Archive: August, 2011
A friend who heard both the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts in Lucerne in the past few days offered these observations (starting with Chicago):
Unbelievable. I didn't know an orchestra could play so loud. Even from the second balcony. If you were drawing a cartoon, you'd show everyone with their hair streaming backwards from the force. To be fair, Chicago had somewhere between 10 and 15 more players on the stage than Philadelphia, but the sonic power was more than just that. They played a Bernard Rands piece, Strauss Death and Transfiguration (which I thought was boring) and Shostakovich 5th - which knocked everybody's socks off. I guess I would say that it was a difference in intention between the French concept of iron delicacy (Eiffel Tower) and brute force (city of the big shoulders?). Muti was Muti. He seems ageless. Not a gray hair on his beautiful head. His hair - and the rest of him - completely animated. He shamelessly milked the crowd.
Some things never change!
Ceding to the New England debut of Irene, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has called off its Sunday afternoon Beethoven 9 - Tanglewood's first cancellation in the orchestra's 75 years there. Philadelphian Eric Owens would have been a soloist, as well as Academy of Vocal Arts graduate Joyce El-Khoury.
Read David Patrick Stearns' first report here.
July brought $500,000 in new legal bills for the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. Five of the six major law firms and other consultants to the Association's chapter 11 case submitted invoices for court approval for the period covering July 1-31, bringing the total to just over $3 million.
In its strategic plan, the Association estimated that the entire case would cost $2.9 million in professional fees. (In addition, the plan called for $3 million to allow for settlement with creditors, and $2.5 million to cover any declines in ticket sales and donations during bankruptcy.)
That sum reflects only part of the expense brought by the case so far. In addition, the Kimmel Center, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, the American Federation of Musician and others are incurring legal and other professional fees in the four-month-old case.
A rather large and tilting paint brush went up this weekend over Broad Street in front of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Read about it here.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin will lead the Philadelphia Orchestra in an extra week of concerts this November, the orchestra announced Monday.
The Canadian conductor, slated to become music director in 2012-13, will be donating his services for those three concerts, said president Allison B. Vulgamore. The all-Bach program by the conductor previously scheduled for that slot, Nicholas McGegan, will be moved to 2012-13, she said.
Nézet-Séguin will also donate his fee for two additional weeks in 2012-13, Vulgamore said.
The Philadelphia Orchestra - in the midst of tough contract talks with musicians and a related chapter 11 petition - is losing some of its best players. Principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales has accepted the same post with the New York Philharmonic, and cellist Efe Baltacıgil is leaving to become principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Now, the orchestra's principal trumpeter, David Bilger, has accepted a two-year visiting professorship at the University of Georgia. He'll continue as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, but is cutting back on his number of weeks. Bilger's thinking behind his decision is nuanced and, to be frank, elegiac. Rather than paraphrase, I'll let him tell the story himself. Here's his letter to me (published with his permission):
Hi Peter -