The Universal Language of Music

This week, The Philadelphia School and Temple Music Prep co-hosted a week-long visit to Philadelphia of the Icelandic Tonskoli Sigursveins Youth String Orchestra. The orchestra’s itinerary included a day-long rehearsal at The Garage – and performances at Temple Prep, at Philadelphia’s Creative and Performing Arts High School, and at TPS.

The Tonskoli Sigursveins performed in concert with The Philadelphia School’s Sandra Dean String Ensemble, made up of students in grades four through eight.  The Icelanders also took part in the ensemble’s weekly master lesson and rehearsal.

This musical exchange program not only provided performance and listening opportunities for our students but reaffirmed the school’s long-time commitment to a strong string program. Professional string residencies at the school have included the Jasper Quartet, string players from The Philadelphia Orchestra, and violinist Gil Morgenstern. The TPS ensemble program, conducted by music teacher Aaron Picht, consists of two ensembles, made up of 29 string players and partially supported by a grant.

Families provided home stays for the Icelandic musicians, who in their spare time had the opportunity to do what we locals do, eat where we eat, and experience the realness of Philadelphia. Host families had the opportunity to make new friends from afar.  Says Aaron, “I look forward to a continued musical relationship with the Tonskoli Sigursveins musicians. Perhaps a trip to Iceland is in our young ensemble’s future!”