March 25, 2015 |
Though choice of soloists is often an important component of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's sense of alternative symphonic experiences, previously unknown guest conducting talents can feel like an even more welcoming ambush. Sunday's headliner at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater ostensibly was Sean Chen, a young pianist who has placed well in competitions (the Van Cliburn, for one) and is a nominee for a 2015 Leonore Annenberg arts fellowship award at Penn. But the concert started with Haydn's little-known overture to the opera Armida , conducted by the lesser-known Nir Kabaretti with a solidity not heard consistently since Ignat Solzhenitsyn's departure and, more than that, a distinctive, glistening personality.
March 11, 2015 |
'When all goes wrong . . . smile a lot. " Such was the advice that conductor Scott Terrell gave to the everyday people who stepped up to lead a Philadelphia Orchestra contingent Monday at the Reading Terminal Market. Orchestra players have performed pop-ups from Macau to the Comcast Center, and Monday morning word went out on the Internet that this one would be a "Conduct Us" program, where listeners could become participants and get a souvenir baton. No way the entire orchestra could fit at the northerly end of the crowded market, of course.
September 30, 2014 |
To those who believe the world is in general decline: At least one corner is rapidly improving, and that's the string quartet. In decades past, quartets practiced for months before daring to play anything for the outside world. Astral Artists opened its season of young-artist concerts on Saturday at the Church of the Holy Trinity with a group that converged only for this concert, but that delivered a weighty program with technical confidence plus a degree of imagination and emotional presence infrequently heard in any season.
March 26, 2014 |
Charting Beethoven's evolution from being the most genial guardian of the classical style to its executioner is an exercise done vividly and not infrequently through the string quartets and piano sonatas. But Peter Wiley and Anna Polonsky took audiences through the story from the vantage point of the cello sonata Sunday afternoon. Presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in two concerts at the American Philosophical Society, at 3 and 6 p.m., it was hardly a marathon (at least for the audience)
March 14, 2014 |
There's something intoxicating about the Elias String Quartet. It was no mystery that the group was able to cast a spell Tuesday night in a newish Sally Beamish work, the String Quartet No. 3 , with those spiritual Gaelic atmospherics. But for its Philadelphia Chamber Music Society visit, the Elias brought Haydn, personalizing the F major, Op. 77, No. 2 quartet to the point of instantly rendering every other performance in the listener's memory as but a pale stab. The third movement "Andante" was a landmark statement, intensely absorbing, exquisitely considered - a piece in itself, really.
March 12, 2014 |
So extreme are the four string quartets of experimental Greek composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) that can't enter their tactile world until experiencing them live. Having played individual works in past concerts, the JACK Quartet packed Bowerbird's series at the University of Pennsylvania's Rotunda Sunday with a program of all four in a single program. Might one's ears fall off by the end? The concert was neither long nor bewildering. Of course, one knew to expect music that would make Elliott Carter seem tame, if only because Xenakis loved high-density use of extended techniques, mostly glissandi, that allowed his music to shoot off in all directions at warp speed, as in his earliest string quartet, ST-4/1,080262 , composed between 1956 and 1962.
January 31, 2014 |
Banjo innovator Béla Fleck didn't embark on his first classical composition with a story in mind. But as he wrote the three movements of his banjo concerto The Impostor , a narrative began to emerge. "The idea is about someone sneaking into a masquerade party," explained Fleck earlier this week from Nashville, where he was scrambling to get a banjo repaired before heading out on tour the following day. "The orchestra is the party and the banjo's not supposed to be there, but since it's a masquerade party it can hide in plain sight.
January 18, 2014 |
Blood may be thicker than water, but it's still no match for the Mendelssohn Octet or a nice late Haydn quartet. You might have spent the better part of Wednesday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society mash-up of the Jasper and Jupiter quartets pondering family dynamics; there are, among and within the two groups, three siblings and two marriages, all stemming from the impossibly musical surname of Freivogel. Filial layers extended into the local premiere in the Perelman Theater of Dan Visconti's Eternal Breath . The 2011 work was commissioned to honor the 40th wedding anniversary of Bill and Margaret Freivogel, progenitors both musical and familial as parents or parents-in-law to five of the players.
June 9, 2013 |
BEIJING - The Philadelphia Orchestra was divided but not conquered. The orchestra's 40th anniversary tour of China was moving on to Macau on Friday - its last and glitziest tour stop - when a handful of musicians and orchestra executives on the early-bird flight from Beijing were stuck on the tarmac due to heavy rain. The takeoff was delayed six hours. Nonetheless -. "Our musicians would like to offer you a musical surprise," announced orchestra president Allison Vulgamore to the marooned, disgruntled passengers.
May 20, 2013 |
Sunday House of cards Set in the 1970s, a time of turbulent political upheaval in England, James Graham's drama This House imagines the backroom struggles in Parliament. A film of the recent National Theatre production screens at 12:30 p.m. at the County Theater , 20 E. State St., Doylestown. Tickets are $18. Call 215-345-6789. Love and death The novels of James M. Cain captured the chaos of human desire wrapped in mid-20th-century American desperation - in short, perfect for film noir.