April 29, 2014 |
To help lead the increasingly populist aspects of its repertoire, guest artists, and collaborations, the Philadelphia Orchestra is restocking its roster of conductors. Stéphane Denève, the ebullient French conductor of the corkscrew locks who has been a frequent visitor to the orchestra's podium, will become principal guest conductor in the fall. Romanian-born Cristian Macelaru, the orchestra's associate conductor, will take the upgraded title of conductor in residence. Denève, under the terms of a contract running through 2016-17, will conduct at least two weeks during the main subscription season, as well as family concerts, dates at the orchestra's summer spots in Vail, Colo., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and, possibly, on tour.
April 27, 2014 |
For the opening salvo of four different Mozart programs in three days, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin on Thursday night modulated his influence to various degrees. His jumpiness in the Overture to Così fan tutte left you wondering what happened to the gracefully rounded waves of Mozart's main theme. In parts of a symphony, he stepped back and let it flow. Presiding over a piano concerto, he left a personal stamp. By the end of this weekend of overtures, symphonies, and piano concertos - so much for new formats - listeners should have a firm idea of whether this Philadelphia Orchestra music director has any firm ideas about Mozart.
March 12, 2014 |
It's a love letter to her hometown of Cádiz, Spain. As a highlight of the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, Rosario Toledo presented Vengo (Coming Back) Sunday night in the Forum space at WHYY's building on Independence Mall. The intimate setting became a theater in the round, with the artist just a few feet away from the overflow audience. Toledo's half-hour performance piece (assisted by the wonderfully deadpan Salva Calderón) highlighted her physical fearlessness, expert flamenco technique, and brilliant comedic timing.
March 5, 2014 |
'Were we even at the same concert?" So goes the standard complaint critics hear from readers who had a completely different experience from what they read about in the newspaper. And the answer is, often, we weren't. In our cinema-dominated world of standardized experiences, it's hard to believe the Philadelphia Orchestra's repeated subscription concerts vary so significantly that a listener might come away from the same program with radically different impressions. But the performances do indeed change.
January 15, 2014 |
Resurrecting a possible masterpiece shouldn't come with all the difficulties of Randall Thompson's Requiem . Indeed, the tenacity required for the Philadelphia Singers to bring the piece out of obscurity through concerts and recordings tells much about why the piece needs rescuing. The hour-long, 245-page Requiem - to be performed Sunday at the Church of the Holy Trinity - seemingly arises from a parallel universe. America's best-known midcentury choral composer used many familiar elements in his 1958 Requiem . But he assembled them, creativity in full flight, with an impractical density running counter to his usual sense of populist responsibility.
November 24, 2013 |
Violinist/conductor Itzhak Perlman enjoys a rare freedom in classical music: His relationship with audiences is such that he needs only to show up, and adoration is assured. What's frustrating is that Perlman doesn't do more with that status, especially since his string of subscription concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra this week features four performances, rather than the usual three. This program stands to reach more listeners than perhaps any other this season. From a repertoire standpoint, Perlman has never been terribly ambitious as a violinist.
November 17, 2013 |
When he led his own superb Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra last year at the Mann Center, Manfred Honeck drew razor-sharp unanimity from the ensemble. That he could do the same Thursday night in his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra points to a conductor of unusual powers of persuasion. It helps that the interpretations were so gorgeously etched, so generously individualized. The program was skimmed from the top of the popularity charts, so you might not have expected to leave the hall buoyed by a sense of discovery.
November 1, 2013 |
A SEPTA conductor has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly attacking a passenger aboard a Regional Rail train at Suburban Station. A male passenger was boarding an outbound train on the Wilmington/Newark Regional Rail line on Oct. 15 when conductor Gregory Kelly Sr., 50, allegedly assaulted him, said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. SEPTA police responded and spoke to the passenger and multiple witnesses before taking Kelly off the job, Williams said. The passenger, whose name was not released, told CBS3 in an interview that Kelly screamed at him, punched him repeatedly and tried to choke him. He said Kelly became enraged after he accidentally bumped Kelly as he was boarding the train.
October 27, 2013 |
In his date with the big fish, the title character in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea muses: "Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel?" Many a conductor has sketched the title character in Debussy's La Mer mainly as a benign beauty, and there is plenty in the score to support that. But from the opening moments of the piece Thursday night, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, age 80, turned the Philadelphia Orchestra's gaze to a more varied and complex interpretation.
October 11, 2013 |
PRINCETON - This time, the conductor had many moments to spare, but the Mariinsky Orchestra was late. And that can only mean one thing: Music director Valery Gergiev, infamous for arriving for concerts at the last possible minute, was never scheduled to be there. While Gergiev conducts at the Metropolitan Opera, Ignat Solzhenitsyn is taking three of the orchestra's U.S. tour dates. Though the orchestra had a delayed arrival from Ithaca, Solzhenitsyn was at Richardson Auditorium here, checking out the podium situation for a rare conducting appearance in the area without Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (which he headed for 12 years, ending in 2010)