August 21, 2014 |
John Blake Jr., 67, the Philadelphia jazz violinist and music educator who toured with Grover Washington Jr. and McCoy Tyner, and taught generations of students at the Settlement Music School and the University of the Arts, has died. Mr. Blake died Friday, Aug. 15, from complications of multiple myeloma, according to his son, Johnathan. The jazz man grew up in South Philadelphia, and studied violin and piano at Settlement before graduating from West Virginia University with a music degree and going on to the Institute of Advanced Studies in Montreux, Switzerland.
August 21, 2014 |
WHEN THE children of the Blake household in South Philly turned 6, they took piano lessons. "There were no ifs, ands or buts about it," said one of those kids, Charlotte Blake Alston. "You played the piano. " It was an edict from their mother, Carrie Blake, a church organist who knew the value of music to the human soul. Their father was a very literate letter carrier. Another of Carrie's children was John Blake Jr., who became an internationally renowned jazz violinist. He always acknowledged that his love of music began in the pews of Holy Trinity Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.
April 22, 2014 |
The premise is simple: David Uosikkinen leads his bandmates in the Hooters, along with a coterie of this city's finest rock-and-soul players, through a project of his own devising, a catalog of his favorite Philadelphia-rooted songs. You can argue with Uosikkinen's choices, but you can't argue with his enthusiasm or reach ("I Ain't Searchin' ", from Philly late-1960s favorite the American Dream is alone worth the price of admission). Under the moniker In the Pocket, Uosikkinen's shifting collective ensemble released its tracks online (to benefit the Settlement Music School)
March 24, 2014 |
For four years, Ellie D. Brown has been trying to determine whether an early education in the arts enhances children's ability to learn overall, and again and again she has turned to an unlikely tool of inquiry: a small swab of sponge. More than 24,000 times, the West Chester University associate professor of psychology and her colleagues have reached into the mouths of 500 children at Settlement Music School's Kaleidoscope Head Start program and a nearby control school to measure cortisol, the hormone associated with stress levels.
March 2, 2014 |
Bloody street riots changed the context of Lydia Artymiw's recital Thursday at the American Philosophical Society. The Philadelphia-born pianist submitted her program a year ago to showcase music by five Ukrainian composers as part of her own heritage. Events in Kiev transformed these works from a personal statement of cultural brotherhood to an elegy for a nation in pain. The five pieces, in minor keys and modal echoes written in the 19th and 20th centuries, etched a portrait of sorrow, frost, and snow.
October 25, 2013 |
In July, trumpeter Wallace Roney and a big band debuted "Universe," a piece that saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote in 1968 for the Miles Davis Quintet, plus orchestra. Shorter had thought the piece was lost. In time, he found it and sent it to Roney, who worked for years to give it a proper birthing before succeeding at the Jazz Standard in New York. "We've been turned down by every record company, but we're trying," Roney said of the long-form, tuneful piece, which pulses with flutes, French and English horns, and bassoon.
June 25, 2013
By Allison Vulgamore The Philadelphia Orchestra recently returned from our China residency and 40th anniversary tour. (For sure, it is a relief to see cheesesteaks on the menu!) While we are exhausted, we are also exhilarated. We returned home a changed orchestra - not in sound, but in spirit. We have been deeply touched by the generosity of the Chinese people and moved by the power of our strengthened bond. The Philadelphia Orchestra's first visit to China, 40 years ago, was historic.
June 20, 2013 |
The streets of Philadelphia will be more musical than usual on Friday. Outside 30th Street Station at 8 a.m., singer-guitarist Scot Sax will greet commuters in an interactive, bring-your-own-cowbell performance of Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs. " (Smartphone cowbell app participation is also encouraged.) That will be followed by the Settlement Music School's Kyo Daiko ensemble, banging on Japanese Taiko kettle drums. Those free performances, and more than 130 others at more than 50 venues throughout the city, will be part of Make Music Philly day, Philadelphia's first participation in National Music Day. The event, born in France, came to the United States in 2006 and has grown to include municipalities such as New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, N.M., and Kalamazoo, Mich.
February 22, 2013 |
THE CHANTS from families whose children attend Penn Alexander School were simple and blunt. "Ten more in! Ten more in!" the 60 adults and children yelled Wednesday outside a University Council meeting at the University of Pennsylvania. The group braved the chilly temperatures to demand that 10 students, wait-listed to attend the prestigious K-to-8 school under a new district-imposed lottery system, be allowed to enroll. "Broken Compact, Broken Families, Broken Community" read one sign.
February 21, 2013 |
Although most schools in the area were closed Monday for Presidents' Day, the halls of the Philadelphia High School for Girls were filled with the sounds of aspiring young musicians and singers belting notes in a foreign language and pounding on drums. The high school hosted the first Philadelphia Festival of Young Musicians, an all-day music program featuring more than 200 third- to sixth-grade students from city public, private, and charter schools who gathered to rehearse and then perform in a concert.