August 27, 2012 |
To view a video of the maestro and the piano-playing cat, go to:
August 15, 2012 |
SHE WAS 88 years old, but here's how an interviewer described her in 2009: "Her gold-toned pants with matching top, large jeweled earrings that sparkle brilliantly as they catch the light, and her gold high heels serve as the ideal ensemble within a beautifully aged home that is dripping with old Hollywood elegance. " That was Willa Ward, agelessly beautiful and still radiating the electric energy that made her a star as a member of the legendary Ward Singers, the Philadelphia-based gospel group, and later when she began singing pop standards on her own. Renowned for her beauty, talent and charm, Willa also was a fine pianist who could have had a career on the piano.
August 4, 2012
The internationally renowned Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa, 33, has been found dead in her apartment in Vienna. The musician's agent, Andreea Butucariu, said in a statement Friday that Ms. Ursuleasa died Thursday from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage and asked for her family's privacy to be respected. Police in Vienna confirmed the cause of death. Butucariu told Romanian media that Ms. Ursuleasa had recently canceled two concerts in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on unspecified health grounds.
June 7, 2012 |
GO AHEAD. Play the art. The University City District's new project, Heart & Soul, employed eight local artists to gussy-up pianos that will be placed around University City from Thursday-June 17. The project kicks off Wednesday with a party at The Porch at 30th Street Station, where pro key ticklers will try out the pianos before they get put on the streets. Although Philadelphia is no stranger to public art projects, both permanent and temporary, it's rare that they have a participatory element (aside from posing beside it and mugging for a photo, of course)
May 25, 2012 |
Don Wilson, 76, a former Philadelphia police officer and a leader of The Big Band at the Clef Club in Philadelphia in the 1990s, died of pneumonia on Thursday, May 17, at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Mr. Wilson joined the police force in August 1959 and retired in August 1981. He played trumpet with a police department band, as well as piano for the Police Pastimers Band until it disbanded in the early 1990s. For the last two years, Mr. Wilson played piano with the Tony Williams Trio on Monday nights at LaRose Jazz Club in Germantown, and he was a solo pianist on Thursday nights at the Warrick Hotel in Center City, said his sister, Ursula Hendricks.
May 10, 2012 |
Andras Schiff played the recital of his life on Tuesday, and in light of the lofty standard established by this 58-year-old pianist, that's saying a lot. But the 2½-hour recital of miniature works — the first half had 74 movements or pieces played without pause — was a lot to take in. Comfortable enjoyment wasn't in the game plan. While Schiff has long charmed his public with his teddy-bear presence and poetic, soft-spoken concerts of Bach, his Tuesday recital, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society at the Perelman Theater, interspersed Bach inventions among more assaultive peasant dances by Bartok and the brand-new Circus Dances by the contemporary Austrian composer Jorg Widmann.
March 19, 2012 |
YOU AIN'T heard nothing like "rockjazz" musician ELEW - the torrent of power and passion kicking out the jams tonight for the "Live from Loews" (hotel) monthly concert series. The press release bills it as an "intimate live performance. " Don't they know what they're really getting here? Standing/dancing at his Yamaha piano, with legs fanned out like a sumo wrestler and arms encrusted with metallic "vambrace" armor, the man truly attacks his keyboard. The left hand pounds bass lines with such fervor you'll never notice there's no drummer.
February 28, 2012 |
You'd think this town would finally be ready for Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. That infamous Philadelphia Orchestra concert version of the opera - it started with a well-populated Academy of Music and ended nearly empty - was long ago in 1986. But with far fewer tickets to sell, the Academy of Vocal Arts opened a five-performance run on Saturday with something seldom seen in its tiny Helen Corning Warden Theater - empty seats. Not a lot, but some. And this production is close to the real thing, not the shortened Impressions of Pelleas seen occasionally at the Curtis Institute.
January 10, 2012 |
If you missed the introductory speeches, the Ching-Yun Hu piano recital Saturday at the William Way Center seemed so at home as to be a typical occurrence rather than the first in a new series of fine arts events. The program, held in the grand reception era of the pre-Civil War building at 1315 Spruce St. that once housed the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia, was smart and ambitious. The full-house audience knew what it was hearing, and the demographics were fairly close to, say, an Astral Artists event, though with more same-sex couples, as one might expect at Philadelphia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center.
December 25, 2011 |
Joseph Daniel Scarpello, 95, of Northeast Philadelphia, a distinguished World War II veteran and Philadelphia Recreation Department leader, died at home of natural causes Wednesday, Dec. 21. As a city official for 30 years, Mr. Scarpello ran some of the city's largest playgrounds and recreation centers, and he started annual summer trips for city youth to Dorney Park. During World War II, he was an officer and naval aviator aboard the cruiser San Jacinto in the Sea of Japan from April 1945 until the end of the war. One of his duties was flying dirigibles.