April 2, 2000 |
Somewhere between overexposure and burnout lies Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. The pictorial, novelty-laden quartet of violin concertos portraying nature's cycle has become ubiquitous - dozens of recordings - in recent years, and it can't be avoided. Vivaldi has turned into a stalker, ambushing us in elevators, health clubs, even in grimy train stations. So is it any surprise that modern composers are trying their hands at portraying the seasons? Besides, what could be more universal?
November 17, 1998 |
To celebrate its 100th anniversary season, the Philadelphia Orchestra will offer a free outdoor concert, a retrospective CD set and book, eight commissions by major international composers and a wealth of outreach programs. Details were given yesterday on the Academy of Music stage, with Maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch participating via telephone link from Tokyo. The announcements came exactly two years before the centenary of the first program, given at the Academy on Nov. 16, 1900.
November 13, 1998 |
The first time somebody cried listening to a piece by Jennifer Higdon, the composer thought that the woman must be weary, or that it was a fluke. That happened five years ago, during a performance of Higdon's Voices, a string quartet. Since then, she's gotten more accustomed to her music's provoking visible emotion. I spied a few eye-swipers myself this fall during the Philadelphia Singers' premiere of Higdon's Southern Grace. "I used to be surprised. . . . Now I consider it the best compliment in the world," Higdon says.
September 28, 1998 |
David Hayes doesn't lean toward light programming for the city's professional chorus, the Philadelphia Singers. But Friday night's season-opener was as entertaining as one could wish without sacrificing much substance. Hayes, conductor and artistic director, built the evening around folk songs adapted by eminent Americans, such as Aaron Copland, Randall Thompson, Robert Shaw and Alice Parker. And though her name isn't yet as celebrated as any of the above, Hayes underlined the talents of another homegrown composer, Jennifer Higdon, whose Southern Grace received its world premiere.
March 15, 1994 |
Although taking the first steps is difficult in every profession, launching a career in composition is a mysterious process made up of talent, hope, connections, phone calls and coincidence. So tomorrow, when the Windham String Quartet premieres a commissioned piece called Voices, it will be a little like winning the lottery for Mount Airy resident Jennifer Higdon. Higdon, 32, settled here after earning a doctorate in composition at the University of Pennsylvania. The commissioning program that chose her is sponsored by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and supports local composers.