January 31, 2012 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has made incremental but encouraging progress in the campaign to finance its reorganization and operations for several years beyond an expected exit from bankruptcy. But it still has a "mountain of money" to raise. About $35.5 million has been committed in gifts and pledges on the way to an immediate goal of $44 million, orchestra chairman Richard B. Worley said Monday. In addition to previously announced gifts from the William Penn Foundation and other local philanthropists, the orchestra has nailed down two anonymous donations totaling $5.5 million, $1 million from Dorrance Hill Hamilton, and gifts from 50 members of its own board.
January 28, 2012 |
No one doubted that the Yannick era with the Philadelphia Orchestra had begun Thursday when the music director-designate led Mahler and Bach at Verizon Hall. The day before, Yannick Nézet-Séguin had expansively laid out plans for his first season, and had sought to assure the players in rehearsal that things were going to get better. In concert, the conductor, whose tenure begins in September, splashed large the range of styles he means to survey and laid out, in Bach, his fides as a performing musician.
December 29, 2011 |
MOST ATHLETES train for years in hopes of accomplishing a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. The 900 teenagers poised to gain the title for most dreidels spinning at once in a single place had about 20 minutes of warm-up time before trying for the record book yesterday in a ballroom at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The four-sided spinning top is part of the tradition of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, and there are different ways to approach the art of dreidel-spinning.
November 18, 2011 |
George Smiley, the soft-spoken, reticent, aging MI6 officer featured in five of John le Carré's best novels, is one of the most memorable, and moving, fictional spies in the genre. That is partly because of Alec Guinness, who played Smiley in two British Broadcasting Corp. mini-series, 1979's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and 1982's Smiley's People . Acorn Media has released both series to coincide with the Dec. 6 release of Tomas Alfredson's big-screen remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy , featuring Gary Oldman as Smiley.
November 12, 2011 |
In some classical music circles, the ultimate put-down is declaring some famous conductor as the world's greatest interpreter of The Pines of Rome - usually implying a shallow personality and huge ego. Fortunately, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has solid depth credentials, if not from European radio broadcasts of his Mahler Symphony No. 9 then from last week's Brahms A German Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra. So Friday afternoon's concert at the Kimmel Center was about having some high-tone fun in a mid-to-lightweight program, ending with a Pines of Rome that left the audience pleasantly stunned, not unlike last week's German Requiem . If there's one consistent characteristic with the orchestra's next music director, it's this: Agree or not with his interpretive ideas, he stands behind them, fully committed.
August 27, 2011
The Guard Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle are the improbable cop duo in John Michael McDonagh's (brother of In Bruges' Martin McDonagh) blisteringly funny Irish country caper, in which a brazenly irregular constable and a straight FBI guy go on the hunt for big-time drug smugglers. Flurries of wild, irreverent dialogue and pints of dark, creamy Guinness ensue. R Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd has the title role - as an exasperatingly naive stoner stumblebum - in this good-natured, goofy comedy.
August 12, 2011 |
BUDDY-COP FILMS have jumped every shark in the sea, but "The Guard" imagines a wickedly funny fish-out-of-water twist. An incorruptible black FBI man travels to rural West Ireland to coordinate a big international drug bust. His only real ally among the useless local cops is an abrasive bugger with a taste for drugs, prostitutes, Russian literature and racist wisecracks. Sgt. Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson) hasn't got much use for the niceties of the law. If he finds drugs at the scene of a car crash, he'll swallow them.
March 31, 2011 |
LONDON - No need to bell this cat: A gray-and-white tabby named Smokey has cat-apulted to fame with purring so loud it has been recorded at a potentially record-setting 73 decibels. The British community college that measured the sound said it peaked at 16 times louder than that of the average cat. By some estimates, that is about as noisy as busy traffic, a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner. The 12-year-old, ordinary-size feline first came to national attention last month when her owner, Ruth Adams, decided to run a local competition for the most powerful purr.
January 8, 2011 |
Coming into view slowly before he takes the post of music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2012, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has only begun to fill out a public profile, and what the public thinks of him inevitably hinges on what expectations one harbors of an orchestra leader in this unfortunate trough of institutional ambition. If, for instance, you feel the group's way out of financial and organizational chaos is to connect a podium personality and a community, then Nézet-Séguin's Thursday-night guest appearance was a tidy triumph.