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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
March 24, 2014 | BY TOM DI NARDO, For the Daily News dinardt@phillynews.com
FROM NOW until Memorial Day, the calendar is crammed with concerts from our finest artists, as well as some outstanding guests. There are programs at an extraordinarily high artistic level most evenings this spring - and dozens each weekend - a roster that most cities would envy. Opera mavens in particular can celebrate a flood of spring offerings, both by Opera Philadelphia and by the city's three outstanding conservatories: Curtis, Temple and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Don't confine yourself to the highlights on this list.
NEWS
January 27, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Even amid continuing consolidation in the classical realm, the classical devotee is a busy listener. The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society has taken the lead as the city's constant reminder that it's all about artists and repertoire. In fact, without a single concession, the scale and quality of the series is unlike anything else in the country: 65 concerts, hosting musicians from across the globe in piano and song recitals, string quartet mixes and matches, and other ensemble projects of incredibly high artistic value.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
You've never met anyone quite like Peter Serkin before. In his three-piece suit with white pocket square, he was a natty presence on the Perelman Theater stage Wednesday night. It was the playing that was rumpled. Not always. There were many moments of incredible polish, especially when it came to the pianist's approach to sound. He has that ability to conjure an instantly rounded tone without doing any violence to the start of the note. But all over - in Beethoven no less than in a contemporary score - Serkin, 66, occupied the space somewhere between an eccentric and outsider.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
What a difference when chamber music is played with absolutely no extraneous sound. Violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov have considerable big-concert-hall careers. For Monday's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert at the Kimmel Center, however, they left that part of their musical lives behind and met small-scale works from the Beethoven, Weber, and Schubert repertoires - so much on their own terms (even more than in their prestigious recordings for Harmonia Mundi)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 22, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Once again, the Kimmel Center's Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ emerged from its splendid semi-isolation with revelations at many turns Sunday with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Organ recitals have their audience, but recent collaborations have uncovered important but neglected repertoire and perhaps have expanded the organ audience. In Sunday's program of Handel, Josef Rheinberger, and Joseph Jongen (with four different soloists), the big discovery was Stephen Paulus' 1992 Concerto for Solo Organ, Timpani, and Percussion . It's a terrific piece that would have to rank among the best American organ concertos of the last century, with four hefty movements that strike out in many directions, from elegiac to comic, with equal conviction.
NEWS
December 23, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Far be it from me to deliver the best and worst of 2013 in classical music. That involves torturous pigeonholing of events that rarely find themselves at one polarity or another. Besides, what people want from such lists is to be kept current. So here's a list of significant events, good and bad, that may have been lost in the shuffle. And there's much shuffling in this town, whether among local artists or the classical recording and video industry that seems, against all odds, to be thriving.
NEWS
November 8, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
VALERIE A. McCOY was passionate about travel, classical music, theater, gourmet food, family and friends. Her travels took her as far away as Africa. Her love of music took her to the Academy of Music and other venues. Her love of theater took her to Broadway. Her love of gourmet food took her to the best local restaurants and to her kitchen, where she would whip up her own classic dishes. Her love of family and friends endeared her to a wide range of people. In fact, when she died Oct. 30 of complications from pneumonia, there was widespread grief.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2013
Theater 12 Angry Men Presented by GoKash Productions. Closes 7/28. Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Pl. www.gokashproductions.com . $20 advance; $25 day of show. At the Old Place A woman dealing with her mother's passing returns to her family's Virginia home, only to find some unexpected guests. Closes 7/28. Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2d St.; 215-922-1122. $15; $5 students. Avenue Q Tony Award-winning musical comedy, presented by Mazeppa Productions. Closes 7/27. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.; 267-559-9602.
NEWS
July 25, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Typically, sports fans and Philadelphia Orchestra followers don't breathe the same air unless scrunched together on some Broad Street bus. Yet Wednesday night they'll be under the same roof - the Mann Center for the Performing Arts - for a Philadelphia Orchestra concert titled "Symphonic Sports-tacular," a fusion of classical music and sports images seen on giant LED screens, all masterminded by New York City's WQXR-FM's midday announcer, Elliott...
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