Friday and Saturday November 9, 10 concerts at 8 pm in the Schuster Center feature Orchestra-level historical displays of Paul Katz, DPO, and Dayton
On Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10, the Schuster Center will be the scene of festivities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra founder and Conductor Emeritus Paul Katz (November 2 1907- August 31, 1989).
In celebration, the concerts will feature a display, entitled Origins, of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra History in a text-and-photo timeline on banners on the Orchestra Level in front of the Mead Theatre. There will also be display cases, with artifacts and photos, and framed historical photos, many of which illustrate the life of Paul Katz.
Gleaned from the archives of Wright State University, the Dayton Metro Library, the DPO, and Katz’s co-workers, family, and friends, the items tell the unique story of a city, a man, and a musical legacy created in the midst of crisis.
The city, Dayton, had recently endured a major physical disaster – the Great Flood of 1913 – dug itself out of the mud, and raised enough money without much in the way of state or federal governmental assistance to create the Miami Conservancy District and build five major retention dams, to ensure such a disaster would never again visit the area.
The man, Paul Katz, was a child musical prodigy who gained admission to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at the age of nine. Founded in 1879, the Conservatory had never before admitted a student younger than high-school age. In the midst of the Great Depression, on June 1, 1933, Katz pulled together area musicians and formed an orchestra that performed two concerts at the Dayton Art Institute. Despite the sweltering heat, over 500 people paid 25 cents per ticket to attend the premiere performance of the Chamber Orchestra Society, an event that would decide the fate of the fledgling group. Virginia Sturm, arts critic for the Dayton Daily News, called the performances “…the beginning of a cherished possession for the artistic development of the community.”
The musical legacy, the Chamber Orchestra Society became the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and next year it will celebrate its 75th Anniversary, all because of one man, Paul Katz.
This celebration also includes:
* A visit Saturday evening, November 10 by Dr. Nevin Katz, son of the DPO founder, and Clinical Professor of Surgery at The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC.
* Starting at 6:30 pm each concert evening the Dayton Metro Library will operate Words & Music, a lobby-stop library kiosk in the Wintergarden. Concertgoers and other visitors will be able to select from, and check-out, a wide variety of books, CDs, and DVDs related to the evenings’ concerts, Paul Katz, Dayton history, and classical music. All that one needs to check-out any of the items is a Dayton Metro Library card. Users may return the items to any branch of the library; they may also sign up for – and receive – a library card if they do not have one.
* At intermission each evening, each concertgoer will receive a piece of special birthday cake prepared for – and generously donated to – the DPO by Eva Christian, owner of Café Boulevard in the Oregon District and Cena Brazilian/Mediterranean Steak House at the Dayton Mall.
All of this is by way of the Orchestra’s and community’s remembering with fondness and gratitude the memory of Paul Katz, the man whose birthday gift to all of us was the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.