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.
July 25, 2015 |
Anyone who knows jazz in Philadelphia knows Wendy Simon. Throughout the 1980s and '90s - whether as a soloist, paired with local-legendary pianist Eric Spiegel in Tuxedo Junction, or with Mark Shaw's society orchestra - the singer was renowned for her low, delectable voice, her innovative scat-singing, and her delicate way with a ballad. "My vocal range changed, though, and I'm actually singing higher," says Simon, "which is unusual because most singers lower the keys of their songs as they age. What I love most that's changed with age is having the confidence of my experience and the courage to continue to strive to go beyond my self-imposed limitations in all aspects of my life, as well as my art. " Some of those experiences kept her off the stage for 18 years, a spell happily broken when she returns to live singing this weekend at Paris Bistro, with the accompaniment of the Tom Adams Trio.
June 13, 2015 |
Muriel Boushell Graham, 90, formerly of Pennsauken, a pianist for Haddonfield Plays and Players productions in the 1970s and 1980s, died at her home in Simpsonville, S.C., on Wednesday, March 4. A memorial service has been set for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 13, at St. Peter's Church, 1 Hartford Rd., Medford. Mrs. Graham was known most recently as the pianist at Inn Philadelphia, a piano bar on Camac Street between Spruce and Locust Streets in Center City, where she worked from the late 1990s to 2005, when she moved to South Carolina, daughter Michelle Dilger said.
May 5, 2015 |
When you walk into a museum and find that your favorite Schieles and Munchs have all been rearranged to a particular configuration, you might wonder what the point is. Pianist Shai Wosner was a musical curator Friday night, but an inscrutable one, never explaining why he assembled the first half of his stunningly beautiful Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital debut by interspersing Schubert impromptus with Chopin impromptus. Do they share more than a name? Actually, it was a gift that Wosner was mum about motivation, giving his American Philosophical Society listeners license for imagination, and before long, you wondered whether the point wasn't about these two composers but a triangulation to a third.
May 4, 2015
Shelby Lynne I Can't Imagine (Rounder ***) Shelby Lynne was already a veteran when she won the Best New Artist Grammy for 1999's I Am Shelby Lynne. But the deserved acclaim for that album, which last year was reissued in a deluxe edition, did not translate into long-term mainstream success, and Lynne has settled into a career as an outsider. I Can't Imagine, her 13th album (not including a Christmas collection), is another in a string of earthy, forceful roots records.
April 24, 2015 |
The artistic solidity on which Richard Goode made his name has given way to encroaching adventurousness over the years, though the limitations of that were intermittently apparent at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Tuesday at the Kimmel Center. The program was a typical Goode cross section: Unjustly neglected Mozart ( Adagio in B minor ), the core repertoire of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F-sharp major Op. 78 , ongoing explorations of Debussy, and a relatively new acquaintance with Schumann's Humoreske . Though the Beethoven seemed a little tired in this outing, Debussy's Children's Corner showed what has made Goode an eminent pianist.
April 21, 2015 |
Both sets by Vijay Iyer at Swarthmore College's Lang Performing Arts Center on Saturday started the same way: the pianist rang gentle, chiming tones, establishing a mood of quiet contemplation and close listening. From there, the two halves of the evening went in completely different directions. The first, featuring Iyer as part the trio Tirtha, combined Indian classical music with Western jazz harmonies and rock-infused electric guitar; the second showcased the telepathic adventurousness of Iyer's long-running ensemble.