October 17, 2006 |
There's still a spirited dialogue over whether Johann Sebastian Bach's harpsichord concertos are best played on that instrument, accompanied by a small ensemble of "authentic" stringed instruments (the purist view exemplified by Trevor Pinnock), or, at the other extreme, on the piano with a modern orchestra in the style of Glenn Gould. The fact is, both approaches are valid if well conceived and performed. In its concert Sunday at Trinity Center for Urban Life, Astral Artistic Services featured the Lithuanian pianist Andrius Zlabys playing four of the eight exceedingly demanding Bach concertos for single harpsichord.
January 13, 2003 |
Playing a program of works for left hand alone, pianist Gary Graffman made some musical history at the Perelman Theater on Friday while he challenged his audience to find his handicap any hindrance to broad-ranging musical satisfaction. His muscles may have failed his right hand in 1979, but his determination to be a complete pianist has stimulated extraordinary eloquence and dazzling virtuosity in his playing. Concerto appearances and chamber music are more frequent, but a full recital is a rarity.
April 23, 1990 |
Raul Sunico's recital yesterday at the Ethical Society revealed a pianist more attentive to music's showier attributes than to its subtleties. Even before he played a note, the tired program gave a clue: Schumann (Fantasiestucke, Op. 12), Ravel (Gaspard de la Nuit) and Rachmaninoff (Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor). These are pieces with which it is easy to show off; these are also composers whose gifts do not need any further championing unless by an interpreter of finesse and imagination.
July 8, 2013
Paul Smith, 91, a jazz pianist who accompanied many top singers and who provided the sensitive touch and rhythmic spark behind many of Ella Fitzgerald's most acclaimed performances, died June 29 at a hospital in Torrance, Calif., of heart ailments, said his publicist, Alan Eichler. Mr. Smith, whose career lasted more than 70 years, worked with two of the biggest musical acts of the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, before settling in Hollywood, where he performed on the sound tracks of hundreds of films and television shows.
January 12, 2012
Bulgarian-born French pianist Alexis Weissenberg, 82, whose love of music saved him and his mother from a World War II concentration camp and carried him to performances with Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, has died. Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture on Monday confirmed the death of Mr. Weissenberg, who was born into a Jewish family in the capital, Sofia, but spent most of his life abroad and became a French citizen. An only child, Mr. Weissenberg recalled sharing "musical joys" learning piano and listening to recordings and concerts with his mother, before studying piano with a famous Bulgarian composer, Pancho Vladigerov.
January 16, 1987 |
The highlight of a busy week for live jazz is tonight's 8:30 performance by pianist Sumi Tonooka at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. This will be native Philadelphian Tonooka's first local concert with her trio (featuring bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Akira Tana) since the release of her excellent debut album, With an Open Heart (Radiant). The album alerts the rest of the country to something that we in Philadelphia have known for some time - that Tonooka is among the brightest young soloists in jazz.
November 12, 2010 |
James Simmons, 63, a Philadelphia jazz pianist known as a quintessential accompanist, died Friday, Nov. 5, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania of cardiac arrest after surgery. Known as Sid, Mr. Simmons was a pianist at three of the city's major jazz clubs. He was in the house band at the former Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Northern Liberties and a frequent sideman at Chris' Jazz Cafe on Sansom Street just west of Broad Street and at the former Zanzibar Blue in the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.
January 17, 1994 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra adds another to the many firsts in its 94-year history with tonight's Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert: the first pianist with dreadlocks to bring his own bench. The guest is Awadagin (pronounced Ah-wah-DAH-juhn) Pratt, who will play the evergreen Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Academy of Music at 8 tonight ($8-$45; 215-893-1999). Pratt grew up in Normal, Ill., but that's not the word to describe his career. The personable, articulate pianist pursued journalism (in the local paper)
February 11, 2008 |
Nobody knew the middle voices of a keyboard like German composer Robert Schumann. Judging from his Scenes From Childhood (Kinderszenen) on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society piano series Friday evening, Christian Zacharias plays them as beautifully as anyone. And the Schumann Arabesque, the recitalist's encore, offered a study in lyrical piano playing. If ever you wanted to play the piano, get going, now. Adults as well as children can do no better than to study these dozen Scenes and their epilogue (The Poet Speaks)
February 6, 1999 |
Near the end of his Schubert recital Thursday, tenor Christoph Pregardien sang "Der Doppelgaenger. " Its 12 lines outline a familiar ghost story from the heart of German Romantic poetry, but in this performance, categories and familiarity counted for nothing. Pregardien and pianist Michael Gees found a wintery tone in which their music-making made the typical period imagery as chilling as a letter from a long-dead lover. Those few minutes of intense tone-painting were the norm in their extraordinary performance at the Convention Center.