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.
January 16, 2015 |
On a subfreezing night with an untested concert format, is it any surprise that the Philadelphia Orchestra's first LiveNote Night, designed to attract new audiences to classical music, was preaching to the semi-converted on Wednesday at the Kimmel Center? The event represented a confluence of past seasons' "Beyond the Score" concerts (earlier, shorter, instructively oriented) and the pop-up performance scheduled spontaneously in 2013 when the orchestra's Carnegie Hall date was canceled by a stagehands strike.
December 15, 2014 |
Remember the era, way back in the 20th century, when the classical-music world seemed to proceed with majestic sameness? When Eugene Ormandy and the Fabulous Philadelphians seemed to go on forever, one Scheherazade at a time? Such stability and artistic centralization are certainly long gone. But in their place? Much fascinating new music - in odd and interesting places. Best? Worst? All one can really discuss are milestones. And here are some from 2014: Concertos that change your life.
November 19, 2014 |
Italo Taranta, 86, of Drexel Hill, a music teacher, composer, and choral director, died Tuesday, Nov. 4, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at home. Born in Paganica in southern Italy, Mr. Taranta came to the United States as an infant and settled with his parents in southeastern Ohio before moving to Michigan. His parents had a difficult relationship; he escaped into the solace of music, although he struggled for years with migraine headaches and depression. "Rarely was there ever a person more passionate about something than my dad was about classical music.
October 21, 2014 |
The narrative arc of Crescendo! The Power of Music hews to a common form - it develops characters, makes us care about them, finds crises, and ties things up neatly at the end of the 85-minute film. By the reckoning of every voice we hear, Play On, Philly!, the intensive after-school program at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, is nothing less than a miracle. It would be wonderful to feel more sure about that. The most resonant cry classical music has mustered against the roar of commercial culture is the claim that it can change the world.
July 14, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Behind doors so richly red they glow even amid the glittering casino, the Borgata Resort's Music Box theater on Sunday evening will welcome something it wasn't built for: the Bay-Atlantic Symphony playing the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with superstar pianist Yuja Wang. There are no obvious explanations. "It's an eclectic age," says Jed Gaylin, the 17-year music director of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony. "Classical music is no longer 'that stuff.' It's a change of pace.
June 4, 2014 |
Three recent graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music will become inaugural fellows of ArtistYear, a pilot program designed to bring a year-long AmeriCorps-like community service opportunity to the world of the arts in Philadelphia. The program, launched as part of the Aspen Institute's Franklin Project, which aims to create one million service-year positions by 2023, will kick off in the 2014-15 academic year. Former U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chair of the Franklin Project's Leadership Council, said the project aims to make community service a standard practice for all young Americans.