West Philadelphia Orchestra
Avant village folk brass band since 2006.
You will find WPO at parties, stages, beer gardens, protests and wedding celebrations throughout the Philadelphia region. West Philadelphia Orchestra found inspiration in the Romani brass "orkestars" and "fanfares" of Eastern Europe. Known for stellar musicianship and dynamic live shows, the band’s sound is vibrant, powerful and extremely danceable.
WPO plays a wide-range of music, including traditional Balkan music (emphasis on Serbian and Macedonian repertoire), klezmer music rooted in Philadelphia’s klezmer tradition, New Orleans brass and 60s free jazz, in addition to punk, soul, hip hop frevo and ska. On stages and their many recordings, the band focuses on their original compositions which meld all of those influences together. Catch them at parties and on the streets and you'll hear them playing whatever feels right for the moment. They have collaborated with artists and ensembles as varied as RJD2, Dr. Dog, Martha Graham Cracker, Johnny Showcase and the Trisha Brown Dance Company. With driving percussion, yawping tuba, wailing reeds and blaring trumpets, WPO's sound hits hard and lifts the spirits.
WPO began as a village band for their neighborhood in 2006, performing at parks, rocking street festivals and collaborating with community theaters. They’ve released a few albums over the years - WPO in 2008, Live at Tritone in 2012, and Tour de Filly in 2016. They have also released numerous singles and two EPs in 2023: The Cosmic Trilogy (on The Giving Groove label) and Af Purim (on Fly Bottle Records). They have performed at various festivals, including Ollin Kan (Mexico City), Philadelphia Folk Festival, Golden Fest (NYC), and various versions of the Honk! festival. Many of WPO's members are also music educators (Play on Philly, Clef Club, Germantown Friends, the George School, etc.) and the band has given workshops and performances at University of the Arts, Appel Farms Music and Arts Camp, and various regional high schools.