Opera star Deborah Voigthas 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.
This past week, Delaware Governor Jack Markell welcomed Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the Port of Wilmington, a major entry point for fresh fruit from Chile. Bachelet's focus on trade also included a night at a sold-out dinner organized by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and its Chilean-American counterpart.
Between the two stops, President Bachelet took a detour from the economic agenda, stopping at the Curtis Institute of Music. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston was there.
Competitions have tested serious music students for decades. They also have prompted the composition of works that continue to enrich the repertoire. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Claude Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Orchestra.
Susan Lewis: Its ethereal quality belies its difficulty, but Debussy’s Rhapsody No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano was composed for clarinet graduation exams at the Paris Conservatory.
Gone are the days when Cristian Macelaru (pronounced match-a-law-roo) was described as being among the most promising conductors of his generation. He's now simply one of the finest. In April 2014, Macelaru received the highly coveted Solti Fellow, one of the largest grants currently awarded to American conductors. Macelaru received the Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award in 2012, and despite becoming more established, says he’d be happy to be called a young conductor for some time to come.
In a quaint, historic building on Philadelphia’s Locust Street, just a few doors down from the Curtis Institute of Music, David Michie restores and sells violins and bows, drawing virtuoso musicians from far and wide. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston paid a visit to this master craftsman.
Master violin restorer and dealer David Michie recounts how renowned French archetier (the French term for bow maker) Eugene Sartory policed the market for counterfeits of his work. Michie also provides some advice on choosing a bow in these excerpts of an interview with Meridee Duddleston.
Michie has much to say about the importance of a high-quality bow. "What the Italians were to string instruments, the French were to bows," he explains. In the 1800s, large blocks of wood from the pernambuco tree were used as ballast in ships making their way from Brazil to France. And Francois Tourte, who developed the modern bow and is considered the “Stradavarius of bow makers,” took to the wood and started using it. Pernambuco is now an endangered species whose export is restricted. Although carbon fiber and other substitutes are now in the mix, Michie says nothing beats a bow made of pernambuco wood from Brazil.
Access to great music is critical in developing a love of the art form and its traditions. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, that's a premise of a collaboration between the English Chamber Orchestra and Musicopia, an organization that brings music to young people, especially in areas without other music programs.
Twentieth-century composer Igor Stravinsky was at first reluctant to accept a commission for a violin concerto because he didn’t know the instrument well enough. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he changed his mind after consulting the intended violinist – who was game to try an unusual approach.
On Sunday, January 18, 2015 on WRTI, Juliette Kang and The Philadelphia Orchestra play Stravinsky’s violin concerto in a program that also features music by Brahms and Respighi.
Vocalist Justine Keeys, aka Miss Justine, is one of Philadelphia’s jazz gems. Starting in the early '80s, she enthralled audiences at clubs and private venues across the Philadelphia area with the late pianist Gerald Price. Their long collaboration taught her the importance of finding the right musical fit. Miss Justine fills in WRTI's Meridee Duddleston about her life in music.