Submitted by: Lauren Hirshon, Director of Research & Consulting at the Fels Institute of Government

Ironically, there was no music playing at the YPN event last Monday featuring Ari Solotoff and Cristian Macelaru, Executive Vice President and Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Background tunes would have been a distraction, and the audience of young professionals was too intent on listening to Mr. Solotoff and Mr. Macelaru as they shared information about our world-famous musical ensemble. 

For a half an hour, Mr. Macelaru and Mr. Solotoff spoke about topics ranging from their background in orchestral performance to a comparison between Philadelphia’s support for the arts and cultures and that found in other cities.  Both shared information on initiatives the Orchestra is leading to cultivate local musical talent and provide educational opportunities – initiatives like the PreConcert Conversations that include informal interviews with renowned guest artists and composers, the free neighborhood concert series offered during the summer, and programming for families and young children.

The room was riveted when Mr. Macelaru shared stories about his childhood growing up in Romania – stories that reminded each of us how fortunate we are to have a world-class orchestra right on Broad Street.  And, both Mr. Solotoff and Mr. Macelaru were stumped when a member of the audience asked them to name their favorite or most inspiring musical piece.  Fortunately, a few of the orchestra’s musicians in the audience – a tuba player, a member of the string section, and a woodwind representative – jumped in to help out.    

Afterwards the room filled with laughter and chatting as everyone went back to networking and enjoying the delicious spread provided by Salvatore’s.  I’m biased – since we hosted the event.  But, I think everyone in attendance would agree the candles, sprinkling of white lights, wreaths, mistletoe, and poinsettias strategically placed around the old Fels Mansion added to the festive mood. 

View photos from the event here.