One world, one orchestra


What does it sound like when Syrians and Israelis, Serbs and Croats sit down together and play?

It sounds marvelous. And it just might sound like hope.

The Philharmonia of the Nations (pictured at right), founded in 1995 by its chief conductor, Justus Franz, is at once an exercise in idealism and a technically advanced ensemble consisting of 82 teens and young adults from 40 countries around the world. In its short existence, it has already won praise for the quality of its performances. German President Roman Herzog was so impressed that he had the orchestra accompany him on his state visit to China in 1996, and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel music critic Tim Smith wrote, “Even if you find the United-Nations-working-in-harmony stuff a little too gimmicky, make no mistake — this already well-traveled orchestra is dynamite.”

The “dynamite” ensemble opens Penn Presents’ classical music series with a concert Oct. 28 at Irvine Auditorium.


PHILHARMONIA OF THE NATIONS: 8 p.m. at Irvine Auditorium, 34th and Spruce streets. Tickets $29, $24 and $15; discounts for students, seniors and Penn affiliates available. Tickets/info: visit or call 215-898-3900.


Originally published on October 26, 2000