June 30, 2012 |
After becoming the first major U.S. orchestra to file under Chapter 11 14½ months ago, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association is leaving bankruptcy. On Thursday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Eric L. Frank approved the orchestra's reorganization plan, which drew no opposition at a hearing attended by most of the major interested parties. His action clears the way for full emergence from bankruptcy by the end of July. About $5.5 million will be distributed to creditors based on a sliding-scale formula.
June 8, 2012 |
MUSIC Sweets for the Sweet We're turning the time machine back to 1991 Friday night so pop-rocker Matthew Sweet can relive the glories of his then-big breakthrough album "Girlfriend" in all its sugar tart, Big Star-meets-Beatles glory — from "I've Been Waiting" to "Looking at the Sun. " The stuff still sounds great, though lines like "When you say to me, I'm not so old" carry a different smirk 20 years later. Get there in time for talented triller Callaghan, a U.K.-to-Atlanta transplant showcasing country-tinged material off her "Life in Full Color" album.
May 24, 2012 |
More entertainment, less art? The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, grappling with a series of discrete financial pressures, is shifting away from being a distinct presenting entity, relying more on partnerships with commercial outfits such as AEG and Live Nation, while giving breaks in rent to its own resident companies. Gone next season: the critically acclaimed Great Orchestra series, as well as Keyboard Conversations. The Kimmel's lively Summer Solstice celebration has been canceled this year for lack of money (though plans call for it to return every other year, starting in 2014)
April 24, 2012 |
Resolving the most quarrelsome aspect of its bankruptcy, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association has settled with the national musicians' pension fund that had threatened expensive and time-consuming litigation over the orchestra's withdrawal from the fund. The American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), which had filed a $35 million claim in the case, will drop all its legal challenges in exchange for $1.75 million from the orchestra. The development allows the orchestra to approach bankruptcy Judge Eric L. Frank with an uncontested reorganization plan, which means - if the orchestra can wrap up talks with the Kimmel Center over a new lease - that it could be out of bankruptcy within 90 days.
April 17, 2012 |
By turning toward conducting, Joshua Bell appears to have become a born-again violinist. His arrival as music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Monday at the Kimmel Center might have suggested that he's moving away from the repertoire and art on which he made his name — as so many have before him. Paradoxically, however, the opposite has happened. Though Bell has long been one of the most consistent of A-list violinists, recent Philadelphia Orchestra concerto appearances suggested that he had grown a bit comfortable, his playing lacking immediacy aside from his self-authored cadenzas.
April 17, 2012 |
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia has never been Glamour Central — its audiences don't need that sort of thing — but the orchestra's status certainly wasn't hurt by a triple dose of that commodity over the weekend. Opera star Jessye Norman unexpectedly delivered an unaccompanied spiritual at Saturday's Lifetime Achievement Award Gala, which also came with a performance by her superb protégé, Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts. On Sunday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, the orchestra's concluding concert program of the season (repeated Monday at Perelman, and to be heard again Tuesday at the Temple Performing Arts Center)
March 6, 2012 |
In a world of shifting musical genres and fickle audiences, what is the pops orchestra of 2012 and beyond? Our own plucky example of the ensemble species, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, is in the process of rebuilding itself even as it ponders the question. Tuesday, to emphasize its move from offices on Broad Street to Walnut, the group puts on a dog-and-pony show with a parade of Pops musicians and Mummers - ceremony catching up with reality. The Pops split from the Philadelphia Orchestra Association in the wake of a failed five-year merger agreement brokered with the help of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo.
February 20, 2012 |
The job of an orchestra has always been to walk a queasy line between leading public taste and following it, but you might excuse the Philadelphia Orchestra for leaning into the latter territory more often lately, given its precarious state. This is a year for learning to love the Philadelphians again. Friday night's program reinforced the notion that if you give a certain large slice of the listenership what it wants, it will delight. Here it was Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Nikolaï Lugansky - in other words, a piece that has been building a fan base in Philadelphia for nearly a century, played by a pianist with buzz.