Monday, May 25, 2015

Archive: November, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 9:02 PM

The New York Times catches up on the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy, and adds some valuable national perspective to the latest pension developments. The orchestra is changing all of its pension plans: it won approval this week to turn over two of its internal plans to the federal government, and is also pulling out of the national pension plan in which several U.S. orchestras are participants.

Says the Times story:

“One of the flagship orchestras of the United States chose to take this path, which transferred its burden to other orchestras and individual musicians,” said Deborah Borda, the president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a critic of Philadelphia’s strategy. “It’s an abrogation of responsibility.”

Peter Dobrin @ 9:02 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 4:11 PM
Yu-Ting Chen practices her violin at Curtis May 6, 2011. (Tom Gralish, staff photographer)

Coming attraction.

The Curtis Factor explores the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia’s music conservatory that is small and elite, but a powerhouse player in the classical music world. It includes three articles for print, scores of photographs, a multi-media online timeline, video components and other features.

One unusual aspect of The Curtis Factor involves the creation of a new musical score. The Inquirer commissioned Curtis student Katerina Kramarchuk to write an original trio for piano, cello and clarinet – performed by Curtis students - which is both woven throughout the online video documentary on the school and presented in its entirety in a separate video piece. In producing the package, the Inquirer spent several months interviewing and photographing Curtis students, faculty, administration and alumni.

Peter Dobrin @ 4:11 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2011, 8:40 AM

Free shipping on orders from that high-end store for serious cooks, 20 percent off at the big clothing chain with three letters in its name, and really cheap tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The orchestra is hopping on the Cyber Monday sale train, offering tickets for $45 or less on all subscription concerts through the end of the season. The sale lasts until 11:59 Monday night. Not included are tickets to special concerts, such as the Academy anniversary and family concerts.

More here.

Peter Dobrin @ 8:40 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2011, 8:00 PM

The judge in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s bankruptcy case has approved the orchestra’s request to turn over two of its pension plans to an agency of the federal government.

Assets and liabilities of the orchestra’s internal pension plans for musicians and staff will be assumed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. under the terms of Monday’s decision by Judge Eric L. Frank.

Association attorney Lawrence G. McMichael hailed the decision as a major step in the orchestra’s exit from bankruptcy, but allowed that it will mean less money for retired players.

Peter Dobrin @ 8:00 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 4:10 PM

Ari Solotoff, the Philadelphia Orchestra's executive vice president and right-hand man to president Allison B. Vulgamore, will step down from the post in February, the orchestra announced Tuesday. An orchestra staffer since May 2010, he will assist the orchestra with its transition through April, and then pursue a degree at the University of Maine School of Law.

Peter Dobrin @ 4:10 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, November 4, 2011, 5:13 PM

If you’re an orchestra in bankruptcy, programming a series of requiems for the dead might not telegraph the most reassuring message. Yet Yannick Nézet-Séguin has hit on something in this repertoire thread leading up to his official start in 10 months as the Philadelphia Orchestra’s next music director.

Requiems are event pieces, drawing big crowds and rivers of emotion. Last season the young conductor led the Mozart/Süssmayr Requiem. He’s in town now for Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, a canny choice given current circumstances. Other requiems are services for the dead (comforting though the music may be). The Brahms is a salve for survivors.

How can one not take comfort in a piece that flouts the concept of finality?

Peter Dobrin @ 5:13 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter