Actors, aerialists, musicians: PIFA is back with more thrills

John McDevitt
May 29, 2018 - 7:34 pm
The musicians of the French troupe Transe Express play instruments on a steel chandelier.

Laurent Quinkal


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Kimmel Center's Philadelphia International Festival of Arts (PIFA) begins Thursday with 50 performances at various places across the city over the course of 11 days.  

One of those performances features flying French musicians on the banks of the Schuylkill River. 

The musicians of the French troupe Transe Express were tuning up their instruments as crews assembled a steel chandelier — 30 feet in diameter — for the world premiere of Cristal Palace.   

The metal sculpture can fit up to 15 performers at a time and is lifted up and down by a giant crane.

"The crane lifts the chandelier and it arrives in the performance space in the air," explained Jay Wahl, producing artistic director, "and we are on the grass dancing together and the chandelier swings over our heads and the musicians get so close they are waving at you. And then suddenly the crane will lift it way, way, way into the sky, and it's just pure magic."

Actors, aerialists and local musicians will also perform.

Click here for more festival details and everything you need to know about PIFA.