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Archive | Classical Music

Jason Vieaux. Photo by GMD Three.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Fifth House Ensemble + Jason Vieaux at World Cafe Live

LiveConnections Presents kicked off its new season in rousing fashion with an evening of music from the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble and classical guitarist Jason Vieaux – introduced, in keeping with the educational mission of LiveConnections Presents, by an ensemble of high school students from Play On, Philly! performing Steve Reich’s “Music for Pieces of […]

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Hilary Hahn. Photo by Michael Patrick O'Leary.

Review: Hilary Hahn Plays Bernstein with The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Leonard Bernstein Centenary continues with concerts by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Last weekend’s performances featured one of Bernstein’s most interesting (and relatively obscure) compositions — his Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium), for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion. That Plato Symposium, allow me to remind you, was a series of dissertations in ancient […]

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Colin Doyle. Photo by Don Valentino.

Review: ‘The Sea Cadet’ and ‘A Trip to Africa’ at Concert Operetta Theater

Concert Operetta Theater moved into new artistic territory with its November production of two unfamiliar operettas. Daniel Pantano’s Philadelphia company teamed up with a European organization led by Dario Salvi devoted to the preservation of neglected music. Their similar interests came together with a double bill of operettas not heard in America in a century. […]

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Violinist Tessa Lark. Photo by Kate L Photography.

Interview: Violinist Tessa Lark Discusses Her Career and Her Upcoming Performance at the Phillips Collection

Don’t just call Tessa Lark a crossover artist. The fast-rising classical violinist may also be known for playing at jazz clubs in New York and elsewhere, and for her country fiddling at bluegrass festivals. But Tessa’s Kentucky roots and her deep curiosity about world cultures feed right back into her “serious” repertoire in a way […]

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Matthew Rose. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Gives a Haydn Masterpiece a Local Premiere

The programming of music by Haydn is unusual for The Philadelphia Orchestra. The choice is even more surprising coming from conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is more associated with modern compositions by composers like Mahler, Bruckner and Stravinsky. Yet Nézet-Séguin chose Haydn’s The Seasons to fill the entire program in his concerts of November 16, 17 […]

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Interview: David Rohde Interviews Mezzo-Soprano Isabel Leonard

When Washington National Opera presents one of opera’s top examples of musical comedy next spring, it’s only fitting that the production will star a singer whose background sounds as ready-made for Broadway as for the opera house. Isabel Leonard, who will sing the lead role of Rosina in Gioachino Rossini’s laugh-filled romp The Barber of […]

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Alyson Cambridge. Photo by Andrew Ousley.

Review: ‘From the Diary of Sally Hemings’ at Unison Media

The New York premiere of William Bolcom’s composition, From the Diary of Sally Hemings, could not be more timely. With so much news focused on racial tensions, as well as the recent uproar over sexual aggression by powerful men, this piece explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave with whom he fathered six […]

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Margaret Leng Tan. Photo courtesy The Barnes Foundation.

Review: ‘Pioneers of Avant-Garde Piano’ at The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation presented an unusual recital of avant-garde music composed by Henry Cowell, John Cage and George Crumb. These three giants of experimentation remind us of Albert Barnes’s interest in classical music and his sponsoring of musicians. It was Barnes’s custom to invite guests to his home to see his modernist paintings and to […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo courtesy The Metropolitan Opera.

Review: ‘Norma’ at The Metropolitan Opera and Live in HD

The new Metropolitan Opera production of Norma, which opened the company’s season, is the most intimate presentation of Vincenzo Bellini’s classic that I’ve ever seen. Norma is an impressive monument and has been called “the Mount Everest of operas.” Yet director David McVicar sees it as a family story, and conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts it […]

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The ensemble and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: ‘West Side Story’ staged by The Philadelphia Orchestra

West Side Story has never sounded as good as in last weekend’s performances by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It even surpassed Leonard Bernstein’s own recording, which sounds sluggish in comparison. Never once did Yannick and the Philadelphians sound like a symphony orchestra performing a pops concert. Rather, the 42-year-old led a jazzy performance […]

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200x200 Garrick Ohlsson

Review: National Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor Juanjo Mena and Pianist Garrick Ohlsson at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall (Final Performance TODAY, 10-15-17 at 3:00 p.m.)

It’s not unusual for concertgoers to be greeted by the sounds of orchestra members tuning their instruments, so commencing Thursday night’s concert with Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates’s Auditorium, whose opening scrapes, bleats, squeaks and toots could easily be taken for those of an orchestra warming up, was both genial joke and masterstroke. Making his […]

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Sage DeAgro-Ruopp. Photo courtesy Curtis Institute of Music.

Review: ‘Impressions of Pelléas’ at the Curtis Institute of Music

Claude Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is a unique masterpiece. But it’s very long: five acts, around four hours. So director and playwright Peter Brook in 1992 devised an adaptation called Impressions of Pelléas which runs 95 minutes, and which the Curtis Opera Theater presented last weekend. What sets Pelléas et Mélisande apart is its […]

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Member of the Catholic University of American Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of CUA.

Review: Catholic University of America’s Chamber Orchestra Performs an Evening of Music by Rossini, Bizet and de Falla

The neoclassical room at the Former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence was the perfect backdrop for the sold-out concert of the Catholic University of America’s Chamber Orchestra. On October 5, in collaboration with the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, they presented an evening of music by Gioachino Rossini, Georges Bizet, and Manuel de Falla. Under […]

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Maestro Gianandrea Noseda. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

Report: ‘National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala Performance’ Conducted by Maestro Gianandrea Noseda and Featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Cynthia Erivo

Listen up, DC! There is a new Maestro in town. Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, whose impressive resume ranks him as one of the world’s most sought after conductors, opened his inaugural season as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra with a gala performance of Leonard Bernstein compositions. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soloist Cynthia Erivo accompanied […]

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We Shall Not Be Moved, Wilma Theater, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ by Opera Philadelphia

The sole Philadelphia-based offering in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival is We Shall Not Be Moved. Its powerful message is that the city’s children, and particularly its black children, are deprived of decent education, housing and safety. The message is delivered with stirring music, impressive direction and excellent performances. This message is linked to the tragic […]

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