September 29, 2015 |
All else seemed but an earthly prologue by Sunday afternoon's massive outdoor papal Mass on the Parkway. The logistical hurdles, pope tchotchkes silly and sincere, the queasy police-state feeling that gripped the city starting Friday - all was set aside as the Philadelphia Orchestra and a chorus of about 500 laid down a soundtrack of contemplation and triumph for an in-person and online audience of perhaps a million or more. The orchestra, led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, played Beethoven and Brahms as the papal motorcade arrived at Eakins Oval with the Philadelphia Museum of Art the backdrop, and a canopy of cool gray skies over the crowd.
September 27, 2015 |
Everyone in the Philadelphia Orchestra could assume, even before collaborating with pianist Daniil Trifonov, that he was much more than your typical hot competition winner. When he recorded Rachmaninoff with the orchestra in March in Philadelphia, it was under costly studio conditions, unusual for any major recording company working in America. The Deutsche Grammophon production was made from scratch, not in concert - rare since the CD heyday of the 1990s. Trifonov, 24, played Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with relentless tenacity, take after take, hour after hour, never letting the tension go slack, according to musicians present.
August 20, 2015 |
Frances P. Aulston, 75, founder and executive director of the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and a moving force in the preservation of the Paul Robeson House, died Sunday, Aug. 9. Her family declined to release the location and cause of her death. A Philadelphia resident, community leader, and activist, Ms. Aulston was a former research librarian for the Free Library of Philadelphia. In 1984, Ms. Aulston founded the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (WPCA) with the help of several local artists.
August 2, 2015 |
It would be understandable if anyone left the Philadelphia Orchestra's second and last free "neighborhood concert" of the season feeling bemused. The point of these concerts, started a decade and half ago, is to bring the orchestra to audiences who don't ordinarily go to it. Holding Thursday night's neighborhood concert in Verizon Hall, the orchestra's home, represented a certain up-is-down logic that perhaps only the orchestra and its sponsors could appreciate. The concert wasn't exactly free, either.
July 17, 2015 |
Trudy Cohen, 83, a photographer and longtime Center City resident, died Wednesday, July 8, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage. Born in New York City, Mrs. Cohen graduated from Hunter High School there. She attended classes for three years at the University of Richmond in Virginia in 1952. In 1976, after marrying and moving to Philadelphia, Mrs. Cohen completed a bachelor's degree in photography from Moore College of Art and Design. From 1977 to 1994, she was the official photographer for the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
July 11, 2015 |
In an extension of its already numerous outreach activities, the Philadelphia Orchestra announced a new partnership Thursday with Carnegie Hall's second youth orchestra, to be formed in 2016. Having already formed the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in 2013 for musicians ages 16 to 19, Carnegie Hall is now founding the 80-piece NYO2 for students 14 to 17 who "have been traditionally underserved by local music programs," according to a statement it released. As many as "several dozen" Philadelphia musicians will act as both as coaches and side-by-side players, said Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO Allison Vulgamore.
July 8, 2015 |
Although he was one of Philadelphia's ultimate behind-the-scenes musicians, James Holesovsky, 72, who died Saturday, June 27, after an extended illness, was a cellist who could have had the personal glory to which many aspire. Instead, through his personal musical standards and networking skills, he helped maintain the quality of classical music in Philadelphia. A 50-year member of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Mr. Holesovsky was the soul of consistency, no matter the performance conditions or repertoire at hand.
June 30, 2015 |
The hard-core classical lover isn't exactly settling when he goes to hear an entire evening of Gershwin. As a melodist, Gershwin is right up there with Schubert. It is especially true that when orchestrated, and orchestrated well, his songs strike a particular vein in the American spirit that is more breathlessly optimistic than Irving Berlin, more urbane than Copland, and yet retains its sincerity to the tender core. The Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Cristian Macelaru could not have picked a better banner for these ideals than the opener to Friday night's concert at the Mann Center.
June 28, 2015 |
It was an offer you couldn't refuse: a classic film, a great score, a great classical orchestra. There was much to like about the Philadelphia Orchestra's Thursday-night performance at the Mann Center of Nino Rota's score beneath a vivid screen showing The Godfather . There is also something of a feeling of treading water on these movie nights. In terms of developing audiences for classical music, the trend of pairing live orchestras with film likely will have little to show for it in the end. Still, it feels like justice to those of us who believe that as much art lies in that quivering line off to the side of the celluloid as in the main frame.