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Archive: April, 2009

POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 1:46 PM

After slashing its summer schedule, the Philadelphia Orchestra yesterday said that it has won a more favorable arrangement from the Mann Center that allows it to restore concerts in Fairmount Park to its lowest usual number: nine.

The new summer plan — which the orchestra insists is final — is the result of a negotiation between the Mann and orchestra that continued even after the joint announcement April 7 that the Mann concerts this were being cut to three from the traditional number (which has ranged from nine to 18).

The pact, which leaders say was signed Tuesday, calls for the Mann to become presenter of the orchestra instead of the orchestra presenting itself. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association will provide the orchestra at no fee to the Mann, and the Mann will cover the costs of staffing, marketing, security and other expenses.

POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 10:52 AM

The Washington Post reports today that the Hirshhorn is putting three Thomas Eakins paintings up for auction. Apparently not in response to a financial crisis, the sale would raise money for the museum's acquisitions fund.

POSTED: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 6:07 AM

The orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music played Carnegie Hall Tuesday night. The Times reviewed.

POSTED: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 1:36 PM

Poets are being invited to participate in a project of the American Philosophical Society and Network for New Music. See the Museum of the Philosophical Society's new exhibition, Dialogues With Darwin. Write a poem. And then one of a dozen or more young composers from local universities will set the poem to music. The resulting works will be performed by the Network at Benjamin Franklin Hall in February, 2010.

The Network recently showed what a process like this can yield with a concert at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where composers wrote works inspired by art in that collection. But why Darwin - what's the connection? Even sophisticated culture vultures are surprised to find out that the largest archive of Darwin material outside of Cambridge is here in town at the American Philosophical Society.

So what's in this show? Dialogues with Darwin has "letters, as well as rare first editions, sumptuous illustrated books, and manuscripts that follow the evolution of Darwin’s big idea—evolution through natural selection," the society says.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 6:19 AM

The Philadelphia Music Project, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, awarded nearly $1.2 million to 19 groups, Pew said yesterday.

Astral Artists will get $95,000 to host a two-year residency with composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

The Curtis Institute of Music will receive $100,000 toward its staging of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 3:32 PM

American artist Thomas Chimes has died, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced. Chimes was the subject of a retrospective at the museum in 2007. Inquirer obituary here.

Pictured: Faustroll Helmet, 1984.

POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009, 6:31 AM

Jerry Seinfeld's two June 20 shows at the Academy of Music sold more than half the house yesterday just on pre-sale - that is, tickets made available only to subscribers and others signed up for special offers. Tickets go on sale to the general public today, so if you want to hear the comedian, now's the time to act. The shows represent good financial news for the Kimmel Center. Even taking into account Seinfeld's fees, the Kimmel will make money if sales go well, a spokesman said. Seems likely, given yesterday's big response.

Update: Ticket Philadelphia says both shows pretty much sold out by 11:30 a.m., and at 4:15 only scattered single tickets remained.

POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 10:54 AM

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, canceled an upcoming European tour. Geoff Edgers of the Boston Globe reports that the BSO is citing the "economic downturn and resulting uncertainty" as the reason for nixing its Feb. 2010 roadshow, which would have included stops in Paris and Vienna.

You may remember that the Philadelphia Orchestra was aiming for first tour with Charles Dutoit as leader this year, but - in a cut that turned out to be just the tip of an awful iceberg - called it off. Philadelphia's first tour with Dutoit (to Asia) is still slated for 2010.

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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