What do you do with more than 1,000 musical instruments in disrepair and no funds to fix them? That was the dilemma faced by The School District of Philadelphia. Now a new project, Symphony for a Broken Orchestra (symphonyforabrokenorchestra.org), funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and The Barra Foundation, seeks to remedy the situation. A city-wide effort initiated by Temple Contemporary in partnership with the school district, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Boyer College of Music & Dance, the Curtis Institute, and numerous professional and amateur musicians, will see musicians perform a composition December 2017 written by David Lang specifically for the sounds of the instruments in their current broken state.
The brainchild of Tyler School of Art Temple Contemporary Director Robert Blackson, the project invites the public to “adopt” an instrument, effectively paying for its repair. All of the instruments available for adoption are pictured on the website, which also lists what school the instrument belongs at and what repairs it needs. You can also hear the sound the instrument is capable of making in its current state.