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

Opera star Deborah Voigt has always been a straight-shooting diva, openly discussing her weight problems, the surgery she underwent to address them, and the possible effects that had on her voice. Yet as The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, the singer goes well beyond that in her new autobiography, Call Me Debbie.

Etiquette books talk about how to be a perfect guest. But Bramwell Tovey could write one on how to be the perfect guest conductor. He isn't afraid to program crowd pleasers, but does them on a level that has won him a Grammy Award.

He's not only up for conducting Christmas concerts - not typical for someone of his stature - but for his forthcoming one with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he has actually written a Christmas carol. Or, as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns, he's still writing it.

Richard Nixon, Patty Hearst, and J. Robert Oppenheimer are just three of the historic figures that have been portrayed on the modern opera stage. Next is the most beloved icon of all, John F. Kennedy, in an opera that will premiere in Fort Worth, but is being partly developed by Opera Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns is finding out just what might make JFK sing.

When Roberto Diaz graduated from being principal violist of The Philadelphia Orchestra to president of the Curtis Institute, you could easily assume that one of the city's most charismatic performers would be mostly found behind a desk. Instead, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns finds him preparing to premiere Jennifer Higdon's Viola Concerto, just one of the 70 to 80 other engagements he'll play in the coming year.

Great monuments aren’t always great concert halls. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns recently visited the 11th-century Canterbury Cathedral in England, and came to learn a new way of listening.  

Few quaint New Jersey towns have major orchestras, choruses, and chamber music performances - but Princeton does. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports on the vibrant music scene in this center of academic excellence.

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.

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