Columns
3:30 pm
Tue June 30, 2009

Concert Review: Philadelphia Orchestra and Curtis Students at Mann Center Play All-Beethoven Program


Lesley Valdes, WRTI's critic-at-large, reviews The Philadelphia Orchestra's June 29th all-Beethoven performance at the Mann Center, featuring violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Kyu Yeon Kim - Curtis students making their Orchestra debuts. Four more students and graduates from Curtis will debut with the Philadelphians at the Mann on June 30th and July 1st. The summer series of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at the Mann includes performances on July 21st, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 29th, and 30th

Concert Review: Philadelphia Orchestra and Curtis Students

The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Rossen Milanov, conductor

Curtis Institute of Music students:

Benjamin Beilman, violin

Kyu Yeon Kim, piano

Monday, June 29

Program:

Beethoven: Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

Beethoven: Romance No. 2, for violin and orchestra

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

Monday night the weather blessed The Philadelphia Orchestra's all-Beethoven program. The soloists contributed by the Curtis Institute were a bigger blessing. Call it artistic stimulus borne of economics. Benjamin Beilman, 19, gave up his first week at Marlboro Chamber Music Festival to perform the small but honeyed Romance in F, No. 2 for Violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The performance did Beilman and his teacher Ida Kavafian proud. He played with beautiful legato, no fuss and that thing called charisma.

Kyu Yeon Kim, who should be taking a vacation after those semifinals in the Cliburn competition, played the Fourth Piano Concerto as if she were warming up for another Cliburn round. Beethoven's fourth has never been outdoor music no matter that it's done, no matter all our talk of outdoor sound designs, though yes, the Mann venue has improved in recent seasons. Kim, 23, and from Korea, is ambidextrous. She's introspective, she's a virtuoso and this concerto demands as much. The cadenza went from ice to fire and philosophy. During the slow movement, a bird added an odd and lovely obbligato. There are depths to Kim's piano playing that should reward us even more indoors.

Four more Curtis talents are left to shine this week on June 30th and July 1st before the Philadelphians depart for their series in the clouds in Vail. They return to play the Mann Center again on July 21st. Rossen Milanov is the right man for the summer job of artistic director of the Orchestra at the Mann Center. He's got finesse and spark and so have his programs. Monday's opened with the gentlest of Overtures to The Creatures of Prometheus, and a Fifth Symphony that did not flinch as it carried out its familiars. Phrases avoided cliche, woodwinds sang, the cellos were unanimously rousing. Baton and timpani (principal Don Liuzzi) were heroes.

More Information:

Program Notes from the All-Beethoven Performance

Listen to a recent Creatively Speaking interview with 19-year-old violinist Benjamin Beilman

June 30th Performance: Mozart and A Midsummer Dream

July 1st Performance: Firebird and The Four Seasons