January 11, 2008 |
"I'm living the dream. I'm in heaven," declared composer Jennifer Higdon, and it's no wonder. Christoph Eschenbach and the Philadelphia Orchestra will premiere two of her concertos this month, an unprecedented feat by any composer, anywhere. In tandem with its Bernstein festival, the orchestra will premiere her "Concerto 4-3" with onetime Curtis colleagues Time For Three as soloists this week, and "The Singing Rooms," featuring violinist Jennifer Koh and the Philadelphia Singers, next week.
January 24, 2012 |
After a full decade of near-annual George Crumb premieres - and with them, landscapes of sounds undreamed of - Orchestra 2001 has completely earned its latest running joke: When the players are ambushed by odd noises on the street, they say, "Don't let George hear that one!" - meaning, he might put it in his next piece. "Oh, I know," said the soft-spoken Pulitzer-winning composer, who is 82. "They kid me, too. They do. " As it is, Voices From the Heartland , the seventh set in his "American Songbook" series, will be premiered Saturday and Sunday by Orchestra 2001 with a Balinese anklung, an Afro-Brazilian berimbau, and 98 other percussion instruments that are as hard to imagine as they are to pronounce.
January 6, 2008 |
"It's a concerto - dude!" Such was the standard reply composer Jennifer Higdon had to any complaints from the youthful string trio Time for Three while preparing their world premiere for the Philadelphia Orchestra later this week. The piece's title is in Internetspeak: Concerto 4-3. The style is multigenre - obviously, since the soloists have equal allegiances to bluegrass and Brahms. All of which sounds fun, when in truth, that kind of genre blurring in a formal symphony orchestra concert setting is a minefield.
April 13, 2010 |
During the head-spinning moments following the announcement of her Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday, Philadelphia composer Jennifer Higdon thought mostly about thanking people in her more distant past. "It's not so much about me, but my high school band director, Larry Hicks," said Higdon, 47, who grew up in Seymour, Tenn. "I should also call my flute teacher, Mrs. Bentley. " The Pulitzer for her Violin Concerto - which was premiered by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra last year and is scheduled for a Philadelphia performance in February - came just 10 weeks after her Percussion Concerto won the Grammy Award for best classical contemporary composition.
January 16, 2005 |
A decade after Wolfgang Sawallisch put his imprint on the Beethoven symphonies with an all-Beethoven tour of Asia, and nearly two decades after Riccardo Muti made the Philadelphia Orchestra the first in America to put the nine symphonies on CD, Christoph Eschenbach next season will layer his philosophy on all the Beethoven symphonies, plus other works of the composer. Eschenbach declined to comment on his contribution to the 2005-06 orchestra calendar, though a spokeswoman said the choice to highlight Beethoven was his. Likely to be the season's strongest artistic statements: As usual, Simon Rattle brings artistic weight and celebrity pixie dust with his visit, leading Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 and, with mezzo Magdalena Ko?en? (who is also his new partner in life)
October 4, 2002 |
Cellist Patrice Jackson, 19, of St. Louis, winner of the 2001 Sphinx Competition, will play at the D.N. Fell School and the Calvary Temple Christian Academy today, before performing the Haydn Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra at two elementary school programs Monday morning at the Kimmel Center. The Sphinx Competition, founded in 1996, emphasizes support of string players from junior high to college age in the black and Latino communities. Philadelphia Orchestra broadcasts begin at 8 p.m. Sunday on WHYY's Sunday Showcase, 90.9 FM, opening with this year's opening night concert.
April 1, 2000 |
At 64, Peter Schreier still has a sound that is 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. Yes, it's true that in Thursday night's recital by the legendary German tenor, the marks of time had made themselves apparent. It's not what can fairly be called a powerful voice. And while Schreier, accompanied by pianist Grant Gershon, didn't become the intense singer-actor that baritone Thomas Allen did earlier in the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's season, he at least suggested the ideas of joy, delicacy, resignation and scorn.
March 19, 1994 |
Voices is a good name for Jennifer Higdon's new quartet, given its first performance by the Windham String Quartet at the Convention Center on Wednesday night. For even as it stresses the commonality of four string instruments, Higdon's deft writing encourages individual voices to emerge, then couple in compelling patterns. Voices shows a fine sense of counterpoint, and the manner in which this young composer uses her forces to convey emotion is considerable. The piece opens savagely, energy bristling on a collision of closely clustered notes.
January 31, 2010 |
If we're to count as our own the Grammy nominations for Wyomissing-raised Taylor Swift - the no-longer-teenage country-pop princess has seven - then artists connected with the Philadelphia area had a pretty amazing 2009 when it came to being acknowledged by the Recording Academy. But even without Swift's nods - which include album, record, and song of the year - it's still been a pretty good year, Grammy-wise, for area musicians. The surprise leader among local talent is soul singer Musiq Soulchild, who's up for three awards.
May 23, 2002 |
In conductor years, 78 is young. Philadelphia Orchestra's music director Wolfgang Sawallisch proved it the last two weeks, when music he cherishes surged with bold energy and interpretive juice. Three more works close to his heart are on tap for Kimmel Center concerts at 8 tonight, Saturday and Tuesday plus 2 p.m. tomorrow. Mozart's 50-minute Serenade No. 10 (posthumously nicknamed "Gran Partita") is a leisurely romp, 12 movements followed by a bustling finale. It's followed by Schoenberg's seething "Transfigured Night" and the stirring Overture to Wagner's "Tannhauser.