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NEWS
June 24, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
He was born in South Philadelphia, married Franco-Russian royalty, and reigned for five decades as one of the great violists of the 20th century. Joseph de Pasquale, 95, died Monday, June 22. Mr. de Pasquale, of Merion, was principal violist of two of America's golden-age ensembles - the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1947 to 1964, and then, sitting alongside three of his brothers, the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1964 until retirement in 1996. He is credited with raising the standard of viola playing so dramatically that it remade the instrument's image, said Curtis Institute of Music president Roberto Díaz, a one-time de Pasquale protégé.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 22, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Cellist Oliver Aldort remembers being struck by a particular quality of the Boston Symphony Orchestra while playing in the ensemble as a 17-year-old student at the Tanglewood Institute. "I had been used to a conservatory orchestra in which everyone is young and there is a constant turnover of players," he says, "and I had been used to the fact that so often the conductor will give the downbeat and there will be a lot of hesitation. . . . With the BSO, the orchestra had such a unified sense of rhythm as an ensemble - it was the easiest thing to play with.
NEWS
July 11, 2011
The opening of this week's Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was available in radio broadcasts for those of us unable to get there. And though the audio-only aspect of radio is far from the experience of being there, microphones don't lie in live broadcasts. Charles Dutoit stepped in for the indisposed James Levine with a modified grab-bag program that included repertoire as far flung as Respighi's tone poem The Pines of Rome , and, more significantly, Act I of Bellini's Norma , starring Academy of Vocal Arts graduate Angela Meade.
NEWS
May 24, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Henri Dutilleux, 97, a composer whose modest output belied his huge impact on listeners and musicians alike, died Wednesday in Paris, European news services reported. Mr. Dutilleux, born in Angers and trained at the Paris Conservatory, maintained a compositional link with Debussy and Ravel while taking their economy and elegance to greater levels of complexity and dissonance. Conductor Charles Dutoit, a Dutilleux champion who led several notable premieres, said that his death, though expected, was a major loss.
NEWS
July 18, 2002 | By Kristin E. Holmes INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Grace Stevens Hobson Smith, 97, a retired elementary school teacher and music educator who began giving piano lessons when she was a teenager, died of complications from a stroke Monday at her home in Germantown. By the age of 10, Mrs. Smith was playing the piano and providing music for her Sunday school class. By 14, she had her own students, charging 50 cents per lesson. Over the next six decades, Mrs. Smith toured with a piano ensemble, studied music in Germany, and used her experiences to illuminate the music for her students.
NEWS
June 30, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Composer Hector Berlioz signified many things, but on Thursday at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, he was the patron saint of young conductors. The artist in question was Ludovic Morlot, the young associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra who is accumulating prestigious debuts, among them his first outing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Berlioz overture, Le Corsaire , with its long opening string flourishes, seizes your attention dramatically - at least when well played - and assures you that you're not likely to forget the visual image of the conductor making it happen.
NEWS
June 6, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
AMSTERDAM - With its six tons of equipment, the Philadelphia Orchestra arrived for its Amsterdam concert on Thursday with success or failure dependent on one key person: not any musician, but an anonymous truck driver who maneuvered through streets the size of bike lanes to deliver the instruments to one of Europe's most majestic but problematic halls, the Royal Concertgebouw. "If Yannick [Nézet-Séguin] couldn't conduct the concert, Lio Kuokman would fill in. If a player gets sick, we have alternates.
NEWS
August 6, 2007 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The orchestra world is full of experts who, on a single hearing, will give you a full assessment of what's right and what's wrong between an ensemble and its conductor. If the Philadelphia Orchestra's most recent U.S. tour and my experiencing it only as a far-away reader of reviews was instructive about anything, it's that one-night diagnoses are a dangerous way to make a living. We in the classical realm tend to praise the excitement of live music and the way performances change from one night to the next - and then fail to take into consideration that performances change from one night to the next.
NEWS
April 15, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Right now, there may be no American orchestra better poised for greatness than the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble has managed to snag James Levine as its next music director, its home is one of the acoustical marvels of the world, and the group's leaders have socked away an enormous endowment. No other orchestra can boast these three important assets, and if Levine's chemistry has the same power in Boston it has had elsewhere, get ready to hear this orchestra leapfrog to the front of the pack.
NEWS
October 27, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Outside Carnegie Hall, people begged vehemently for tickets: The city's favorite resident conductor, James Levine, was celebrating the beginning of his tenure with the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and the Monday concert promised to achieve historic status. Furthermore, the symphony itself is the composer's least-heard, if only because it's large and expensive: Carnegie Hall lost 170 seats to make way for the 327 instrumentalists and choristers. Expectations ran so high - after all, this is the orchestra for which Levine is giving up his European career - that the concert was all but getting good reviews before the first note.
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NEWS
June 24, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
He was born in South Philadelphia, married Franco-Russian royalty, and reigned for five decades as one of the great violists of the 20th century. Joseph de Pasquale, 95, died Monday, June 22. Mr. de Pasquale, of Merion, was principal violist of two of America's golden-age ensembles - the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1947 to 1964, and then, sitting alongside three of his brothers, the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1964 until retirement in 1996. He is credited with raising the standard of viola playing so dramatically that it remade the instrument's image, said Curtis Institute of Music president Roberto Díaz, a one-time de Pasquale protégé.
NEWS
June 6, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
AMSTERDAM - With its six tons of equipment, the Philadelphia Orchestra arrived for its Amsterdam concert on Thursday with success or failure dependent on one key person: not any musician, but an anonymous truck driver who maneuvered through streets the size of bike lanes to deliver the instruments to one of Europe's most majestic but problematic halls, the Royal Concertgebouw. "If Yannick [Nézet-Séguin] couldn't conduct the concert, Lio Kuokman would fill in. If a player gets sick, we have alternates.
NEWS
April 17, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In the current generation of so-called rock-star symphony orchestra conductors, Stéphane Denève definitely has the hair. Though not as wild as Gustavo Dudamel's or as glossy as Riccado Muti's, it corkscrews with such a mind of its own you're sure he didn't plan the look. He may be so preoccupied with musical matters he doesn't even notice it. Clearly, it's an accident. "This is the exact story," says the ebullient French-born principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 22, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Cellist Oliver Aldort remembers being struck by a particular quality of the Boston Symphony Orchestra while playing in the ensemble as a 17-year-old student at the Tanglewood Institute. "I had been used to a conservatory orchestra in which everyone is young and there is a constant turnover of players," he says, "and I had been used to the fact that so often the conductor will give the downbeat and there will be a lot of hesitation. . . . With the BSO, the orchestra had such a unified sense of rhythm as an ensemble - it was the easiest thing to play with.
NEWS
May 18, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Words to the wise for any U.S. symphony orchestras touring China: Be prepared for tougher-than-tough negotiations, last-minute changes at departure, and below-scale fees. The Philadelphia Orchestra knows plenty about the first two as it departs on the third annual tour in its five-year China residency plan. But the orchestra this year is significantly rewriting the money part. By conducting its own negotiations and cultivating high-end sponsors, its 21/2-week tour - starting Wednesday in Beijing, stopping in Tokyo June 3, and ending June 5 in Taiwan - is expected to net $1 million (give or take $200,000)
NEWS
May 24, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Henri Dutilleux, 97, a composer whose modest output belied his huge impact on listeners and musicians alike, died Wednesday in Paris, European news services reported. Mr. Dutilleux, born in Angers and trained at the Paris Conservatory, maintained a compositional link with Debussy and Ravel while taking their economy and elegance to greater levels of complexity and dissonance. Conductor Charles Dutoit, a Dutilleux champion who led several notable premieres, said that his death, though expected, was a major loss.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 14, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - "It's a small world, and it all comes together in Saratoga. " So said a faintly bemused Yannick Nézet-Séguin last week. Only while discussing his Saratoga concert lineup did the Philadelphia Orchestra's music director-designate realize he'd brought together talent from the current coordinate points of his career - London, Montreal, Salzburg, and Philadelphia - for an intensive trio of concerts during the orchestra's three-week residency here, which ends Saturday.
NEWS
April 16, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
When the Philadelphia Orchestra filed for Chapter 11 last spring, its leaders said the reorganization would cost $2.9 million in legal and administrative fees, and they predicted the orchestra would be out of bankruptcy in the latter part of 2011. The legal tab now looks likely to be triple that initial estimate, and the case is entering its second year. On April 16, 2011, the ensemble's 75-member board voted - with a few abstentions, and all five musicians on the board voting "no" - to become the first major U.S. orchestra to file for bankruptcy.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has made incremental but encouraging progress in the campaign to finance its reorganization and operations for several years beyond an expected exit from bankruptcy. But it still has a "mountain of money" to raise. About $35.5 million has been committed in gifts and pledges on the way to an immediate goal of $44 million, orchestra chairman Richard B. Worley said Monday. In addition to previously announced gifts from the William Penn Foundation and other local philanthropists, the orchestra has nailed down two anonymous donations totaling $5.5 million, $1 million from Dorrance Hill Hamilton, and gifts from 50 members of its own board.
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