April 24, 2016
Face(book)ing the Music. The San Francisco Symphony says it will become the first major symphony orchestra to stream on Facebook Live on Wednesday, when it performs the world premiere of Mason Bates' Auditorium. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts, with Bates performing on electronica - the piece samples the sounds of baroque instruments - at Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. California (11:15 p.m. East Coast) time. Information: www.facebook.com/sfsymphony . And while you're Facebooking your way around the classics, search for Kanye and Beethoven to hear the mashup created with the Los Angeles Young Musicians Foundation that comingles Kanye with the traditional symphony orchestra in a strangely compelling way. - Peter Dobrin Ancient Echoes.
April 20, 2016 |
What is the state of the orchestral training program at the Curtis Institute of Music at the moment? The question is worth asking mostly because so many Curtis orchestra concerts over the last 21/2 decades have so decisively tipped over into the professional-quality realm. The Curtis orchestra playing Sunday night in Verizon Hall veered more into the territory of a terrific student group - highly capable, but never quite getting to the sophisticated ensemble concepts that have often made this group a startling and unlikely phenomenon.
April 18, 2016 |
Will a seismic movement on the podium of the Metropolitan Opera have reverberations in Philadelphia? Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been frequently seen as a prime candidate to succeed James Levine, whose shift to music director emeritus after a four-decade tenure was announced Thursday in New York by the Met. But apart from whether the Met actually offers the job to Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra...
April 17, 2016 |
Alternative musical universes aren't the stock and trade of the Philadelphia Orchestra, but that's what audiences were invited into Friday at the Kimmel Center in a concert with two new concertos. They were nothing radical, but they hardly represented the status quo. The audience seemed perfectly comfortable with it all, partly because the performances under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin were shipshape, partly because the pieces were hugely engaging, even at their least conventional.
April 13, 2016 |
Marcel Farago, 92, a Philadelphia Orchestra cellist from 1955 to 1994, died Friday, April 8, in Cherry Hill. Born in Romania, he was also a composer of numerous works, several of which were performed by the orchestra. Mr. Farago reportedly suffered from cancer but chose not to discuss it, and gave an interview packed with keen observations and lively wit only weeks before his death. He proudly stated that he was born in Timisoara, near the birthplace of the great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok.
April 8, 2016 |
"How do we use music to increase quality of life for people in challenging situations?" Daniel Berkowitz, the Philadelphia Orchestra's director of collaborative learning, asks the question, and says the orchestra is increasing the number of ways music can answer the call. The group is instituting a new social-impact program, increasing others, and packaging them under an umbrella acronym: HEAR, which stands for health, education, access, and research. Under the heading of health, the orchestra is sending its musicians into Broad Street Ministry as music therapists to work with victims of trauma.
April 6, 2016 |
Although a well-established 20th-century masterwork, Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a special-occasion piece in the United States - and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is not a likely party to be creating the occasion. The piece is a tall order that would seem to require full orchestra. You could have guessed conductor laureate Ignat Solzhenitsyn was behind Sunday's performance: He's the kind of serious musician who will take on something this formidable and get the rehearsal time to pull it off. His chamber music appearances here mean he's never away for long, but Solzhenitsyn emerges as a key part of the Chamber Orchestra's season, maintaining a classical foundation as music director Dirk Brosse explores populist realms.
April 3, 2016 |
Not long ago, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra's leadership wrote me with an insight. In talking to musicians after concerts, he had gleaned that interpretation came from the musicians themselves, and not the conductor - and in fact the orchestra was able to play brilliantly without any podium guidance at all. The idea that a conductor could stand in front of an orchestra and have little or no impact seemed especially fanciful Thursday night...
March 23, 2016 |
Anyone interested in the future of new music in the city might have paid close attention to Timothy Weiss' dates last weekend with Orchestra 2001. The ensemble's search for a new artistic leader hasn't exactly gone as planned - snow prevented one candidate's appearance, and another withdrew - but Weiss reminded listeners this was less a search for conducting competence than for taste. It's safe to consider Sunday night's program at Christ Church Neighborhood House an expression of Weiss' interest in a particular aesthetic.
March 20, 2016
On March 11, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) hosted a gala dinner and concert while also celebrating its 76th season. Held at the Union League in Philadelphia, more than 170 attendees showed their support at an evening that began with a reception, art show, and sale followed by dinner in the Grand Ballroom and a concert in the Lincoln Room. Guests were treated to performances by the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Bravo Brass, and Tune Up Philly, with students ranging in age from 6 to 21. A dessert reception and return to the art show and sale at Studio Incamminati rounded out the evening.