Friday, May 22, 2009

What the glut?

There are entirely too many new music happenings in Philadelphia tonight, and it's my involvement as a performer in one of them that will keep me from attending the others.

Starting tonight, the Philadelphia Orchestra welcomes David Robertson as guest conductor, and he will lead Thomas Adès' Violin Concerto, "Concentric Paths," with Leila Josefowicz as soloist. I heard Ms. J give a riveting performance of John Adams' Violin Concerto several years ago, and would love to hear Adès' music live. The rest of the concert (Vaughan Williams, Sibelius and Scriabin) doesn't sound half-bad either.

Also tonight, The Crossing, a new music-centric chamber choir about whom I've written before, gives the second concert in their "Month of Moderns" series, featuring a world premiere by Kirsten Broberg and works by Stucky, Holten, and several European composers unknown to me.

And now for why I won't be able to attend either of these shows: I'm singing with the Choral Arts Society at a benefit concert honoring David Ludwig with the 2009 Leadership in Choral Music Award. Ludwig is a very talented composer, a good interview, and a regular attendee of other Choral Arts concerts. We're performing a handful of his works, including some very fun Hebrew settings.

I'll be able to redeem myself in the coming weeks: concerts by Relâche and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society (presented by Ars Nova) have been penciled into my agenda for some time now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

From the weekend

Camden's Opera Seabrook, The Courier-Post, May 10, 2009. It's a fledgling company that just finished its first season yesterday, and its director's ambitions for next season and skill at finding young operatic talent are rather impressive.

My performance on Saturday of Bach's B minor mass with Choral Arts Society and the Philadelphia Bach Festival Collegium came off rather well, I think. No reviews up yet today, but they're sure to follow in the coming days.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Scot free

The Academy of Vocal Arts' "Lucia di Lammermoor," reviewed for the Courier-Post, May 8, 2009.

This "Lucia" is readily transportable, and the very fine cast and crew will take their show across the river to the Gordon Theater at Rutgers-Camden tomorrow night. Performances at Haverford College and at Central Bucks South High School will follow.

Another review, of Symphony in C's final concert of the year, ran earlier in the week but never made it to the Courier-Post's website. Allow me to summarize: two well-executed rarities by Smetana and Dvorak, a piano soloist (in the Dvorak) who produced a large sound without histrionics and was dutifully attentive to conductor and ensemble, a slightly underpowered woodwind section that finally found its footing in the third movement of Brahms' Second Symphony, a nice sendoff for Symphony players headed to positions elsewhere.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May daze

The Greater South Jersey Chorus performs Carmina Burana, previewed for the Courier-Post, May 1, 2009.

Also, from earlier this week: an article on PlasmaDanceTheater, a dance troupe based in Cherry Hill that performs with a live rock band.

Both PDT and GSJC present concerts tomorrow night. Unfortunately, owing to the busy schedule near the end of the arts season, I will not be able to attend either of them. I'll be reviewing Symphony in C's final performance of the year in Camden -- a program with Smetana, Dvorak and Brahms.

The following days promise to be even busier -- a matinee on Sunday by an opera company I've only just discovered, and a Tuesday night performance by the Academy of Vocal Arts. After that, I'll be deep into preparation for one of my own concerts with Choral Arts Society. Brief and shameless plug: Bach B minor mass, May 9 at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Philadelphia (123 S. 17th Street). We're performing with a full Baroque orchestra, because if it ain't Baroque... well, you know.