Well-laid plans for any new music ensemble probably don't exist - it's a side effect of embracing the unknown - which means the Orchestra 2001's opening-season concert on Friday was extremely promising in ways that weren't superficially apparent amid peripheral problems.
Despite the odds, Orchestra 2001 has arrived at its 29th season, apparently thriving amid a previously impossible future. The new-music ensemble - a collective that could be anything from full orchestra to one person leading John Cage's 4'33" of silence - seemed inextricably bound to the retiring founder/director James Freeman. Yet an ambitious Orchestra 2001 program en
Just about the time the Philadelphia Orchestra was bidding farewell to "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" at the Kimmel Center, the Relache Ensemble was across the river at the Penn Museum on Sunday, giving ironic jazz accompaniment something more Satanic and hugely interesting: Three short Georges Méliès films made between 1903 and 1909, in which the pioneering French director plays the devil himself.
Reverberations of Rattle. If you didn't get a chance to hear Simon Rattle's recent Mahler in Philadelphia or at Carnegie Hall, pull up the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall and listen to his Mahler Symphony No. 7. The performance is captured with crystalline, close-up views of Rattle and the Philharmonic, and has a bonus interview in which Rattle discusses the work. www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/home
What could have been an afterthought in Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's opening concert was actually the hit on the Sunday start of the new Kimmel Center season: Red Cliff, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Yiu-kwong Chung. Although the 60-year-old Taiwanese composer has written several concertos, his name was new to me. Even more happily, so were any number of other aspects of his music, thanks to his well-defined, charismatic voice.
Always an antidote to high-concept overload with boisterous instruments created to be heard in public events of centuries past, Piffaro the Renaissance Band embarked on the grandest project of its 31-year history in this weekend's Musical World of Don Quixote concerts but never lost its arresting directness.
Is Stokowski really dead? Even though Leopold Stokowski technically went to heaven in 1977, recordings keep arriving, the latest resurrection being a true Philadelphia Orchestra time capsule from 1927, with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Schubert's Sympho
Just because Opera Philadelphia has so many new-opera projects doesn't mean the company is neglecting the crowd-pleasing front. Opening on Friday at the Academy of Music, Puccini's Turandot arrived in a determinedly high-impact production that - with expenses shared with companies in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and others - would not be dwarfed by the Metropolitan Opera's famously lavish Franco Zeffirelli extravaganza.
David Patrick Stearns is a classical music critic and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.