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Ben Folds Battles with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Ben Folds Battles with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Ben Folds is a singer/songwriter with a modern pop edge. The Mann Center has signed him on to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra for The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience. Together, they will perform his first concerto and a number of his "pop gems." However, according to Philly.com, it hasn't been the easiest experience for him.

Folds commented, "I feel the musicians' pain. I've done a bunch of these shows with symphonies. Most players don't know me from Adam. They operate in a world of their own, feel territorial and some - not all - feel threatened working with a pop guy. They worry I'll be asking them to dumb it down."

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He continued, saying that some of the musicians make funny remarks under their breath - 'Let's go to letter J [in the score] for joke.' Sometimes, they even alter the score, write in 'corrections' because they don't like the harmonies. It's a small minority that's like that, but they can be disruptive for the first half-hour of rehearsal until I win them over."

Folds is the first of Mann Center's experimental pop summer. Mann president and CEO Catherine Cahill explained, "We've become a single-admission concert hall, with a commitment and mission to serve as diverse an audience as possible. The years of the Philadelphia Orchestra producing a glorious six-week, 18-concert classical subscription series are sadly behind us. There isn't the audience anymore to support it. We've got a lot more seats to fill than the Kimmel Center does."

We've become a single-admission concert hall, with a commitment and mission to serve as diverse an audience as possible," Cahill explained. "The years of the Philadelphia Orchestra producing a glorious six-week, 18-concert classical subscription series are sadly behind us. There isn't the audience anymore to support it. We've got a lot more seats to fill than the Kimmel Center does.

Photo Credit: Steve DeWeese

Pictured: Ben Folds snaps a photo from stage during a July 5 concert at the Lifestyles Communities Pavilion

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