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In Plain Air Premiere at Christ Church Philadelphia

  • Christ Church Campus 20 North American Street Philadelphia, PA, 19106 United States (map)

September 22 at 1 pm
September 22 at 3:30 pm
September 22 at 6 pm
September 23 at 3:30 pm
September 23 at 6 pm

A 3,000-pipe organ, centuries-old bells as they are heard in the belfry, an orchestra of pipe whistles, community-built music boxes: the sounds of In Plain Air carry the audience through the campus and history of one of the nation’s most historic sites.

As Christ Church installed its C.B. Fisk pipe organ — the latest in a 300-year history of grand church organs within the space — it invited members of acclaimed artist collective International Contemporary Ensemble to inaugurate the new instrument with a program of original compositions. Composers Phyllis Chen (known for her work with hand-wound music boxes and toy pianos) and Nathan Davis (a percussionist fascinated by the mechanics of instruments) immersed themselves in the sound-making possibilities of the church’s organ, bells, and open spaces, as well as the history and public role of the venerable institution.

The resulting multi-movement program unites the historic bell tolls of “The Nation’s Church,” the majesty of the intricately constructed organ, and the Ensemble’s characteristic focus on place and community into a one-of-a-kind sonic experience — a worthy welcome to an instrument that will continue to ring in the ears of visitors for the next 300 years.

Tickets free at the door. Limited seating available. Guaranteed seating, $2 advanced reservations.

Composed by Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis
Performed by International Contemporary Ensemble


Photos by Plate 3

Major support for In Plain Air has been provided to Christ Church Preservation Trust by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and Arthur Judson Foundation. 

In Plain Air commission and engagement activities are supported in part by OpenICE, a program made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Amphion Foundation, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Casement Fund, BMI Foundation, as well as public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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Earlier Event: September 13
Resonant Bodies Festival New York