November 18, 2015 |
By now, audiences know how Elton John pulled the legendary Leon Russell out of the near-obscurity of tinny homemade albums and tiny club gigs; how the Okie-born, boogie piano player, righteously ragged vocalist, and '60s session giant recorded a plush duet album with Elton (2010's The Union ) and got his groove back. In reality, Russell's own bootstrap-pulling since then has aided his comeback most. The fleshy Memphis vibes of 2014's Life Journey , the recent release of Les Blank's long-hidden documentary, A Poem is a Naked Person , and 2015 shows with the Tedeschi Trucks Band where Russell relived Mad Dogs & Englishmen , the pianist's raucous 1970 tour film with fellow white soul-shouter Joe Cocker, show that the wonky rock-and-roller is in (literal)
November 18, 2015 |
Exhibit One in the case for Astral Artists as a wise talent-spotter is Alexandre Moutouzkine, the Russian-born pianist who has spent the last half-dozen years impressing local listeners in a variety of chamber music, solo-recital, and concerto appearances. His latest coup was Sunday at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, where he joined two other superb Astral "graduates" in piano-trio repertoire that stretched the genre a bit. In January, Moutouzkine will step into the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's solo spot (with Rachmaninoff's Thirteen Preludes and Schumann's Carnaval )
November 12, 2015 |
Allen Toussaint, 77, the New Orleans songwriter and pianist responsible for a long list of hits recorded by artists that included Aaron Neville, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, Dr. John, Lee Dorsey, Warren Zevon, Robert Plant, Robert Palmer, and Devo, died of a heart attack Monday after a concert in Spain in the midst of a European tour. Tributes poured in from across the music world. "He was one of the most gentle, loving, and wise people I've ever known," Raitt wrote.
November 7, 2015 |
Though one of the most recorded and best reviewed pianists of her generation, Angela Hewitt has been an infrequent visitor to Philadelphia, her Tuesday recital presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society showing we haven't missed out on just her artistry but also her charm. Having launched her career as a Bach specialist in the post-Andras Schiff mode, Hewitt has since brought that concise naturalness to highly selective repertoire from Couperin to Messiaen. Her recital, encompassing Bach-era Iberia-based Domenico Scarlatti and later Spanish nationalists such as Albeniz and Falla, was a natural progression.
October 9, 2015 |
Turning 75, pianist Dave Burrell says, has given him the opportunity to "reflect back and think of all the people that I've met and played with. " It's certainly an impressive list, including substantial musical relationships with innovators like saxophonists Archie Shepp, David Murray, and Pharoah Sanders; bassist William Parker; and drummer Sunny Murray. One of the longest-lasting of those relationships has been with drummer Andrew Cyrille, who will join Burrell as the Full-Blown Duo on Saturday at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, one of two hometown celebrations of Burrell's birthday planned by Ars Nova Workshop.
September 22, 2015 |
Yet another charming, youthful conductor has arrived on classical music's doorstep. The 31-year-old Bulgarian Stilian Kirov, fresh from the associate conductorship of the Seattle Symphony, has promptly filled the void left by Symphony in C's departing longtime music director, Rossen Milanov. Kirov's debut concert Saturday at the Gordon Theater at Rutgers-Camden raised a lot of questions that will be answered only in future concerts, but one thing was clear: He is maintaining the orchestra's high standard of playing.
August 19, 2015 |
Classical once spread the word in a setting largely unknown as a musical venue to listeners today: Home. Many a first outing with Beethoven's symphonies came in the form of four-hand piano transcriptions played by amateurs in the living room. There was a critical social aspect to such gatherings. They were, to use the current argot, about sharing, liking, and friending. Sunday afternoon's final Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy (PYPA) concert of the summer brought some of this repertoire into the Curtis Institute's Field Concert Hall, and it didn't stop at four hands.
August 16, 2015 |
A paradox, perhaps, but it's a significant marker of individualism that every time Alexandre Moutouzkine appears, he sounds like a slightly different pianist. The basic character of his playing morphed even in a single recital, Thursday night, part of the Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy (PYPA). Many listeners came to know Moutouzkine through his affiliation with Astral Artists, for which he devised in 2011 an unusually inventive live transcription of Stravinsky's The Firebird as the sound track to the animated short Who Stole the Mona Lisa?
August 4, 2015 |
Evelyn Burtis Cramer, 96, an elementary schoolteacher in Burlington County from 1950 to 1975, died Wednesday, July 29, at the Evergreens, the retirement community in Moorestown where she had lived since 1999. Born in Mount Holly, Mrs. Cramer grew up on a 125-acre dairy farm. She graduated in 1935 from Pemberton High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1939, and later a master's, both in education, at what is now the College of New Jersey. "She taught first grade, mostly," over the years at schools in Mount Laurel, Pemberton Township, and Southampton, her son, Charles, said.
July 29, 2015 |
Czech pianist Ivan Moravec, 84, died Monday in a Prague hospital after having been treated for pneumonia for several weeks, his New York agent said. Born in Prague and especially loved for his Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, and Brahms interpretations, Mr. Moravec made his London debut in 1959, and his American debut in 1964 with the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell. His recordings - especially those of Chopin and Debussy - remain prized by collectors. One frequent stop on his American calendar was Philadelphia, where he was heard both as a recitalist with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and in concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra.