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Vienna Philharmonic

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NEWS
February 27, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Vienna Philharmonic has no music director, and its members choose the conductors who stand on its podium. That, paradoxically, produces a level of conductors who call it "my philharmonic. " One of those, 80-year-old Herbert von Karajan, stood on its podium Saturday when the philharmonic began a week's stay in Carnegie Hall. His claim is sentimental, commercial and spiteful, for although he is Austrian, and has recorded profitably and organized a momentous role for the philharmonic in the Salzburg Festival and Mozart Days Festival, his attachment to the Viennese became strongest mainly after he had lost a pitched battle with his own orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, when he wanted to hire clarinetist Sabina Meyer.
NEWS
February 29, 1992 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Vienna Philharmonic, which on Thursday performed the first of two concerts at Carnegie Hall, is probably the only orchestra that overshadows its conductor. The philharmonic's playing represents a single artistic point of view that comes from deep in the history of the ensemble rather than from its current conductor. It is a viewpoint stemming from Vienna's great days from Haydn to Strauss, for the philharmonic is not an orchestra to plunge into the new, or to survey other nations' music very much.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Vienna Philharmonic's Carnegie Hall concerts are among the wonders of the orchestral world. The ensemble dashes to New York, plays a few concerts, then dashes back to resume its relentless schedule at the Vienna State Opera. These explosive tours serve to remind American listeners that some orchestras are flourishing, apparently free of industry ills and fads. More than 150 years old, the Philharmonic is little changed by time. It is only now grudgingly opening its membership to women - though its lone female member, harpist Anna Lelkes, did not make the ensemble's trio of weekend concerts here.
NEWS
March 6, 2003 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra knows how to make an entrance. Not only did its members stride all at once onto the stage of the sold-out Verizon Hall - an Old World custom - but its first Philadelphia concert since 1967 was greeted with demonstrators outside protesting the ultra-conservative orchestra's overwhelmingly white, male population, the product of a ban (since lifted) against women. Even that contributed to the event-of-the-season buzz: The Kimmel Center has promised to establish Philadelphia as a tour stop among visiting orchestras, and this orchestra is the most prestigious so far. And, yes, Wednesday's concert lived up to its anticipation, not because it was better than what is often heard here, but different - and different is good.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 5, 1994 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Verdi's Overture to La Forza del Destino was one of the favorite encores of Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra during Muti's tenure as music director from 1980-92. La Forza's brusque passions seemed to belong as much to the Philadelphians as to their consistently uncompromising maestro. So it was a poignant experience to be a Philadelphian sitting in Carnegie Hall on Thursday night, listening to Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic's blazing rendition of this Verdi overture, which brought an entire audience to its feet.
NEWS
August 26, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch recently spent two weeks in the hospital, experiencing the same blood-pressure problems that forced him to cancel performances here in the spring. "The poor guy is very frustrated," said Philadelphia Orchestra spokeswoman Judith Kurnick. "He's still dizzy, and they still don't know what's causing it. His blood pressure goes up and down. " Sawallisch was in a hospital in Munich, Germany, but is now back home in Grassau, according to Kurnick.
NEWS
July 17, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Herbert von Karajan died yesterday at his home near his native Salzburg, Austria, the most famous and controversial conductor of his era, who stood alone at the apex of the striving talents that form the pyramid of international music. Mr. Karajan, 81, died in Anif, just outside the ancient city whose annual summer music festival he had helped to make the world's most glamorous. Austrian television said the cause of death was heart failure. It was the president of the Salzburg Festival, Albert Moser, who announced the death, but those who have watched Mr. Karajan's career would not have been surprised if the announcement had been made by Austria's chancellor or West Germany's president, for the conductor lived and worked at a level at which his decisions and his activity had international political and commercial impact.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Leonard Bernstein's 70th birthday celebration continues with Deutsche Grammophon issuing major new recordings touching on significant aspects of Bernstein's conducting life. The orchestras in Bernstein's career are the New York Philharmonic, of which he was music director from 1958 to 1969, and the Vienna Philharmonic, where he stands as an unofficial principal guest conductor and tour leader. In celebration, this birthday issue includes Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (DGG 423 395-1/4)
NEWS
May 25, 1992 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
As the Philadelphia Orchestra turns toward the final performances of its farewell tour with conductor Riccardo Muti, the concerts have stood as a summary of the musicians' work together. The psychology has been almost as interesting as the music, however, for Vienna has become one of Muti's home towns, while the Philadelphians are visitors. Both in Madrid and Vienna, Muti could respond to applause with hand signals from the stage, reminding listeners that he would be back in a month with other orchestras - La Scala in Madrid and the Vienna Philharmonic here.
NEWS
July 19, 1989 | By Peter Landry, Inquirer Staff Writer Contributing to this report were Reuters, Knight-Ridder News Service, the Associated Press and Details magazine
Remember that blurry videotape of Rob Lowe in the buff, broadcast on some syndicated TV news shows? Well, it's not a record of the Atlanta liaison - as previously thought - US magazine reports. The magazine says the video that millions saw on the syndicated shows was taped in a Paris hotel room and shows Lowe with a woman and a man who are not involved in the latest scandal. Still, the romp between Lowe and two women at the Democratic National Convention last July - the subject of a lawsuit - did happen, the magazine reports.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
May 11, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
When it's all that it can be, the 100-minute musical volcano known as Richard Strauss' Salome goes to a place of barely contained frenzy in its story of a princess who desires John the Baptist right down to his severed head. The Philadelphia Orchestra's season-ending, mostly staged version Thursday went a step beyond, often seeming without restraint. That usual space between the music and its listener often vanished - as with Herbert von Karajan's live performances and, more recently, those of Gustavo Dudamel and Yannick Nézet-Séguin on good days.
NEWS
December 18, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The Kimmel Center's grand opening 10 years ago was a model of how not to do it. The performing arts center was so far from finished in its opening week that at one concert musicians gamely wore hard hats. Verizon Hall's out-of-control air-conditioning led bejeweled patrons at the opening gala to joke about seeing indoor snow flurries. The acoustics inhabited the opposite end of the weather index: The Washington Post's critic called the hall "an acoustical Sahara. " "You ask, 'My gosh, why wasn't this done right the first time around?
NEWS
August 6, 2009 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Philadelphia Orchestra's search for its eighth music director has entered a particularly treacherous stretch. Conductors' datebooks being what they are, filled three or four years in advance, the orchestra will have to act soon. But it doesn't have quite enough information on several of the candidates. Rock, hard place. The search committees have vowed that no one will be hired before making more than one visit to the podium - an unimpressive act of restraint when you consider how critical a decision this is. And yet here at the Mostly Mozart Festival Tuesday night was the young Montrealer who is the current front-runner: Yannick N?zet-S?guin.
NEWS
July 30, 2009 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Defenders of the status quo will tell you two things about African Americans and the American symphony orchestra: The reason there are so few blacks in orchestras is that the talent just isn't out there, and racism can't be the issue because auditions are played behind screens. Several years ago I wrote about the fact that 16 years after announcing a cultural-diversity initiative, the Philadelphia Orchestra still had the same three African American members it hired in the 1970s.
NEWS
February 26, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
If you shut your eyes at Tuesday's Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra concert at the Kimmel Center, your musical memories could have taken you to a darker, distant place and time, far from Vienna or Philadelphia - Lincoln Center in New York's messy early '80s. During the first three movements of Schubert's Symphony No. 9, I kept hearing the New York Philharmonic during that depressed era in its history. An unhappy time-travel experience, it was one whose common denominator, then and now, was Zubin Mehta.
NEWS
March 6, 2008 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
Suddenly significant Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel makes his first appearance in Philadelphia, the Vienna Philharmonic returns, Daniel Barenboim plays an all-Liszt recital, Cassandra Wilson performs her own tunes, and La La La Human Steps dances its Swan Lake- and Sleeping Beauty-inspired Amjad during the Kimmel Center's 2008-09 season. Kimmel programming czar Mervon Mehta says the Kimmel Center's own presentations - distinct from those of the Philadelphia Orchestra and seven other resident companies - will remain steady at more than 200 events in the Kimmel's eighth season.
NEWS
August 3, 2005
Gun-bill backers It's no surprise that Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) has aligned himself with the National Rifle Association, cosponsoring and voting for a bill to provide immunity from negligence lawsuits for gun manufacturers. What is close to shocking, however, is that the senior senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, has chosen to do the same. One would think that Specter, with his growing reputation as a truly independent Republican, would do his best to distance himself from such a shameful and transparent effort to garner votes and campaign contributions from gun supporters.
NEWS
May 26, 2005 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Elsa Hilger, 101, the first woman in the world, other than harpists, to be a permanent member of a major symphony orchestra, died May 17 at Wake Robin Retirement Community in Shelburne, Vt. Philadelphia Orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski hired her as a cellist in 1934. She never missed a performance - except the day her son was born - until retiring in 1969. And she retired only because of union rules. Ms. Hilger, who gave her last recital in 2002 at age 98, moved to Lake Dunmore, Vt., in 1977.
NEWS
May 20, 2004 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Sentimental and historical factors aside, there may be no better place in the world to hear Brahms than the Musikverein. Yes, Brahms worked and listened in this hall; and yes, the Philadelphia Orchestra has an authority and polished intensity with the composer that are a rare pleasure anywhere. But hearing them together Tuesday night in the Brahms Violin Concerto was an unexpectedly powerful experience. The strings drew on a reserve of inexhaustible depth and warmth, Richard Woodhams' important oboe part was penetrating and elegant, and Gil Shaham's solo-violin sound bloomed - aggressive though it may be. Altogether, the performance flourished in an acoustic for which Brahms' music seemed to have been specifically written: a perfectly balanced, resonant sound environment that heightened each instrumental section's character, yet still blended.
NEWS
August 26, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch recently spent two weeks in the hospital, experiencing the same blood-pressure problems that forced him to cancel performances here in the spring. "The poor guy is very frustrated," said Philadelphia Orchestra spokeswoman Judith Kurnick. "He's still dizzy, and they still don't know what's causing it. His blood pressure goes up and down. " Sawallisch was in a hospital in Munich, Germany, but is now back home in Grassau, according to Kurnick.
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