November 25, 2014 |
As a crucible, the act of guest conductor meeting orchestra may be uniquely tricky. The conductor's path to self-actualization lies rather deceptively in coaxing the ensemble to become the highest form of itself. It's not a spiritual exercise but a practical one when an ensemble's identity is as strong as the Philadelphia Orchestra's, which is why Susanna Mälkki's debut with the Philadelphians on Friday afternoon was remarkable. She seamlessly handed off woodwind timbres into strings in Respighi's Botticelli Triptych . If Brahms' Symphony No. 4 's first movement seemed curiously bloodless in its stepped-down tempo, she revealed good reasons.
November 21, 2014 |
PRINCETON - The boy-wonder conductor is about to turn 70. Yes, compulsively youthful Michael Tilson Thomas is now an elder statesman, though still very much a musician who has fascinated and challenged the music world while maintaining a constant evolution that makes his work ever more fully realized. Still, his current East Coast sweep with his San Francisco Symphony Orchestra wasn't immune to the vagaries of touring on Tuesday at the McCarter Theater, where it warmed up for Carnegie Hall with a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 7 . The five-movement piece itself is exactly the sort of dark, unconventional work - perhaps the least-loved of the composer's output - that Tilson Thomas handily sells to a larger public.
November 16, 2014 |
The fashion world has long popularized clothes that appear to be turned inside out. Why shouldn't the Philadelphia Orchestra do its own version of that every so often? How could that work? Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 was so significantly reimagined by guest conductor Jakub Hruša that you'd think the prevailing, mellifluous tradition of Wolfgang Sawallisch never existed. The music was a rougher ride but full of incident. Orchestral sonorities that are normally string-dominated shared the sound picture more equally with brass and winds.
November 2, 2014 |
Unless he had monitored his audience's vital signs just before the end of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 , Philadelphia Orchestra conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin could hardly have predicted the emotional fever that greeted the final ecstatic chords at the Kimmel Center on Thursday. The sense of release at the end of 90 minutes of Mahler's incremental structuring almost guarantees a momentous response, but this performance made its effect on emotional terms as well as on orchestral virtuosity.
September 22, 2014 |
Fresh from appearing with the fabled Vienna State Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was at the epicenter recently when shockwaves rippled through the cultural world, as that company's chief conductor, Franz Welser-Möst, abruptly walked out with minimum explanation. "Surreal" and "very quiet" was Nézet-Séguin's report from the belly of the beast. But after his successful debut in the Austrian capital conducting The Flying Dutchman , should Philadelphians worry that Vienna is prowling after the Philadelphia Orchestra's popular and still-newish music director, as the Metropolitan Opera has long been rumored to be doing?
August 3, 2014 |
With a yellow hat and golf cart emblazoned with his nickname, John "Gig" Gigliotti has perhaps become as iconic on the Wildwood Boardwalk as the yellow tram cars he oversees. A former Conrail train conductor, the 85-year-old West Deptford resident returns to his North Wildwood home each summer, and to his job supervising eight 5-m.p.h. electric trains that transport boardwalk goers along the two-mile stretch. The service has been a staple since 1949. It's frequent that workers at the eateries and stands along the boardwalk call out "Giggy" as he drives up and down the planks during 16-hour days, seven days a week, April through September.
June 22, 2014 |
Clyde R. "Bud" Dengler, 83, of Lititz, Pa., formerly of Newtown Square, a longtime music teacher and conductor, died Sunday, June 1, of pneumonia at Moravian Manor in Lititz. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Dengler graduated from Upper Darby High School and received bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from the University of Pennsylvania. He also was certified as a school administrator. He began his teaching career at Garrettford Elementary School in Upper Darby. During this time, he led 14 sixth graders known as the "Little Big Toppers" on a 33-week TV show for CBS in Philadelphia, doing commercials for the CBS lineup.
June 13, 2014 |
Few conductors have had the longevity, artistic consistency, and frequent-flier miles of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. The 80-year-old Spanish conductor, who died of cancer Wednesday in Pamplona, Spain, first led the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1969, after flying into New York City during one of the worst snowstorms in decades. He returned virtually every year thereafter. "He developed an unparalleled relationship with our musicians, appearing continually for nearly half a century," said orchestra president Allison Vulgamore.
June 8, 2014 |
IN THIS CITY OF orchestras, Philadelphia Sinfonia has earned a reputation for musical excellence and for shaping young lives. Its performance tomorrow of Beethoven's mighty Ninth Symphony, with the Mendelssohn Club chorus and soloists from the Academy of Vocal Arts, marks its season finale in Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall. Founded 17 years ago, the youth orchestra has been led for 15 years by Gary White. A guest conductor of many regional orchestras and past chair of music at Germantown Friends School, White also was a working French horn player familiar with what orchestral musicians require from a conductor.
June 2, 2014 |
MACAU - Music amid the ruins. The idea is so picturesque that the Philadelphia Orchestra, now in its third visit here, has had a standing date with what's left of St. Paul's Cathedral. Built by Portuguese Jesuits starting in 1582, the cathedral suffered a fire in 1835 that rendered it only a poetic husk of itself - and made it one of Macau's central attractions. On Saturday morning, a quartet of the orchestra's French hornists played a pop-up concert as part of the 2014 China Residency and Tour of Asia.