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October 28, 2021

Philadelphia Orchestra music therapy program expands to more than 70 U.S. hospitals

The free digital performances started last year in partnership with Penn Medicine

Music Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra hospitals program Jeff Fusco/Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra's Digital Stage concerts and Our City, Your Orchestra community performance series are now available for free to patients at over 70 hospitals nationwide.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's efforts to offer music as a source of comfort to Penn Medicine hospital patients is expanding to include more health care systems across the country.

More than 70 hospitals now will provide patients with free access to the ensemble's digital performances, the orchestra said. 

The virtual concert program started in May 2020 in partnership with Penn Medicine to provide hospital patients — most notably those suffering from COVID-19 —with "the healing power of music." The Philadelphia Orchestra had previously indicated its desire to expand the initiative beyond Penn Medicine's six-hospital network in the region to other health care facilities.

"We were deeply moved by the response to the pilot program with Penn Medicine, which started as a vital means of support and gratitude for healthcare heroes battling COVID-19, and for the patients under their care," Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center CEO Matías Tarnopolsky said. "That we can expand the program and share the gift of music with an even wider network, helps us do our part in sharing the joy and healing power of music."

Temple University Hospital, Jefferson Health-Abington, Einstein Medical Center and Moss Rehabilitation are among the regional health care facilities that will now offer patients special access to the Philadelphia Orchestra's online concerts.

Available programming includes the ensemble's Digital Stage concerts and Our City, Your Orchestra community series. New content will be added each month. 

The Digital Stage is a platform that allows viewers to stream Philadelphia Orchestra performances live and on-demand for a seven-day period. The Our City, Your Orchestra series features the ensemble performing free shows at Black-owned businesses, nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions across the region.

The online content can be streamed directly into a patient's room on a channel dedicated solely to the Philadelphia Orchestra or onto one's iPad. Some programming will be available to patients on demand through an interactive patient care system.

Recent studies have shown that music can help improve medical outcomes for hospitalized patients. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that music can help patients feel less anxious, decrease pain and discomfort following a procedure and aid in physical therapy.

"Enhancing and expanding access to orchestral performances to more patients provides an additional layer of comfort and healing in hospitals throughout the country," the University of Pennsylvania Health System's chief medical officer Patrick J. Brennan said.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has resumed live concerts with in-person audiences this fall in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center after roughly 18 months of virtual performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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