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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: July, 2011

POSTED: Sunday, July 31, 2011, 9:32 PM
The orchestra is in Bankruptcy Court saying it will seek to withdraw from the musicians' pension plan. (Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer)

Latest on the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy case here.

POSTED: Friday, July 29, 2011, 1:47 PM

If you’ve ever had the urge to watch a woman twirl a large hoop around her tightly wrapped bun in time to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Buffoons,” Thursday night at the Mann Center was your chance.

Not that it will be your last. Cirque de la Symphonie, a jolly entertainment that pits the Russian National Orchestra against acrobats, a contortionist and one charmingly befuddled harlequin, is making the rounds. The concept isn’t likely to leave us anytime soon. The Philadelphia Orchestra has two dates next week with Cirque de la Symphonie at its summer site in Saratoga Springs, and the orchestra’s new strategic plan calls for development of a “cirque” type show of its own.

A Philadelphia take isn’t likely to bring out Thursday’s crowd of perfumed Russians and Ukrainians. You could locate the audience’s Eastern Bloc when the ensemble, led by Mikhail Tatarnikov, played the “Gopak” from Khachaturian’s Gayaneh. These listeners knew just what to do, breaking into spontaneous clapping — on the afterbeats.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 3:14 PM

We're not hearing much of the Philadelphia Orchestra here at home this summer, but the ensemble's recent concerts with Charles Dutoit at the Festival de Lanaudière are nicely captured here.

POSTED: Monday, July 25, 2011, 11:02 AM

The judge in the Philadelphia Orchestra Association’s bankruptcy case has handed down a compromise in the tussle between management and the musicians’ union over the scope of an investigation of the Association’s finances.

Noting that bankruptcy code allows broad discretion in such decisions, and is “designed to permit interested parties to ‘discover assets, examin[e] transactions, and determin[e] whether wrongdoing has occurred,’” Judge Eric L. Frank issued a ruling Monday that allows the union access to documents already provided to other interested parties in the case, plus a mechanism for requesting additional documents later.

Lawyers from the pension fund of the American Federation of Musicians argued in court July 21 for access to a wide range of internal records from the past decade in a quest to ultimately assert that the Association should dip into its $140 million in endowments if it insists on withdrawing from the national union’s multi-employer pension plan.

POSTED: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 11:37 AM

In advance of today's appearance of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and American Federation of Musicians in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the musicians' union has filed its response to the Association's objection to an in-depth probe of the orchestra's finances.

The Association is using "stonewall tactics," and has been "stringing along" the union in talks to define to scope of the probe, the response says.

Therefore, the union argues, the court should approve the look into the orchestra's finances, which would help determine whether the Association's claim that the endowments are restricted, and cannot be tapped, is in fact the case.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 1:06 PM

The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced recipients of this year's Pew Fellowships in the Arts. Each will receive $60,000 in a one- to two-year period.

They are: Charles Cohen (electronic musician and composer); CAConrad (poet); Jorge Cousineau (set designer); Joy Feasley (visual artist); Chris Forsyth (guitarist and composer); Jane Irish (visual artist, whose Oligarch Couple, 2007, is pictured here); Tania Isaac (choreographer); Pattie McCarthy (poet); Brian Philips (architect); Tim Portlock (visual artist); Matthew Suib (visual artist); and Jamaaladeen Tacuma (free-jazz bassist, composer, and band leader).

More information here.

POSTED: Monday, July 18, 2011, 10:35 AM

My colleague David Patrick Stearns has entered the blogiverse with Condemned to Music. His premiere jotting tracks a fast narrative involving a tarot reading, cornfields and a stint in Muncie, defining what it means to write from a Philadelphia point of view and jumping off the high dive. I suspect music will also figure heavily into his new diary. How can you not read it?

POSTED: Monday, July 18, 2011, 6:47 AM

Baritone Cornell MacNeil died Friday, the New York Times reports. Obituary here.

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 pdobrin@phillynews.com.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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