October 3, 2014 |
JUDY Spitzer suffered through two great upheavals in her life, one caused by human venality and the other by nature. As a teenager, she was caught up in the Holocaust, but managed through guts and ingenuity to escape the Nazis, who murdered her father and other family members. Then, 70 years later, Hurricane Katrina drove her and her husband out of New Orleans, where they were teaching at a medical school. Finally settling in the relative peace of the Philadelphia area, Judy could look back on a life of accomplishment realized in the toils of catastrophes that might have wrecked less fearless souls.
September 29, 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 23, 2014 |
Suproteem Sarkar has coauthored two scientific papers on cancer treatments, been a presenter at an international nanoscience conference, and won accolades as a pianist. But perhaps the most notable entry on his resumé is the birth date - Sarkar is 17, just entering his senior year at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Chester County. "He's definitely a highflier here," said Conestoga principal Amy Meisinger. "He's on the fast track for something. " Family members say his precocity was evident almost from the beginning.
August 7, 2014 |
In church, a singer can hit a sequence of notes with such visceral power that congregants spring to their feet in a move more spirit-inspired than standing ovation. Pottstown singer Candace Benson made gospel superstar Donnie McClurkin stand up. It happened on an episode of Sunday Best , a gospel singing competition shown on the cable network BET. Benson, a finalist, catapulted through a key transition with such melodic dexterity and emotion that McClurkin, a judge, and much of the audience just could not stay seated.
July 31, 2014 |
On the surface, the Philadelphia Young Pianist Academy's concerts seem like a summertime variation on what's typically heard at the Curtis Institute, Astral Artists, and other local havens for young musicians. However, the first three PYPA concerts in the eight-day festival, now in its second year, featured mavericks of varying sorts, all artists through and through, but at times crossing the line into full-blown eccentricity. By design or by accident, PYPA is not more of the same.
July 20, 2014 |
PRINCETON - The Golandsky Institute's annual International Piano Festival, in its concert with the New Jersey Symphony, demonstrated that its methods, which promote injury-free pianism, don't produce conformity. It's a valid concern. Sharp-eared music lovers can often identify students of a particular teacher without knowing the player's resumé. But on Thursday at Richardson Auditorium, Golandsky mainstays Ilya Itin and Sean Duggan showed little family resemblance when Itin performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 (K. 414)
July 5, 2014 |
The seeds of Meei-Ling Ng's future life as an artist and urban farmer in Philadelphia were planted early, and far away, in the village of Lim Chu Kang, in a rural corner of Singapore. With three siblings, she grew up on a five-acre farm, where the family grew orchids, raised ducks, turkeys, chickens, and pigs, and pets - cats, dogs, rabbits, parrots - were plentiful. "It was heaven for us," recalls Ng, pronounced ung , who smiles wistfully at the memory of her grandmother's rambutan, mango, coconut, and jackfruit trees.
June 13, 2014 |
IN A 2008 interview, piano teacher Anton Fomin described his work: "Teaching is like playing piano with my students' hands. It's very gratifying and satisfying. " Yesterday, Fomin, 44, was charged with sexually abusing three 6-year-old pupils, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. The instructor is accused of using his position at the Malvern School of Music - from which he has since been fired - to abuse two girls and a boy during one-on-one lessons. The allegations came to light last week, when a girl's father called Malvern police to report that the mother of another 6-year-old pupil had told him that her daughter said Fomin "puts his hand in [her]
June 6, 2014 |
The piano had no use. Someone hauled the beat-up piano into a big trash bin parked at a nursing home in Germantown, then took off. The woman had no memory. Sometimes, her son had to remind her to change her clothes or turn off the gas stove after cooking. But when the piano came into the life of the 79-year-old mother, magic happened, not only for her, but for all the seniors at the NewCourtland LIFE Center in North Philadelphia. The story begins two years ago with R. Max Kent.
May 22, 2014 |
It was an Atlantic City plot as familiar as a rerun on Turner Classic Movies: Homeowner vows to save house against the forces of eminent domain, played out in the shadow of a casino. It has been playing for the better part of two decades in this troubled seaside resort, since Vera Coking famously stood up to Donald Trump. But this latest version has impeccable and elegant casting. On Tuesday morning, homeowner and onetime piano prodigy turned piano tuner Charlie Birnbaum, 67, the son of Holocaust survivors, found so many ways to show just how much his three-story brick walkup building at 311 Oriental Ave., on the back side of Revel Casino Resort, means to him. He held a news conference with anti-eminent domain lawyers from the Virginia-based Institute for Justice.