December 24, 2014 |
So much music is implied by the visual artsthat it's no wonder cutting-edge installations include an essential musical element composed or compiled from preexisting pieces for the occasion. Audiences are galvanized by the special-event status. Museums and musicians find audiences that don't typically come their way. Is this a brave new niche in the performance world? We're not talking about the Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Art After 5" concert series. Or music that's a last-minute accompaniment to something that's pretty much finished.
December 20, 2014 |
Hear ye, aspiring knights and ladies! On Saturday, the Brandywine River Museum is holding its Knights and Ladies in Training Family Programs. You can learn what it takes to become a knight or a fine lady by completing tasks of noble note. Visitors will decorate crowns, learn sword fighting techniques, and design a family coat of arms. Assignments will also require going on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. After completing the duties and workshop, newly fledged nobles will be recognized during a knighting ceremony.
December 15, 2014 |
Remember the era, way back in the 20th century, when the classical-music world seemed to proceed with majestic sameness? When Eugene Ormandy and the Fabulous Philadelphians seemed to go on forever, one Scheherazade at a time? Such stability and artistic centralization are certainly long gone. But in their place? Much fascinating new music - in odd and interesting places. Best? Worst? All one can really discuss are milestones. And here are some from 2014: Concertos that change your life.
December 14, 2014 |
Collaboration fever is yielding some of the more unexpected artistic masterstrokes in Philadelphia these days. A series of such collaborations came sliding together on Thursday, so that one could encounter eight of the city's most august institutions in four events sprinkled over morning, noon, and night. Some of the odder pairings: At the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang had three people whistling to a 4-billion-year-old rock that predates life on Earth.
December 10, 2014 |
It's stick-a-big-package-under-the-tree season, and for those who would like to give the gift of music with something more tangible than an iTunes gift card or Spotify subscription, boxed sets conveniently proliferate. The musical bounty includes hefty single-artist sets from a host of big names. Twentieth-century titans Louis Armstrong and Leonard Bernstein have been boxed. David Bowie and Joni Mitchell are releasing self-curated collections. And Bob Dylan's formidable The Basement Tapes , reviewed earlier in my column, have finally seen the light of day in their entirety.
December 8, 2014 |
Conductor David Charles Abell is far too urbane to be a musical Santa Claus at the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular, now running at the Kimmel Center. But pops, classical, and theater music are all of a piece in the life of this 56-year-old conductor who grew up in Mount Airy, graduated from Germantown Friends School ('76), studied with Leonard Bernstein, and is based in London, where he conducts an array of concerts and West End shows. Q: Christmas concerts can be so many things to so many people.
November 28, 2014 |
AT 4 A.M. yesterday, security guards arrived at the bleachers in front of the Art Museum. By 6 a.m., spectators with tickets to the 95th annual 6ABC/Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade started to fill those seats. By 7, Mike Avello - the "No. 1 Rocky lookalike in the world," he says - posted himself 100 feet from the original's statue and high-fived fans. The less-than-2-mile parade route gave onlookers plenty: performances by singer Lance Bass, "American Idol" winner Candice Glover, and fresh-faced Radio Disney and Disney Channel stars, person-pulled giant balloons (an injury to My Little Pony made her a last-minute scratch)
November 23, 2014 |
Charles Wilbert Hilliard McCabe, 72, of Yeadon, a longtime music scholar and teacher in the Philadelphia public schools, died Thursday, Nov. 13, of cardiac amyloidosis at his home. A child prodigy reared in South and then West Philadelphia, Dr. McCabe had memorized the city's major streets by age 6, began to study piano at age 3, and at 6 appeared in a musical program with the singer and actor Paul Robeson, his family said. His uncle Charles A. McCabe, a violinist and trailblazer for musicians of color, was the young Dr. McCabe's role model.
November 21, 2014 |
WILBERT McCABE memorized all the major streets of Philadelphia at age 6, took his first piano lessons at age 3 and performed with Paul Robeson at age 6. By 14, he was playing Grieg's Piano Concerto in a Philadelphia church. It was no wonder this brilliant child prodigy, musician and teacher had no problem remembering the birthdays of children, nieces and nephews, siblings, in-laws and friends. And the fact that every year he would send out 700 Christmas cards worldwide is not much of a surprise.
November 21, 2014 |
DAVE APPELL once told an interviewer, "I hear music in my head 24 hours a day. " Far from looking for a shrink to get those notes out of his brain, Dave capitalized on his passion in a long career of making music, his kind of music, the kind that gets your fingers snapping and your feet stomping. Like "Let's Twist Again," which he wrote for Chubby Checker. Or the iconic "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree," which never fails to provoke a tear down the cheek. Over the years, the performers Dave worked with would fill a book on the musical history of the grooving 1950s and '60s - Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell, the Dovells, the Orlons, and later Tony Orlando and Dawn.