November 20, 2013 |
When he plays with his youth orchestra in front of more than 300 people, 13-year-old Max Chambers of Berwyn isn't nervous. He's done this a lot, he says, looking every bit the professional despite his age, in a white button-down and black dress pants. Max sits in the first chair of the second violin section of the Musicopia String Orchestra, which played on Sunday at the Benjamin Britten Festival Concert at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. Since he was 9, Max has known that he wants to spend his life playing the violin.
October 27, 2013 |
PRINCETON - The image of Chris Thile playing Bach, alone on the Richardson Auditorium stage on Thursday, won't go away anytime soon. Here was a lanky, slightly crooked, fashionably rumpled 32-year-old guy with all his physicality funneled into a relatively small mandolin, negotiating the considerable intricacies of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin . A tour de force, obviously. But Thile also brought an element of loneliness to Bach seldom heard behind all the music's compositional exuberance.
June 3, 2013 |
If there is a mystique about baroque music performance, Camerata Ama Deus answers with a good laugh. Music director Valentin Radu, introducing violin soloists Thomas DiSarlo and Thomas Jackson at the ensemble's concert Friday, noted that they had doffed their jackets in the warmth of Chestnut Hill's St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He said he had asked them "to play topless. " In concertos of Bach, Telemann, and Benedetto Marcello, Radu produced an evening of baroque pops, works for oboe, trumpet, and violins.
April 16, 2013 |
Often lost amid all the exactitude issuing from conservatories today is the reason we make music in the first place. It's not about being able to play all the notes or play them in tune. Interpretation has to mean something if it is to be worth the trouble, especially since the trouble is considerable. How fortunate, then, must be the students of Miriam Fried, the violin pedagogue who teaches at the New England Conservatory. On Sunday night, for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she came to the Perelman Theater with one of her progeny - in fact, her prime progeny, pianist Jonathan Biss, who happens to be her son. Whatever their offstage dynamics may be, in terms of musical substance it was a performance of equals - if very different ones.
February 14, 2013
By Seymour I. "Spence" Toll After my 48 years of blessed marriage to Jean Barth Toll, pancreatic cancer swept her away in 1999. For all those years, and ever since, I have been a one-woman man. At the core of it was the appeal of her warm, gentle, and unpretentious spirit, with its unfailing kindness, deep friendships, and boundless capacity for our singular love. She had another delightful self. Although she could dress as tastefully as a conservatively clad fashion model, she enjoyed clothing that was not only old but beat up. She often wore a sweater in which her elbows poked out of holes in the sleeves.
July 27, 2012 |
JOSEPH SGRO, a South Philly guitar virtuoso who played for some of the most prominent band leaders and entertainment figures of past decades and who taught many local guitarists who went on to successful careers, died July 15. He was 94 and was living in a nursing home, but had lived most of his life in South Philadelphia. Joe Sgro taught mostly in his South Philadelphia basement, treating his neighbors to a steady stream of musicians eager to pick his brains, as well as their guitars.
May 5, 2012 |
Union Transfer boasts some of the best sight lines in the city, but even with the stage at Thursday's Andrew Bird concert in full view, you might have been tempted to crane your neck to see where he was hiding his orchestra. Even when he was alone at the microphone — or rather, microphones — with only a violin in his hands, Bird used loop pedals to layer swooping solos on top of sprightly pizzicato, seamlessly integrating snatches of styles ranging from the Wild West to the Middle East.
February 7, 2012 |
With his chin nestled against the violin and his right hand holding steady on his bow, Kolby Johnson tries to play an E note. "It's not quite high enough, so make sure your forefinger is on the tape. And you need a little more space in your hand," professional violinist Rebecca Ansel tells him. The sixth grader's next try produces a cleaner, higher-pitched sound. "That was good," Ansel assures the 11-year-old with the untucked white uniform shirt, who breaks into a smile.
January 11, 2012 |
When the two young stars from the Curtis Institute of Music were summoned to a hotel room, one by one, to try out some high-quality violins, they were met with an odd sight. The room was divided in two with white sheets, and the violinists were greeted by scientists wearing tinted welder's goggles. "It was very mysterious and kind of weird," said Nikki Chooi, a student at Curtis since 2007. Equally weird, by some reckoning, was what happened next. Chooi, fellow Curtis student Benjamin Beilman, and 19 others were asked to compare the sound of three modern violins with that from three made by the Italian masters: two by Antonio Stradivari and one by Guarneri del Gesu.
December 25, 2011 |
MuChen Hsieh was praying for a Christmas miracle - to find the $170,000 antique violin she left in the overhead compartment of a Megabus at 30th Street Station. The 19-year-old music student left her prized violin, on loan to her from a cultural foundation in her native Taiwan, on the bus after traveling from Boston. Hsieh, a student at the New England Conservatory of Music, had attended high school at Delaware County Christian Academy and was coming to watch her friends perform in a Christmas musical.