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.
March 30, 2014 |
There's a whiff of desperation to the Philadelphia Orchestra's current campaign to save music with the help of visuals. The latest salvo, unveiled Thursday night, imported artist/filmmaker Tal Rosner, who projected video pastiches on tall hanging scrims of Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to roll along with the four movements of Britten's four "Sea Interludes. " Whether this sort of thing is an augmentation or a distraction is very much a personal call, and there are reasonable arguments to be made on both sides.
March 23, 2014 |
Is the Philadelphia Orchestra's audience being trained to respond to the dog whistle it sees, rather than the one it hears? Playing with movie scores, ballet dancers, even acrobats, the orchestra is increasingly sending the message that its core business - sound, right? - is no longer enough by itself. It announced Thursday that "stunning video images" will be added to next week's Britten program. Has the orchestra forgotten how to market an orchestra? You have to wonder, given concerts like Thursday night's, when a program as wholesome as Mozart and Brahms produced hundreds of empty seats in Verizon Hall.
March 17, 2014 |
Leonard Bogdanoff, 83, of Elkins Park, a violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a half-century, died Friday, March 15, at his home. Colleagues said Mr. Bogdanoff personified the best qualities of the orchestra's old guard. "When I think of Leonard, I think of the kindness in dealing with all of the other members of the viola section. He was just very fair," said Pamela Faye, a substitute violist with the orchestra and a frequent stand partner of Mr. Bogdanoff's. "You can have people who can make or break a section, and he was one of the ones who gave a positive influence, sound-wise, stylistically, all of it. That was really an inspiration to me. " Retired orchestra member Louis Lanza, who as a second violinist sat not far from Mr. Bogdanoff, called him "a very steady player, very accurate, and just a wonderful musician.