November 23, 2013 |
The terrible tumult of that weekend 50 years ago, one that repelled, riveted, and ultimately reshaped a nation, began in Philadelphia with an ominous hush. Just past 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, Fred Donaldson, a 22-year-old rewrite man at the Evening Bulletin, checked the newsroom's bank of 11 teletype machines. Strangely, that formidable wall of noise, typically clattering with news reports, had gone eerily silent. "It was something I'd never seen before," Donaldson recalled last week.
November 6, 2013 |
Mayor Nutter, in the midst of a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Israel, announced Monday that the Philadelphia Orchestra will tour Europe in 2015. The orchestra will conclude its tour with two performances in London, Nutter said. The mayor called the orchestra "a vital cultural ambassador for the city, and one that brings tremendous economic development to the city by making the case for doing business in Philadelphia. " Nutter pointed out that the orchestra, with music director Eugene Ormandy, toured Britain in 1949, becoming the first orchestra from America to cross the Atlantic after World War II. The ensemble performed 28 concerts in 27 days in England and Scotland.
November 6, 2013 |
LONDON - Bill Rumble and Mayor Nutter formed a tag team Monday, and a roomful of British business executives never had a chance. Rumble, chief commercial officer of Mark Group USA, softened up the crowd with his unqualified endorsement of Philadelphia as a place for a British company, such as his own, to set down roots in the United States. "We are really, really happy we located in Philadelphia," Rumble said, referring to his weatherization firm's decision to open its North American headquarters in the city.
November 4, 2013 |
Philadelphia has opened most of the new concert halls, theaters, and other arts spaces it set out to build in the culture boom of the past two decades. Now, who pays the piper? If this were Europe, the operating budgets of a Kimmel Center, Please Touch Museum, and Barnes Foundation would be covered largely through government subsidies. But here, we rely on philanthropy and ticket sales. And more than ever, arts groups must chase the populist (and fickle) ticket buyer while accommodating philanthropists with strongly expressed agendas.
October 31, 2013 |
THIS WEEKEND, the Philadelphia Orchestra premieres three newly commissioned works, each composed specifically for one of its principal players. These renowned soloists, who can't ask Mozart or Brahms for advice on how to play their music, had the unique chance to be collaborators. Each creative process was different, yet all three composers were inspired both by ancient traditions and by our orchestra's legendary sound. We asked the creators and artists to share their thoughts on the collaborations.
October 30, 2013 |
With three video screens, the full Philadelphia Orchestra, and harp soloist Elizabeth Hainen to keep track of in Verizon Hall, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin might need a GPS to know where to turn next. The occasion is Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for Micro Films, Harp and Orchestra , by Chinese composer Tan Dun. Besides documenting a 1,000-year-old language that women sing only to one another in remote parts of China, the piece is also "a kind of art installation," says the Oscar-winning composer of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon , "because my screen is also a Chinese scroll painting.
October 27, 2013 |
In his date with the big fish, the title character in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea muses: "Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel?" Many a conductor has sketched the title character in Debussy's La Mer mainly as a benign beauty, and there is plenty in the score to support that. But from the opening moments of the piece Thursday night, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, age 80, turned the Philadelphia Orchestra's gaze to a more varied and complex interpretation.
October 13, 2013 |
Normally two islands in a sea of social media, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia have had recent audience triumphs radically revising old notions that Twitter and other social media work only for young millennials. On Oct. 2, the Philadelphia Orchestra played to a full Verizon Hall on six hours' notice, aided by social media, after a prestigious visiting engagement at Carnegie Hall was abruptly canceled. The strategy: Massive contacts via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.
October 11, 2013 |
BACK IN February 1968, Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr. had a distinguished patient. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Philadelphia to give a speech and he became ill. He arrived in Dr. Lomax's South Philadelphia office with an upper-respiratory infection. Nothing serious. "We took a picture together, and I asked him to write something for my kids," Lomax said in a 1983 interview in the Daily News. His message to the Lomax children was a simple one: "May you have a noble future. " For King, time was running out. Two months later, on April 4, 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., where he had gone to fight for the rights of garbage workers.
October 8, 2013 |
Though the Philadelphia Orchestra enjoys many blue-sky moments these days, Friday's start to the weekend's subscription series had an especially rosy sense of well-earned arrival. Its impromptu concert Wednesday at Verizon Hall that followed the cancellation of its Carnegie Hall opening was a roaring feel-good public relations success. And then on Friday, the orchestra was doing what it does best, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting Mahler's heaven-bound Symphony No. 4 (with many saints populating the final movement)