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Wolfgang Sawallisch

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NEWS
February 26, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin and David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITICS
Wolfgang Sawallisch, 89, the German maestro who defied expectations by taking the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 70 and remaking it into perhaps the most assured blend of orchestral polish and power in the United States, died Friday evening at home in Grassau outside Munich, according to a statement from the Bavarian State Opera. He had been stricken in recent years by a number of diseases and conditions. Mr. Sawallisch, only the orchestra's sixth music director in a century, succeeded the dashing, controversial Riccardo Muti in 1993.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 1996 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The orchestra's season, in the last 20 years or so, has changed its shape and shifted its weight to reflect the presence of the music director. The pattern is that the music director opens the season, spends a month, then returns to Europe. He returns in January for another month, then rejoins the orchestra for a month's finale in mid-spring before taking the musicians on tour. It is those separate months of music that reveal what the season is about and fill in details in the evolving portrait of the music director in Philadelphia.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Bruckner symphonies, taken as a whole, always sound to me like a man asking the same question over and over again his entire life, only slightly reshuffling the wording each time. A very long-winded man. But somehow, his Symphony No. 3 - all 55 minutes of it - flew by Thursday night under the spell of Wolfgang Sawallisch. Great Bruckner is a gift, one that few living conductors possess. Right now, there might be no better place on earth to hear the symphonist's work than at Broad and Spruce.
NEWS
November 12, 1993 | By RICHARD IACONELLI
Now that the media swirl over Wolfgang Sawallisch's appointment as music director for the Philadelphia Orchestra has passed, and his first concerts have proved so successful, it is a good time to contemplate a barrier that Americans rarely cross. Sawallisch was asked to start a new career at age 70. In most any other profession, he would likely be excluded because of his age. In the European-dominated classical music world, careers often extend past 70 - Artur Rubinstein concertized at the piano until 90, and yes, a seventyish Arturo Toscanini was asked to head the NBC Symphony orchestra in 1938 - but America is a culture that seems to deny people center stage after their seventh decade.
LIVING
November 16, 2000 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The "new Wolfgang Sawallisch" is no illusion. The maestro himself acknowledges it; he refers to it as "small changing. " But unlike armchair psychologists who put down the new intensity to the death of his wife, Sawallisch, 77, says the new fire on the podium is nothing more than the confidence that comes with knowing his orchestra with ever-increasing intimacy. "The relationship between the musicians and myself gives me personally more liberty, more possibility to penetrate more into different music, ja?
NEWS
December 20, 2000 | By Peter Dobrin and David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITICS
Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch spent 10 days in a Munich hospital after "feeling tired," according to orchestra president Joseph H. Kluger. Tests showed nothing wrong, Kluger said, and Sawallisch returned to his home in Grassau Friday night. Sawallisch was to have led three concerts in Paris with l'Orchestre de Paris on Dec. 6, 7 and 8, which he canceled due to illness, according to a spokeswoman for the French orchestra. Philadelphia Orchestra spokeswoman Judith Karp Kurnick said that no particular medical event precipitated Sawallisch's stay.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 1995 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Philadelphia Orchestra will play Beethoven next season - performing all nine symphonies and other works in a festival format, then taking the music to Japan in May. This will mark the first time the orchestra has performed all nine symphonies in a season in almost 60 years. Details of the orchestra's 96th season were announced yesterday at the Academy of Music by music director Wolfgang Sawallisch. He spoke in a setting designed to look like 18th-century Vienna, in which costumed pianist Davyd Booth, dressed as Beethoven, played.
NEWS
March 20, 1997 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Wolfgang Sawallisch said yesterday that he would step down as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra within the next three years, and that the orchestra should begin the process of finding his successor. Sawallisch's comments were not part of an official orchestra announcement, and he gave no specific date for his departure. But the maestro spoke openly about an end to his tenure. "You understand, my contract finishes with the '97-98 season," said Sawallisch in a telephone conversation from his Munich apartment.
NEWS
October 9, 1996 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Ten o'clock at night, and for two hours, Wolfgang Sawallisch has been pulling music from scores piled atop a grand piano to explain his ideas about composer Richard Strauss. He's been playing the piano. He's been singing. In an ornate Princeton University hall, he has held more than 400 listeners in the palms of his hands. Without intermission. Have you been wondering how the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra feels now that his musicians are on strike? Well, Monday night's lecture-demonstration gave one answer: The maestro's yearning to perform.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 16, 1990 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Everything changes and nothing changes as the Philadelphia Orchestra begins the season that will take it from an old decade to a new one. When it performs its traditional opening-night gala concert Tuesday, the orchestra will be starting its 91st season and music director Riccardo Muti his 11th. But although Muti's 10th season had the sense of a long, still-rising arc, his 11th is shadowed by his announced departure after the 1991-92 campaign. His successor, Wolfgang Sawallisch, is already in the wings, and each of Muti's concerts, each innovation and premiere will bear the weight of historic importance - his last performance of one composer or another, his final operatic series.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
NEW YORK - Ever loyal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin maintains what looks like an undying commitment to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, whose 2006 appointment consolidated his international career. Now, as he moves among A-list orchestras (including one in Philadelphia), why does he stay with a second-tier Dutch ensemble? Answers have been abundant during his U.S. tour with the Rotterdam orchestra, which ended Sunday as part of Lincoln Center's Great Performers series. Due to weather-delayed flights from Chicago, some players arrived only minutes before concert time, but still played at a level that showed why the tour has won off-the-charts reviews.
NEWS
May 16, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Is it backlash or breakthrough? Maybe both with Yannick Nézet-Séguin's new Schumann symphony set on Deutsche Grammophon that recently hit the market: It's both adored and dismissed, though not for any uniform reasons. Rather than recording the symphonies over time with one of his home orchestras (Rotterdam or Philadelphia), Nézet-Séguin opted for the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) during an intensive series of concerts at Paris' Cité de la Musique, plus a patch session. The reaction in England (where the set has been out longer)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 5, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
'Were we even at the same concert?" So goes the standard complaint critics hear from readers who had a completely different experience from what they read about in the newspaper. And the answer is, often, we weren't. In our cinema-dominated world of standardized experiences, it's hard to believe the Philadelphia Orchestra's repeated subscription concerts vary so significantly that a listener might come away from the same program with radically different impressions. But the performances do indeed change.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Although orchestra programs are set years in advance, they sometimes presage events in a way that makes them frighteningly relevant by the time they reach the stage. Rudolf Buchbinder's appearance Friday night with the Philadelphia Orchestra so soon after Wolfgang Sawallisch's death brought symbolic as well as practical significance. After the conductor became too ill to return for his laureate duties, the Viennese pianist, a close Sawallisch associate, would often arrive here as soloist with the maestro's greeting in hand.
NEWS
March 4, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Wolfgang Sawallisch was in poor health for so long that his recent death was like that moment when, after watching a flame diminish over a long period, it finally flickers to darkness. Until it totally disappears, you believe, if just a little bit, that through some miracle it might one day reverse its decline and burn bright again. In its own way, the Sawallisch flame endures. The conductor, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1993 to 2003, gave his last concert in Philadelphia in 2005.
NEWS
March 1, 2013
By Joseph Neubauer Nearly 20 years ago, I traveled to Germany to meet with Wolfgang Sawallisch to discuss our desire to engage him as conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. We sat in his garden surrounded by evergreens and mountains stretching off into the distance. At the time, the orchestra was facing a number of challenges. Concert attendance was falling. Recording contracts and broadcasting opportunities were evaporating. Arts programs had been eliminated in schools, and our audiences were growing older and older.
NEWS
February 26, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin and David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITICS
Wolfgang Sawallisch, 89, the German maestro who defied expectations by taking the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 70 and remaking it into perhaps the most assured blend of orchestral polish and power in the United States, died Friday evening at home in Grassau outside Munich, according to a statement from the Bavarian State Opera. He had been stricken in recent years by a number of diseases and conditions. Mr. Sawallisch, only the orchestra's sixth music director in a century, succeeded the dashing, controversial Riccardo Muti in 1993.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
There's no getting around the fact that what makes the Philadelphia Orchestra the Philadelphia Orchestra is a certain skillful manipulation of sound. And why would you want to get around it? This trademark sonority, much remarked on over the years, is a dear asset. With change in the air at the orchestra and so much at stake, this seems a good moment for an identity verification. "There is no such thing as the Philadelphia sound. The sound is the sound of the conductor," Eugene Ormandy reportedly once said.
NEWS
September 2, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
This time, the journey to the summit of Strauss' Alpine Symphony is obscured by fog and slowed by mud - which shouldn't happen when the trail guide is the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra's 2008 performance of the Strauss tone poem was highly acclaimed when recorded live in Verizon Hall; some even pinpointed the Alpine Symphony as the moment when current chief conductor Charles Dutoit claimed the Philadelphia Orchestra as his own. But though the lavishly scored piece is the flagship release in the orchestra's reentry into the recording market on high-profile websites - with 35-plus titles that include Shostakovich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, Beethoven symphonies led by Christoph Eschenbach, and distinguished guests such as Vladimir Jurowski and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos - one could argue that it should never have been released.
NEWS
July 28, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
It began like almost any other orchestra summer idyll, with Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture . And then, with the middle movement of a Mozart piano concerto, Tuesday night's Philadelphia Orchestra concert at the Mann Center suddenly took on rare auras of celebrity, politics, and the general idea that history of a sort was in the making. The source of the extra-musical messaging was the soloist: Condoleezza Rice, former national security advisor, 66th U.S. secretary of state and public face of the Bush 43 administration.
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