August 14, 2013 |
MONTREAL - Few operas are as daunting and intoxicating for performers and audiences as Wagner's. So is it any wonder that conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin compared his first full foray into that world as a coming-of-age moment? "There's not another context in which I'd rather lose my Wagner virginity," he declared before Sunday's concert version of Lohengrin at Festival Lanaudière, held annually in the countryside north of Montreal. Though a standard at the world's large opera houses, Lohengrin is seldom heard elsewhere; this was its Quebec premiere.
June 29, 2013 |
When a third-year doctoral student in chemistry confided that she planned to quit school in favor of her first love - the cello - Hai-Lung Dai advised her against it. "If you pursue music, you have to be at the very top to really support your interest," Dai, then chair of the chemistry department at the University of Pennsylvania, recalled telling the young woman, one of his best students. Finish the degree and pursue music on the side, he told her. That's what he did, and he couldn't be happier.
June 24, 2013 |
I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy; a lifelong Philadelphia sports fanatic has to be. But even I get down sometimes, particularly when I run up against the Philly "can't-do" mentality. It's an attitude that sighs at the prospect of a heavy lift. It's why we still have a major highway cutting off access to the Delaware River. And it's why we don't have a ballpark in Center City, putting feet on our streets and disposable income into our economy. We have a leadership vacuum and, consequently, an allergy to big ideas.
June 7, 2013 |
In 1973, when the Philadelphia Orchestra made history in China, Inquirer music critic Daniel Webster was there. Now David Patrick Stearns reports on the 2013 visit, building on this long relationship. BEIJING - The two concertmasters bowed together Thursday, the Philadelphia Orchestra's David Kim ceding the first-desk seat to the China National Symphony's Yunzhi Liu. Though the collaboration at the National Center for the Performing Arts (known as the Egg, a reference to its glass and titanium dome)
May 11, 2013 |
If a night at the orchestra were a pure investment-return transaction, Lang Lang certainly gave Thursday's audience its money's worth. It's when the actual music entered the equation that things got a little dicey. You had to look past a lot to hear it. At the front of Verizon Hall stage, with Simon Rattle leading the Philadelphia Orchestra, the pianist air-conducted or air-trilled with an idle hand when Beethoven failed to give him enough to do, mugged all manner of facial expressions, and kept leaning out to look at the audience, as if to ask: Do you like this?
May 8, 2013 |
Joseph J. McKelvie, 99, of Philadelphia, a well-known conductor on the Reading Railroad for many years, died Friday, April 19, of congestive heart failure at his home in Las Vegas. He had gone there last year to be near family. From 1939 to 1975, when he retired, Mr. McKelvie was a familiar figure on the Hatboro and Lansdale lines of the Reading Co. and on the "Crusader" and "Wall Street" express trains to North Jersey, from which commuters took a ferry to Manhattan, said his son, John Joseph.
May 8, 2013 |
If Wagner's music is as addictive as many say it is, the rehab centers are going to be jammed with Curtis Institute students after a Wagner-overdose concert Sunday at the Kimmel Center, aided by vocal performances from Heidi Melton and Eric Owens that the Metropolitan Opera's current Ring cycle would be lucky to have. Led by guest conductor Mark Russell Smith, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra excerpted five operas over 21/2 hours, playing with a muscularity that creating tsunamis of Wagnerian sound.
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 25, 2013 |
SEPTA conductors and assistant conductors have rejected a tentative contract. SEPTA's board was scheduled to approve the contract Thursday, if the members of United Transportation Union Local 61 had ratified it. Now, the two sides will resume negotiations. The union represents 396 conductors and assistant conductors, whose last contract expired on Oct. 17, 2009. Two other of SEPTA's 17 bargaining units also remain without contracts: the unions representing locomotive engineers and electrical workers.
April 20, 2013 |
SEPTA has reached a tentative contract with the labor union representing Regional Rail conductors and assistant conductors. The agreement calls for raises totaling 11.5 percent over the five-year life of the contract, similar to the pattern established by a 2009 contract with SEPTA's largest union, Transport Workers Union Local 234, which represents bus and subway operators and mechanics. The tentative agreement with 390 conductors and assistant conductors must still be ratified by the members of United Transportation Union Local 61 and the SEPTA board.