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

For many people, organ music is for weddings, funerals, and the Phantom of the Opera. But as the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, this pious pocket of classical music is starting to become mainstream.

Why didn't we know about this before? After the gala installation of the Kimmel Center's Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in 2006, interest waned among less-devout concertgoers. And let's face it, the organ community can seem like a forbidding club of connoisseurs. The organ could have sunk into aficionado obscurity.

Figaro, the wily barber of Seville is portrayed in two great operas. The popular Rossini work that bears his name and Mozart’s account of his marriage.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns explores how some legendary characters continue to speak to a contemporary director.

The Pennsylvania Philharmonic may be the ultimate anomaly: an orchestra that's being born rather than fearing its death. The idea is that if the outlying Pennsylvania towns can't support an orchestra on its own, maybe four or five or six can do so between them - and afford the star pianist Simone Dinnerstein. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports from Pottstown.

Nobody is surprised when jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis explores the classical side of his personality. Though on his current tour with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, he's on new ground playing music by contemporaries of J.S. Bach written a century before the saxophone was even invented. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out how that actually worked.

For all his hip Brooklyn looks, and up-to-the-minute repertoire, violinist Tim Fain is not adverse to traditional repertoire.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports on a classical musician who doesn’t embrace the future by turning the page on the past.

Kelly & Massa

The Barber of Seville is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Opera-goers always kind of knew that. But in Opera Philadelphia's new production, the setting is being brought forward 200 years to modern Spain - where passion crosses the line into...who knows? The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports.

This year, the trend-setting BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall had a season that brought in orchestras from the least-likely of places: Lapland, Iceland and Turkey.  What could they bring to a table dominated by the storied orchestras of Vienna and Berlin? A distinctive national identity, says the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns.

For the past few years, pianist Stewart Goodyear has been reconnecting to his musical roots through Beethoven. He performed all 32 of the composer's piano sonatas in a single day in 2011 and 2013, and then over four concerts last month. A stunt? A statement? Goodyear tells The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns it's more like a calling.

Isn't Stewart Goodyear that pianist who specializes in Gershwin?

Many classical pianists of the second half of the 20th century shone but briefly. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns looks at a nearly lost generation of musicians.

The F. Scott Fitzgerald saying, that there are no second acts in American lives, would seem to be borne out by America's great pianists of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. All had careers that buckled in one way or another under the relentless pressure of concerts, recordings, and radio broadcasts.

Opera fans often hope to find some sort of lost masterpiece or even an obscure work by a great composer; which is what the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns recently encountered at the Bard Summerscape Festival, with the help of a creative team that knows Philadelphians well.

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