February 24, 2016 |
Expectations turned upside down at the debut concert of First Editions Chamber Orchestra, newly formed by James Freeman, the man who retired from Orchestra 2001 after 27 years, but who hardly seems through with the new-music business. Premieres by Cynthia Folio and Heidi Jacobs were on Sunday's concert in Lang Concert Hall at Swarthmore College (repeated Friday in Roberts Hall at Haverford College). But another part of the ensemble's mandate is performing early Mozart. That can be mistaken for a charming act of niche shopping.
February 21, 2016 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra had it just about right months ago, when it started billing James Levine as legendary. The conductor seems destined to retain that status, though he may be more mythical than legendary in these parts after canceling his first dates with the orchestra in two decades. His replacement Thursday night at Verizon Hall could not have represented a more different approach to the job of conductor. If Levine uses a less-is-more stick technique that nonetheless produces outsize results, Michael Tilson Thomas hopped, crouched, and deployed his lanky frame to elicit sounds the orchestra might have produced without such visual prompts.
February 14, 2016
Levine cancels; Tilson Thomas in Eminent conductor James Levine was to lead the Philadelphia Orchestra in a gala program Thursday to next Saturday. But Levine, battling Parkinson's disease, canceled Friday. The orchestra will still play, directed by conductor and composer Michael Tilson Thomas . Information: 215-893-1999 or www.philorch.org . Adele: A parent first and foremost Adored Brit singer Adele , whose third studio LP, 25 , has sold just under a bajillion copies, shows off a new look - call it nouveau haute-classique - on the cover of Vogue.
February 14, 2016 |
Can Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor") possibly have anything new to report from within its familiar folds of opulent pianism and orchestral tranquillity? There's more there, it turns out, than the mere prettiness that has made the piece the one concerto to know if you're going to know only one concerto. Leading the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday night in Verizon Hall, Vladimir Jurowski deployed a wondrous paradox. He reduced the size of the ensemble and paid scrupulous attention to limiting the length of notes.
February 13, 2016 |
The much-anticipated return of eminent conductor James Levine to the Philadelphia area on Feb. 18-20 will not happen. On Friday, Levine, who is battling Parkinson's Disease but has been described as eager to return to conducting, withdrew from his guest conducting engagement with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Levine is in the midst of changing his medical regimen; the reason given in a statement for his withdrawal was that travel and performance "would be detrimental to his current medical treatment.
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.