Philadelphia Orchestra lets hospital patients watch, listen to past performances

John McDevitt
May 27, 2020 - 6:01 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Orchestra is bringing its music to area hospitals to show support for COVID-19 patients and health care workers. 

Partnered with Penn Medicine, the Orchestra is providing virtual content for the health care network’s six hospitals. 

Patients — including those who have or are recovering from COVID-19 — will be able to enjoy performances from their hospital rooms on a designated orchestra TV channel, which was set up earlier this month. Health care workers can also get access through their employee COVID-19 support portal, PennMedicineTogether.

They can watch or listen to recordings of previous concerts or chamber music from musicians’ homes. New content will be added each week. 

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Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky said the last time orchestra members performed together was back on March 12.

“Three pieces of music were performed — a brand new piece by a young composer called Iman Habibi, and Beethoven’s No. 5 and No. 6 symphonies,” he said. “It’s one of the most overwhelmingly moving and powerful and beautiful musical moments ever, and we captured it on film.”

The pilot program is all about the healing power of music.

“Music can soothe. Music can move us. Music can change us. Music can express thoughts and feelings that words alone can not,” Tarnopolsky said.

The performances are also a way for the Orchestra to say “thank you” to all of the health care workers’ selfless efforts dunning the coronavirus crisis.

“Now more than ever, providing additional support for our patients is of the utmost importance, and that includes helping them stay connected and strengthening their mental wellbeing,” added Regina Cunningham, chief executive officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Participating hospitals include HUP, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, and Princeton Health. The Orchestra hopes to expand the program to more facilities.