One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra

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  • Author(s): Welsh, Mary Sue
  • Series:
    Music in American Life
  • Publication Information:
    Urbana : University of Illinois Press. 2013
  • Additional Information
    • Publication Type:
      eBook.
    • Abstract:
      Gifted harpist Edna Phillips (1907–2003) joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1930, becoming not only that ensemble's first female member but also the first woman to hold a principal position in a major American orchestra. Plucked from the Curtis Institute of Music in the midst of her studies, Phillips was only twenty-three years old when Leopold Stokowski, one of the twentieth century's most innovative and controversial conductors, named her principal harpist. This candid, colorful account traces Phillips's journey through the competitive realm of Philadelphia's virtuoso players, where she survived--and thrived--thanks to her undeniable talent, determination, and lively humor. Drawing on extensive interviews with Phillips, her family, and colleagues as well as archival sources, One Woman in a Hundred chronicles the training, aspirations, setbacks, and successes of this pioneering woman musician. Mary Sue Welsh recounts numerous insider stories of rehearsal and performance with Stokowski and other renowned conductors of the period such as Arturo Toscanini, Fritz Reiner, Otto Klemperer, Sir Thomas Beecham, and Eugene Ormandy. She also depicts Phillips's interactions with fellow performers, the orchestra management, and her teacher, the wily and brilliant Carlos Salzedo. Blessed with a nimble wit, Phillips navigated a plethora of challenges, ranging from false conductors'cues to the advances of the debonair Stokowski and others. She remained with the orchestra through some of its most exciting years from 1930 to 1946 and was instrumental in fostering harp performance, commissioning many significant contributions to the literature. This portrait of Phillips's exceptional tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra also reveals the behind-the-scenes life of a famous orchestra during a period in which Rachmaninoff declared it'the finest orchestra the world has ever heard.'Through Phillips's perceptive eyes, readers will watch as Stokowski melds his musicians into a marvelously flexible ensemble; world-class performers reach great heights and make embarrassing flubs; Greta Garbo comes to Philadelphia to observe her lover Leopold Stokowski at work; and the orchestra encounters the novel experience of recording for Walt Disney's Fantasia. A colorful glimpse into a world-class orchestra at the height of its glory, One Woman in a Hundred tells the fascinating story of one woman brave enough and strong enough to overcome historic barriers and pursue her dreams.
    • Subject Terms:
    • Subject Terms:
    • Related ISBNs:
      9780252037368. 9780252080111. 9780252094545.
    • Accession Number:
      842264837
    • Accession Number:
      569507
    • Publication Information:
      Print/Save 100 pages
      Copy/Paste Allowed
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      WELSH, M. S. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 17 set. 2019.
    • AMA:
      Welsh MS. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Urbana: University of Illinois Press; 2013. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886. Accessed September 17, 2019.
    • APA:
      Welsh, M. S. (2013). One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Retrieved from http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Welsh, Mary Sue. 2013. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Music in American Life. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Harvard:
      Welsh, M. S. (2013) One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (Music in American Life). Available at: http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886 (Accessed: 17 September 2019).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Welsh, MS 2013, One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Music in American Life, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, viewed 17 September 2019, .
    • MLA:
      Welsh, Mary Sue. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. University of Illinois Press, 2013. EBSCOhost, widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Welsh, Mary Sue. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Music in American Life. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Welsh MS. One Woman in a Hundred : Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra [Internet]. Urbana: University of Illinois Press; 2013 [cited 2019 Sep 17]. (Music in American Life). Available from: http://widgets.ebscohost.com/prod/customlink/proxify/proxify.php?count=1&encode=0&proxy=&find_1=&replace_1=&target=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=569507&authtype=sso&custid=s1007886

Reviews

LJ Reviews 2013 March #1

Welsh's (former executive director, Bach Festival of Philadelphia) biography of the Philadelphia Orchestra's first female musician, harpist Edna Phillips, focuses largely on Phillips's years with that august institution under the leadership of conductor Leopold Stokowski. The work offers insight into the hurdles Phillips had to overcome not only as a woman, but as a young and inexperienced member of a world-class orchestra. (In 1930, an audition for what she thought was a second-chair position turned into a principal appointment.) After a somewhat slow start (Welsh needlessly dramatizes Phillips and Stokowski's first meeting), the book transforms into a riveting tale that spans the period from Phillips's audition to the second World War. VERDICT While not a comprehensive review of Phillips's life and work, this book brings the glamour, hardship, and artistic aspirations of this period in her life into sharp relief. Recommended for musicians, music researchers, and fans of Phillips, Stowkowski, and American orchestral music.—Genevieve Williams, Pacific Lutheran Univ. Lib., Tacoma, WA

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