May 7, 2013 |
BOSTON had pops emissary Arthur Fiedler in charge for a phenomenal 50 years, New York its "easy listening" innovator Andre Kostelanetz for many a moon. And here in Philadelphia, for the last 34 years, Peter Nero has been the conductor/pianist likewise synomous with pops concerts - the populist end of live symphonic music - as the founding conductor and musical director of the Philly Pops orchestra. The time has come for a changing of the guard, though. Two weeks ago, Michael Krajewski - the congenial, 62-year-old "new kid" in town - was leading the Philly Pops at the Kimmel Center, introducing the music and comically interacting with the audience during the Pops run of spy-tacular movie themes, "Bond and Beyond.
April 30, 2012
Hugo Fiorato, 97, a former child prodigy who became the conductor of the New York City Ballet and one of its most enduring influences, died last Monday in Boston. His death was confirmed by a stepson, Jonathan Scott. Mr. Fiorato, who was with the City Ballet for 56 years, was a figure of continuity surpassed only by George Balanchine, who founded it in 1948 with Mr. Fiorato's mentor, conductor Leon Barzin. Mr. Fiorato held almost every job the company had to offer, starting as its first concertmaster in 1948.
November 15, 2012 |
Encore Series Inc., presenter of the Philly Pops, has hired a successor to its founding music director, Peter Nero. Michael Krajewski, 62, who leads pops orchestras in Atlanta, Houston, and Jacksonville, Fla., will take over in the fall of 2013. Public acknowledgment of the decision was made Tuesday at City Hall by Mayor Nutter, who called Krajewski "one of the world's foremost conductors. " Nutter took the opportunity to tip his hat to Nero - who did not attend the announcement - "for his contribution to the arts.
March 24, 2012 |
For once, James Conlon seemed like a conductor without a cause. No Holocaust composers or underappreciated Zemlinsky masterworks were on his Philadelphia Orchestra program Thursday, just Mozart and Dvorak that had connections with the great city of Prague. Still, the charismatic Conlon revealed himself as an incurable egghead. The real theme of the program was the key of D minor - the one Mozart saved for dread of the supernatural, whether the sea god Poseidon or Don Giovanni's murder victim returning from the dead.
January 12, 2013 |
With no conductor for Thursday night's Philadelphia Orchestra concert, the ensemble was left to confront Mozart on its own. Little surprise that the Eine kleine Nachtmusik was small and bland, the Symphony No. 25 erratic. And yet, the composer's C Minor Piano Concerto glowed with a point of view of such blinding beauty that we probably won't hear its likes again anytime soon. It was all planned, actually - even rehearsed that way. Conductors are a relatively modern invention, especially the breed of whom celebrity is expected, and for this one program the orchestra constructed a concert that asked musicians to find leadership elsewhere.
February 24, 2011 |
Tours are tough for most symphony orchestras. But for the London Symphony Orchestra, tours are a break from a hectic schedule of recording film scores and preparing a full symphonic program that's performed only once or twice. So if playing Mahler's five-movement Symphony No. 7 under Valery Gergiev at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday was a relatively light day, it showed in the confidence with which the orchestra played music that lashes out in multiple directions - and in the dignity that brought to Gergiev's mercurial tendencies.
February 9, 2013 |
James DePreist, 76, the distinguished conductor and educator, died Friday, Feb. 9, at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., of complications from a heart attack last spring, his agent said. Born in Philadelphia, the nephew of the famed contralto Marian Anderson, Mr. DePreist became early in his career something that is still a rarity today: an African American conductor leading top-tier orchestras. He studied composition with Vincent Persichetti at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
March 6, 2011 |
When a major symphony orchestra conductor has a last-minute illness, a shudder ripples through the classical-music world, followed by the potentially terrifying question: Where to find a replacement? Absent soloists can be covered by a change of repertoire, but conductors are some of the most densely scheduled people on Earth. These peripatetic beings are lucky just to arrive on time for long-scheduled engagements - forget filling in for felled colleagues. Yes, there are staff conductors, but apparently none was available last fall when Riccardo Muti had to bow out of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert - leaving violin soloist Anne Sophie Mutter to conduct herself.
December 28, 2012 |
I RIDE SEPTA's regional-rail system. The trains are clean enough and mostly on time.Conductors are polite and helpful, give or take a grump. So, I wasn't sure what to make of the clown of a conductor I came across the other night. Was he some jokester? A jerk? A disgruntled employee? I'm thinking all three. You tell me. I stepped onto the 6:43 p.m. Chestnut Hill West train from Market East and nearly plowed into the woman in front of me. Before I could give her the "tourist much?"
February 21, 2011 |
Somebody in Verizon Hall tried to make Vladimir Jurowski shut up on Friday - and failed. One of the Philadelphia Orchestra's favorite guest conductors (among musicians and audiences), Jurowski was giving a preperformance explication of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6 that was going on a bit longer than usual. Then from the hall, somebody began applauding, as if to say, "That's enough. " Coolly, the conductor explained why these matters are important, and assured the heckler, "The symphony is short.