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


Creatively Speaking
3:24 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Curtain Rises In Norristown

The Centre Theater in Norristown

The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns explores how Norristown is successfully modeling itself as a serious theater destination.

Creatively Speaking
11:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Flutist Mimi Stillman's Yearlong Debussy Tribute

Mimi Stillman

On Claude Debussy's 150th birthday - August 22nd - Philadelphia flutist Mimi Stillman (founder/director of Dolce Suono Ensemble), began a yearlong odyssey with an unaccompanied flute work of Debussy's titled Syrinx; she'll play the piece every single day in various locations, and post videos of her "Syrinx Journey" project on her website.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports for WRTI.

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Creatively Speaking
8:11 am
Sun October 21, 2012

Three Philadelphia Ensembles Collaborate For A Landmark Performance

The Mendelssohn Club Chorus, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia are set to perform at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in a very special concert that includes the world premiere of Robert Moran’s expanded - and haunting - 9/11 tribute, Trinity Requiem.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns looks ahead to the October 21st event, that also features Bruckner's Mass in E minor and Moran's Angele Dei.

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Creatively Speaking
11:05 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Keyboard Conversations Redeemed!

After pianist Jeffrey Siegel's annual series of Philadelphia concerts was canceled, a community of music lovers got together to reinstate his regular Kimmel Center performances. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns tells the story.

Creatively Speaking
3:44 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

West Side Story: Fifty Years On

Those funky, menacing chords can only belong to one piece of music: West Side Story, the Leonard Bernstein Broadway musical that updated the Romeo and Juliet story into the world of gang warfare to the streets of post-war New York City. The concert suite from the musical has often been played by The Philadelphia Orchestra, though this week it's performing the music in a different incarnation - as an accompaniment to the 1961 Oscar-winning film. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports that the enterprise isn’t nearly as simple as it looks.

Creatively Speaking
11:04 am
Sat September 29, 2012

The John Cage Centenary

Composer John Cage

In the 100th birthday year of the American avant-garde composer John Cage, many cultural institutions are celebrating his deeply influential life's work. But celebrating Cage is a lot more elusive than celebrating, say, Debussy. Composing with open-ended concepts that often didn't even include notes and rests, Cage threw so much responsibility onto the performers and audiences that it's hard to know what to celebrate. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns discovers the hidden burdens in Cage's brand of anarchy.

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Creatively Speaking
11:04 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Opera Company of Philadelphia Opens New Season With Fresh Take On Old Favorite

Some rough-and-tumble opening chords can mean only one thing to opera lovers - Puccini’s La Boheme.  The iconic work is back in Philadelphia  for what could feel like the 300th time since first arriving here 114 years ago. Audiences rarely tire of the story of starving artists in 19th-century Paris, or the famous arias that convey the rapture of young love. But they might also feel like it’s a rerun.

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Creatively Speaking
6:55 am
Wed September 19, 2012

New, Major Hannibal Lokumbe Work Debuts in Philadelphia

The Kimmel Center is the venue for the world premiere of a monumental symphonic gospel work.  Several amassed choirs bring to life an evening-length work by Hannibal Lokumbe, the stubbornly unclassifiable jazz trumpeter and composer.

The new piece is titled, Can You Hear God Crying, the composer's tribute to his great-great grandfather who was born in the Sahara desert, kidnapped in Liberia, sold into slavery in Charleston S.C., but escaped and made his way as a free man to Texas, where L0kumbe was born and still lives.

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Creatively Speaking
12:01 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Iconic Conductor Leopold Stokowski

Leopold Stokowski (April 18, 1882 – September 13, 1977)

Philadelphia Orchestra audiences were reminded of what Leopold Stokowski's celebrated hands wrought when, earlier this year, Music Director Designate Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducted a four-concert Stokowski tribute at the theater where it all started a century ago - The Academy of Music.

Creatively Speaking
11:51 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Finnish Composer Kaija Saariaho: Far From Typical

Her music arrives like a massive glacier - towering, deliberate, and unstoppable. To those who follow modern music, such sounds as these could only be the work of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

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