David Patrick Stearns

Arts 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

One of the better-kept musical secrets in Bucks County is the Concordia Chamber Players, which performs in a number of venues near Doylestown and New Hope that are scenically beautiful but can also require a good GPS to find. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns arrived at a recent concert in Solebury, and this is what he found.


One highlight of Philadelphia's recent Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre came when the F. Otto Haas Award for emerging artists went to Akeem Davis, a 28-year-old actor from Miami who has been working so continuously that the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns wonders how he found time to actually accept the $15,000 prize.

Philadelphia has a new semi-resident choral group: Seraphic Fire, the Florida-based ensemble that is now expanding its seasons to New York and Washington DC as well. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports on this rare export from the Sunshine State.

Philadelphia tenor Stephen Costello has survived tonsil surgery, reflux, and most recently, the Metropolitan Opera's super-glitzy, Las Vegas-style production of Rigoletto. The morning after opening night, he took stock of it all with The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns.

Opera Philadelphia is celebrating its 40th birthday by announcing the boldest change of its history. The company has just unveiled the creation of an annual season-opening opera festival - Festival O - premiering in September of 2017 with O17. It's modeled after two highly successful American festivals - Sundance in Park City, Utah and Spoleto in Charleston, SC. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports.

Donald Burkhart / Bowerbird

In a prelude to what could become a full-blown festival, Bowerbird, the experimental music presenter, stages two events on Friday, October 16th and Saturday, October 17th making a case for Julius Eastman, a Curtis Institute-trained, African-American composer who became a fearlessly provocative figure in the 1970s avant-garde. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports.

Ron Berard/Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera changed the face of theatergoing nearly a decade ago with  high-definition simulcasts in movie theaters using a technology associated more with rock concerts and boxing matches than opera. What has the competition done to companies such as Opera Philadelphia? The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns talks to both sides.

Longwood Gardens' vast Meadow Garden provides the set for a site-specific performance presented in partnership with Malvern-based People's Light theater company. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns joined the theatrical team of Lost in the Meadow in the scorching heat. The play's eight performances, created by PearlDamour (Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour) and Mimi Lien, run from September 9th through 19th.

In its own way, the annual Fringe Arts festival this month is as ubiquitous as the forthcoming visit by the pope. As The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, a thousand plus events are spread over 17 days starting September 3rd in venues throughout the Philadelphia area.  

Jarrod Markman: Theatrical in presentation, primal in execution, and psychedelic in nature, the resulting sound is comparable to that of a wooly mammoth...

Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera

Jennfier Higdon's opera Cold Mountain premiered on August 1st at the Santa Fe Opera to a world that was obviously ready for a masterwork. It was sold out before opening, an extra performance was added, and a major recording company committed to releasing it commercially. The masterwork didn't quite emerge, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns. But many good things did.