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NEWS
January 16, 2000 | By Leonard N. Fleming, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Henry Pleasants, 89, a renowned and controversial music critic who began his career in Philadelphia in the 1930s and later served as an American spy in Germany, died Jan. 4 in London. Mr. Pleasants was identified in an obituary in the New York Times and in other published works as the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Bonn during the 1950s. Beginning with his job as music critic for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Mr. Pleasants pursued an array of careers including linguist, Army officer, Foreign Service operative, and international music critic.
NEWS
March 18, 2012
Inquirer popular music critic Dan DeLuca has been reporting from the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. See his dispatches, including photographs and videos, on his blog, "In the Mix," at .
NEWS
March 10, 2013
Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca reports as of midweek from the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. See his blog dispatches at www.philly.com/inthemix
ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
You'd think this town would finally be ready for Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. That infamous Philadelphia Orchestra concert version of the opera - it started with a well-populated Academy of Music and ended nearly empty - was long ago in 1986. But with far fewer tickets to sell, the Academy of Vocal Arts opened a five-performance run on Saturday with something seldom seen in its tiny Helen Corning Warden Theater - empty seats. Not a lot, but some. And this production is close to the real thing, not the shortened Impressions of Pelleas seen occasionally at the Curtis Institute.
NEWS
January 14, 2005 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
If there was a piece, movement or phrase that could knock Jeremy Denk off balance even for a second, it was nowhere to be heard Wednesday night at the pianist's Perelman Theater recital. Denk has a wonderful way of conveying inevitability. If any listener parted ways with him on interpretive issues, there was no arguing with his strong conviction. He even swayed the music critic. Chopin's Piano Sonata in B minor (Op. 58) is one of those repertoire landmarks that has etched its way into the part of the brain that stores expectations.
NEWS
March 29, 2012 | David Patrick Stearns Inquirer Music Critic
Only minutes into the Elias Quartet's Philadelphia debut concert Tuesday at the Kimmel Center, the 14-year-old British-based group was radiating its own distinctive charisma - without the slightest hint of musical force. Few quartets at any stage of their evolution have this much personality - as manifested by an unusually warm blend, emotional individuality in the incidental solos (especially violist Martin Saving), and a manner of expression that comes so much from the inside out that there's no need for external signposts such as sharp attacks and surface histrionics.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral was darkened and the the Crossing choir was positioned in a circle, facing inward, with sound seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere. But even a healthy sense of trepidation had no place at Saturday's opening of the group's annual Month of Moderns festival, in which artistic director Donald Nally unveiled his latest stunning Baltic discovery, Chu dal by Latvian composer Santa Ratniece. Spiritually oriented texts, long disdained under communism, are often a route to blazing originality among Baltic composers; this piece meditates on bodies of water high (Mongolia's Namtso Lake)
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral was darkened and the the Crossing choir was positioned in a circle, facing inward, with sound seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere. But even a healthy sense of trepidation had no place at Saturday's opening of the group's annual Month of Moderns festival, in which artistic director Donald Nally unveiled his latest stunning Baltic discovery, Chu dal by Latvian composer Santa Ratniece. Spiritually oriented texts, long disdained under communism, are often a route to blazing originality among Baltic composers; this piece meditates on bodies of water high (Mongolia's Namtso Lake)
NEWS
June 3, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
They came to Philadelphia from Oakland, Calif.; Lawrence, Kan.; Durham, N.C.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Washington; and elsewhere. Why? "The Roots," Ryan Loecker, 19, of Lawrence, said with a grin. "We came all the way from Kansas. " He was among the few thousand people who gathered Saturday at the Festival Pier at Penn's Landing to see the Philadelphia hip-hop/soul band perform as part of the sixth annual Roots Picnic, beginning the summer music season in the city. The festival was held a day after the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program dedicated a mural to the band on the north side of South Street west of Broad Street.
NEWS
May 31, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
SHANGHAI - After 14 hours in the tiny seats of a trans-global flight, the Philadelphia Orchestra musicians might question the reasons for performing so far from home, so regularly, in what is becoming an annual springtime visit to China. It's tough. The 6-foot-4 cellist Richard Harlow seemed to spend as much time stretching his legs in the aisle as he did sitting. Another cellist, Robert Cafaro, could only tune out the packed-to-the-gills flight by sleeping in his sunglasses as the plane traveled past Greenland, over the northern ice cap and south, high above Russian cities most people hadn't heard of. But once on the ground in Shanghai, cameras flashed, TV crews came in for close-ups, and large bouquets of roses greeted the nine musicians who were part of the original 1973 debut, when the Philadelphia Orchestra was the first American ensemble to play in the People's Republic of China since the Maoist revolution.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
If you're going to write a concerto inspired by the majesty of the Mississippi River, one appropriate voice would have to be the deep, otherworldly tuba - so often heard in everyday orchestral life but rarely in solos. Or did the tuba idea come first and the river second? Whatever the motivation, Michael Daugherty's Reflections on the Mississippi was a charmer at its world premiere by Philadelphia Orchestra's Carol Jantsch and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, in the ensemble's annual Kimmel Center concert.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Curtis Chamber Orchestra is hitting the road with its customary vigor and intelligence, though its program - performed Monday at the Kimmel Center, subsequently in Washington and New York - was a this-and-that calling card perhaps aimed more at establishing the Curtis Institute identity than at making a cohesive artistic statement. The exterior conceit in this concert, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, was a musical meeting ground between two starry Curtis graduates from different generations, violinists Jennifer Koh (2002)
NEWS
March 10, 2013
Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca reports as of midweek from the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. See his blog dispatches at www.philly.com/inthemix
ENTERTAINMENT
March 2, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Whether a recitalist, concerto soloist, or member of the Johannes Quartet, violinist Soovin Kim has been one of Philadelphia's more consistent and welcome classical music guests for at least 15 years. But in his recital Wednesday with pianist Natalie Zhu, familiarity hardly meant you knew what he'd do next. The unforced gentility of his playing, prompting comparisons with Arthur Grumiaux in years past, was apparent in the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the American Philosophical Society - though not in Ravel's usually charming, suave Violin Sonata . That was reimagined as a semi-modernist companion to Webern.
NEWS
January 27, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
As economic recovery hovers in midair while deciding whether to advance, arts groups aren't taking many chances. Risk happens, but only when heavily subsidized. In recent decades' implicit tug of war between what the audience wanted and where arts groups hoped they could lead public taste, the public has won. A look across a broad range of concerts this spring reveals decidedly popular programming. And yet, while La Boheme opened the season of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Magic Flute comes later, you might not recognize the titles of the company's other three productions, all in basically contemporary musical idioms.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 4, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The "Cage: Beyond Silence" festival - under way at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other venues throughout the city since late October - has moved into its second phase of concerts, concentrating on John Cage's 1970, 90-piece Song Books collection. That collection has to do much less with the typical medium of song than with the many open-ended ways Cage released the music he felt was hidden everywhere. You could count on a committed Cage experience from Ne(x)tworks, the New York sextet headed by new-music doyenne (and vocalist)
NEWS
May 7, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
When Wolfgang Sawallisch was winding up his Philadelphia Orchestra tenure, some of his concert programs became curiously modest. Remember Richard Strauss' 45-minute wind band piece, The Happy Workshop? In contrast, Charles Dutoit is veering toward the gargantuan in his last three subscription concerts as chief conductor. His Strauss choice is the opera Elektra later this week. And on Friday, he poured on waves of sound in Scriabin's unapologetically extravagant Poem of Ecstasy with the Verizon Hall organ powering the climaxes from within.
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