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NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
On the off chance that you missed the point during the Schumann and Schubert, pianist Kuok-Wai Lio slipped in an encore Thursday night at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society debut, declaring the school of pianism from which he springs. It doesn't get much more ostentatious than Rachmaninoff's take-off on the "Liebesleid" by Fritz Kreisler. But how, you might wonder, did old-world keyboard giants such as Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann, and Jorge Bolet come to inhabit the soul of a 26-year-old Macau-born prodigy?
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In a somewhat unconventional program, Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra through the lighter side of Shostakovich - assuming there actually is one. Even when the composer seems to be kidding around, his music hints at something subversive, that the music means much more than it says, and what it says is always dangling out of reach. That's why you want to hear it again. The objects of curiosity Wednesday at the Kimmel Center were Shostakovich's seldom-heard Piano Concerto No. 2 and music for the film The Gadfly - paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 - creating a provocative conclusion to the St. Petersburg Festival that could have been less convincing had performances not been so purposeful.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
When it comes to big-name albums, it's becoming rare for release dates to be announced much in advance. The element of surprise is a big bonus, and social media spread the word like wildfire. So, rather then tell us ahead of time, everybody's trying to keep a secret, then spring it on us for maximum promotional value, Beyoncé-style. So, along with the three to-be-announced releases by Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill listed below, a whole lot of other marquee releases expected in early 2015 have no specified arrival dates.
NEWS
January 26, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The guard is changing. After 27 years, Alan Harler is stepping down from the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, but not without first conducting Bach's St. Matthew Passion . Also departing after Year 27 is Orchestra 2001's founder and director James Freeman, who will do what he does best - George Crumb - in an 85th-birthday tribute to the great composer whose works he has so often launched. David Hayes seems too young to have been with the Philadelphia Singers for 25 years, but it's true, and he announced his departure before the group said that this season would be its last as well.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 20, 2015 | By Patricia Mans, For The Inquirer
Cerebral palsy has not put Melvin in a wheelchair. It hasn't even kept him off a bike, which he loves to ride. At 20, he is able to walk independently, although he needs guidance and supervision to complete most tasks. In school, he receives special-education services to improve his speech, mobility, and balance, and puts much effort into doing his best. Melvin, who generally speaks in phrases and expresses his needs in the third person, is learning the alphabet. His child-like manner and sweet nature have endeared him to school staff, neighbors, and his foster family.
NEWS
January 19, 2015 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
The grandfather of Philadelphia folk music is retiring from the radio. Ever since he took over Joel Dorn's slot on WHAT-FM in 1962, Gene Shay has been on the air in his hometown with his Sunday night folk-music show. But on Feb. 1, the DJ who grew up Ivan Shaner in Nicetown will close the book on The Folk Show with Gene Shay , which has aired on WXPN (88.5-FM) since 1995. To say Shay is a Philadelphia music-scene institution would be an understatement. The influential DJ, who got his start as an intern at Temple University station WRTI while a student in the 1950s, brought Bob Dylan to town for his first Philadelphia show at the Ethical Society in 1963.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2015 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
No Bey for Obama girls! Malia and Sasha Obama 's brains will rot - and their souls will be claimed by Mephistopheles - if they continue listening to Beyoncé 's devil music. That's the gist of a sermon delivered by the nation's conscience Mike Huckabee , via People mag. Yes, it's election season, and Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who many say is poised to run for the White House in '16, is making points with his GOP base by sizing up the White House's morals - and finding them wanting.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2015 | By Molly Eichel
THOSE KILLER SONGS you hear on Fox's hit hip-hop soap "Empire"? They're coming straight out of Philly. Producer Jim Beanz , born James David Washington , works with superproducer Timbaland to create the pulse of the show. Beanz told me he creates about 90 percent of the music, working with local producer J. Nick and London's TroyBoi , with Timbaland overseeing the entire operation. "Most of the music was done here, at my studio in Bryn Mawr, believe it or not," Beanz told me from the show's premiere in L.A. last week.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 2015 | By Jim Rutter, For The Inquirer
Motown the Musical packs its score with some of the greatest hitmakers in music history: the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, and the Commodores. As a story, though, it's missing only a cross for Motown records founder Berry Gordy to hang on. Gordy based the musical on his 1994 autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown . There's plenty of music and magic in the production now on tour at the Academy of Music; in addition to the bands or artists listed above, all the Motown records stars from the 1960s to 1980s get their 15 seconds of stage time in this 21/2-hour show (some, such as Teena Marie and Rick James, merely bookend a short-shrift collection of Motown's late-period hits)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 8, 2015 | By Ellen Gray
* EMPIRE. 9 tonight, Fox 29. "I NEED YOU to sing like you are going to die tomorrow," says the music mogul to the singer in the opening scene of Fox's new "Empire. " Sounds like something a celebrity judge might say to a finalist on "American Idol," which returns for its 14th season at 8 tonight, likely with a few contestants who might have been learning to talk when it first hit the air. The singing competition that rivals once called "the Death Star" may have lost its ratings mojo in recent seasons, but Fox is hoping that an "Idol" lead-in is still powerful enough to help its hip-hop themed "Empire" strike a chord with viewers.
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