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

Is it a grand opera company, new music ensemble, or one of the weightier additions to Philadelphia’s FringeArts Festival? Opera Philadelphia’s new season seems to be all of those things, says the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns.


The Curtis Institute of Music is in the midst of an all-school, all-year project for 2015/2016 devoted to avant-garde music that Philadelphians often avoided when it was new 50 years ago - works by the so-called "Darmstadt" composers. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks just how well the music has aged.




The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is making a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center on January 26th to perform an opera that few have ever heard live - L'amore dei tre re - (The Love of the Three Kings.) The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out about the opera, and why AVA has been longing to perform it. 

Grand Harmonie, the only period-instrument group in the United States exclusively focused on Classical and Romantic repertoire, seems to be based everywhere. Now in its fourth season, it's best known in Boston, has members in Philadelphia, and as the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, is in Princeton this week performing an ambitious period-instrument version of Beethoven's opera, Fidelio.

One of the hottest new Philadelphia composers is hardly new. Andrew Rudin is well into his 70s, and was a fixture for decades teaching at the University of the Arts. He recently had an instant hit with his piano trio Circadia, and now talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns about his post-retirement creative renaissance.

Live classical music in a shopping mall? For roughly 25 years, it's been happening at Liberty Place in Philadelphia at Christmastime with Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, courtesy of an all-female orchestra known as the Liberty Strings. But the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports that this holiday tradition may be in jeopardy.




Though planned for years, the Dec. 5th concert by The Crossing and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture's Takht Ensemble at Bryn Mawr College presents new music by Syrian composers right at a time when their homeland is in civil war. However, the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports that the music isn't about current strife, but earlier, more peaceful times.

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.

AustinArt.org

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.

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