A Silent Exit
A Silent Exit
This chapter describes Stoki's All-American Youth Orchestra. As the war began to overtake Europe in 1939, and German and Italian influence threatened to take hold in South America, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and performers from La Scala made tours through South America, winning friends for their respective countries. Alarmed, the Roosevelt administration wanted to counter those successes by sending U.S. cultural emissaries to Latin America. However, little government money was available to finance such projects. Stokowski stepped up to offer one solution to the dilemma. What better way to challenge the cultural impact that the Berlin Philharmonic and La Scala made on South America and counter the propaganda then circulating about the Hitler Youth Movement than by forming an orchestra of fresh-faced and highly talented young Americans as goodwill emissaries? To do this, he proposed to form an orchestra of young people from all over the United States. It would forge cultural ties with South Americans through the universal language of music and the charm of youth. Stoki also chose thirteen players from the Philadelphia Orchestra and set them strategically within his new ensemble to provide a backbone of expertise for the final product so that it could be brought together quickly. One of them was harpist Edna Phillips.
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