September 28, 2014 |
This year, the Philadelphia Orchestra's official opening night - the one that lets you mingle with the maestro at an "exclusive" reception topping out at $2,500 per ticket - doesn't come until a couple of weeks into the season. Actual music-making, though, began in Verizon Hall on Friday night, with no less a gala soloist than Lang Lang. Many listeners in these parts still think of the pianist as an aberrantly eccentric Curtis Institute of Music student, and, for better or worse, in the last decade and a half of his working with every major orchestra and conductor on earth, absolutely nothing has rubbed off on him musically.
September 24, 2014 |
NEW YORK - Have so many important people ever come so far for only 17 minutes of music? The Philadelphia Orchestra traveled two hours to the United Nations world headquarters here, where the 69th session of the General Assembly broke for a gala dinner Monday that featured orchestra members and the Philadelphia Singers Chorale performing Ode to Humanity by Chinese composer Wang Ning. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin arrived from Montreal to conduct. "The work we do in China is so unique," he said of the orchestra, "but it's hard to understand unless you've been there.
September 22, 2014 |
Fresh from appearing with the fabled Vienna State Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was at the epicenter recently when shockwaves rippled through the cultural world, as that company's chief conductor, Franz Welser-Möst, abruptly walked out with minimum explanation. "Surreal" and "very quiet" was Nézet-Séguin's report from the belly of the beast. But after his successful debut in the Austrian capital conducting The Flying Dutchman , should Philadelphians worry that Vienna is prowling after the Philadelphia Orchestra's popular and still-newish music director, as the Metropolitan Opera has long been rumored to be doing?
September 16, 2014 |
Dina Wind, 76, of Gladwyne, a sculptor and longtime patron of the arts in the United States and Israel, died Tuesday, Sept. 9, of ovarian cancer at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. Mrs. Wind juggled roles as artist and art patron, board member and consumer of cultural offerings, advocate of education and lifelong student, matriarch, and business person, and citizen of Israel and the United States. She led a busy, productive life. As a sculptor, she worked primarily in scrap metal, welding items like car bumpers and old farm tools into what she saw as three-dimensional drawings in the air. Though Mrs. Wind was best known for her sculpture, she also did painting, paper creations, and installations that were shown in 14 shows at two venues - the Viridian Gallery in New York, and the Nexus Gallery in Philadelphia.
August 25, 2014 |
The empty nest is vastly overrated. Turns out, teenagers, especially when they are yours, are rather fun to have around, and far better conversationalists than toddlers. They make a joyful racket. I was dreading the moment when our daughter, our younger child, left for college. I made a list of choices. Travel more. Upend life. Acquire dog. The dog, it appears, will have to wait. After quite a few years and a couple of thousand bylines, this is my final column for The Inquirer.
August 24, 2014 |
The first Philadelphia Orchestra principal player to be hired during the tenure of music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is an old friend of the orchestra. Israeli-born Nitzan Haroz will return to his former chair as principal trombonist effective immediately, the orchestra announced Thursday, four months after he won the audition. Haroz, 45, first came to the orchestra in the Wolfgang Sawallisch era, holding the principal spot from 1995 to 2012, then leaving to become principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for two years.
August 6, 2014 |
Symphony orchestra as jukebox? Such was the idea behind the Philadelphia Orchestra's People's Choice concert on Friday at the Mann Center. Some 16 possibilities posted on radio station WRTI-FM's website were subject to open voting, which yielded a good medium-weight concert of Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Smetana - all classical music greatest hits that, with any luck, gave the audience an increased sense of ownership. Philosophically, it's a fine idea. But having such a concert more than once a year might not be healthy.
August 3, 2014
ISSUE | GAZA Priorities are clear It is painful to watch the loss of civilian lives in the Gaza fortress that Hamas built in and under homes, schools, and hospitals, just as it is painful to see selective outrage over death and destruction that is but a fraction of the carnage in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The effort that Israel has made to minimize the loss of civilian lives is unique in the annals of warfare, while Hamas has poured billions in aid and many tons of concrete into the ground to build bunkers, rocket-launching sites, and 80-foot-deep tunnels that have only one purpose - to facilitate attacks on Israel.
July 30, 2014 |
It used to be we would go to the orchestra to avoid commercialism. Now, audiences are paying good money to be pitched to. Playing excerpts from the scores of Pixar films on two nights in Verizon Hall last week, the Philadelphia Orchestra set aside its charge of letting the public in on something interesting, overlooked, or artistically important. Instead, the ensemble played for two hours beneath a screen showing clips from Toy Story ( 1 , 2 and 3 ), Monsters Inc ., Cars ( 1 and 2 )
July 29, 2014
Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia, formerly the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia, a public/private partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the City of Philadelphia, has named Thomas Jennings , a partner at Hill Wallack L.L.P., Yardley, chairman. He replaces John W. Goldschmidt Jr. , a partner at Ference & Associates L.L.C., who will remain on the executive committee. Other directors include: Christopher S. D'Angelo , partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhodes L.L.P., Philadelphia; Michael A. Schwartz , partner at Pepper Hamilton L.L.P., Philadelphia; and Gabriella Vacca, vice president, system engineering, at Comcast Corp., Philadelphia.