April 30, 2014 |
'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.
April 9, 2014 |
If John Harbison ever entertained the thought of joining the current march away from dissonance, he's showing no signs of it. Happily, Harbison is firm in a musical language that perches, entrancingly, at a point just dissonant enough - at least according to the two premieres Sunday night by Network for New Music. Prefacing each new work with a much earlier one filled out important context. The MIT professor, at 75, has a musical style as concentrated as ever. The concert at the Curtis Institute's Gould Rehearsal Hall came at the end of a Harbison residency that included a Friday concert dabbling in jazz.
March 23, 2014 |
The timing could not have been predicted or contrived. Just as Russian/American relations veer toward breakdown over the annexation of Crimea, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presented a concert of Sergei Prokofiev's three so-called War Sonatas - Nos. 6-8, Opp 82-84 - a surprisingly overt reaction to Stalin's purges of the 1940s, played by a pianist with a certain family history of Russian persecution, Ignat Solzhenitsyn. Whatever the influence of current events on Solzhenitsyn's performance Thursday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, the impact on the audience was immeasurable.
March 9, 2014 |
SHOPPING FOR a piano can be incredibly overwhelming because the range of prices for a new one can be anywhere from $2,500 all the way up to $2 million. Add in used pianos, and the price range expands. There are also thousands of brands, and if you don't know what to listen for, you may think every piano (regardless of price and brand) sounds the same. "It's kind of like shopping for anything," said Pierre Julia, owner of Pierre's Fine Pianos, based in Los Angeles. "The range of quality goes from made-in-China to hand-built in Europe.
February 28, 2014 |
Leonidas Kavakos is a marvel of exactitude. There's a Leonardo da Vinci-like quality to his playing, as if you could plot mathematically how every micro move accounts for his elegance and efficiency. In this extraordinary violinist, artist and master technician coexist in polished communion. If a listener Tuesday night had to strain a bit to hear that which is human, it was understandable. In his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Kimmel Center of four Beethoven sonatas, Kavakos was sometimes a cool customer.
February 13, 2014 |
Weekends for Joseph A. Gorman were not spent sleeping in, not 50 years ago. On Saturday mornings, "he wakes up, vocalizing," before heading off to sing at Gloucester City church weddings, his son Joseph A. Jr. said. Later on Saturdays, he is playing the piano and singing at Kenny's restaurant on Market Street in Camden. "On Sunday mornings, he plays for Mass" as the volunteer organist and choir director at St. Mary's Church in Gloucester City. "That was the routine," his son said.
January 18, 2014 |
Nancy Gordon Lipton, 81, of Penn Valley, former owner of Two by Four Antiques & Collectibles, died Saturday, Jan. 11, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Arbor Terrace at Chestnut Hill. Mrs. Lipton was one of a few Philadelphia-area women who owned small businesses in the 1960s. She also was a wife, mother, teacher, musician, painter, dancer, jewelry maker, and volunteer. "She had an energetic, independent spirit," her daughter Amy said. "She was a great role model for us, as women growing up in the latter 20th century, that you could be a wife and mother and still have a career.
December 21, 2013 |
N. Harry Gartzman, 94, of Philadelphia, a family physician who spent 23 years as chief physician for Camden schools, died Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Kennedy University Hospital-Cherry Hill. Music provided the theme to his life, with him asking for piano lessons at age 8 and playing at a saloon in Camden by 14. Graduating from Camden High School as valedictorian in 1937, Dr. Gartzman played parties to pay his tuition at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his bachelor's degree in 1941.
December 15, 2013 |
Back in 1978, newlyweds Kathy and George Sideris didn't start married life in a cute, little cottage or apartment. Instead, they lived for two years in an expanded suite at the former Landmark Hotel in Maple Shade, where George was involved in operating the property. "It was a little strange, but we got used to it," explains Kathy, noting that the couple even had a small kitchen, which helped maintain some semblance of home life. But moving into a more conventional home was definitely a priority, and the Siderises got lucky: In Medford, they found a Tudor home that the builder of the surrounding cluster of custom homes had intended to occupy.
November 19, 2013 |
WE'VE SEEN some odd court cases in Philadelphia - newspaper owners suing each other, for instance - but we've never heard of anything like the case going on in Girona, Spain. There, Sonia Bosom (imagine all the times she was called a "tithead" as a child) sued her upstairs neighbors and their daughter for noise pollution. The daughter, Laia Martin , isn't some kid banging a drum all day - she's a professional concert pianist. Crazier yet, prosecutor Emma Ruiz wants Martin to serve jail time.