One Woman in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia by Mary Sue Welsh

By Mary Sue Welsh

Gifted harpist Edna Phillips (1907–2003) joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930, turning into not just that ensemble's first woman member but in addition the 1st girl to carry a central place in a tremendous American orchestra. Plucked from the Curtis Institute of track in the course of her stories, Phillips used to be purely twenty-three years previous while Leopold Stokowski, one of many 20th century's such a lot cutting edge and debatable conductors, named her important harpist. This candid, colourful account strains Phillips's trip during the aggressive realm of Philadelphia's virtuoso avid gamers, the place she survived--and thrived--thanks to her indisputable expertise, selection, and full of life humor.
 
Drawing on broad interviews with Phillips, her kinfolk, and associates in addition to archival assets, One lady in a Hundred chronicles the educational, aspirations, setbacks, and successes of this pioneering lady musician. Mary Sue Welsh recounts quite a few insider tales of practice session and function with Stokowski and different well known conductors of the interval reminiscent of Arturo Toscanini, Fritz Reiner, Otto Klemperer, Sir Thomas Beecham, and Eugene Ormandy. She additionally depicts Phillips's interactions with fellow performers, the orchestra administration, and her instructor, the wily and superb Carlos Salzedo. Blessed with a nimble wit, Phillips navigated a plethora of demanding situations, starting from fake conductors' cues to the advances of the debonair Stokowski and others. She remained with the orchestra via a few of its most enjoyable years from 1930 to 1946 and was once instrumental in fostering harp functionality, commissioning many major contributions to the literature.

 
This portrait of Phillips's unprecedented tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra additionally finds the behind-the-scenes lifetime of a recognized orchestra in the course of a interval within which Rachmaninoff declared it "the most interesting orchestra the realm has ever heard." via Phillips's perceptive eyes, readers will watch as Stokowski melds his musicians right into a marvelously versatile ensemble; world-class performers succeed in nice heights and make embarrassing flubs; Greta Garbo involves Philadelphia to watch her lover Leopold Stokowski at paintings; and the orchestra encounters the radical event of recording for Walt Disney's Fantasia. a colourful glimpse right into a world-class orchestra on the top of its glory, One lady in a Hundred tells the interesting tale of 1 girl courageous adequate and robust sufficient to beat ancient obstacles and pursue her dreams.

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Philadelphians were dumbfounded by Stokowski’s satire. Some applauded. Some hissed. Forty odd first-row patrons walked out. ”20 Stokowski’s involvement in Philadelphia reached all the way to its children. In 1921, he established a series of children’s concerts that became so popular that rules had to be implemented to limit the number of adults allowed in. After several grown-up couples were caught trying to sneak in, the men wearing short pants and the women patent leather Mary Janes, it was ruled that all adults had to be accompanied by children.

During the time she studied with Florence before they departed for the Roxy, she had had an unofficial introduction to that department and its brilliant leader, Carlos Salzedo. As Salzedo’s assistant at Curtis, Florence had managed to sneak Edna in “through the back door” to observe classes. indd 10 10/22/12 8:55 AM In the Lions’ Den Still, even though Edna had sat in on those classes and had played for six weeks in the Roxy orchestra, she knew she wasn’t prepared to meet the rigorous standards of the prestigious conservatory, which accepted only the most superior students.

No, it is enough,” Stokowski said as he left the room, thanking Phillips for her playing and Lawrence for her hospitality, but speaking in a quiet, distracted way almost as if he was talking to himself.

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