October 28, 2020 Blog

Get to Know Orchestra 2001

The longevity of Orchestra 2001 extends beyond its futuristic-moniker. The organization continues to embrace the future of music by celebrating diverse composers, styles, and audiences through their performances, many of which are now virtual.

Learn more about Orchestra 2001 and their executive director, Adam Lesnick, in this quick and quirky Q&A. Enjoy this 5-minute read with Adam’s go-to pandemic snack, popcorn rice cakes, and single malt Scotch (must be 21+ for the Scotch part).

What would you consider one of Philadelphia’s best-kept secrets?
The Mütter Museum and Dahlak Paradise, but not on the same day.

What inspired the founding of your organization? What creative need does your organization fill? What differentiates your organization from others with similar missions?
More than 30 years ago, Orchestra 2001 aimed to be a vision into what the future of classical music might look like. Now, decades after our once-futuristic moniker from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is very much in the rearview mirror, we still present the music of “today.” This includes greater inclusion of women composers and composers of color, and subject matters like global warming, the U.S./ Mexico border, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

What’s your organization’s guiding principle/s?
Become a group that connects people through music.
Collaborate with like-minded groups and individuals.
Break down barriers and have greater equity through shared human experiences of diverse communities.

What was the most memorable response someone has had to your work?
Hearing five-minutes of applause after performing for a mining community in Appalachia.

Being embraced with selfies and a potluck feast after performing for a Navajo community in Many Farms, Arizona. Some of the musicians said this was the most memorable audience of their careers.

The creative/artistic life can often feel isolating. What do you do to counteract that?
Work in collaborative environments with other artists like at Cherry Street Pier. Hoping to get back to interacting with audiences in any way possible, as soon as the pandemic allows.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Each day’s most up-to-date electoral vote tally for each state. Maybe not so ridiculous, all things considered…

What has been your go-to snack during the pandemic?
Popcorn rice cakes and single malt scotch.

Name three artists to whom you’d like to be compared. Why?
Frank Zappa
Orchestra 2001 played the US premiere of his work The Yellow Shark.
“Music is the only religion that delivers the goods.”
“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.”

Miles Davis
“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”

Anthony Bourdain
He was my idol. He combined the art of food with seeing similarities in so many different cultures.
“Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.”

Is cereal soup? Why or why not?
Don’t know, but I’ll take Cap’n Crunch over cream of broccoli any day.

If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?
Don’t spend so much time counting beans that you miss opportunities to grow beanstalks.


Follow Orchestra 2001 on social media at @orchestra_2001.
Loved learning about Orchestra 2001? Get to Know Ed Marion.