Heart-warmer: Philadelphia timpanist flies deprived kids to Italy

Heart-warmer: Philadelphia timpanist flies deprived kids to Italy


norman lebrecht

August 01, 2015

Here’s one to warm the cockles of our hearts.

Don Liuzzi, principal timpanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been conductor of the Philadelphia All-City Orchestra for the past ten years. The players are high school kids from poor areas of the city, mostly Latino and African-American.

Don is about to step down from the podium, handing over to assistant principal bass Joseph Conyers.

A friend tells us: ‘Don’s love for the program and the students has been a constant. To close out his 10-year tenure, Don raised the funds to take the orchestra on an all-paid week-long tour of Italy. Many of the students had never left the country before; some had never been out of the Philadelphia area. A few were unable to obtain passports and could not go. It has been a life-changing experience for many of them.’

philly kids

Read Don’s travel journals here.


  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Congrats and thanks, Don, for your 10 year tenure. I can’t wait to see and hear your successor conduct! I’m glad to see All-City Orch on the move.

  • CDH says:

    “Unable to obtain passports…” That bodes no good for “some” if the IRS finds out.

  • Joe Hannigan says:

    Here’s Don narrating a short clip about the trip for their Kickstarter campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMqcS-OxE_Y