Penn Live Arts Blog / Page / 19

The Crossing's new album CARTHAGE features music by James Primosch

Posted May 26, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends New Music

The Crossing @ Christmas at the Church of the Holy Trinity
Photo by Ryan Collerd
We were thrilled to partner with The Crossing this season as our choir-in-residence, and deeply disappointed when their residency was cut short due to COVID-19. We presented The Crossing @ Christmas in December, followed by the unforgettable Knee Plays in February as part of our three-week #GLASSFEST honoring Philip Glass. We then closed our doors just days before the choir’s final residency performance of the season, the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s Travel Guide to Nicaragua with cellist Maya Beiser. While we had hoped to reschedule the performance, we ultimately had to cancel it as the pandemic continued to unfold.

Nevertheless, The Crossing, like many performing ensembles, has carried on in the virtual landscape. Every morning since March 16, Rising with The Crossing has provided us with daily selections from the choir’s best performances and recordings. Read more...

ListenUp: New Music Playlist

Posted May 21, 2020

New Music ListenUp

We ring in this week’s playlist with the sound of bells. Sō Percussion, slated to make their Annenberg Center debut this past April, has been rescheduled for October, when they’ll perform the world premieres of works by graduate students in composition from Penn’s Department of Music. Here, we feature the ensemble’s recordings of music by Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, and Glenn Kotche. Next up on the playlist is a sampling of The Crossing’s gorgeous recording of Robert Convery’s Voyages, which is set to Hart Crane’s early 20th-century poem of the same name. Although The Crossing’s residency at the Annenberg Center this year was cut short, we can’t wait to bring them back in future seasons. We round out our new music playlist by revisiting two solo piano works we heard at Jenny Lin’s Glass Reflections recital at the Penn Museum this past March: Philip Glass’ hypnotic Etude No. 2 and György Ligeti’s intricate first étude, Désordre.

Penn generations join forces in harmony as part of Israel's worldwide Independence Day celebration

Posted May 20, 2020

Special Features

As a hub for the arts at the University of Pennsylvania, we are always on the lookout for current Penn students and alumni in the limelight. We found both in a streaming performance of the 2020 Worldwide Celebration of Israel’s Independence Day. Composer, songwriter, singer and 1995 Penn graduate Gabriel Mann scored a new arrangement of “Ahavat Olam” for the celebration, which was performed by the Platt brothers—who also have roots at Penn. If you missed the live stream, treat yourself to the three-minute performance above. Read more...

Dig into Penn Museum At Home with the whole family

Posted May 20, 2020


Our buildings might be empty right now but our University cultural partners join us in keeping the lights on virtually. This week we salute the Penn Museum. While their entire website is a treasure trove of offerings for all visitors, here we focus on two family-friendly categories within the Penn Museum At Home section. At-Home Anthropology for Kids invites learners of all ages to create legendary creatures or Roman mosaics, design a personal museum or learn how to mummify fruits and vegetables. Each week the Museum adds new projects so children and their grown-ups can add some fun, new projects to their weekly mix. Older children and teenagers might want to check out the Digital Daily Dig, a three-minute video posted on the Museum’s Facebook page at 1 PM each weekday, with a substantial archive available on the Museum’s website. Billed as “One artifact. Three minutes. Endless insights.” this quick and clever feature brings to life Etruscan sandals, Roman ketchup, Foo Lions and many other fascinating objects within the Museum’s collection.

Artists lead a national conversation in the Abbey Theatre's Dear Ireland video series

Posted May 20, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends Theatre

The Abbey Theatre's Two Pints sold out the Blarney Stone last season.
Dublin’s historic Abbey Theatre is an Annenberg Center favorite that we have welcomed to our stages on multiple occasions. Most recently we presented the sold-out Philadelphia premiere of the Abbey’s hilarious Two Pints at our local pub, the Blarney Stone. Now, in spite of theatre closures and cancelled performances across the globe, the Abbey stands fast by its mission to tell the Irish story through art with its candid new video series, Dear Ireland.

The Abbey is widely recognized for its transformative artistry, creating works that are provocative and reflect many different facets of Irish society. Dear Ireland was created with the Irish theatre arts community in mind, employing 50 Irish playwrights to each write a monologue and then nominate an actor to video-record it at home in social isolation. Read more...

Danú vocalist Nell Ní Chroinin keeps our fond memories of live performing arts going strong

Posted May 18, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends World Music

With only a handful of days left in May, it has now been about 10 weeks since we had to close our doors for the rest of the season. Before COVID-19, we were looking forward to announcing our 20/21 season in April and then finishing out the spring semester with a vibrant series of diverse, exciting performances. The annual joy of closing out one great season to then start another one feels like a distant memory now.

But it is times like this when we need artistic expression the most. Read more...

From Penn Today: Celebrated Penn alumnus John Legend surprises the Class of 2020 at the University’s virtual Commencement ceremony

Posted May 18, 2020

Special Features

Penn live-streamed its “first” 264th Commencement (an on-campus ceremony will be held for the Class of 2020 in May 2021) for graduates and their families across the city, nation and world. The celebration concluded with a stunning performance by graduating students in Penn’s A Cappella Council, and featured a special surprise guest: EGOT winner John Legend, C'99. Legend played piano while singing the iconic “The Red and Blue.” No doubt graduates will remember the performance, and the unprecedented occasion, for the rest of their lives.

Read the full story on Penn Today.

Spotlight on Priscilla Felten, Wharton '20

Posted May 14, 2020

Special Features

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Felten
The universe of performing arts is going to need talented and committed people like Priscilla Felten, W’20, when it emerges from the pandemic.

With a degree from the Wharton School and years of hands-on experience as both performer and highly-motivated intern, Felten will be uniquely positioned to figure out new ways for the entertainment industry to carry on when we return to the “new normal.” “There are a lot of open questions,” she says. “How can it be cost-effective for those that must sell a lot of tickets to survive? Will people even want to go into theaters or will they prefer to consume entertainment and culture from home? Will there be a hybrid of live performances and online streaming? How will artists stay safe onstage and off? How might policies and contracts change?” Read more...

Master the art of doodling with Mo Willems

Posted May 14, 2020


Parents of young children might recognize the name Mo Willems, but if you aren’t familiar, Willems is a beloved author, illustrator, animator and playwright. He is most recognized as a New York Times bestselling author, a Caldecott Medal recipient, an Emmy® winner for his work on Sesame Street and the inaugural Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence. If you’re looking for fun yet simple ways to be creative at home, Willems is one of the top resources for engaging the whole family.

Currently, as part of his Kennedy Center residency, Willems and Disney Publishing Worldwide are producing a special video series called Thank You Thursdays!  Read more...

Penn honors composer Henry Threadgill with an Honorary Doctor of Music

Posted May 13, 2020

Special Features Penn Live Arts Recommends Jazz

Photo by Caitlin Ochs / The New York Times
Last year, Annenberg Center staff clocked in to work very early in the morning on Monday, May 20. The caterers wheeled in the continental breakfast at 4:30 AM. By 7 AM, Facilities had set up chairs and flags throughout the main lobby, and the Penn Bookstore arrived to begin setting up their regalia stations. Faculty members arrived around 8:30 to robe and mingle over bagels and coffee, and by 9 AM, President Gutmann made brief remarks to the 390 people that had gathered. By 9:30, everyone exited the Annenberg Center in an orderly fashion, and the 263rd Commencement Procession began, complete with marching bands blaring down Locust Walk. It was one of the most important celebrations of the academic year.

This year, the 264th Commencement will be held Monday, May 18th at 11 AM. Like every year since 2003, the event will be live-streamed; however, due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, this year’s celebration will take place exclusively on-line. Read more...