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NEWS
March 17, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Leonard Bogdanoff, 83, of Elkins Park, a violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a half-century, died Friday, March 15, at his home. Colleagues said Mr. Bogdanoff personified the best qualities of the orchestra's old guard. "When I think of Leonard, I think of the kindness in dealing with all of the other members of the viola section. He was just very fair," said Pamela Faye, a substitute violist with the orchestra and a frequent stand partner of Mr. Bogdanoff's. "You can have people who can make or break a section, and he was one of the ones who gave a positive influence, sound-wise, stylistically, all of it. That was really an inspiration to me. " Retired orchestra member Louis Lanza, who as a second violinist sat not far from Mr. Bogdanoff, called him "a very steady player, very accurate, and just a wonderful musician.
NEWS
March 16, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Although perfectly congenial, the Philadelphia Orchestra's high-concept program was up around the ozone Thursday when the Fauré Requiem was preceded by a succession of composers that spanned three centuries and as many nationalities - for no clear reason. Not knowing the connecting thread isn't a bad thing: Such things can reveal themselves over time. Hitting so many musical bases, though, translated into less cumulative impact, despite superb performances under guest conductor Alain Altinoglu.
NEWS
March 3, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
WARMINSTER Preparing a newly formed group of more than 100 high school musicians for a performance in less than three days takes guts. When that performance includes Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and an entire Dvorak symphony, it also requires practice. Unyielding hours of it. "It was a little intimidating at first," said Cindy Yeo, 15, a sophomore cellist at Germantown Friends School. "It's an intense little thing, it's not a prolonged thing. " Yeo was one of 117 students from more than 40 schools in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties who performed Saturday afternoon at William Tennent High School in Warminster.
NEWS
March 2, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The white floor cover on the Verizon Hall stage suggested something left over from a painting crew. Instead, the special surface was for Philadanco in its Friday collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra - an artistically gratifying enterprise that showed how easily such organizations can come together in an identity-enhancing experience. The meeting point was Poulenc's 1929 Aubade, a Jazz Age ballet/piano concerto hybrid performed with choreography by Tommie-Waheed Evans that wasn't out to change the world but showed off the quintet of female dancers well and authenticated the music's content.
NEWS
February 23, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The cost of war was palpable in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday program of Strauss, Shostakovich, and Beethoven, one of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's most conceptually formidable and musically resourceful concerts. At this point in history, few of the musicians onstage have firsthand experience of the tragedies portrayed in Shostakovich's 1959 Cello Concerto No. 1 - a significant deterrent to tapping the music's fierce subtext about post-Stalin Russia. Nonetheless, the performance was bursting with empathy, the most audible manifestation being the extended cadenza in which cellist Johannes Moser (replacing Truls Mørk)
NEWS
February 21, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
If Yannick Nézet-Séguin's current season with the Philadelphia Orchestra seemed unduly loaded with familiar repertoire, the 2014-15 season announced Wednesday has built-in newness: In anticipation of the music director's 40th birthday in 2015, the season will be dominated by the "40/40 Project" - 40 works not played by the orchestra during his lifetime. "I don't feel our seasons were cautious but an exploration of what the orchestra does in this or that repertoire . . . and how we apply our sound to new repertoire.
NEWS
February 7, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The week wasn't typical, but also not exceptional. In a span of seven days, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's weighty Symphony No. 7 , and conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in both the Academy Ball and a subscription series with pianist Radu Lupu - while shuttling to New York for Dvorák's opera Rusalka , starring Renée Fleming, at the Metropolitan Opera. This Saturday, the HD simulcast of Rusalka - to be seen in six area movie theaters - will require Nézet-Séguin to commute from his native Montreal.
NEWS
February 2, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In the classical world, great music can be the enemy of the excellent. Why schedule less-evolved Dvorak when later music is more accomplished? That probably is why the composer's Symphony No. 6 had scant performance history here upon arrival at Thursday's Philadelphia Orchestra concert under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The rather well-received program (to be repeated Saturday at the Kimmel Center) wasn't just a blow against classical redundancy, but a reminder that artistic Darwinism - the elusive process that dictates what lasts - needs to be upended periodically.
NEWS
January 26, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In one of the more significant Philadelphia Orchestra debuts since Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Tugan Sokhiev led fresh-minted performances in what could have felt like the ultimate rerun: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (which began the current season) and the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures From an Exhibition Thursday at the Kimmel Center. The Tchaikovsky performance was safer, more conventional, and less consistently charismatic than Anne-Sophie Mutter's, which opened the current season.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the concert hall has never been easy. Where do you start? His activism? Culture? The poetry behind his ideals? In a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Orchestra 2001 under James Freeman celebrated King on Saturday in any way it could: major new works by Richard Danielpour and Jay Fluellen plus the youthful Play On, Philly! Orchestra and a gospel choir, all of which will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday at Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall.
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