June 6, 2015 |
AMSTERDAM - With its six tons of equipment, the Philadelphia Orchestra arrived for its Amsterdam concert on Thursday with success or failure dependent on one key person: not any musician, but an anonymous truck driver who maneuvered through streets the size of bike lanes to deliver the instruments to one of Europe's most majestic but problematic halls, the Royal Concertgebouw. "If Yannick [Nézet-Séguin] couldn't conduct the concert, Lio Kuokman would fill in. If a player gets sick, we have alternates.
June 3, 2015 |
PARIS - There's nothing like a physical ordeal to bring people together. Literally. Holding hands with arms raised, almost like an opera bow, a trio of runners from the Philadelphia Orchestra crossed the finish line of Paris' Saint-Germain-en-Laye half-marathon Sunday morning. Though about 20 minutes behind the front runners, concertmaster David Kim, principal tuba Carol Jantsch, and substitute cellist Glenn Fischbach felt like winners, having run 13 miles from the Paris Zoo just beyond the Arc de Triumph to the famously grand Château de Saint-Germain en Laye - with some serious hills in between.
May 22, 2015 |
LUXEMBOURG - With expensive instruments to look after and the need for rest after a transatlantic flight, why would any Philadelphia Orchestra player want to add young children to the barely movable feast that is the 2015 tour of Europe? For a half-dozen of them, it was a matter of taking home along with them, a better option than missing the tour. As the musicians deplaned Tuesday in Brussels and took buses to the first concert locale in Luxembourg, a handful of children were in tow, along with nannies and grandmothers.
May 18, 2015 |
After Asia, the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2015 Tour of Europe might seem easy. In contrast to last year's 1,800-mile Macau-to-Tokyo hop, the orchestra's Tuesday to June 7 tour's longest stretch is 714 miles between Vienna and Amsterdam, and involves venues that have been hosting orchestras for decades, even centuries. Yet music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin laughs indulgently at the suggestion that 14 concerts in 17 days will be a breeze. "It's a totally different challenge.
May 16, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra's dress-to-kill program on its soon-to-start European tour was previewed Wednesday at Verizon Hall in what was also the close of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's third season as music director. The show illustrated his way of taking smart, middling chances and drawing the best from those around him. The world premiere of Nico Muhly's Mixed Messages showed the composer, in his first wholly new piece for the orchestra, eager to wow the audience with all the resources the orchestra offers.
May 13, 2015 |
Though Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia began its 50th-anniversary season amid fears within the music community that there may not be a 51st, the official half-century celebration arrived Sunday at Verizon Hall with many visiting dignitaries and an air of solidity, both artistic and financial. Enjoyment was buoyed by relief. Music director Dirk Brossé promised an Organ Concerto but missed the deadline, and filled the slot with his own Philadelphia Overture and Barber's Toccata Festiva (with organist Alan Morrison often using demure tone colors to show just how wild this piece can be)
May 10, 2015 |
At what point does music become more of a tourist experience than art? Philadelphia Orchestra conductor-in-residence Cristian Macelaru walked all over such not-so-fine lines on Thursday at the Kimmel Center in a winningly idiosyncratic program bookended by two travelogues in sound from his native Romania - with folk elements cleaned and polished to a high gloss. Such music - Ligeti's Romanian Concerto and Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody Op. 11 No. 1 - can be a point of pride or a source of embarrassment to those who know the less-mediated roots of it all. But Macelaru had a whale of a time, also using these crowd-pleasing pieces for a more serious examination of great composers on the cusp of greatness with Dvorák's Violin Concerto featuring Sarah Chang, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 . Nothing trivial about that.
May 7, 2015 |
Philadelphia's All City Orchestra, the School District's little orchestra that could, is joining the ranks of its bigger, better-funded musical brethren and going on a foreign tour. The 115-or-so-member ensemble, drawn from public schools and recent alumni, will play five concerts in Italy in nine days starting June 20. It is the first tour for the program, says Don S. Liuzzi, the Philadelphia Orchestra timpanist who has led the orchestra for a decade. "There is no musical experience quite like taking your collective work on the road and musically giving and sharing with another country or culture.