August 23, 2014 |
Six months. That's how much time Bob Rosen figured he had left. The Yardley accountant was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, typically a rapidly spreading form of the disease. The doctors advised surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Rosen, 71, began getting his affairs in order. He talked with his son Eric, who would have the responsibility of disbursing his father's $160,000 in charitable donations after Rosen passed away. His father's generous gesture would be executed under heartbreaking circumstances; Eric Rosen dreaded the day. He told his father he had a better thought: Why wait?
August 6, 2014 |
Symphony orchestra as jukebox? Such was the idea behind the Philadelphia Orchestra's People's Choice concert on Friday at the Mann Center. Some 16 possibilities posted on radio station WRTI-FM's website were subject to open voting, which yielded a good medium-weight concert of Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Smetana - all classical music greatest hits that, with any luck, gave the audience an increased sense of ownership. Philosophically, it's a fine idea. But having such a concert more than once a year might not be healthy.
July 1, 2014 |
With his Noel Coward-esque wit and solid command of the Philadelphia Orchestra, guest conductor Bramwell Tovey is always a delight to encounter in special, not-entirely-classical occasions that could easily fall apart under a lesser personality. But on Friday at the Mann Center, Tovey conducted music that didn't require (or receive) his usual witty introductions: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 . It can be as problematic as it is great, yet here was thoroughly accomplished, with excitement arising from a strong musical foundation, cultivated opinions on how the music should go, and a keen ability to make that happen.
June 25, 2014 |
THERE MAY BE some grumbling in the ranks of the Philadelphia Orchestra tonight, Ben Folds anticipates, when the sophisticated singer-songwriter/pianist, professorial talent judge ("The Sing-Off") and fledgling concerto composer meets up with our legendary symphony. "The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience" at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will feature excerpts from Folds' new (first!) concerto, a big bunch of his pop gems - and one of the best and most serious backup bands in the world.
June 9, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra is not what it used to be. And that's excellent news. The faces haven't changed much but the touring demeanor has, from that of the ensemble that walked on water during European summer festivals past to the 2014 version that does whatever it must to manage the wide-reaching, 2 1/2-week tour of Asia that ended Thursday in Taipei, Taiwan. The orchestra's leadership has been rewriting the rules, negotiating China dates themselves in ways that cultivate new sponsors and could net an estimated $1 million-plus.
June 6, 2014 |
William Cain could only look longingly out the window of his Willow Grove home. After brain surgery in January to remove a large blood clot, the 62-year-old band director was resigned to a two-month home recovery. During that time, he could not drive; help his wife, Debbie, shovel snow; or - most important for the enthusiastic musician - teach at Wissahickon Middle School. Five months later, as an elated Cain accepted the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Ovation Award, he thought back to those two empty months, in disbelief at how far he had come.
June 4, 2014 |
TOKYO - The adventures in China were all certainly exciting for the Philadelphia Orchestra, but Tokyo's acoustically superb Suntory Hall is an old friend, where many of its best recordings with Wolfgang Sawallisch were made, and during this current tour, it comes near the end, when most residency activities are over. The orchestra arrived Sunday for "the icing on the cake," as music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin describes it. Familiar haunts for the musicians here include the Tokyo Tower Records, a bastion of compact-disc culture, loaded with Philadelphia Orchestra reissues not found anywhere else in an entire floor devoted to classical music.
May 28, 2014 |
In its 2011 strategic plan, the Philadelphia Orchestra raised a key question about the increasingly competitive marketplace of donors and audiences. "How do we reduce unhealthy competition?" the report asked about its relationship with partners such as the Mann Center. The orchestra said it would work with the Mann to "evolve our relationship in a way that mitigates risk and improves impact for both of us. " So it has been for decades. Ever since 1976, when the orchestra moved into the Mann Center (then known as the Robin Hood Dell West)
May 18, 2014 |
Words to the wise for any U.S. symphony orchestras touring China: Be prepared for tougher-than-tough negotiations, last-minute changes at departure, and below-scale fees. The Philadelphia Orchestra knows plenty about the first two as it departs on the third annual tour in its five-year China residency plan. But the orchestra this year is significantly rewriting the money part. By conducting its own negotiations and cultivating high-end sponsors, its 21/2-week tour - starting Wednesday in Beijing, stopping in Tokyo June 3, and ending June 5 in Taiwan - is expected to net $1 million (give or take $200,000)
May 15, 2014 |
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia almost never ventures so deeply into the core territory of the Orchestra Next Door as it did in its final concert of the season, an all-Tchaikovsky program under music director Dirk Brossé. And on Monday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, you could sense the suspicion in the air. But by the end, the concert was clearly the hit of its season. The Serenade for Strings makes a certain amount of sense for chamber orchestras, but the Philadelphia Orchestra's illustrious string tone should have made the piece something for the second half of the program rather than the curtain-raiser status it was accorded here.