Archive | Music

Mason Bates. Photo by Mike Minehan.

Review: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in ‘Energetic’ Music

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s latest program with The Philadelphia Orchestra was an intelligently thought-out adventure. The central work was Alternative Energy by Mason Bates, in its East Coast premiere, and Nézet-Séguin chose two other compositions with similar subject matter. Bates focused on the uses of energy in 20th and 21st Century America, and as he imagined it […]

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Review: The American Pops Orchestra Presents ‘You Spin Me ‘Round: An ’80s Dance Party’ at Lisner Auditorium

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being formulaic when the formula mixes crowd-pleasing song selections, fresh and stylish musical arrangements, and knock-out performances. That pretty much sums up a trademark accomplishment of The American Pops Orchestra and Music Director Luke Frazier. Friday night’s concert was a 1980s pop hits feast. Yes, it’s a time period remembered […]

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Review: ‘The Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla’ at The National Chamber Ensemble

Before a sold-out house Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, the National Chamber Ensemble wowed the audience with its creative revival of Antonio Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons, brought back by popular demand as a highlight of the Ensemble’s 10th anniversary season. Equally enjoyable and well-received was the opening number La Muerte del Angel […]

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Review: ‘NSO Pops: Sophisticated Ladies: 100 Years of Ella & Company’ at The Kennedy Center 

Acclaimed vocalists Capathia Jenkins, Sy Smith and Montego Glover joyously hopped the A train to Harlem along with the NSO Pops in tribute to the Queen of Jazz in Sophisticated Ladies: 100 Years of Ella & Company. This year marks Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday and conductor Steven Reineke’s brilliant creation to honor the First Lady […]

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Review: ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at The Catholic University of America by Natalie Barsoum

Who would have thought that an evening of love, ambition, betrayal, violence, and death could be so enjoyable? That is precisely what last night’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor at The Catholic University of America was – enjoyable. Gaetano Donizetti’s macabre opera based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor (a twisted Romeo […]

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Review: Cher at The Theater at MGM National Harbor

Accompanied by a phalanx of golden shield-carrying gladiators, The Goddess of Pop strode onstage last night in a massive afro and shimmering turquoise and silver ensemble that exposed one singular, very buff, perfectly rounded butt cheek. Seventy is the new twenty, if it’s Cher we’re talking about.  Glamorous, fit and fierce, she seized the night […]

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Review: ‘Not My Baby’ at Momentum Collective

What defines parenthood? Are children always a gift? The adoption-themed Hip Hop musical Not My Baby by Alexandria, Virginia-based playwright Jason A. Ellis, explores those questions and more. With music and lyrics by Ellis, Not My Baby is a pleasing potpourri of dance, music, drama and comedy performed with excellence. Not My Baby is the […]

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Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo by Kristen Loken.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Seeger, Berg & Beethoven with Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

Contrast was stark in the concert which Michael Tilson Thomas led with The Philadelphia Orchestra. The first half displayed two radically dissonant pieces from the 1930s — Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Andante for Strings and Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, while the second half was devoted to Beethoven’s classic Symphony No. 3 (the Eroica). You could make […]

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Review: Suitland High School’s ‘Mid-Winter Concert’

Prince George’s County Public Schools are filled with young talent. An excellent example of that talent is Suitland High School’s Center for the Visual and Performing Arts’ musicians and choirs. As directed by Musical Director Kenneth Boucher, the school’s Mid-Winter Concert was a gorgeous display of lyrical and musical delights. Accompanied by pianist and recording […]

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Photo by Steve Sachs; design by Dan Lee.

Review: ‘koma’ at Solecalibur

It’s 2 a.m. His mind is racing, overwrought with memories of situations, conversations, and images of her. Music and film merge with poetry, rap, and movement to explore one half-hour inside one man’s anguished psyche in Solecalibur’s koma – “a sound spectacle with a visual component” – created, directed, and edited by Tommy Butler, with […]

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The viola section, featuring Rachel Ku,. Photo by Jessica Griffin.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Brahms’ Eleven Chorale Preludes, Bach’s Cantata No. 150, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4

The Philadelphia Orchestra set of concerts during the last weekend of February was one of the most imaginatively conceived in recent memory. The program consisted of selections from Brahms’ Eleven Chorale Preludes, Bach’s Cantata No. 150, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Johannes Brahms is the favorite composer of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Most musicians will avoid picking a favorite, […]

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Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White, Felix Umansky, Jaime Amador, Arturo Stable. (Photo taken at the sound check.) Photo by Brian Buttler.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Harlem Quartet + Arturo Stable

Once again, LiveConnections Presents (“LCP”) curator Mary Wheelock Javian’s musical matchmaking has produced a lively evening of musical discovery. This time it was the pairing of the Harlem Quartet with percussionist and University of the Arts professor Arturo Stable. As usual with LCP’s offerings, the first set featured the invited string players. The Harlem Quartet’s […]

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Review: ‘Famous Contemporaries: Music by Gliere, Medtner, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tcherepnin’ at the Russian Chamber Art Society

As a novice opera aficionado, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Masterpieces of Russian Vocal Music: Famous Contemporaries, the Russian Chamber Art Society’s most recent offering at La Maison Francaise, the Embassy of France. This concert series is dedicated to Russian chamber vocal music, especially music rarely heard in the United States, and […]

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Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Mozart and Brahms

During the 44 years when Eugene Ormandy was music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra (1936 to 1980), he led almost every concert. There was scant need for guest conductors. Now the symphonic world is different. All prominent conductors dash from one city to another, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin needs to do this more than others because […]

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Review: ‘Luther Re-Lives’ at the Publick Playhouse

The velvet voice and beautiful love ballads of one of the greatest R &B crooners of all time, Luther Vandross, lives on through the magnetic stage presence of William “Smooth” Wardlaw’s  Luther Re-Lives. As if channeling the body, soul and spirit of the man, Luther Re-Lives, which played Saturday night at the Prince George’s Publick […]

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featured_Ingrid Rosenback and Jack Scott at Marple Public Library, Marple, PA

Music with a Mission: Interview with Last Chance, a Great American Musical Duo

Last Chance, Philadelphia’s much-talked-about musical duo of singer-songwriter Jack Scott (vocals, banjo, and guitar) and Ingrid Rosenback (vocals, fiddle, and harmonica), has been performing as a duo since 2012. Featuring only original songs, they play extensively in Philadelphia and the surrounding area to a wide range of music lovers of all ages and backgrounds—ready to […]

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