the acclaimed new music ensemble makes its first return to Philadelphia in 12 years to perform John Luther Adams’ site-specific work Ten Thousand Birds at the Morris Arboretum. In our eager anticipation, we connected with Alan Pierson, Artistic Director and conductor of Alarm Will Sound, to learn more about his life as an artist and the ensemble’s recent activities in just five questions. Enjoy! Read more...

Celebrating National Dance Day

Posted September 17, 2021

Caroline Leipf, our Assistant Director for Education & Engagement, learning the 2019 National Dance Day routine at the Kennedy Center.
Celebrating dance is always important. Dance is a universal language with endless physical, mental, social and spiritual benefits. And this fall, we have even more reason to celebrate dance as it is returning to our theatres!

September 18 is National Dance Day. Join the party and dance wherever you are. I will be dancing in my living room with my children. How about you? To learn some new moves and participate in the #NationalDanceDay community across the nation, here is the official 2021 National Dance Day routine tutorial taught by Brian & Scott Nicholson. No experience is necessary so give it a try! Read more...

An exciting return to being together

Posted September 13, 2021

The show must go on. This iconic theatre saying has never been truer. We are proud to have kept artists performing live on the virtual stage this past year, bringing you numerous world premieres and debuts as one of the few arts organizations in the city to offer real-time, digital performances. But our core mission is live, in-person performing arts and we can’t wait to be safely together with you again soon. 

As a first step, our staff has reunited at the Annenberg Center, and it’s been wonderful to see each other in-person and continue the preparations to welcome you back to our theatres. Read more...

Film returns this fall

Posted September 10, 2021

Film

Cactus Flower (2017)
Our fall 2021 film series features work responding to pressing concerns: the impact of climate change and shifting political alliances on our environment as well as the effects of the global pandemic.

In September, our On the Environment films address climate change from a variety of perspectives and locations. In Landfall (2020), we examine what happens when recovery efforts and global capitalism collide in Puerto Rico while in Titixe (2018), we witness the deep links between the loss of a beloved family member, the loss of cultural tradition, and consequently, the deterioration of an agricultural environment. Two short films, The Lake and The Lake (2019) and When the Lionfish Came (2015), highlight the impact of the obliteration of cultural and environmental resources. Read more...

A Summer Hiatus

Posted July 6, 2021

With the unveiling of our new name and new season of events, our Penn Live Arts blog is taking a brief summer break. The months of July and August will be spent gearing up for our exciting return to live, in-person events in September.

This blog has been a wonderful way to keep in touch during the pandemic. We’ve gotten to know past and present artists through our 5 Questions series, featured numerous guest writers from the arts and Penn communities and had opportunities to spotlight some of our significant events like the Feintuch Family Lobby dedication and the kick-off of our multi-year 50th anniversary celebration with #MyAnnenbergStory. And all of this will continue right here in September when we welcome audiences back into our theatres for the 21/22 season. Read more...

Two big announcements

Posted June 29, 2021

We welcome you back to our theatres to share in the tremendous joy of live performances in our 21/22 season. It is a redefining moment for us as we begin a multi-year celebration of our 50th anniversary, announcing not only a new season but a new identity that proudly encompasses all that we offer to the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia region. This exciting new chapter honors our legacy, strengthens our connection to Penn and begins a transformative future.

Welcome back for live performance.

If there is anything the past year has reinforced, it is our passion for live performance. Simply put, it is core to our mission. We are grateful and proud to have kept artists performing live on the virtual stage, bringing you numerous world premieres and debuts as one of the few arts organizations in the city to offer real-time, digital performances. While we now have proof that we don’t need to be confined to a physical space to connect with each other and our artists, our 21/22 season is a first step on our ambitious path, as we present a wider variety of programming for a wider variety of audiences. The best artists, from iconic legends to rising stars, grace our stage with many U.S. and Philadelphia premieres. We feature beloved dance companies, jazz greats, a brand-new, family-friendly cirque series and even an innovative, site-specific work outside. Subscriptions are available now, offering up to 35% off regular pricing and great subscriber benefits, including free ticket exchanges, discounted parking, deals at local restaurants and much more. Read more...

Recent Highlights: Apr – Jun 2021

Posted June 23, 2021

World Premieres Virtual Stage Philadelphia Debuts New Music Latin Jazz Jazz Film Family Dance Penn Live Arts Debuts

Kun-Yang Lin performing The Wind in our Zellerbach Theatre, Apr 22, 2021
As our country began to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, arts lovers were eager to process feelings and emotions through music and dance performances. The final weeks of our spring season offered up just such an opportunity through a host of evocative programs. Here are some highlights.

Rennie Harris Puremovement gave us a powerful, message-driven performance, including works about police violence and the Black male experience. In its review of the performance, The Philadelphia Inquirer said, “His narrative voice is as compelling here as it is in his storied contemporary dance career with Philadanco and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.” Viewers commented that it was “mesmerizing” and “showcasing community pain.” Learn more about Philadelphia-native Harris in our 5 Questions article or this Philadelphia Tribune profile. Read more...

#MyAnnenbergStory continues to grow

Posted June 15, 2021

Dr. Mauro Calcagno shares his #MyAnnenbergStory.
“I spent a lot of time as a young patron in theaters like the one I work in now. My heart swells with nostalgia every time I watch a performer take to the stage.” And our hearts are also full as we continue to receive touching #MyAnnenbergStory submissions like this one from our Front of House Manager, Kathleen.

As you might have seen, April 8th of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Annenberg Center. To start the multi-year celebration, we kicked off #MyAnnenbergStory as a way for us to showcase 50 years of fond memories, special occasions and unique Annenberg Center experiences. Read more...

5 Questions with Wang Lu

Posted June 9, 2021

World Premieres New Music

We are thrilled to be partnering with The Crossing for The Month of Moderns 2021, offering three outdoor music programs performed outdoors across the Philadelphia area. This annual summertime festival features numerous world and U.S. premieres, including the At which point by composer Wang Lu. Based on Forrest Gander’s raw, brutally honest poem Beckoning, the score is described by The Crossing’s conductor Donald Nally as an “ongoing, florid recitative – a musical language bursting with potential song yet intent on the concentrated delivery of words. Transparent and fragile, each phrase from one singer to another, across the rolling meadow of Awbury Arboretum.” Let’s get to know Lu in five questions!

What first got you into music?

I grew up in a musical family. I saw how much my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents enjoyed singing Chinese opera, folk songs and playing accordion together with their friends. I always associated music-making with the people I love and our community.

Read more...

ListenUp: World Music

Posted June 2, 2021

World Music Music Penn Live Arts Recommends

Angélique Kidjo
We revisit the vibrant sounds and rhythms of musicians from around the globe in our updated world music playlist. The playlist features musical gems from several Annenberg Center favorites: the queen of Afro-pop, Angélique Kidjo, Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Zimbabwean a cappella group Nobuntu, the traditional Irish band Danú, and the electrifying Mexican-American singer Lila Downs.

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