By Ray Banas, Department Head, Music Department
In the fall 2017, in the midst of the dramatic renovation to replace six levels of stack-shelving units with soaring new public spaces at the Parkway Central Library, I saw a wonderful opportunity: to hold a performance of modern music in this momentary cathedral of a space created by the deconstruction of the stacks.
My inspiration for this performance came on the heels of my work presenting modern classical music master classes at the Free Library, lead by the Jack Quartet, in partnership of Katherine Skovira and Robert Whalen. Therein entered my idea to celebrate the mid-point of construction of the new Common with a concert! Many departments inside the Free Library worked together with vocalist Katherine Skovira, flutist Anna Urrey, Greenhouse Media, and Driscoll Construction to make my vision a reality.
The concert, “the shape of the world we create,” was a celebration of the myriad forms of literature, art, and music that intersect in our public libraries. It featured selections from the Music Department's Chamber Music Collection.
WHYY's recent news article, "Duo serenades rubble of $35M Philadelphia Free Library renovation" by Peter Crimmins, sheds more light on this enchanting concert experience.
Through the Free Library's Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, the stacks deconstruction is clearing the way for exciting new public spaces, including The Common, the Business Resource and Innovation Center, and the Marie and Joseph Field Teen Center. These new public spaces are expected to open later this year—so stay tuned!