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

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Creatively Speaking
9:39 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

A New Opera Takes Novel Approach

Composer Michael Hersch

Philadelphia has produced its share of opera singers. But what about operas themselves? Conservatives might say we have quite enough of them already. Nonetheless, there are currently six operas in the making in our region - one, each, by Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, and Melissa Dunphy, and two from Andrea Clearfield. But the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns tracked down the one who crossed the finish line first - Havertown-based Michael Hersch - only to ask, is this really opera?

Michael Hersch's opera, On the Threshold of Winter, premieres next summer in New York by the Nunc new music ensemble.

Creatively Speaking
7:59 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Temple Keyboard Professor Discovers The Fun In New, Old Music

Harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff

Big revelations sometimes come in unassuming packages. Little did Temple University harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff know when she spent a month at historic Williamsburg, Virginia studying parlor music from colonial times - and on the instruments that were played - that she would come out with new ways of playing and hearing, and that it would be so much fun.  The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports.

Joyce Lindorff plays Music from The Harpsichord Miscellany on a just-released recording.

Creatively Speaking
3:45 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

A Philadelphia Favorite: Composer Jennifer Higdon

Composer Jennifer Higdon with Beau.

Philadelphia’s Jennifer Higdon is among the most-frequently performed living American composers. Her works have been performed around the world and recorded on dozens of CDs. Higdon received a Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2010 for her Violin Concerto, a composition written for violinist Hilary Hahn and first performed by Hahn and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2009. 

The prolific Higdon is in the process of adding an opera to her extensive repertoire. The joint commission of The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia is based on Charles Frazier’s Civil War novel Cold Mountain. It's scheduled to open in Santa Fe in 2015, followed by an East Coast premiere at the Academy of Music in February 2016. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns considers Jennifer Higdon's early development as a composer.
Jim Cotter explores how Philadelphia has influenced Jennifer Higdon's career.

Creatively Speaking
8:16 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Yannick Looks Ahead To The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2013-14 Season

His name is Yannick Nezet-Seguin, but in a New York Times profile, he was nicknamed Mighty Mouse by the opera star Joyce DiDonato. After all, he seems to have saved the day more than once for The Philadelphia Orchestra. And, as David Patrick Stearns reports, he hopes to continue to do so in the upcoming season.

Listen to a more detailed interview with Yannick about some of the highlights of The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2013-14 season.

Creatively Speaking
9:08 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Santa Brings Musical Gifts To The Crossing Choir

Composer Santa Ratniece

Composer Santa Ratniece speaks with The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns.

The Crossing Choir regularly finds itself on cutting edges that many people don't know exist. But the latest gift to Donald Nally's modern music choir is a 36-year-old Latvian composer, named...Santa.

Creatively Speaking
6:20 am
Mon June 10, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra Readies To Leave China: What Next?

The Tianjin Grand Theater

The Philadelphia Orchestra may be one of the hardest working orchestra in show biz the way it’s been jumping around China recently.

Traveling with  the Orchestra, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns considers what the future may hold, and discovers that there are other relationships taking shape.

Creatively Speaking
12:51 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra in China: Connecting With Autistic Children And Cancer Patients

Philadelphia Orchestra members with autistic children during an in-school program at a Youth Center in Shanghai. Percussionists Christopher Deviney (front) and Angela Zator Nelson work with one student as he tries his hand at the drums.
Jan Regan

In the title of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2013 China Tour and Residency, the word “residency” is as important as the word "tour." And this, as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns now reports from China, is bringing the musicians face-to-face with many who may never see the inside of a concert hall.

Creatively Speaking
7:43 am
Tue June 4, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra in China: Greeted Like Rock Stars!

Flute player Lu Chunling, who performed at the Arrival Ceremony at the Shanghai Pudong Airport, presents flowers to Orchestra violinist Davyd Booth, one of the original Orchestra members to have been part of the 1973 Tour of China.
Jan Regan

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns is traveling with The Philadelphians in China.

Celebrations of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 40th anniversary tour to China have begun with the kind of fanfare usually associated with rock stars. Upon landing at the Shanghai airport for a two-week tour, the jet-lagged musicians were greeted by TV camera crews and key figures from the original visit, including a 92-year-old Chinese flutist who had composed a new piece for the occasion. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports from China.

Creatively Speaking
8:13 am
Mon May 27, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra in China: Part One

Maestro Eugene Ormandy at the Great Wall of China in 1973, during the Orchestra's first visit to China.

For the eighth time in its history, The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing in China. Like last year, the focus is on residencies where the Orchestra becomes part of the community playing impromptu concerts in public places, and having joint rehearsals and concerts with the local orchestras. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns is traveling with the Philadelphians and files this report.

Creatively Speaking
1:28 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Creativity Forged From A Hurricane's Destruction

Artist Laurie Anderson with the Kronos Quartet

The New York City artist community was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed many works by current painters and sculptors. When the performance artist and composer Laurie Anderson peered into her basement, she saw her personal archive - decades of papers, prop,s and important artistic keepsakes  - floating.

So Anderson decided, as The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns now reports, to create a piece about it with the Kronos Quartet titled Landfall.

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