Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Sunday, April 6, 2014, 3:26 PM

On his way through Philadelphia after a 14-city U.S. tour that ended Friday, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra first-chair flutist Eyal Ein-Habar looked in his overhead baggage compartment to get his flute, and found it gone.

"My flute was inside a carry on along with my computer, music scores and some more," he said. "Upon arrival it was not in the overhead compartment. I waited for everyone to leave the plane, so I could look around. But then realized there was only one bag left, not mine, and not even similar."

It is not only his main instrument - it is his only instrument. While not worth the millions old Italian string instruments fetch, it is still a potentially greater loss than a missing laptop: about $60,000, he says. Just in case you brought home the wrong bag and found something unfamiliar, it is a Powell 19.5 gold flute, with a head joint by Mancke. Ein-Habar was coming through Philadelphia from Raleigh-Durham to catch a flight to Tel Aviv.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 2:07 PM

After eight years, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia executive director Peter H. Gistelinck is resigning his position at the end of the 2013-14 season to take the same post with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, both groups announced today. As a search for a successor begins, current director of orchestra operations and artistic administration Jeanette Honig Grafman will serve as interim leader.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 8:55 AM

Christoph Eschenbach, well-known to Philadelphians from his five-year stint at the orchestra, has extended his stay at the National Symphony Orchestra through 2016-17, artsjournal and others report. Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette offers a concise assessment here. Another maestro has decided to step down. Alan Harler, artistic director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia since 1988, will become laureate after the 2014-15 season, the 140-year-old chorus announced.

POSTED: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 10:33 AM

You can imagine the father explaining it to his son in the not-too-distant future: "...You would drop a coin in the slot, and you could make a local call. A local call? That's when..."

Shelled-out remains of a bygone technology can still be found across the city. The pay phones themselves are gone, and I suppose at some point their casings will disappear as well, no longer subjecting youth to their puzzling appearance like so many mini Stonehenge-like enigmas.

But in the meantime, a few, like this one near 9th and Christian Streets, are doubling as canvases. At least they serve a purpose. And you can stand as long as you like without anyone interrupting to ask you to please deposit another 15 cents. "Please deposit another 15 cents?" That's what the operator would say when - oh, never mind.

POSTED: Friday, March 14, 2014, 2:39 PM

Leonard Bogdanoff, 83, a violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a half century, died suddenly at home in Elkins Park Friday. Colleagues said Mr. Bogdanoff personified all of the best qualities of the orchestra’s old guard.

“When I think of Leonard I think of the kindness in dealing with all of the other members of the viola section. He was just very fair,” said orchestra substitute violist Pamela Faye, a frequent stand partner. “You can have people who can make or break a section, and he was one of the ones who gave a positive influence, sound-wise, stylistically, all of it. That was really an inspiration to me.”

Retired orchestra member Louis Lanza, who, as a second violinist, sat not far from Mr. Bogdanoff, called him “a very steady player, very accurate, and just a wonderful musician.”

POSTED: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 4:17 PM

Some in last Friday's audience for Nikolaj Znaider's Beethoven Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra noticed a bit of a stir on stage in the second movement. Here's what happened, according to his agent:

"Nikolaj had his violin fine-tuned just prior to his performances in Philadelphia, and he discovered (at a most inopportune time, and with considerable chagrin!) that his chin rest had not been completely refastened to the instrument. During one of the tutti orchestral passages in the Larghetto, Nikolaj asked David Kim whether he had the right tool to tighten the chinrest (and thereby secure it to the violin). David did not, so Nikolaj soldiered on, seemingly unfazed. By the end of the performance, the chin rest was so loose that Nikolaj was able to take it off and slip it in his pocket during the applause. Remarkably, it did not seem to affect his playing one bit."

POSTED: Monday, March 10, 2014, 1:30 PM
So passionate an advocate for his art form is Jonathan Biss as a writer and teacher, no one should forget his day job: pianist. Biss, whose online course on the Beethoven piano sonatas was reviewed in Sunday's Inquirer, is performing Tuesday night with Elias Quartet for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Among the works on the program is the Schumann Piano Quintet in E Flat Major.

POSTED: Thursday, March 6, 2014, 12:04 PM
L'Armonica: Lettera del Signor Beniamino Franklin al Padre Giambatista Beccaria, Regio Professore di Fisica nell' Univ. di Torino.

Long ago, when we were more familiar with the sounds of the forest than the earbud and on friendlier terms with the dome of stars above us than the glow of the cellphone, music and nature cohabitated easily. Vestigial evidence of man in nature survived well into the concert hall era: horn calls in Brahms, bubbling streams in Schubert songs, the murmurings of Dvorak and Wagner.

When did our relationship with nature in music change? And how did composers and others react in the 19th century to creeping industrialism? Musicologist Emily Dolan dips into the subject tonight at a 6 p.m. lecture entitled "Instruments and Order: In Search of Nature Music" at the Wagner Free Institute of Science. Armed with recordings and video clips, Dolan will explore musical instruments that were developed - and have since slipped into obscurity - that were meant in some way to imitate nature.

"Music and nature have always been very closely aligned," says Dolan, a University of Pennsylvania associate professor, "but how they are aligned has changed in really interesting ways from period to period. In the 18th century there was a paradoxical shift with all of these instruments sounding to people like the voice of nature."

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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