March 3, 2014 |
John Sergeant Price, 90, of Bryn Mawr, a cultural leader and World War II veteran, died Saturday, Feb. 22, of cancer at his home. For 60 years, Mr. Price was president and executive director of the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia, a cross-cultural institution. Blessed with a knack for managing investments, he made sure the society was well enough endowed to offer the Italian lessons, films, lectures, art exhibits, and study tours abroad for which it was known. The society subsidized the Amerita Chamber Players, a subset of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
February 23, 2014 |
The cost of war was palpable in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday program of Strauss, Shostakovich, and Beethoven, one of Yannick Nézet-Séguin's most conceptually formidable and musically resourceful concerts. At this point in history, few of the musicians onstage have firsthand experience of the tragedies portrayed in Shostakovich's 1959 Cello Concerto No. 1 - a significant deterrent to tapping the music's fierce subtext about post-Stalin Russia. Nonetheless, the performance was bursting with empathy, the most audible manifestation being the extended cadenza in which cellist Johannes Moser (replacing Truls Mørk)
February 21, 2014 |
If Yannick Nézet-Séguin's current season with the Philadelphia Orchestra seemed unduly loaded with familiar repertoire, the 2014-15 season announced Wednesday has built-in newness: In anticipation of the music director's 40th birthday in 2015, the season will be dominated by the "40/40 Project" - 40 works not played by the orchestra during his lifetime. "I don't feel our seasons were cautious but an exploration of what the orchestra does in this or that repertoire . . . and how we apply our sound to new repertoire.
February 20, 2014 |
There's something to be said for youth. But what is it? The Dryden Quartet was tremendous fun Monday night in their Philadelphia Chamber Music Society debut, all verve and brightness. Those of us who remember running into violinist Nick Kendall trash-can drumming on a Center City street corner when he was a Curtis student see in his string-quartet playing a joy undimmed by time. But as violist Daniel Foster told the audience at the American Philosophical Society, this is a part-time ensemble.
February 18, 2014 |
Think for just a moment of composers least in need of an advocate, and you'll hit on Rachmaninoff early in the list. It is, in fact, his irrepressible popularity that disqualifies him in some quarters - still - as an innovator of any consequence. But Vladimir Jurowski takes the long view. Building on a 2007 Isle of the Dead that rippled with meaning, the Russian conductor brought an all-Rachmaninoff program to the Philadelphia Orchestra that nailed the case for the music not being what you think it is. Hollywood and a handful of whistleable tunes have tricked you. Rachmaninoff is both more sophisticated and stylistically pioneering than the gavel of history has granted.
February 18, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA The oboist gives her colleagues an "A," and the ensemble tunes. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, sought by the Metropolitan Opera and orchestras globally, raises his hands, releasing a melodious artifact from Richard Strauss' youth, the Serenade for winds. It's another performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Except it's not. On this icy Saturday evening, about six dozen amateurs have gathered in the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza for the first of this season's "play-ins," traversing repertoire alongside a sprinkling of Philadelphia Orchestra members.
February 9, 2014 |
Based in the high-traffic musical world of London, conductor Vladimir Jurowski has the freedom to devise unconventional programs that can be heard as provocative studies in musical incongruity. What might J.S. Bach have in common with Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss? Besides the obvious fact that Bach is pretty much the basis of everything after 1750? Such was the program Jurowski conducted with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Friday afternoon, which was, typical of him, played with an ultra-clear-eyed vision but, in this case, left you scratching your head.
February 7, 2014 |
The week wasn't typical, but also not exceptional. In a span of seven days, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's weighty Symphony No. 7 , and conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in both the Academy Ball and a subscription series with pianist Radu Lupu - while shuttling to New York for Dvorák's opera Rusalka , starring Renée Fleming, at the Metropolitan Opera. This Saturday, the HD simulcast of Rusalka - to be seen in six area movie theaters - will require Nézet-Séguin to commute from his native Montreal.
January 30, 2014 |
Allen J. Beckman, 70, of Philadelphia, a personal injury lawyer and adviser to Pennsylvania politicians for many years, died Wednesday, Jan. 22, of heart failure at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Mr. Beckman was campaign manager, finance chairman, Election Day coordinator, and adviser to candidates for federal, state, and local office. Those included former Mayor William J. Green III, former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell, City Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, and the late U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III. An expert in maritime and medical malpractice law, Mr. Beckman worked for 35 years from Center City.
January 27, 2014 |
A snowy afternoon did not stop 1,200 guests from descending on the Academy of Music for its 157th Anniversary Concert and Ball on Saturday night, complete with lots of bubbly and a phenomenal performance by Philadelphia's own Jill Scott. Scott, the Grammy Award-winning singer who got her start performing with neo-soul acts at the Five Spot in Old City, was practically gushing through her 25-minute set. "Do you understand the privilege it is for me to be here?" Scott said, her red-bottomed Christian Louboutin peep-toed shoes glistening on the stage.