October 14, 2015 |
Some composers don't slip into obscurity as much as their creative quest seemed always to have been the express route to oblivion. The charismatic face and name of Julius Eastman, a confrontational, openly gay African American, kept appearing and reappearing to Bowerbird founder Dustin Hurt as he researched the 1970 avant-garde giants John Cage and Morton Feldman. Who was this person who kept such esoteric company? Now, Bowerbird is holding a pair of events dedicated to Eastman, with a concert Friday at the Rotunda and a panel Saturday at the Slought Foundation.
October 14, 2015 |
Though the Stotesbury Mansion on Rittenhouse Square would appear to be a century away from the present, currently, it's catering to the immediate future. A few weeks ago, in a ballroom literally transplanted from an 18th-century British estate to 1923 Walnut St., cellist Tom Kraines of the Daedalus Quartet played his own improvisational hybrid of Bach's solo cello suites. "It's rare to find a presenter who is interested and willing," he said, "in combination with a room that works well.
September 14, 2015 |
New faces - and the artistic presence that comes with them - arise on multiple fronts this fall. The old model of an extended tryout for new leadership candidates is happening alongside quicker successions and educated risks. Camden's Symphony in C made consistency a priority, forgoing tryouts and hiring Stilian Kirov, recently associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony, as music director for the new season. Mendelssohn Club's Paul Rardin has already filled the shoes of retiring Alan Harler with his choral work at Temple and has assembled a season peppered with virtually all Philadelphia's most prominent composers.
July 8, 2015 |
Although he was one of Philadelphia's ultimate behind-the-scenes musicians, James Holesovsky, 72, who died Saturday, June 27, after an extended illness, was a cellist who could have had the personal glory to which many aspire. Instead, through his personal musical standards and networking skills, he helped maintain the quality of classical music in Philadelphia. A 50-year member of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Mr. Holesovsky was the soul of consistency, no matter the performance conditions or repertoire at hand.
June 28, 2015 |
It was an offer you couldn't refuse: a classic film, a great score, a great classical orchestra. There was much to like about the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday-night performance at the Mann Center of Nino Rota's score beneath a vivid screen showing The Godfather . There is also something of a feeling of treading water on these movie nights. In terms of developing audiences for classical music, the trend of pairing live orchestras with film likely will have little to show for it in the end. Still, it feels like justice to those of us who believe that as much art lies in that quivering line off to the side of the celluloid as in the main frame.
June 20, 2015 |
When Facing Front , a retrospective of work by the team of Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, opens Friday at Neighborhood House, audiences might not be sure what they're seeing. Is it movement theater? Dance/music performance art? Something else, louche yet formal? Fargion, a composer, often uses no music while moving throughout a piece. Burrows, a choreographer, hums and sings while not moving much at all. "We're at the tentative start of a new project," Burrows says, "and I'm painfully reminded how difficult and un-useful it is to try and delineate what you do. Because as soon as you think you know what it is, it becomes only a poor representation of yourself.
April 23, 2015
MOST PEOPLE take one look at tall, dark and handsome Joseph Conyers, and assume that he's a professional athlete, most likely a football player. Much to nearly everyone's surprise, this 33-year-old hunk is a fit, smart, hardworking classical musician. "I love classical music," beamed Conyers, who is the Philadelphia Orchestra's effervescent assistant principal double bassist. Although Philadelphia is now his beloved adopted home, the Savannah, Ga., native was nurtured in a close family centered around the church and music.
April 8, 2015 |
Loren Robert Craft, 86, of Middletown, Del., a retired newspaper editor, died Sunday April 5, at Christiana Hospital in Delaware. Mr. Craft's family moved around during World War II before settling in Delaware County, and he attended Temple University and Hunter College. His first newspaper job was in the composing room at the Bulletin, where he was taken under the wing of the highly regarded editor Walter Lister. "At one point, he was Lister's personal copyboy," said Sylvia Craft, Mr. Craft's wife.
March 2, 2015 |
It was magical. Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux (pronounced vee-OH ), 41, just won a Grammy for best classical instrumental solo album for Play . At Curtis, where he teaches, he's sitting on stage at Field Concert Hall (the one you see in the TV concerts), tuning up his Gernot Wagner guitar while a photographer gets ready. (You know someone's serious about music when he tunes up for a photo.) Then he breaks into a heartbreaking arrangement of "What a Wonderful World," and suddenly you remember why they call music beautiful: New emotions emerge in the old Louis Armstrong hit, something you already loved, but now you have new reasons for loving it. Vieaux has been at Curtis since 2011, when he and fellow guitar star David Starobin were recruited to start a guitar department.
January 26, 2015 |
The guard is changing. After 27 years, Alan Harler is stepping down from the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, but not without first conducting Bach's St. Matthew Passion . Also departing after Year 27 is Orchestra 2001's founder and director James Freeman, who will do what he does best - George Crumb - in an 85th-birthday tribute to the great composer whose works he has so often launched. David Hayes seems too young to have been with the Philadelphia Singers for 25 years, but it's true, and he announced his departure before the group said that this season would be its last as well.