What is the Philadelphia Sound?

Tuesday, 5 September 2000 - 5:00pm6:30pm

3619 Locust Walk

What is the Philadelphia Sound?

James Freeman

Guy Ramsey

Professors James Freeman of Swarthmore College and Guy Ramsey of Penn's Music Department explore the stylistic connections among Philadelphia's gospel, pop, soul, jazz, and classical and contemporary music at the first event in the Penn Humanities Forum's year long exploration of Style, introduced by PHF Acting Director Eugene Narmour. Freeman discusses the work of contemporary composers George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Ned Rorem. Crumb, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Echoes of Time and the River in 1968, taught at Penn from 1965 to 1997. Rochberg taught at Penn from 1960 until his retirement in 1983. Rorem is considered by many to be one of the finest 20th-century composer of art songs. Ramsey discusses John Coltrane, who studied in Philadelphia in the 1940s, as well as the "Philly Style" of the 1970s.

Audio links - may require downloadable browser plug-ins:

George Crumb's Star Child (1977)

Samples of Ned Rorem's compositions (PCs only)

Samples of George Rochberg's compositions (PCs only)

Samples of John Coltrane's work

Event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration required.

Interviews and articles

Ned Rorem 1998 interview in Playback

John Coltrane's influences and legacy

Interview with composers George Crumb, David Diamond, and George Perle

Philadelphia Weekly's cover story "The Golden Era of Philadelphia Radio, 1956–1975," by Ned Rorem


Other interpretations

The Philadelphia Orchestra's "Philadelphia Sound" under Eugene Ormandy

Audio-visual clip of Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra

Philadelphia City Paper's timeline of Philadelphia Soul