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ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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.
NEWS
July 20, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
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)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 5, 2014 | By Virginia A. Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
June 13, 2014 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
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]
NEWS
June 6, 2014 | By Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
May 22, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
May 9, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
CENTER CITY Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein came and went, but she never left. Rudolf Serkin, Rose Bampton, and Fritz Reiner - they were just passing through. In fact, at the Curtis Institute of Music, everyone else ranks as a mere carpetbagger next to Eleanor Sokoloff. The school's prima donna piano professor, given to sharp outfits and sharper opinions, came to the school as a student in 1931, started teaching in 1936, and never left. There she was, still, at Curtis' traditional Wednesday tea - but this one poured in her honor from the school's lustrous samovar.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 6, 2014 | By Merilyn Jackson, For The Inquirer
The real Midway Avenue, the street where performer Nichole Canuso lived as a child, is in the 'burbs, Lansdowne to be exact. Last weekend, she replicated it as Midway , a physical theater piece, at FringeArts. On either side of the stage floor, she chalked 24 "memories" ranging from tape (masking and recorder) to piano to speech, spin, jump. Corresponding to them, sometimes uncannily, were Chopin's 24 Preludes , which were composed as memories. Troy Herion provided some original music and created superb sound design that followed the Preludes . As Canuso revealed that her mother often played the Chopin, she created a piano outline on the floor with tape, then sketched in house, table, couch, TV. It was at the table that her mother "came out to me" when Canuso was 9, first explaining what "gay" was. Everyday objects were placed near the chalked memories: broom, colander, box grater, music stand.
NEWS
May 1, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
DONALD KAWASH lost his job as a teaching assistant at Temple University in 1972 after 1960s-inspired student protests disrupted his American history course. What to do? Out of work and needing an income, Don turned to playing piano in local bars and parties. His specialty was ragtime, particularly the songs of Scott Joplin, the African-American composer and piano player of the early 20th century. Although he was far from giving up teaching, Don was launched on a parallel career as one of the nation's top ragtime virtuosos, whose playing progressed from local night spots to the Smithsonian, the Kimmel Center, Scotland and more than 200 classic American music shows up and down the East Coast.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 30, 2014 | By Samantha Melamed, Inquirer Staff Writer
'It seems like everything is a musical these days," said Jennifer Childs, taking a break from rehearsal in the sunny South Philadelphia studio of 1812 Productions, Philly's only professional comedy theater company. " Rocky is a musical. Spider-Man is a musical. The Bridges of Madison County is a musical. So we thought, 'What if there was Budget Crisis: The Musical! Or Congressional Infighting: The Musical! '?" Take that line of thought to its illogical conclusion and you get the latest rendition of 1812's annual news-driven, politics-focused holiday production This Is the Week That Is - rebooted as a news-driven, politics-focused spring musical.
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