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Tag Archives | 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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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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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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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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Maeve Höglund. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: World Premiere of ‘The Wake World’ by Opera Philadelphia

Inside a museum dedicated to art from the past, the O17 Festival has brought a new opera which celebrates musical and literary styles from the past. Composer/librettist David Hertzberg built upon musical forms from the same time period, a century ago, when Albert Barnes was acquiring his unique collection. This is a clever, site-specific staging […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: Sondra Radvanovsky in Recital at Opera Philadelphia

Sondra Radvanovsky’s recital as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival was a spectacular event. That may seem like an oxymoron to some readers, who expect singer/pianist recitals to be intimate communions. She is a tall, majestic-looking woman with a huge voice. Here she entered what was, for her, the unfamiliar territory of small-scaled personal communication, […]

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Rebecca Robbins. Photo courtesy of Walnut Street Theatre.

Review: ‘Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins’ at Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3

How is theatre superior to film or TV? What special magic is found in live performance? This question is superbly answered in Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Stephen Temperley’s hilarious and oddly touching play at the Walnut Street Theatre. Leading lady Rebecca Robbins is a trained opera singer, yet she […]

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Anna Christy. Photo by Ken Howard.

Review: ‘Alcina’ at Santa Fe Opera

Editor’s Note: Our Steve Cohen is in Santa Fe, New Mexico this week, where he’s enjoying the local arts scene and seeing the work of Santa Fe Opera, a company with a close connection to Opera Philadelphia. That connection has resulted in highly acclaimed productions like The Elixir of Love and Cold Mountain, both of […]

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Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943).

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents The Rachmaninoff Festival

During his lifetime, Sergei Rachmaninoff was more famous as a pianist than as a composer. Logically, therefore, The Philadelphia Orchestra’s current Rachmaninoff Festival is concentrating on the keyboard. The Rachmaninoff Festival includes three separate concert programs being given over three days, with short biographical plays preceding each concert and “Russian musical salons” after each concert. […]

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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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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 #2: ‘Caroline, Or Change’ at Round House Theatre

Caroline, or Change, now playing at Bethesda’s Round House Theatre, is a musical clarion call for change at all levels. Whether it is personal change and transformation at the most personal level, larger historical change (this very intense musical is set against the assassination of President Kennedy and the rising Civil Rights movement) or the […]

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Review #1: ‘Caroline, Or Change’ at Round House Theatre

Round House Theatre continues to shine a spotlight on the works of Tony Kushner (Angels in America) as it explores life’s complexity through its seeming simplicity in Kushner’s autobiographical Caroline, Or Change. Childhood memories have a way of evoking and magnifying just about every human emotion. Kushner’s memories of growing up in a middle-class Jewish […]

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Guitarist Orlando Roman on The National Chamber Ensemble’s ‘Musical Gems of Mexico’ on Sat May 9th at 7:30 PM

This Saturday, May 9th at 7:30 PM The National Chamber Ensemble will be hosting Guitarist Orlando Roman talks about the concert. What is your relationship with Mexican classical music? Mexican music has always been an integral part of my repertoire. Mexico has a rich tradition of guitar music which I have employed in my solo, chamber, and […]

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