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?
October 28, 2012 |
No psychedelic rays are emanating from his hands. He's not even trussed up in the latest Berlin fashions. The cover of his newest disc, The Chopin Album , is plainly, simply him. No one has ever accused Lang Lang of playing too many notes. But you could easily criticize him for wearing too many clothes. The Chopin Album (Sony Classical ***1/2) telegraphs, from a marketing standpoint, what many have known all along: For all of Lang Lang's outward excesses, he's a serious pianist and one who increasingly has adult depths, borne out by his music-making in this first all-Chopin disc of solo piano music that stands well among several recent Chopin releases, even eclipsing the eminent Maurizio Pollini.
October 2, 2012
Conan (11 p.m., TBS) - Ashley Greene; comedian Hari Kondabolu. Late Show With David Letterman (11:35 p.m., CBS3) - Actor Martin Short; actress Kat Dennings. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., NBC10) - Carol Burnett; Armie Hammer; Lang Lang and Students perform. Jimmy Kimmel Live (midnight, 6ABC) - Ty Burrell; Dancing With the Stars ; Psy performs.