February 8, 2014 |
As he speaks from his home in Manhattan, Melvin Van Peebles, 81, director of stage and screen, writer, sculptor, one of rap's earliest adopters, happily jumps from story to story, from his time behind the camera to his coming gig at Johnny Brenda's on Saturday, fronting a band named wid Laxative. Van Peebles speaks of whiskey and his good times in Paris ("I know just enough French to get me slapped," he sing-speaks with a giggle), chats about Occupy Wall Street and the music of protest, and digs deep into his catalog to make points without actually stating his intentions first.
February 2, 2014
Schooling generations in song As a college student in 1959, I had the honor of meeting and singing along with Pete Seeger at Oberlin College. We all joined him in a hootenanny after his concert performance, singing into the wee hours ("A giant of music and activism," Jan. 29). Through the years, when I taught vocal music to elementary school children in the Philadelphia public schools, I included many songs that Seeger wrote or cowrote. I explained the songs' historical context, and how songs can be used to speak out for peace and justice, or in protest.
January 25, 2014 |
Since its start in 2006, Nashville pals Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood have made Lady Antebellum into a smooth-running, contemporary country-hit machine, from the humble love mumblings of 2008's eponymous debut to last year's epic Golden . Whether it's award season ceremonies, platinum albums, or the endless tours on which they seem to thrive, the one thing that defines what they do is sing in their soaring voices. "We pride ourselves on our harmonies and singing to the best of our ability every single night," Scott says by phone from an airport in Austin, Texas.
January 21, 2014 |
At a mossy table deep in the conductors' forest of shadows, one challenges the others to map programs all starting with horn solos. At least that seemed a possible gestation point for Rossin Milanov, who emerged from the (imagined) woods with his program Saturday in the Symphony in C concert at the Gordon Theater in Camden. Other less-mysterious relationships evolved, too, but principal hornist Audrey Flores set the tone for works by Ravel, Britten, and Schubert. She was soloist in Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings , the lyrical first voice in Ravel's Pavane , and the sturdy standard-bearer in Schubert's Symphony No. 9 . Britten's Serenade (from 1943)
January 20, 2014 |
Jill Scott remembers the first time she went to the Academy of Music to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra. "It was pretty extraordinary," the R&B and soul diva from North Philadelphia says. "I was maybe 7 or 8. I went with my mom. She didn't tell me where we were going. She just got me into a pretty dress, and we got off the bus. "It was Peter and the Wolf ," recalls Scott, who will headline the orchestra's 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball at the Academy on Saturday. The concert, hosted by Kevin and Michael Bacon, will feature Scott singing with the orchestra, conducted by director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and with Grammy-winning pianist Robert Glasper.
January 17, 2014 |
CAMDEN The city's former police department sent more officers than requested to patrol more than 20 waterfront concerts in 2012, with the city picking up the extra cost, internal billing and scheduling documents show. Some of the information was released following a judge's ruling last month that it be made public; other related records were obtained by The Inquirer. More than a year after denying Councilman Brian Coleman's request for the information, Camden turned the first of the documents over last week - an overtime report from the July 28, 2012, concert by the country singer Jason Aldean.
January 16, 2014 |
A string quartet on a diet? A violin sonata on steroids? However you heard Monday's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert of music for two violins, it wasn't anything typical. What looked like an enterprising but oddball program of Leclair, Milhaud, and Kreisler at the American Philosophical Society turned out to be something that really needed to be heard. With their intensive, ongoing professional association, David Kim and Juliette Kang (respectively, the concertmaster and first associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra)
January 4, 2014 |
If Sonic Youth, the still-reigning overlords of avant-garde rock, have indeed split for good, and will never again perform as a unit, it's tragic. The one bright side might be the progress of Lee Ranaldo, one of the Youth's guitarists, writers, and singers. Ranaldo has developed into a composer of luscious melodies and pensive, insightful lyrics, along with becoming a vocalist in full command of range and emotion. The proof is 2013's Last Night on Earth , his first album with his new band the Dust, featuring Youth drummer Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht, and bassist Tim Lüntzel.
December 24, 2013 |
Christmas musical traditions can seem like habits that accumulate as listeners hope to extend the holiday warmth of childhood into their adult lives. Yet the side effect is a relatively narrow repertoire. As wonderful as much of it is, can there be room for something new? The answer is yes as long as the Crossing is counted in. At New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia choir is creating an annual tradition with David Lang's The Little Match Girl Passion . Closer to home, music director Donald Nally went out on more fragile limbs, often successfully, at the Crossing@Christmas concert Friday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill.
December 21, 2013 |
Mainstage Center for the Arts presents its annual Holiday Concert & Family Festival this weekend at the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theatre at Camden County College. The two-day festival will feature performances by the Harmony and Encore Show Choirs, members of the Mainstage Dance Company (and the School of Dance), and the Mainstage Hip Hop performance group. Featured vocalists will be opera soprano Robin Wilson, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, and country recording artist Sherry Lynn, who has performed with Crystal Gayle.