February 15, 2015 |
Conductor Valery Gergiev probably had one of the more civilized receptions of his winter U.S. tour at Thursday's Philadelphia Orchestra concert. Pro-Ukrainian protesters were outside the Kimmel Center, having their say in the ongoing debate about Gergiev's support of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and inside, the concert was business as usual - as much as Gergiev's concerts are ever typical. He has long been the master of spontaneous combustion. Although Gergiev's own Mariinsky Orchestra often plays with world-class inspiration, it's sonically compromised by the substandard quality of instruments.
February 14, 2015 |
Peter Beckett Pakradooni, 75, of Wynnewood, a businessman and contributor to fraternity life in Philadelphia, died Wednesday, Feb. 4, at Lankenau Hospital of heart failure. Mr. Pakradooni worked in his family's business, International Printing. The business was started in Old City by his grandfather, Haig H. Pakradooni Sr., the Persian consul in Philadelphia. When the firm closed in 1983, the younger Mr. Pakradooni joined Packard Press in Philadelphia, and later, Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Co., where he was vice president until his death.
February 8, 2015 |
"Maestros. Can't live with 'em, can't run a major orchestra without 'em," says Bernadette Peters in the Amazon.com miniseries Mozart in the Jungle . Well, the Philadelphia Orchestra temporarily did without a maestro on Thursday in a conductorless program of Mozart, Beethoven, and Grieg - all smartly chosen to accommodate a more communal form of music-making that string quartets know well, with the added charisma of the British piano goddess Imogen...
February 6, 2015 |
Symphony orchestras don't typically slot in visits to China in the middle of a busy season. But the Philadelphia Orchestra is in the midst of its Pearl River Delta Residency Week, which slipped into high gear - after more than the usual Chinese cliffhangers - with a performance Wednesday of the choral/orchestral work Ode to Humanity in Macau. "I tell you, the world is getting small," said cellist Udi Bar-David, having recently stepped off a nonstop 15-hour flight from JFK Airport.
January 31, 2015 |
Though the Philadelphia Orchestra has a steep climb ahead in its largest-ever fund-raising campaign effort, several key pieces helping to smooth the path are falling into place. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has secured the stability of its artistic, administrative, and board leadership - an important checkoff on the list of many foundations and philanthropists. Board chairman Richard B. Worley will stay on another three years, as will president Allison B. Vulgamore. And the orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin have committed to another five years together.
January 30, 2015 |
Barbara Gottlieb Zehender, 75, of Philadelphia, a trailblazer for women in the field of advertising, died Thursday, Jan. 15, of an intestinal ailment at her Center City home. Over three decades, Mrs. Zehender rose from clerk to partner and executive vice president at Dorland Global Health Communications in Philadelphia. She was a single mother of two small children with a graduate degree in special education when she knocked on the door of Harry Sweeney, Dorland's president. "I don't know anything about advertising," she told him. "But I'm smart, I'll do anything, and I really need a job. " The pitch worked.
January 28, 2015 |
Of all the hours of music that will transpire at the Kimmel Center during the Philadelphia Orchestra's 2015-2016 season, the most eagerly anticipated are likely to be the concerts led by James Levine, revered music director of the Metropolitan Opera. Having been personally invited by Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin - a regular guest conductor at the Met - Levine will make his first conducting appearance outside of New York City since he returned from a series of back-related surgeries and a two-year hiatus that ended in 2013.
January 27, 2015 |
One of the most startling moments at Saturday night's Academy of Music 158th Anniversary Concert was hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra in an important, rarely heard William Walton score. That may seem like the sort of thing that shouldn't surprise. It's an orchestra concert, after all. But this annual fund-raiser has had so many demands layered on it in recent years - celebrate the building, bring in a younger crowd, keep the old guard happy, hold the attention of a rather corporate audience, and raise a lot of money - that the orchestra has sometimes gotten lost in the shuffle.
January 26, 2015 |
The guard is changing. After 27 years, Alan Harler is stepping down from the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, but not without first conducting Bach's St. Matthew Passion . Also departing after Year 27 is Orchestra 2001's founder and director James Freeman, who will do what he does best - George Crumb - in an 85th-birthday tribute to the great composer whose works he has so often launched. David Hayes seems too young to have been with the Philadelphia Singers for 25 years, but it's true, and he announced his departure before the group said that this season would be its last as well.
January 14, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra last toured Europe in 2011 in deeply uncertain circumstances: The orchestra was still in bankruptcy and entering contract negotiations amid fears about the future. Yannick Nézet-Séguin had been appointed, but would not become music director until the next year. The orchestra was led by chief conductor Charles Dutoit. In contrast, the 2015 Tour of Europe, announced Tuesday, promises to be a consolidation of more successful times for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and under the leadership of Nézet-Séguin, already a well-known figure there.