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The Philadelphia International Festival Of The Arts Inspired By The Kimmel Center Announced Yesterday


PIFAIf you were wondering why your inbox was full of emails announcing participation in PIFA or the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts or you just want to know what the buzz is about, Philly2Philly.com has the answer. Yesterday, April 7th launched the press campaign for new Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), which was inspired by the Kimmel Center. PIFA commissioned 31 new works in music, dance, drama and the visual arts. Additionally, 111 regional arts and cultural organizations have partnered to pair programing with the 25-day festival. 

When? You might ask. Well, a year from now. The campaign kicked off with a press conference yesterday to announce the start of the festival, one year from now on April 7, 2011.  So mark your calendars, as the influx of "Save the Date" emails from each participating organization required yesterday. 

“The enthusiastic responses from Philadelphia’s arts, cultural and community groups are inspiring remarkable artistic synergies that will result in one-of-a-kind moments sure to define PIFA,” says J. Edward Cambron, executive director of PIFA.

The theme of the festival stems from the artistic energy that defined Paris at the start of the last century, but doesn't stop there. In order to participate in the festival arts and cultural organizations had to propose performances or exhibitions that lend themselves to that theme. Everything from modern music to circus arts, dance, hip-hop culture, film, history, science, architecture, fine arts, horticulture, literature, etc. is included. PIFA will also present events that highlight culinary arts, and explorations of the art of fashion.

The following was announced as part of PIFA:

Art For The Eyes And Ears:

PIFAPIFA commissioned Jonathan Leshnoff, one of the nation’s most exciting young composers, to write a sacred work featuring texts from a variety of spiritual and worldly sources. Sung in several languages, Hope: An Oratorio will make its world premiere at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and feature performances by The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, with conductor Roberto Minczuk and four solo performers, including Grammy® Award-winning world fusion singer Angelique Kidjo and award-winning jazz vocalist and composer David Linx. The Pennsylvania Girlchoir and the Mendelssohn Club Chorus of Philadelphia will also join in the performance. April 24, 2011. Broad & Spruce Streets 

Bella Chagall not only inspired her artist husband Marc Chagall, she is now the inspiration behind Bella: The Color of Love. The PIFA-commissioned, cabaret-style musical theater piece is a joint venture between the Gershman Y, the Philadelphia Theatre Company and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At the same time, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will pull from its own collection and showcase works from major institutions like the Guggenheim Museum for Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle, an exhibition focusing on the works of Chagall and his fellow Montparnasse artists from 1910 to 1920. Bella: The Color of Love, April 28-30, 2011, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad & Lombard Streets; Paris through the Window, March-July 2011, Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building, 26thStreet & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway 

Artists from Scribe Video Center will tell the story of James Reese Europe, an African-American bandleader and star during the first decades of the 20th century. Europe recorded his music at the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden in 1913. Then as an army lieutenant during World War I, he brought new African-American music forms to the attention of adoring fans in Paris and introduced syncopation, including ragtime and early jazz compositions, to an international audience. This PIFA-commissioned documentary is part of Scribe’s Precious Placesproject, a collection of documentaries created by Philadelphia neighborhood residents. April 11, 2011. Kimmel Center, Broad & Spruce Streets 

Technology & Art Converge:

A digital projection mural collaboratively commissioned by PIFA and the internationally renowned Mural Arts Program will grace the façade of the Kimmel Center. The digital mural will feature some of the thousands of photographs of dancing Philadelphians taken by artist JJ Tiziou, to be included in How Philly Moves, an iconic 50,000-square-foot mural and permanent exhibition coming to Philadelphia International Airport in June 2011. The projection of digital mural will take place during the festival. Broad & Spruce Streets 

Bridge-building Art:

A groundbreaking collaboration of Taller Puertorriqueño, Intercultural Journeys (made up of members of The Philadelphia Orchestra), the Artistas y Músicos Latino-Americanos (AMLA) and PIFA, Puentes/Bridges includes a series of PIFA-related happenings throughout the year, including master classes and art exhibits. During the festival, members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, including principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales, will join adult and advanced student musicians from AMLA for a concert outside Taller Puertorriqueño. The performances of classical and popular works by Latino composers will follow an evening of multicultural art inside the gallery. Free. April 29, 2011. Taller, 2557-2721 N. 5th Street 

High-Flying Art:

Circus arts, deeply rooted in France in 1911, will be on display throughout PIFA. The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts will perform high-flying aerial and acrobat feats during two shows: a daytime family-friendly presentation and a late-night performance for adults with The Green Fairy Cabaret. Both will take place under the soaring glass dome of the Hamilton Gardens atop the Kimmel Center. April 14-16, 2011. Broad & Spruce Streets. 

All eyes will be on the skies as the artists of Grounded Aerial defy earth, air and gravity in performances that combine modern and aerial dance. Using bungee cords, aerial harnesses, rope pendulums and other materials, the shows will take place outside and inside the lobby of the Kimmel Center. Free. April 7-9, 2011. Broad & Spruce Streets. 

For anyone who ever dreamed of flying on the trapeze, the moment is now. Fly School Circus Arts will set up a full-scale flying trapeze, and professional instructors will give lessons to daredevils who want to try the very French circus art form. Dates to be announced. The University of the Arts, Broad Street between Spruce & Pine Streets. 

In February 2010, PIFA announced the innovative collaboration between The Roots and a French chanteuse, as well as a rare collaboration between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet for a performance of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, conducted by Rossen Milanov with choreographer Jorma Elo. More performances, exhibitions and programs will be announced soon.



(RIGHT) Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts
(left to right) Mayor Michael Nutter, city of Philadelphia; Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of GPTMC; Anne Ewers, President and CEO of Kimmel Center, Inc.; Ed Cambron, executive director of PIFA, gather for a group shot after the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) press event on February 2, 2010.
Photo: R. Kennedy for GPTMC


(LEFT) Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts
Philadelphia Orchestra members perform collaboratively with local DJs David P and Statik on stage at the PIFA press event, February 2, 2010.
Photo: R. Kennedy for GPTMC