David Patrick Stearns

Arts Desk Reporter

David Patrick Stearns is classical music critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer and arts reporter for WRTI's Creatively Speaking. He received his master's degree in musicology from New York University while working as music and theater critic for USA Today. He wrote the documentary film David Amram: The First 80 Years and is currently at work on two other documentaries. He is a frequent recording reviewer for the London-based magazine Gramophone. He is also a contributor to Opera News, The Guardian and Obit-Mag.com

The world is laughing at Florence Foster Jenkins once again in the new film of the same title. Meryl Streep plays the 1940s society matron who thought she was good enough to sing at Carnegie Hall, but was so sorely mistaken. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns, however, has stumbled onto the theory that Jenkins was laughing last.

Arriving in theaters this week, a new film starring Meryl Streep tells the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the notoriously untalented singer and socialite who, in 1944, gave a historically dreadful public performance at New York's Carnegie Hall. Now, the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns attempts to understand the legend.

The famous BBC Proms concerts typically showcase the world's greatest classical artists in broadcasts from Royal Albert Hall. This summer, an entire concert was devoted to recently deceased rock start David Bowie. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks if this makes sense.

Angus McBean / Warner Classics

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin was born in NYC in 1916. In 1926, the child prodigy made his recital debut at the Manhattan Opera House and had his first concerto performance with the San Francisco Orchestra. From 1928 until the year of his death in 1999, Menuhin had the longest-running contract in the history of the recording industry with EMI Classics, which was recently acquired by Warner Classics.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now years into his series of Mozart opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being The Marriage of Figaro. But with so many recordings already on the market, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what place can this one claim.



Last month, the Philadelphia new music choir The Crossing launched a two-night event, Seven Responses, featuring seven new works by major composers. What goes into such a project? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns discovered that for one piece, it’s automobile parts.

Philadelphia can expect symphonic fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend when the Kimmel Center hosts the first performance by the National Youth Orchestra 2 on Saturday. NYO2 was formed by Carnegie Hall’s educational arm and is coached by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. But catching any of the musicians between classes and rehearsals wasn’t easy for the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns.

In its 32 year history, the PRISM Quartet has commissioned over 250 new pieces, and in doing so, re-defined the saxophone quartet itself. As the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, this summer, they're forging unprecedented relationships with ensembles near and far.

An operatic version of King Lear...why hasn't anybody thought of it before? Well, some great musical minds have indeed. And on a recent trip to Paris, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Sterns found the composer who nailed it.

Julieta Cervantes

Philadelphia has long been known as a theater tryout town, but one show that many have forgotten is the first mainstream African American hit Shuffle Along. Now, a documentary revision of the 1921 jazz musical is back and is a big Broadway hit.  The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns examines its local roots.

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