January 25, 2016
Beth Kephart is the author of 20 books, including "LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair" More than 20 years after its grand opening in 1857, the Academy of Music, that audacious "Grand Old Lady of Locust Street," was still and yet inspiring breathless prose. It was, according to my favorite Philadelphia history book, A Century After (1876), built of "dark brick and stone in the Italianized Byzantine style," had a "delicious nursing quality for the voice," and "was not only big, but abundantly decorated and furnished; there was nothing barn-like in its huge dimensions; the upholstery and walls, of a judicious shade of crimson, relieved the white-and-gold rainbows of the successive tiers.
October 4, 2015 |
So the Rachmaninoff concerto recordings continue with the Philadelphia Orchestra after all. With the wildfire acclaim for the orchestra's collaboration with pianist Daniil Trifonov in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (just released on Deutsche Grammophon), a follow-up this week with the same forces and same composer's Piano Concerto No. 4 seemed planned, with four concerts to record Thursday through Sunday at the Kimmel Center. When questioned, the recording company was vague.
September 11, 2015 |
HELEN KEMP was internationally known as a specialist in teaching children to sing, but in later years she discovered the pleasures of teaching singing to seniors. She trained children and their teachers in the art of choral singing for more than seven decades. When she went to a retirement home in Doylestown, she organized retirees into a chorus that was highly acclaimed. Helen Hubbert Kemp, a lyric soprano who sang with some of the leading orchestras of her day, a former faculty member of the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., and a composer of more than 35 anthems, died Aug. 23. She was 97 and lived in Jamison, Bucks County.
April 3, 2015 |
Joseph Koch Koplin, 75, of Center City, a gifted musician and tax accountant, died Friday, March 27, of complications from prostate cancer at his home. Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Koplin was a child prodigy on the trumpet. At age 10, he performed solos on Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue, a TV variety show. At 11, he played for the Philadelphia Orchestra at children's concerts. Later, he studied and played at musical festivals worldwide. He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in music, and while there, he played first trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic and assistant first trumpet in the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
January 25, 2015 |
Yannick Nézet-Séguin celebrated his 1,500th concert since his 1994 debut with a Philadelphia Orchestra performance that was beyond what audiences have come to expect from him in his three years as music director. "Beyond" didn't always mean "distinguished," but it did in the dominant work on the Thursday concert, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 : Though not for those who prefer lean, straightforward Rachmaninoff, the performance's fusion of passion, insight, great playing and Philadelphia sound fused into something that easily deserved the rock-star reception from the Kimmel Center audience, in the second week of the St. Petersburg Festival.
November 8, 2014 |
The concerto portion of any Philadelphia Orchestra program tends to be blessedly predictable. Not this week. Three different organ concertos are scheduled on successive days through Saturday - not small amiable specimens by Handel, but large modern works, only two of three calling themselves concertos. First up was Joseph Jongen's 1927 Symphonie Concertante , a work written for the Wanamaker organ down the street at Macy's but not performed there until 2008. The difference at the Kimmel Center on Thursday was that you could actually hear this ambitious four-movement piece - in contrast to the wildly reverberant acoustic at Macy's.
October 6, 2014 |
Gone is the sprawling complex of buildings where the recording industry took root and made history in downtown Camden more than a century ago. The lone reminder of the city's crucial role in the early music business is the Victor apartment building with its iconic Nipper tower and stained-glass images of the dog listening to "his master's voice. " Phonograph recordings by the Victor Talking Machine Co. once captured the voice of opera singer Enrico Caruso and performances by classical musicians such as Sergei Rachmaninoff and orchestras conducted by Leopold Stokowski and Arturo Toscanini.
February 21, 2014 |
If Yannick Nézet-Séguin's current season with the Philadelphia Orchestra seemed unduly loaded with familiar repertoire, the 2014-15 season announced Wednesday has built-in newness: In anticipation of the music director's 40th birthday in 2015, the season will be dominated by the "40/40 Project" - 40 works not played by the orchestra during his lifetime. "I don't feel our seasons were cautious but an exploration of what the orchestra does in this or that repertoire . . . and how we apply our sound to new repertoire.
July 26, 2013 |
You can rebel against Disney's Fantasia all you want with thoughts like "Oh, that old thing. . . . It's so naive. . . . Please, not those hippos in tutus again . . . . " But when it was there on the big screen Tuesday at the Mann Center in Disney's Fantasia: Live in Concert With the Philadelphia Orchestra , the total package had a way of completely circumventing one's adult defenses. It remains captivating. Of course, the Philadelphia Orchestra enjoys a special ownership: Even though the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played on the soundtrack for the sequel, Fantasia 2000 , Philadelphia had the 1940 original, with Leopold Stokowski towering over Mickey Mouse in their famous handshake.
June 25, 2013 |
WARREN Haynes didn't pick up a violin and pursue a career in classical music. He chose the electric guitar and the path of jam-band rock and southern-fried blues. He wound up working the world's stages with his own group, Gov't Mule, and also filling the very big shoes of guitar legends Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman in later iterations of the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. But now this busy guy says he's thrilled and delighted to be part of a push by warm-weather music venues, like the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, to broaden their core subscription audience beyond the traditionally "classical music" program with more populist productions.