Nobody ever said Orchestra 2001 couldn't rock - a modern ensemble has to be able to do anything - but perhaps no previous program has challenged this group (a 10-player version) to prove it so vehemently as the one Sunday under guest conductor Jayce Ogren at the Arts Bank. Four composers were heard at their most raucous, in performances that displayed a controlled abandon seldom heard in new-music concerts.
Yet another charming, youthful conductor has arrived on classical music's doorstep. The 31-year-old Bulgarian Stilian Kirov, fresh from the associate conductorship of the Seattle Symphony, has promptly filled the void left by Symphony in C's departing longtime music director, Rossen Milanov.
SANTA FE, N.M. - The opera world is craving an epic mainstream hit, and Cold Mountain has been anointed. Whatever anybody thought of the Santa Fe Opera Festival opening on Aug. 1, Cold Mountain is sold out here and has a recording and a PBS telecast in the works. With three other companies committed to producing it - co-commissioners Opera Philadelphia (in February 2016) and Minnesota Opera, plus North Carolina Opera - the piece is an inevitable success, and it deserves to be.
Somewhere on YouTube is a video that heatedly proclaims proof that Hell is a real place. Well, the opera Maren of Vardø: Satan's Bride had no problem dramatizing something similar in its premiere performance by Vulcan Lyric (formerly Center City Opera) at the Prince Theater on Thursday.
In the more populist realm of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Orchestra got back to its core purpose - playing an all-Beethoven concert, as opposed to accompanying a Lord of the Rings movie. The combination of good weather and a Saturday night slot (usually, it's week nights) showed how true classical concerts, even ones without cannons and fireworks, do what skeptics suspect isn't possible.
With a certainty that's rare anywhere, much less on Broadway, Al Hirschfeld's drawings accompanied the opening of most major New York shows for a showbiz eternity - the 1920s to his 2003 death at age 99 - drawing viewers into that world with a veracity photographs rarely touch.
By the end of Stella and Lou, the excellent Bruce Graham play that opened over the weekend at People's Light & Theatre Company in Malvern, you're relieved that this love-amid-the-ruins play, about middle-aged people getting a second chance at life, was premiered with respectable success in Chicago.
The summertime campus here is annually overrun with pianists (and a few violinists) when the Golandsky Institute welcomes artists young and old to learn healthy techniques that allow them to play well for as long as they love music. There's also a piano festival (ending Saturday) showcasing faculty and students expressing themselves without extraneous effort.
David Patrick Stearns is a classical music critic and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.