September 23, 2015 |
Someday, if the current trend continues, technology addicts will skip all this handheld nonsense and just have cellphones implanted directly in their brains. Until then, arts groups will continue looking for ways to integrate technology into the concert experience, like Sunday afternoon's premiere at the Kimmel of a new work for piano, chamber orchestra, and iGadgets. Conrad Tao's An Adjustment , which opened the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's 51st season, did not succumb to technology for its own sake.
September 22, 2015 |
Yet another charming, youthful conductor has arrived on classical music's doorstep. The 31-year-old Bulgarian Stilian Kirov, fresh from the associate conductorship of the Seattle Symphony, has promptly filled the void left by Symphony in C's departing longtime music director, Rossen Milanov. Kirov's debut concert Saturday at the Gordon Theater at Rutgers-Camden raised a lot of questions that will be answered only in future concerts, but one thing was clear: He is maintaining the orchestra's high standard of playing.
September 22, 2015 |
Musicians and management of the Philadelphia Orchestra have agreed to talk and play as negotiations continue over a new labor contract, several sources say. The expiring deal was one of steep cuts crafted in 2011 under supervision of U.S. Bankruptcy Court after the Philadelphia Orchestra Association filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The pact was to have expired Sept. 13, but both sides agreed to an extension until 12:01 a.m. Sept. 28 - just after a concert and Mass for Pope Francis' visit, for which the orchestra is playing.
September 18, 2015 |
When James Freeman founded a new music group in 1988, the name he chose might have suggested a specific date of expiry: Orchestra 2001. Today, with that once-futuristic-sounding year far in the rearview mirror, Orchestra 2001 is still here, and is still presenting 20th - and now 21st century - art music. But by the end of the season, Orchestra 2001 promises to be something quite different. Freeman has retired, and what once looked like a sole proprietorship with a limited run has emerged as a self-perpetuating, board-run organization.
August 20, 2015 |
When David Socolofsky was a teenager, and his mother, Byrnina, was in her early 40s, they went to the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman for a special occasion. "It was a Christmas Eve concert," David Socolofsky said, "and we played 'Gesu Bambino' ," a 1917 Italian carol based on "O Come, All Ye Faithful. " She played the viola. He played the cello. "And when we walked out," he said, "it was snowing. " He would go on to be assistant principal cellist for the Oregon Symphony in Portland.
August 2, 2015 |
It would be understandable if anyone left the Philadelphia Orchestra's second and last free "neighborhood concert" of the season feeling bemused. The point of these concerts, started a decade and half ago, is to bring the orchestra to audiences who don't ordinarily go to it. Holding Thursday night's neighborhood concert in Verizon Hall, the orchestra's home, represented a certain up-is-down logic that perhaps only the orchestra and its sponsors could appreciate. The concert wasn't exactly free, either.
July 28, 2015 |
In the more populist realm of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Orchestra got back to its core purpose - playing an all-Beethoven concert, as opposed to accompanying a Lord of the Rings movie. The combination of good weather and a Saturday night slot (usually, it's week nights) showed how true classical concerts, even ones without cannons and fireworks, do what skeptics suspect isn't possible. Great music from another century not only sells, it excites, and not just the listeners who know it well.
July 22, 2015 |
The personality of the screen composer is often a baffling mystery. From André Previn to John Williams to Howard Shore, the music might be dashingly sexy, inspired with fevered religiosity, or shrouded in enigmas - and completely unlike the composers who created it. The amiable, low-key Shore wouldn't seem to fit in with the myth-steeped screen characters for whom he has so memorably written in the Lord of the Rings series. That will be celebrated in a special concert screening of the film The Fellowship of the Ring , accompanied live by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Mendelssohn Club, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
July 18, 2015 |
Seth MacFarlane is known for his vocal prowess, especially when it takes the form of an intelligent talking dog, a pot-smoking bear, or an evil baby. But MacFarlane, creator and voice of many of the characters on Family Guy and American Dad , and director and star of this summer's Ted 2 , has a hobby: singing selections from the Great American Songbook. On Saturday, MacFarlane will be joined by the Baltimore Symphony to sing his favorite standards. He's coming straight off his press tour for Ted 2 . In August comes Blunt Talk , the new Starz series he executive produced, written by Jonathan Ames (HBO's Bored to Death )
July 11, 2015 |
In an extension of its already numerous outreach activities, the Philadelphia Orchestra announced a new partnership Thursday with Carnegie Hall's second youth orchestra, to be formed in 2016. Having already formed the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in 2013 for musicians ages 16 to 19, Carnegie Hall is now founding the 80-piece NYO2 for students 14 to 17 who "have been traditionally underserved by local music programs," according to a statement it released. As many as "several dozen" Philadelphia musicians will act as both as coaches and side-by-side players, said Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO Allison Vulgamore.