May 11, 2014 |
When it's all that it can be, the 100-minute musical volcano known as Richard Strauss' Salome goes to a place of barely contained frenzy in its story of a princess who desires John the Baptist right down to his severed head. The Philadelphia Orchestra's season-ending, mostly staged version Thursday went a step beyond, often seeming without restraint. That usual space between the music and its listener often vanished - as with Herbert von Karajan's live performances and, more recently, those of Gustavo Dudamel and Yannick Nézet-Séguin on good days.
May 7, 2014 |
As the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's season nears its end, so does Peter Gistelinck's executive directorship of an orchestra that has maintained its niche in the long shadow of the Philadelphia Orchestra while outstripping others with its technological savvy. Founded 50 years ago by Marc Mostovoy, the orchestra burgeoned with the 2001 opening of the Kimmel Center, seriously teetered amid the 2009 recession, but has rebounded from most, though not all, cutbacks. Gistelinck, 52, a hearty, friendly Belgian, had to fight for the orchestra's existence - "and all of my successors will definitely have to fight," he said last week.
May 7, 2014 |
BEFORE the Philadelphia Orchestra departs on a three-week visit to Asia with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, making his first tour with the musicians, they're offering six free programs throughout the region. Designed to reach audiences in different venues, and in collaborative participation with other organizations, the week could be seen as a present to the public after Yannick's second season here. To make that gift, the 95-member ensemble will split into smaller groups, the better to reach more neighborhoods.
May 5, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA When you're talking about something as burly as the bass, two is a crowd, and eight enough for any respectable orchestra. What, then, can you expect of five dozen? Deep tones and even deeper meaning, it turns out, for amateurs who showed up Saturday at Verizon Hall to play with the very professional double basses of the Philadelphia Orchestra. After tunes folk and pop and an excerpt from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 , players said the experience was just this side of a double-bass dream.
April 29, 2014 |
To help lead the increasingly populist aspects of its repertoire, guest artists, and collaborations, the Philadelphia Orchestra is restocking its roster of conductors. Stéphane Denève, the ebullient French conductor of the corkscrew locks who has been a frequent visitor to the orchestra's podium, will become principal guest conductor in the fall. Romanian-born Cristian Macelaru, the orchestra's associate conductor, will take the upgraded title of conductor in residence. Denève, under the terms of a contract running through 2016-17, will conduct at least two weeks during the main subscription season, as well as family concerts, dates at the orchestra's summer spots in Vail, Colo., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and, possibly, on tour.
April 25, 2014 |
BEFORE tonight's Philadelphia Orchestra concert, 25 lucky students from Play On, Philly! will perform on the Kimmel Center stage in the experience of a lifetime. These members of St. Francis de Sales Firebird String Orchestra will play the first movement of Mozart's familiar "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" ("A Little Night Music"), under the direction of Philadelphia Orchestra maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Founded at West Philadelphia's St. Francis de Sales School, Play On, Philly! is the local embodiment of Venezuela's visionary El Sistema . This now-international concept has helped thousands of children improve self-esteem and personal skills while learning music at a high level.
April 23, 2014 |
If it's spring, the Philadelphia Orchestra must be headed for China. In the third year of its five-year agreement with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the orchestra opens its 21/2-week tour there on May 21, travels on to Shanghai, then plunges into less-well-charted cities - and formats - before ending with traditional concerts in Tokyo and Taipei, Taiwan, concluding June 5. The provincial Chinese cities include Changsha...
April 16, 2014 |
Sometimes a thank-you note just won't do. And so the Curtis Institute of Music dedicated Sunday night's Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert in Verizon Hall to Marguerite and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, whose philanthropic support of the school has eclipsed all before it. Having the orchestra do the honors was apt, since it was Gerry Lenfest, who is part-owner of the company that publishes The Inquirer and who is stepping down as board chair June 1, who...
April 10, 2014 |
Departed music directors aren't always missed, but Ignat Solzhenitsyn's return to the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia was greeted with unusual dedication by the musicians, almost as if they were reclaiming an identity Monday at the Kimmel Center. Solzhenitsyn's penchant for lesser-known works by major composers yielded a wonderful discovery in Schumann's Introduction and Allegro Appassionato (Op. 92 ; the conductor doubled as pianist), which tries to be urbane but has the composer's customary depths nonetheless.
April 6, 2014 |
When you have an excellent clarinetist at your disposal, you send him out on stage with the Mozart concerto and crowds will swoon. But Ricardo Morales is no excellent clarinetist. He is a superlative one. For him on Thursday night, nothing less than the formidable Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 1 would do, and the capacity audience roared. Christoph von Dohnányi was on the podium, and, rounding out the Philadelphia Orchestra program in Verizon Hall with Brahms and Beethoven, he won traditionalist hearts.