October 7, 2008 |
Lots of C's in the air Saturday as Symphony in C opened its season with a half-jokey branding effort that referenced tonalities, the city of Camden, and probably an unspoken reminder that Schoenberg once said, "There's lots of music still to be written in C. " Branding aside, Rossen Milanov's young orchestra did much more than ride high C's in its concert at Rutgers-Camden's Gordon Theater. The orchestra plays many roles in music and community building, but an important one is filling in the gaps in conventional symphonic programming.
September 29, 2008 |
Great Beethoven performances don't come along all that often. The composer's ubiquity can kill the chances of fresh responses to his more popular works. And because so many great conductors of the past leave strong imprints on the symphonies, modern performers seem intimidated into respectful detachment rather than on-the-spot inspiration. You get used to it; it's still Beethoven, after all. But in the first moments of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's season opening on Friday, you had to catch your breath: This is it. It's here.
June 11, 2008 |
The impossibly good news coming out of the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra late last year appears to have been, in the long run, impossible. After the orchestra's late-March performance of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 - a piece out of the reach of most regional ensembles - a series of resignations has left the organization without a music director and soon to lose its executive director. Also gone are three of its 10 board members. The problem, as outlined by several departed officials, comes down to a lack of money and initiative to remedy the situation.
May 17, 2008 |
Christoph Eschenbach's all-Schubert final subscription concert as Philadelphia Orchestra music director was neither daring nor fail-safe. But it was certainly a reminder of what an individualistic musical thinker the community is losing, and of how resourceful he can be - at least during this final run of concerts - at channeling the orchestra's best qualities into something well beyond the luxury of its sound. The pairing of Schubert's Symphony No. 8 ("Unfinished") and No. 9 ("Great")
May 8, 2008 |
Constantine Johns, 90, formerly of West Chester, a violist, conductor, and retired professor of music at West Chester University, died April 28 at Bear Creek Nursing Home in Morrison, Colo. He had moved to Golden, Colo., three years ago. During his more than 30-year career at West Chester, Dr. Johns chaired the Music History and Literature Department for several years, served as the university's director of cultural affairs and was vice president of the faculty senate. He retired in the late 1980s.
April 29, 2008 |
Ephemeral by nature though it may be, the symphony orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music is, in its current edition, like all others in the last two decades in one important aspect: It is a particularly concentrated form of artful adrenaline. With Christoph Eschenbach on the podium Sunday night in Verizon Hall, the ensemble came across like a punch that felt good. The first loud section of Dvor?k's Symphony No. 9 had an immediacy, impact and polish that constitute something of a Curtis philosophy.
April 29, 2008 |
Sensible concertgoers don't expect more than a reasonably pleasant afternoon from a part-time orchestra that's between music directors, such as the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. If nothing else, there was the provocative guest pianist David Greilsammer, a young Israeli artist with a major European career - but Sunday's concert delivered far more than that, thanks partly to Philadelphia Orchestra associate conductor Rossen Milanov. Greilsammer first. His vehicle was Mozart's seldom-performed Piano Concerto No. 5 (K. 175)
March 1, 2008 |
Philadelphia Orchestra performances of Sergei Rachmaninoff promise to be special occasions more than in most places: Though the orchestra was the composer's muse only later in life, Rachmaninoff's sensibility was so consistent that early works align as well with the Philadelphia sound as ones he wrote specifically for the orchestra. That was especially the case Friday when guest conductor Robert Spano delivered a knockout performance of Symphony No. 1, almost paradoxically thanks to his refusal to indulge in gratuitous sonic glamour.
February 11, 2008 |
The distance between reach and grasp provides the vitality of life itself. For an individual, it's the difference between what is and what might be. For an orchestra, it can be the intoxicating air between now - and soon. Symphony in C stands at that brink. The Camden-based orchestra has set its performance standards very high. Conductor Rossen Milanov has urged his young ensemble to ever-higher and more difficult repertoire with results that make it an orchestra to be savored and reckoned with.
January 24, 2008 |
The Kennett Symphony Orchestra is taking a new tack in an attempt to spread the word about its June concert premiere of Peter Boyer's Ellis Island: The Dream of America. For the first time, the orchestra is sponsoring a competition for high school students that doesn't involve instruments or voices. Instead, teenagers are being invited to submit essays, posters, and PowerPoint presentations about immigration, the theme of Boyer's work. Applicants don't have to be residents of Chester County.