March 15, 2015 |
At 21 years of age, Ariana Grande - a four-octave light lyric soprano dubbed the "mini-Mariah" - has the world on a string, a notion she blithely, but solidly, embraced while singing and dancing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday. Grande is a Broadway veteran and has long been a staple of Nickelodeon children's television as Cat Valentine, an adored character in two different series inspiring her young girl fans (and their mothers) to wear lit-up cat ears, just as she does on stage.
February 28, 2015 |
Pianist Marcus Roberts is known for many things: a genius skill that makes him the logical successor to Thelonious Monk's wild style (with a lot of Fats Waller in his stride), an immense love of the blues, technological innovations in regard to composing for the blind, and a soulful sense of tradition and invention. Roberts is also renowned for developing a philosophy in which, in a trio setting, the bass and drums are equal to his piano. Drummer Jason Marsalis and bassist Rodney Jordan are featured equally with the bandleader and are just as liable to set the temperature and mood of a particular performance as is the pianist.
February 7, 2015 |
Most siblings look back on a childhood of pick-up football games and getting into scrapes together. Ashley, Daniel, and Andrew Hsu, on the other hand, may remember the time they played Beethoven's last three piano sonatas on a single program while still students at the Curtis Institute of Music. That time was Wednesday night in Field Concert Hall. They could have chosen a strand of Beethoven bagatelles, or taken turns with the Goldberg Variations, if the only point had been to play up the familial connection.
November 21, 2014 |
In the lofty trilogy that is Beethoven's last three piano sonatas - Opus 109, 110, and 111 - each feels like a continuation of the last, into ever more uncharted musical realms. They'll never feel like home: Their strangeness is so specific to the inner world of a composer who had withdrawn into deafness and, in any case, was among history's most singular human beings. So it's understandable that at Wednesday's performance of all three sonatas in one program, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society audience was puzzling over pianist Beth Levin.
November 19, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez ruled Monday against Charlie Birnbaum, a piano tuner fighting to keep his family home near the former Revel casino from being seized by the state casino redevelopment authority. In a 27-page opinion issued Monday evening, Mendez said the state's enactment of the Tourism District Act is "the legislative declaration of a legitimate public purpose" that would justify the seizure of property by eminent domain. "The fundamental public purpose contained in this legislation is to promote tourism, to create and protect jobs in Atlantic City, and to assist the ailing gaming industry," Mendez wrote.
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.