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.
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.