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)
September 13, 2013 |
Though Philadelphia Orchestra music directors have long had a teaching relationship with the Curtis Institute of Music, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been formally appointed to inaugurate a four-year conducting program that's described more in terms of mentoring than teaching. "I have become the musician and conductor that I am today because of every teacher I have had, and it is with this in mind that I look forward to becoming the first mentor conductor at Curtis," Nézet-Séguin said in a statement released this week.
August 18, 2013 |
Kwong Kwong Ma, 85, of Lafayette Hill, a noted pianist and teacher, died Monday, Aug. 5, at Chestnut Hill Hospital, of acute respiratory failure. Born in Shanghai, China, Mrs. Ma lived in New York and Ohio. She moved to the Philadelphia suburbs four years ago to be near family and took up residence at the Hill at Whitemarsh, a retirement community. Mrs. Ma came from a family of musicians. Her mother, Zoen Yien Wong, was one of the first Chinese graduates of Boston's New England Conservatory of Music.
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.