February 5, 2016 |
CONDUCTOR Riccardo Muti 's official website says the conductor has undergone hip surgery in Italy following an accident. The website said yesterday that as a result the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , and former director of the Philadelphia Orchestra , cannot conduct concerts planned this month in Chicago. It said the accident was not serious, but provided no details. The news agency ANSA reported that Muti underwent the surgery in the Italian city of Ravenna after a fall at home.
February 3, 2016 |
For classical music geeks growing up in the post-'60s artistic tumult (at least, for one geek for whom I can personally vouch), grappling with the avant-garde meant hour after hour replaying the same LP: Berio's Sinfonia . Born of the progress and discord of the late 1960s, the Sinfonia was as much a journey inward — how does one test intellectual curiosity? — as an abrasive inquiry into where we were as a society. Where were we then, and where are we today? And what do music students make of it now?
January 31, 2016 |
In the first minute or so of Webern's Im Sommerwind , the Philadelphia Orchestra produced such a gentle, otherworldly glow, you couldn't help feeling you had heard the most beautiful sound of the concert. The celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes then played the Schumann Piano Concerto - though fitfully. After intermission came Brahms (his comfortable Symphony No. 2 ). Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin captured that work's combination of candid emotions and formal rigor, which has eluded in the past, but not Thursday.
January 24, 2016
Yannick Nézet-Séguin's fifth season as Philadelphia Orchestra music director might not immediately look that different from the previous four. In some ways, that's intentional. Nézet-Séguin has often talked about the advantage in creating a familylike circle of performers - such as Karen Cargill, who was memorably featured in this season's Messiah and who will be back in May 2017 for the Mahler Symphony No. 3 . Certain composers don't stay away long: Now that Nézet-Séguin has conducted all of Rachmaninoff's symphonies, guest conductor Stéphane Denève will cover the composer's piano/orchestral works over three separate concerts April 27-29, 2017.
January 21, 2016 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra announced its 2016-17 subscription season Tuesday at the Kimmel Center. Usual classical music suspects like Brahms, Mahler, and Rachmaninoff will be joined by 21st-century electronics by Mason Bates, a new organ concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winner Christopher Rouse, and a screening of the movie E.T. with a live performance of the John Williams score. Among performers in the orchestra's 117th season, past visitors such as Simon Rattle and conductor laureate Charles Dutoit will return, and celebrated 22-year-old Canadian cellist Stephen Tetreault will make his debut.
January 18, 2016
Early one morning, David Bowie opened the gate and went out into the big world of orchestral music, and, in a single half-hour recording, bagged a triumph. Bowie's narration of Peter and the Wolf with the Philadelphia Orchestra released in 1978 hardly represents the first or last handshake over this piece between classical long-hairs and pop stars. In hopes of finding a larger following, classical music often has looked to Prokofiev's 1936 work, inviting pop culture, show business, and political names of the day to do the narration.
January 16, 2016 |
Some programs in the Philadelphia Orchestra's three-week Music of Vienna Festival could have happened anywhere in the season. But Wednesday night's program at the Kimmel Center was much more adventurous than that. With engaging recklessness, the concert was designed to show Vienna as a center for music both great and silly. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin's program was bookended by waltz king Johann Strauss, with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 and two piggyback works: Gustav Mahler's orchestral transcription of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 11 Op. 95 ("Serioso")
January 11, 2016 |
For Philadelphia Orchestra principal trumpeter David Bilger, the chance to help arrived as a friend request. AhmadBaset Azizi approached Bilger on Facebook about a year and a half ago with an intriguing overture: Could he study with Bilger - via video, online, from Afghanistan? Bilger agreed. It turns out that the 17-year-old Kabul musician has been making contacts all over the world, and now his drive and winsome way are paying off. Azizi will spend his last year of high school in northwest Michigan, at the well-regarded Interlochen Arts Academy, starting this fall - if money can be found.
January 10, 2016 |
Any Philadelphia Orchestra program of Russian chestnuts - the sort many classical music people have known since childhood - demands aggressively distinctive performances. And between guest conductor Fabio Luisi and violinist Christian Tetzlaff, such feats were accomplished Thursday at the Kimmel Center to varying degrees, sometimes brilliantly. Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila overture is often an entry-level classic: The piece's hectic velocity is great fun. Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto enshrines young, ardent emotions.
January 6, 2016 |
Fabio Luisi and Christian Tetzlaff perform Tchaikovsky on Thursday through Saturday at the Kimmel Center. Information: 215-893-1999 or www.philorch.org .