May 29, 2010 |
Any critic who rolls his eyes about confronting yet another Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 needs to experience the piece at the artistic confluence of Charles Dutoit, pianist Nikolai Lugansky, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. A great interpretation justifies its own existence. Not that there was anything mannered or eccentric about Lugansky's performance Friday afternoon. His characteristics - a limpid sound, a large presence, and a tendency to push his playing to the outer edge of fleetness - were natural foils to some of the orchestra's tendencies.
May 4, 2010 |
A cake wouldn't quite do the job Sunday evening when the Network for New Music wished itself a happy 25th at the Settlement Music School in Queen Village. Philadelphia's plucky experimentalists celebrated the moment by bringing 25 new pieces into the world. Not quite full works, these variations on a theme by Anton Diabelli have a towering antecedent - Beethoven's 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli (Op. 120). The Network went to 25 composers with whom it has been involved, asking each to write a piece for piano, cello, clarinet, and flute, or an instrumental subset thereof.
May 1, 2010 |
It's extremely unlikely that the piece has been written that Yuja Wang can't play. For her, there is no repertoire too steep to conquer. The technique is simply off the charts. That all this piano brawn emanates from the elfin frame of a 23-year-old recent Curtis Institute graduate somehow multiplies the wonder. She programmed wisely for her current recital tour, which, after cancellations in California due to a sore arm, continued Thursday night at the Kimmel Center. Verizon Hall was stocked (if far from capacity)
April 26, 2010 |
The city's most impressive orchestra of a certain age is also its most ephemeral. Saturday night at Verizon Hall, it took on a bear of a program - and then disbanded forever. Some of these students of the Curtis Institute of Music graduate next month, which means the group heard in this concert will never materialize again. And yet, year after year, replenishment arrives, creating the almost miraculous illusion of intensifying ensemble cohesiveness. Maybe the level of playing really is getting higher; aural memory is a slippery thing.
April 25, 2010 |
Six months ago, Carson Atlas' entire piano repertoire consisted of "Amazing Grace," a song he taught himself noodling around on his family's Baldwin. On May 8, the 8-year-old third grader from Haverford will put on a tiny tuxedo and take the stage at the Annenberg Center for the finals of a hard-fought national "Classical Music Idol" competition in which the newcomer has outplayed performers twice his age who've been studying longer than he's been alive. In the audience, Leah Atlas will juggle her camcorder, pride, joy, and, if she's being honest, a bit of confusion.
April 12, 2010 |
Another pianist might have played the same program and missed the idea altogether. But through his canny sense of color and an unusually sensitive point of contact between finger and key, Yefim Bronfman's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Friday night at the Perelman Theater doubled as an essay in the piano as orchestra. He opened by evoking pizzicato, gliding wind legato and a brass chorale in Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor. The Schumann Faschingsschwank aus Wien was the most idiomatically pianistic work of the program, but even here, five movements formed a story line easily translated into orchestral form.
November 18, 2009 |
Someone says "piano bar," and you'll likely conjure up an image of something romantically Old World. Dark, smoky room. Tuxedo-clad musician. Sinatra, Sondheim and Styne fans heartily singing old, boozy songs and stuffing dollars into a giant snifter. Yet lately there's another kind of piano scene playing: This one has hipsters in pricey jeans, guys with names like "Tony T" and "Wildman Joe" pounding eighty-eights and belting "Rich Girl" and "Stray Cat Strut. " It has waitstaff hula-dancing on stage.
November 17, 2009 |
Back when people still sold CDs, Norah Jones and 50 Cent sold a lot of them. The diametrically opposed artists - she's the preternaturally pleasant soy-latte queen, he's the pathologically belligerent VitaminWater gangsta - each have a new album out today. And it's a safe bet that neither Jones' The Fall (Blue Note . 1/2) nor 50's Before I Self Destruct (Aftermath . 1/2) will reach the heights they achieved with their debuts, back before the music business went into free fall.
November 2, 2009 |
Kahlil is a happy, bright 5-year-old with a beautiful smile. Very friendly, he delights in having his picture taken showing his big dimples. He enjoys interacting with other children and with adults at home and in the community. Kahlil can be very active and independent. His foster mother describes him as a lovable, energetic, and curious little boy. He loves playing any type of sport, especially basketball and football. He also has a variety of other interests, including playing the piano, riding his bike, maneuvering his toy cars, being read to, attending Children's Church, and anything that involves Spider-Man.
October 28, 2009 |
She gets Valentines from sock monkeys, date requests from Moscow, unsolicited signed photos from Billy Joel and concertos written in her honor. Yet, this Philadelphia lady still eats on the floor. Nora the Piano Cat, a YouTube piano-playing sensation whose first video has drawn more than 15.7 million hits, will add another trophy to her wall when she accepts the Cat of the Year Award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City tomorrow.