July 22, 2014 |
The first thing to know about composer and pianist Uri Caine is that he started young in the Philadelphia jazz scene, learning from masters like saxophonists Bootsie Barnes and the late Grover Washington Jr. Caine, now 58, went on to develop modernist classical chops and do daring reinterpretations of classical works from Wagner, Beethoven, and Bach, becoming almost a genre unto himself. The world premiere of Caine's The Passion of Octavius Catto on Saturday night at the Mann Center was in some ways a summary of the composer's eclectic career as well as a celebration of an epic life.
July 16, 2014 |
Jazz pianist/composer Uri Caine's many years gone from his native Philadelphia are melting away, into a kind of music he wasn't taught at the University of Pennsylvania, and in places his colleagues don't typically navigate. His The Passion of Octavius Catto , a jazz/gospel oratorio about the martyred Philadelphia civil rights leader, will have its world premiere Saturday at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. It is being rehearsed at the historic St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in what's called in hip-hop circles "the O-Zone" (Olney)
July 1, 2014 |
With his Noel Coward-esque wit and solid command of the Philadelphia Orchestra, guest conductor Bramwell Tovey is always a delight to encounter in special, not-entirely-classical occasions that could easily fall apart under a lesser personality. But on Friday at the Mann Center, Tovey conducted music that didn't require (or receive) his usual witty introductions: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 . It can be as problematic as it is great, yet here was thoroughly accomplished, with excitement arising from a strong musical foundation, cultivated opinions on how the music should go, and a keen ability to make that happen.
June 25, 2014 |
THERE MAY BE some grumbling in the ranks of the Philadelphia Orchestra tonight, Ben Folds anticipates, when the sophisticated singer-songwriter/pianist, professorial talent judge ("The Sing-Off") and fledgling concerto composer meets up with our legendary symphony. "The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience" at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will feature excerpts from Folds' new (first!) concerto, a big bunch of his pop gems - and one of the best and most serious backup bands in the world.
June 22, 2014 |
The renovated, refurbished, rebranded Dell Music Center makes a little history Saturday with a free performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 by the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, featuring a cadre of amateur guest musicians and singers drawn from the region. It will be the first time the Dell has hosted classical music since 1976, when the Philadelphia Orchestra, which had made the North Philadelphia venue its summer home since 1935, left for the Mann Music Center. The Dell was forced to reinvent itself, becoming one of the few venues in the region dedicated to urban music.
June 13, 2014 |
Few conductors have had the longevity, artistic consistency, and frequent-flier miles of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. The 80-year-old Spanish conductor, who died of cancer Wednesday in Pamplona, Spain, first led the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1969, after flying into New York City during one of the worst snowstorms in decades. He returned virtually every year thereafter. "He developed an unparalleled relationship with our musicians, appearing continually for nearly half a century," said orchestra president Allison Vulgamore.
June 9, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra is not what it used to be. And that's excellent news. The faces haven't changed much but the touring demeanor has, from that of the ensemble that walked on water during European summer festivals past to the 2014 version that does whatever it must to manage the wide-reaching, 2 1/2-week tour of Asia that ended Thursday in Taipei, Taiwan. The orchestra's leadership has been rewriting the rules, negotiating China dates themselves in ways that cultivate new sponsors and could net an estimated $1 million-plus.
June 5, 2014 |
TOKYO - For once, the Philadelphia Orchestra did the applauding. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy was said to be a possible guest at the orchestra's second Suntory Hall concert Tuesday, but nobody knew for sure whether it would happen or what form her visit would take. On Monday, fellow Ambassador Nicholas Platt, a close Philadelphia Orchestra associate, let slip that she was committed to coming, but added, "Your lips are Velcro. " Roughly an hour before the concert was to begin, the backstage area at Suntory started buzzing, and musicians began lining up near one of the dressing rooms.
June 4, 2014 |
TOKYO - The adventures in China were all certainly exciting for the Philadelphia Orchestra, but Tokyo's acoustically superb Suntory Hall is an old friend, where many of its best recordings with Wolfgang Sawallisch were made, and during this current tour, it comes near the end, when most residency activities are over. The orchestra arrived Sunday for "the icing on the cake," as music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin describes it. Familiar haunts for the musicians here include the Tokyo Tower Records, a bastion of compact-disc culture, loaded with Philadelphia Orchestra reissues not found anywhere else in an entire floor devoted to classical music.
June 2, 2014 |
MACAU - Music amid the ruins. The idea is so picturesque that the Philadelphia Orchestra, now in its third visit here, has had a standing date with what's left of St. Paul's Cathedral. Built by Portuguese Jesuits starting in 1582, the cathedral suffered a fire in 1835 that rendered it only a poetic husk of itself - and made it one of Macau's central attractions. On Saturday morning, a quartet of the orchestra's French hornists played a pop-up concert as part of the 2014 China Residency and Tour of Asia.