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Archive: August, 2011

POSTED: Friday, August 5, 2011, 11:57 AM

The one in Paris lives on. But the 81-foot-high structure created in the image of the Eiffel Tower for the inaugural Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is history.

"We recycled the metal from the Eiffel Tower, and it is not coming back. Sad but true. It had a nice life, as they say," said PIFA executive director J. Edward Cambron. The tower - which sat in the Kimmel Center's plaza - was taken apart and sent back to its New Jersey maker, Proof Productions, to be melted down.

The festival, on the other hand, is coming back. A smaller PIFA is being planned for 2013, with a budget of about $5 million (as opposed to this year's $10 million).

POSTED: Thursday, August 4, 2011, 11:57 AM

Yuja Wang made quite a splash in Los Angeles - with LA Times music critic Mark Swed.

Here's part of his account of the Curtis Institute-trained pianist's recent Rachmaninoff with the LA Phil and Lionel Bringuier:

"Her dress Tuesday was so short and tight that had there been any less of it, the Bowl might have been forced to restrict admission to any music lover under 18 not accompanied by an adult. Had her heels been any higher, walking, to say nothing of her sensitive pedaling, would have been unfeasible. The infernal helicopters that brazenly buzz the Bowl seemed, on this night, like long-necked paparazzi wanting a good look."

POSTED: Thursday, August 4, 2011, 11:13 AM

No, it's not for sale. But as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's bankruptcy case, the orchestra must calculate the value of the entire estate, since that amount helps to determine how much creditors will receive. One of the orchestra's biggest assets in the estate is the 155-year-old Academy.

Determining the real value of the Academy is a little like putting a price on the Liberty Bell. Who would buy it? Does one factor in cultural and historical significance, and if so, how? But Larry McMichael, the orchestra's bankruptcy lawyer, says a valuation can be determined.

"That is the job of the appraiser, that is what they do," he says. "It’s possible to put values on it. It's always an estimate, but that is the customary way of dealing with it."

POSTED: Thursday, August 4, 2011, 8:34 AM

While the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's chapter 11 case continues in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia, talks with the musicians' union pick up this weekend in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where the orchestra spends part of the summer each year.

George H. Cohen, the chief of federal mediators from Washington, D.C., won't be there this time. He's concluded that as long as neither side is willing to budge on the pension dispute, there's no point in his continued presence, according to sources.

The Association still wants to end its participation in the American Federation of Musicians' defined benefit pension and move musicians to a defined contribution plan. The national union, fearing that the idea will spread to other U.S. orchestras, is putting considerable muscle into the fight.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 7:35 AM

Fleisher Art Memorial sactuary, August 2, 9:30 a.m.

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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