Updated: Aug 31
The darkest years of the pandemic are behind us, but their memory lingers. The sudden shutdown of public life was one of many upheavals that threatened to tear apart the social fabric. Other issues also took center stage in the form of protests and riots over cruel acts of injustice.
But turbulent times can bring about positive changes. Some arts institutions undertook an honest reappraisal of their purpose and programming choices after the events of 2020-21. Underrepresented artistic voices were finally given the opportunity to be heard more widely, and increased access was given to audiences who customarily never set foot in a theater or concert hall. Technology allowed everyone with a screen and Wi-Fi to participate.
The Philharmonic Society of Orange County went through such a transformation. Formed in 1954, it’s one of Orange County’s oldest arts presenters, regularly bringing in top-name classical musicians and some of the world’s best orchestras. But in 2020, Philharmonic President and Artistic Director Tommy Phillips realized that change was in the air, and his organization needed to respond. The result was the Triumph Over Adversity Festival. This year’s three-event festival takes place on February 21, 23 and 24.
“The festival began in our darkest pandemic time,” Phillips said. “It really evolved out of a need for a platform for traditionally under-represented voices to be heard.”
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Classical music coverage at Culture OC is supported in part by a grant from the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism. Culture OC makes all editorial decisions.