Renowned Philadelphia Orchestra headlines at Hancher

The Philadelphia Orchestra is set to bring a unique sound and energy to Hancher Tuesday night.

Adrian Enzastiga, Arts Reporter

Rings of musicians layer the stage, creating a pattern of black, white, and golden brown with their formal wear and equipment. String, bass, and percussion instruments sit silent, awaiting the talented hands that will guide them. The group becomes a single unit, creating a sound that buzzes through the air with precision and grace.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform at Hancher on Tuesday night. Along with Iowa City, the orchestral tour is stopping in Kansas City, Missouri, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the coming week. Next summer, it will tour in China.

The orchestra consists of 100 musicians, including Yumi Kendall, the assistant principal cellist. She has played cello since the age of 5, and this is her 15th year with the orchestra.

“It takes a lot of energy and a lot of focus in performance, but you also get so much back because of the adrenaline and exhilaration,” Kendall said. “It’s really rewarding that way with the simultaneous experience of the individual and the whole.”

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Jeremy Rothman, the vice president of artistic planning for the Philadelphia Orchestra, described it as having the “world’s greatest energy.”

“It brings the absolute best of audiences from all around the country,” he said.

Kendall said the quality of the orchestra is like no other.

“It’s like getting to cook with really good ingredients, being a teacher and teaching with the highest quality material,” Kendall said. “It’s some of the best music out there.”

She said she could run a marathon after her concerts.

“To have these simultaneous experiences heightened in a performance is really exhilarating,” she said. “It’s a high. It’s a total chemical high.”

Despite focusing intensely on her skills, Kendall said, she also feels a strong connection to the group.

“Simultaneously to that very individual experience, I am also really aware of being a part of something larger than myself,” she said.

Rothman had a similar perspective about overseeing the orchestra, both on stage and off.

“It is inspiring every day,” he said. “[The orchestra] really stands out with the colors, and sounds, and emotions that it is able to play.”

What makes it so unique is, historically, been its sound. It feels like dark melted chocolate on stage, like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket of sound.

— Yumi Kendall

Kendall also pointed out some of the orchestra’s qualities.

“What makes it so unique is, historically, been its sound,” she said. “It feels like dark melted chocolate on stage, like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket of sound.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra is more than a century old, and it shows in the members’ deep passion for the music.

“It feels like sound becomes physical, like sound has texture, sound has feeling, sound has taste,” Kendall said. “All of these multisensory experiences for me are what this experience is about, and the audience may also get a sense of that as well.”