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During the fall of 2016, Found Sound Nation, in collaboration with Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, meticulously recorded the sounds of over 800 broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school district in an effort to inspire the public to ‘adopt’ these instruments, and raise funds to restore them to public schools throughout the city. For these recording sessions, we invited talented musicians from around Philadelphia to improvise on rusted horns, splintered double bases, padless saxophones and busted-up snares to craft a sample library of hundreds of ‘wounded’ but magnificently unique instruments. These broken instrument sounds became the raw material for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang new orchestral work Symphony For Broken Instruments.

As the team at Found Sound Nation went down the rabbit hole of bizarre and wonderful sounds created by a vast array of bruised and battered instruments we realized that we were in the process of archiving a truly unique sound bank - a trove of singular instruments, never-to-be-heard or played again. We invited artists worldwide to creatively reimagine these Broken Orchestra samples, generating new works in any style and by any means they wished; the single criteria was to only use the sample pack as the raw material for creation and to “embrace the [instruments’] brokenness.” With over 120 submissions from around the world, featuring innovative production by artists from Khazakstan to Indonesia, we decided to curate not only the ‘winners’ of the competition but some of our favorite picks, alongside a selection of commissioned tracks by acclaimed producers and musicians including Daedelus, Julia Holter, Ian Chang (Son Lux), Miho Hatori, Half Waif and Angelica Negron

From Suites For A Broken Orchestra, released May 1, 2019
Produced by Benjamin Brody using the Symphony For A Broken Orchestra Sample Bank.

* All samples provided by Found Sound Nation and Symphony For A Broken Orchestra.

* Symphony for a Broken Orchestra was commissioned by Temple Contemporary at The Tyler School of Art. Major support is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Barra Foundation.

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