In 2001, the Philadelphia Orchestra moved into its new home, the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall contained within this dramatic, Rafael Viñoly–designed glass-and-steel atrium. This cello-shaped concert hall features no right angles or corners to catch noise, but rather curves to channel the flow of sound and louvered walls that can be adjusted on the fly to change the acoustics of the space. (The entire building also rests on coils and 225 layers of vibration-absorbing rubber isolation pads.)
The storied Philadelphia Orchestra—founded in 1900 and directed by such legendary composers as Leopold Stokowski (1912-41), Eugene Ormandy (1936-80), and Riccardo Muti (1980-92)—teetered into Chapter 11 in April 2011. It was a tense time for Philly's music lovers, but the company managed to emerge from bankruptcy about 15 months later, just in time for then-37-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin to take up the baton for the 2012-13 season as only the eighth musical director the orchestra has had.
Verizon Hall also hosts concert by the Philly Pops and by modern popular musicians. (Tori Amos and John Legend are on the schedule as I post this.)
The other main venue under the dome of Philly's premier performing arts center is the Perelman Theater, a 650-seat round recital hall for chamber music, dance, drama, experimental opera, and various special events. It is the permanent home to The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, PHILADANCO, and American Theater Arts for Youth. (Take the elevator to the top of the Perelman for a rooftop garden with views up this stretch of Broad Street, known as the “Avenue of the Arts.”)
In 2013-14, the interactive education center underwent an expansion to become the SEI Innovation Studio, a 200-seat black box theater for jazz and theater residency programs that will also exhibit items from SEI's vast contemporary art collection on a rotating basis.
In 2014, they should finally finish work on the Kimmel Center's new on-site restaurant, helmed by 2010's "Iron Chef," Jose Garces.