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Classical Music

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns and Peter Dobrin, Inquirer music critics
Enjoy the music while you can. The economic downturn has had no immediate impact on classical-music programming, which is devised and funded at least a year in advance and is, for the moment, perfectly safe. It may even be more accessible these days: Tickets could be easier to come by, especially if many are left over from subscription sales. But the stock-market gyrations that began last fall will be felt come next fall. So here it is: the glory that is 21st-century Philadelphia - for however long it lasts.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
President Reagan has not yet sent Philip Habib to the bunker housing the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), but some high-level problem-solver may be needed before that group detonates another round of Grammy Awards. In the past, the Grammys for classical-music recordings have escaped broad notice for the fundamental reason that prizes are at best meaningless in art and at worst destructive. Pictures of Soviet composers wearing their medals make musicians laugh - a little sadly.
NEWS
September 24, 1987 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
Unlike its counterparts overseas, the American classical music industry has never made enough of a fuss about music of its own. This is due partly to the conservative nature of the art form itself: Patriotism, like protest movements, usually circles round the masses rather than more elitist groups. Then, too, it has taken a long long time to get over our cultural inferiority complex. Lacking a Three B's of American repertoire to enthuse over, major record companies here have gladly stuck to safer European classics - which in recent years has been easy to do, because a number of firms have been sold to conglomerates based abroad.
NEWS
January 29, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The Kimmel Center is presenting less expensive, less exotic visiting orchestras. Local ensembles are increasing collaborations, so that the same event does double or triple duty by counting as a concert in the brochures of multiple organizations. And the city's musical face to the larger world, the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been in bankruptcy more than nine months and doesn't hope to exit until sometime after the filing's first anniversary. Times are tough. Young artists from the Curtis Institute of Music are leaving the nest and heading into careers of equal parts risk and promise.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 30, 1995 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Outing has come to classical music, and the Schubert is flying off the shelves. So is the Chopin. Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Bernstein and Britten, too. They are among the composers grouped together on Out Classics, an RCA release making a big splash. Trumpets an invitation on the back of the CD: "Revel in over an hour of seductive classics by eight of the world's greatest composers who just happen to be gay. " Hordes are taking RCA up on the offer, even though no one can be sure whether all of these composers really happened to be gay. The disc has made the Billboard Top Classical Albums chart for the last several weeks, jockeying neck-and-neck with Sensual Classics, Too. That CD offers works by straight composers, but also aims squarely at a gay market by featuring on its cover, as does Out Classics, a homoerotic photo.
LIVING
December 13, 1996 | By Paddy Noyes, FOR THE INQUIRER
Usually Lissette, 11, is at the center of the action - whether playing kickball, rollerblading, swinging, or throwing a ball. Music, however, pulls her to a corner of a room to be by herself. She will sit on the floor, hum, and do sign language. Classical music is her favorite, with Beethoven and Mozart leading the way. Church music runs a close second. She'll nod and smile when she hears "Jesus loves me, this I know. " When Lissette went into foster care, from a background of abuse and neglect, she could often be found going through the garbage, looking for food.
NEWS
October 7, 1990 | By Will Thompson, Inquirer Staff Writer
It becomes more evident each fall that many of the best classical music concerts in the region take place in Delaware County and nearby communities that are conveniently accessible to county residents. The performances include the Sunday afternoon chamber music concert series under soft chandelier light in the ballroom of Wallingford Community Arts Center, the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra and specific concerts in the Wayne Concert Series. The 65-member Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, for example, has provided outstanding classical music in Lansdowne since 1945, when it was common for most suburban residents to travel to Philadelphia to hear orchestras.
NEWS
April 6, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
You know Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream like the back of your hand thanks to a second-grade teacher who first set the fairy score aglow in your imagination. But did you ever hear the abrupt gesture a few minutes into the score as the donkey bray it was meant to evoke? On a purely abstract level, Smetana's M? Vlast is wondrous music. But it doesn't fully reveal itself unless you already know about ??rka's revenge on the male race, and that the impertinent bassoon part near the end is the snore of the men she lulls to sleep.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
For all the grand and eccentric characters in classical music, the medium has stood somewhat apart from the electronic visual age - until it began mating with DVD. It looks like a happy honeymoon. Who, for example, would have thought that Dame Felicity Lott's memorable recital two years ago at the Kimmel Center - enjoyed by 700 or so local voice-lovers - could be taken home from the DVD bins of retail stores or ordered on Amazon.com Web pages? Pianophiles still mourn the absence of the Russian Grigory Sokolov, who made a blinding impression here years ago but no longer tours the United States.
NEWS
November 12, 1987 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
She has been photographed in the New York Yankees' dugout, grinning at outfielder Dave Winfield. She has been televised playing her own pinball machine. Her fondness for Godzilla is common knowledge among musicians. But for violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, all that is beside the point. The point, says the one-time Cherry Hill resident in an intense, tough-guy voice, is the violin, the music and her role as a spokeswoman for her musical generation, a role that has soared as her career has rocketed.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 25, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
As jobs go, there's not much to recommend it. The work is hard, there's no glory, and the risk of disaster is high. Regarding any levity, only the paycheck might draw a laugh. And yet, page-turners are classical music's anonymous heroes. In some performances, a smart music reader with quick reflexes and intuition for nailing just the right moment for turning the page can be the difference between a performance fraught with gremlins and one that soars. Page-turners are the air-traffic controllers of music, says Miles Cohen, artistic director of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, perhaps the area's most frequent professional employer of page-turners.
NEWS
April 24, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Borromeo String Quartet violinist Nicholas Kitchen expands on his thoughts about the intersection of classical music and emerging technology. Do you think it is inevitable that printed music will go away or perhaps become a quaint old rarity?   Let me consider a slightly different question as a prelude to answering the main question: What are the benefits reading music from PDF files instead of paper? Let's just consider that basically most everyone on earth has or is trying to get a computer, tablet, or smartphone, as well as access to the internet.
NEWS
April 7, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Nobody says J.S. Bach cures post-traumatic stress disorder. But few would be surprised if his music helped, whether it is the Goldberg Variations , heard after the Paris terror attacks last November, or the St. Matthew Passion on the day after the Brussels suicide bombings last month. Not every composer writes music with medicinal effects. Mahler's darker symphonies could make a bad day even worse. Yet Bach (despite the furrowed brow and 18th-century wig seen in formal portraits)
NEWS
March 6, 2016
Summer Music. It's March - in other words, not too early to be thinking about Marlboro Music, the musicians' retreat in Vermont. The cloistered gathering is less a programmed festival than a chance to overhear what about 80 resident artists have been working on. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida is director, and this year's composer-in-residence is Sofia Gubaidulina. You never know what artists and repertoire will appear on concerts, but that's part of the experience. This year, there are 12 concerts between July 16 and Aug. 14. Information: 215-569-4690 or www.marlboromusic.org . - Peter Dobrin A thousand voices sing.
NEWS
February 22, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CULTURE WRITER
T he Jungle Book , with a score by composer John B Hedges and choreography by Colby Damon, receives its premiere Sunday by Curtis Institute of Music instrumentalists and dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet II. The work, based on the Rudyard Kipling stories, is meant to capture the attention of young listeners and their families. Hedges, 41, born in Wilmington and a Penn and Curtis graduate, talks about his new work. For a project like this that involves dancers, music, and a narrator, who made the first move?
NEWS
February 13, 2016 | By Caitlin McCabe, Staff Writer
After services at Temple Adath Israel have concluded, after its staff has long left for the night, the fluorescent lights in a back room of the Merion worship center flicker back to life. Inside the community room, on this Tuesday like so many others, an unlikely group of doctors, mothers, car mechanics, and lawyers gathers, keyboards, and cymbals, and violins in tow, and waits. Meanwhile, at a Bala Cynwyd Starbucks, music director Reuben Blundell thumbs through his sheet music one final time, scribbling last-minute notes in the margins.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2016
Theater A Moon for the Misbegotten 2 lost souls find solace with one another on a Connecticut farm. Closes 2/7. Walnut Street Theatre - Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut St.; 215-574-3550. $30-$35. A Taste of Things To Come New musical about 4 women participating in a baking contest in '50s-era Illinois. Closes 2/21. Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope; 215-862-2121. $30. A Taste of Things To Come New musical about 4 women participating in a baking contest in '50s-era Illinois.
NEWS
January 24, 2016
Grande Mozart with a shot of Schubert? Starbucks is now offering music streaming via a deal with Spotify - classical music included. An app detects your location and serves up, to your cellphone, to listen to now or later, whatever tune is being played at the Starbucks nearest you. Starbucks has curated a special classical playlist, a company spokeswoman says. A recent sampling through Spotify reveals artists and repertoire much like Apple Music's classical Internet "radio" - Arvo Pärt choral music, a tasteful Richard Goode playing Bach partitas, Lang Lang feeling alternately irreverent and extravagant in a Mozart sonata.
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