February 2, 2014 |
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.
January 26, 2014 |
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.
January 21, 2014 |
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.
January 20, 2014 |
Jill Scott remembers the first time she went to the Academy of Music to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra. "It was pretty extraordinary," the R&B and soul diva from North Philadelphia says. "I was maybe 7 or 8. I went with my mom. She didn't tell me where we were going. She just got me into a pretty dress, and we got off the bus. "It was Peter and the Wolf ," recalls Scott, who will headline the orchestra's 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball at the Academy on Saturday. The concert, hosted by Kevin and Michael Bacon, will feature Scott singing with the orchestra, conducted by director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and with Grammy-winning pianist Robert Glasper.
January 19, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra is holding a Tchaikovsky celebration - but how can you tell? The Russian composer figures heavily into every orchestra season, downtown and at the Mann. Still, it is always a good time to dust off forgotten items from the far corners of his catalogue, and the orchestra, in its three-week Tchaikovsky festival, responded by performing, well, none of them. This was presumably conceived as a chance to sell some tickets in a repertoire the ensemble plays very well.
January 11, 2014 |
Philadelphia Orchestra presents the interactive music program "Sound All Around," for ages 3 to 5, at the Academy of Music on Saturday and Monday. The interactive program introduces audience members to the viola. Assistant principal viola Kerri Ryan and master storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston will guide kids on a learning musical journey. Kids can hear stories along with music and sing while pretending to play the string instrument. They can get a close look at the viola, nurturing their fascination and curiosity.
January 6, 2014 |
When not driving to Philadelphia for his day job (as a Temple professor), or Manhattan for gigs, trumpeter and composer Terell Stafford is musical founder and artistic director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). This orchestral gathering of 17 of this city's best-loved jazz vets and younger players will headline a glittering Tuesday fund-raiser at the Kimmel Center, playing Philly-centric material, with esteemed guests Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker, Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, and Tony Williams.
January 3, 2014 |
CHICAGO has a branded, hometown-oriented jazz orchestra. Cleveland and Pittsburgh, too. So why doesn't our town - far richer than most in jazz history, heroes and students - have a rootin', tootin' Philadelphia-labeled ensemble to celebrate our riches, from the hey-days of Coltrane, Gillespie and Getz to the newest kids on the blocks? Come Tuesday, at long last, we will, as the 17-member, brass-heavy Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) makes its debut in gala (and hopefully fundraising)
December 25, 2013 |
Even in the most congenial cities, making your way to a Christmas concert can be an ordeal. With distracted shoppers, motorist gridlock, and people feeling neglected and lashing out at random, concerts have an extra medicinal responsibility to be all they can be. The Philadelphia Orchestra's annual Messiah definitely qualified this year, so much so that it's a shame that Sunday's performance at the Kimmel Center wasn't repeated. The Philadelphia Singers Chorale is guaranteed to deliver an exalted "Hallelujah Chorus," but one didn't anticipate associate conductor Cristian Macelaru being such a resourceful Handelian (now considered a specialty)
December 17, 2013 |
During the Philadelphia Orchestra 2013 tour of China, associate conductor Cristian Macelaru was asked to take over a rehearsal, and from almost the first notes, the sound palpably changed into something more robust and dark hued. In Friday's Verizon Hall concert, that sound was even more pronounced when Macelaru filled in for canceled guest conductor Pablo Heras-Casado. Not everything in the concert was the work of a finished, mature conductor: In Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole , tempo changes were puzzling.