May 15, 2016 |
When the Chinese economy took a southward turn at the start of 2016, Philadelphia Orchestra watchers had to pause. The orchestra has invested heavily in relationships throughout China in recent years - were these ties now in jeopardy? Any hand-wringing seems to have evolved into a why-worry shrug as the orchestra embarks on its 2016 Tour of Asia. It starts with a pair of Hong Kong concerts May 19 and 20 that will be broadcast live by WRTI-FM - the first visits there since 2005 - followed by dates in Macau, Shanghai, Beijing, and then Japan.
May 14, 2016 |
NEW YORK - Speculation over Yannick Nézet-Séguin's appointment to the Metropolitan Opera continues to rage - but you wouldn't suspect that amid the nonchalant Carnegie Hall crowd at the Philadelphia Orchestra's final concert of its season here. Usually the orchestra plays Carnegie Hall at the end of a subscription series. Wednesday's concert, though, preceded the same program Thursday through Saturday at the Kimmel Center. Though not at its most polished, the orchestra delivered a program of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Lang Lang and the Mahler Symphony No. 10 that was greeted with considerable receptivity, though at nearly 21/2 hours, the concert had listeners leaving to catch their trains the minute the symphony ended.
January 24, 2016
Grande Mozart with a shot of Schubert? Starbucks is now offering music streaming via a deal with Spotify - classical music included. An app detects your location and serves up, to your cellphone, to listen to now or later, whatever tune is being played at the Starbucks nearest you. Starbucks has curated a special classical playlist, a company spokeswoman says. A recent sampling through Spotify reveals artists and repertoire much like Apple Music's classical Internet "radio" - Arvo Pärt choral music, a tasteful Richard Goode playing Bach partitas, Lang Lang feeling alternately irreverent and extravagant in a Mozart sonata.
August 19, 2015 |
Philadelphia Orchestra associate conductors are like U.S. vice presidents: They have huge exposure, a bit of dirty work to do, and ascend to the boss' job only in dire circumstances. Nonetheless, Philadelphia's Cristian Macelaru (once associate conductor - new title, "conductor-in-residence") is making a more-than-vice-presidential career for himself. Last weekend, it landed him, on his own artistic steam, at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, which gives significant platforms to conductors consolidating major careers, including the likes of Osmo Vänskä, Edward Gardner, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
March 25, 2015 |
Though choice of soloists is often an important component of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's sense of alternative symphonic experiences, previously unknown guest conducting talents can feel like an even more welcoming ambush. Sunday's headliner at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater ostensibly was Sean Chen, a young pianist who has placed well in competitions (the Van Cliburn, for one) and is a nominee for a 2015 Leonore Annenberg arts fellowship award at Penn. But the concert started with Haydn's little-known overture to the opera Armida , conducted by the lesser-known Nir Kabaretti with a solidity not heard consistently since Ignat Solzhenitsyn's departure and, more than that, a distinctive, glistening personality.
September 29, 2014 |
This year, the Philadelphia Orchestra's official opening night - the one that lets you mingle with the maestro at an "exclusive" reception topping out at $2,500 per ticket - doesn't come until a couple of weeks into the season. Actual music-making, though, began in Verizon Hall on Friday night, with no less a gala soloist than Lang Lang. Many listeners in these parts still think of the pianist as an aberrantly eccentric Curtis Institute of Music student, and, for better or worse, in the last decade and a half of his working with every major orchestra and conductor on earth, absolutely nothing has rubbed off on him musically.
September 24, 2014 |
NEW YORK - Have so many important people ever come so far for only 17 minutes of music? The Philadelphia Orchestra traveled two hours to the United Nations world headquarters here, where the 69th session of the General Assembly broke for a gala dinner Monday that featured orchestra members and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale performing Ode to Humanity by Chinese composer Wang Ning. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin arrived from Montreal to conduct. "The work we do in China is so unique," he said of the orchestra, "but it's hard to understand unless you've been there.
February 3, 2014 |
This evening about 6:30 in East Rutherford, N.J., a soprano from the Metropolitan Opera will join the NFL. Televised to more than 100 million listeners, she will sail "The Star-Spangled Banner" aloft with operatic vibrato, and by Monday morning all of America will be so stirred by her voice that apps will collapse under the strain of the sudden demand for Verdi and Wagner. Scratch that. Authorities have charged a pair of New Jersey Metallica fans with organizing a massive classical-music ticket-scalping scheme after hearing pianist Lang Lang rocking out with the heavy metal band on last Sunday's Grammy broadcast.
October 7, 2013 |
When Gary Graffman was director of the Curtis Institute of Music, he used to tell students that the recorded legacy was a distortion. The act of saving some recordings and discarding others - the natural selection of that business - means that all available evidence is not necessarily an accurate portrait of the artist. That might not apply in Graffman's own case. On his 85th birthday, he is getting a gift from Sony Classical: a 24-CD boxed set of recordings from the 1950s on. I can't say for sure, not having been alive during the late-mid-century shank of Graffman's career, but based on his performances during the last 25 years, it seems the pianist you hear in these testaments - Rachmaninoff from 1964, Schubert from 1956 - is unshakably true to form.
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?