Once named by TheEconomist magazine as one of the world’s 20 living polymaths, pianist Stephen Hough pursues a variety of interests, from music to poetry to painting. In 2001 he became the first classical music performer to win the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this versatile artist, and his most recent CD.
Since its founding in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra has had four music directors whose tenures have lasted more than a decade. Today, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, there is one member of the ensemble who has played under all of these great conductors.
When violinist Herbert Light won his audition for the Orchestra in 1961, it was his second job offer in a week.
Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.
Zohn says Lully, who first came to the attention of King Louis XIV as a dancer, profited from his relationship with the monarch - and his power over the musical facets of the royal court became wider and wider.
This week, percussion students from the U.S. and countries as far away as Argentina and Asia are gathering at Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance for a seminar led by a former Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, Alan Abel continues year round to share his talents as a musician and craftsman.
After six films made over 30 years, the mythical Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa has graduated to Broadway, with Rocky, the Musical, which last week won a Tony Award. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns says the old underdog is perfectly recognizable on the Winter Garden Theatre stage. But much else has changed.
As summer approaches, WRTI's Jim Cotter takes us down the shore to the Ocean City Music Pier. There have been concerts on the music pier since 1929, when it hosted performances by the new Municipal Orchestra. Since then, what is today the Ocean City Pops, has operated under a variety of names and conductors. In 1987, the orchestra appointed a new music director; William (Bill) Scheible has led the Pops since then.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote his seventh symphony in the midst of Napoleon’s attempts to conquer Europe. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the work, and its second movement in particular, is a tribute to freedom. Here, the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta, performs:
The artistry and athleticism of the ballet dancer can soar with a well-fitting pointe shoe. On a given weekend, members of three generations of the Jenkins family might be on the scene at The Rosin Box, a jewel-like shop on Sansom Street in Philadelphia, just a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, where ballet slippers and pointe shoes are sold - and, where music lives.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s current 2014 tour of Asia and Japan has been rough and tumble enough with moldering halls in remote Chinese capitals and residency activities amid challenging acoustics and blistering heat. Is that what drives some of them to jump off the top of the 700-foot Macau Tower? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports what orchestra members are going to some extremes to get a break from night after night of concerts.
Ludwig van Beethoven tried certain musical forms only once. One opera, one violin concerto, was all he wrote.
Violinist Nikolaj Znaider says he spent years preparing to take on, what he says is, one of the most difficult pieces for his instrument. It took age, and its attendant personal and artistic growth, for him to get beyond what he describes as "mere graphical representation of the music, those black dots on white paper."