Monday, May 25, 2015

Archive: September, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 12:52 PM

James Levine will undergo immediate surgery for a herniated disc, his agent announced today, forcing him to cancel upcoming dates with the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He will spend the fall recuperating, the BSO said.

So far, Levine has withdrawn from BSO concerts in Boston Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, and from Carnegie Hall’s opening night Oct. 1. Levine has also withdrawn from Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera Oct. 6 and 10.

In Boston, conducting duties will be split by assistant conductors Julian Kuerti and Shi-Yeon Sung. No announcement yet about a sub at Carnegie.

Peter Dobrin @ 12:52 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 10:23 AM
Filed Under: Conductors

Osmo Vänskä (on bike) has signed on for an additional four years at the helm of the Minnesota Orchestra, keeping him there (at least?) through 2014-15, effectively canceling his already modest chance to become the next music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mixed feelings about him, still.

Hans Graf, on the other hand, is getting ready to take his leave of Houston, committing to the Houston Symphony through 2012-13 and not a minute longer. After that, you can call him Laureate.

Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer is the new music director of the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera, succeeding Keith Lockhart. Fischer will continue his current gig as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Peter Dobrin @ 10:23 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 1:39 PM
(Photo: Ryan Donnell)

People will tell you the average age of an orchestra-goer with approximately the same relish they use when quoting the national debt, and with a similar calculation for drama. "What?" you are expected to say. "At that rate...(insert your own apocalyptic scenario here)."

I happen to identify with the (apparently) tiny school of thought that any listener is perfectly okay. I adore the Philadelphia Orchestra's older Friday afternoon audience; they're uniquely knowing, having seen it all. But I understand the panic over where the listener of tomorrow will come from, which is why I nearly gasped upon approaching Verizon Hall last night. Hundreds of college kids were standing around outside. Not an internet-organized melee, but a swarm waiting to hear a heap of Berlioz inside.

The best thing about the Philadelphia Orchestra's free "College Night" wasn't the free food, though the announcement of its existence, waiting in the lobby as post-concert reward, did get a big round of applause. Rather, it was the programming. Charles Dutoit didn't condescend. He gave the audience of 2,000 kids exactly what the grown-ups were getting this week, and they seemed happy to hear it.

Peter Dobrin @ 1:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 8:58 AM

The Boston Globe's Geoff Edgers has a lovely profile today on Ann Hobson Pilot, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's harpist who is retired. Sort of.

The piece doesn't mention it, but she attended Settlement Music School.

Peter Dobrin @ 8:58 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 4:40 PM

The sole candidate in the Philadelphia Orchestra's search for a new president/chief executive officer today announced that she is leaving her current post.

Allison B. Vulgamore, longtime president of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has met several times in the last few months with Philadelphia Orchestra leaders and has emerged as the only current contender for the top job.

She is exiting the Atlanta orchestra after 16 years, she said, declining to speak about what her next move might be.

Peter Dobrin @ 4:40 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, September 21, 2009, 9:32 AM
(April Saul / Staff Photographer) (INQ SAUL)

I hope no one associated with last night's "Fallen Heroes" concert at the Mann is feeling deflated this morning. While it's true that the event drew only 1,200 to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra - a number that looks mighty small at the Mann - in many ways the effort was a good model for the future.

It raised $160,000 (plus whatever donations were collected at the concert itself) for the survivors fund of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police. It gathered another $250,000 in in-kind donations.

It ran entirely on volunteer steam - from the ushers, to musicians, to host Tony Danza, everyone pitched in.

Peter Dobrin @ 9:32 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, September 20, 2009, 6:45 AM

Stephan Salisbury has more detail on and reaction to the state's new arts tax.

It's disturbing that public officials are unwilling or unable to give tax payers the full story:

A spokesman for Gov. Rendell, Gary Tuma, said he could not confirm specific elements in the budget package. But "we cannot do a budget without pain," he said, "and there is widespread pain in this budget."

Peter Dobrin @ 6:45 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, September 19, 2009, 6:58 AM

In the late-night deal to end the Pennsylvania state budget stalemate, it seems the arts did not get forgotten.

They got taxed.

Look at this from the Inquirer's coverage:

Peter Dobrin @ 6:58 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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