8 Performances to Catch This Week

PRISM Quartet | Photo from www.kimmelcenter.org

PRISM Quartet | Photo from www.kimmelcenter.org

JUNK’s Urban Scuba: Retro Dive @ Shiloh Baptist Church

Acclaimed as “audacious” by the New York Times, the Philly-based contemporary dance company that gathers inspiration from garbage plunges into a deep dumpster of spectacle. Garbed in snorkels and goggles, the dancers gyrate under the sea and in the air, suspending from lyras and swaying on ladders. Read more »

Field Guide: The 28 Concerts, Shows, and Events to Put On Your Calendar Now


Living legends, world premieres, international talent and Justin Bieber: You’ll find all of these (and more) here in the City of Brotherly Love this winter and spring. It can actually be a little overwhelming, if you don’t know where to start. So here, we present a well-edited (but wildly diverse) list of the very best bets in music, theater and the arts this season. If you can’t find something to do here, we don’t know what to tell you.  Read more »

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Named Artist of the Year By Musical America

yannick nezet seguinIt’s been an honor-filled season for Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The Montreal-born maestro recently opened the Met Opera’s 2015-2016 season in Verdi’s Otello, he and the Orchestra played for Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families festival, he even threw out a first pitch a Phillies game a few weeks ago (video below.) To add a little icing to the cake, this week he was named “Artist of the Year” by eminent performing arts publication Musical America.

The cover of the latest issue shows Nézet-Séguin front and center. He’s standing along the Parkway with City Hall and a crowd of people in the background. He’s presumably on stage during the pope concert.

Read more »

Pavarotti Coming to Prince Theater … Sort Of

Luciano Pavarotti, via Shutterstock

Luciano Pavarotti, via Shutterstock

Some of the biggest names in classical music—the late Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Sondra Radvanovsky, Ekaterina Gubanova—are coming to Philly this fall, at least in digital spirit, as the Prince Theater launches yet another innovative series of programming that will feature big-screen broadcasts of performing arts. Read more »

Q&A: Grammy-Winning Guitarist Jason Vieaux and His Philadelphia Connections

Jason Vieaux Header

Jason Vieaux‘s mother was a school librarian who bought him his first classical guitar for $50 when he was a young boy. Fast forward several decades later and Mr. Vieaux is now a Grammy-winning musician who tours internationally, performing to eager audiences at almost every major classical guitar festival in the world. Vieaux is also no stranger to Philly: He’s Curtis faculty, and he’s performed numerous concerts here. He’ll be returning to World Cafe Live on May 7th to perform with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble, part of the LiveConnections concert series which aims to pair unlikely artists for interesting music making. We caught up with Vieaux to discuss his upcoming show and why Philly is such a hotbed for classical music. Read more »

Screening of The Maestro at Curtis Institute


Friends, supporters and patrons of the arts gathered at the Curtis Institute of Music on Saturday night for the screening of Maestro, an intimate, unprecedented glimpse into the life of a renowned conductor and a vibrant, contemporary portrait of the world of classical music. For two years a film crew followed Grammy award-winning conductor and Curtis alum Paavo Jarvi, violinists Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn, as well as an array of other musicians to show the importance of classical music and music education.

More photos from the Curtis screening of The Maestro after the jump »

Young Philly Composer Nominated for a Grammy

Joseph Hallman Composer

When Joseph Hallman was a child, his mother would tell him that he was so open-minded that his brain would fall out.

Thankfully that never happened, and years later it may be that very open-mindedness that the Philly-based composer can credit for much of his success, including the recent news that his album, Sprung Rhythm, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy in the Best Surround Sound Album category. And get this, among the five albums up for the award are works crediting Paul McCartney and Les Claypool.

Even before his Grammy nomination, the 34-year-old had been touted for his wide scope of work: In 2011, NPR named him one of the top 100 Composers Under 40. Major companies, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Pittsburgh Symphony have played his compositions. And sensing greatness long before the nominations were revealed, The Washington Post called Hallman’s work on Sprung Rhythm “skillful” and claimed that he was a composer “to watch.” 

So what inspires the young songster? “Anything and everything,” he says. His list of influencers includes everyone from Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. and modern composer Nico Muhly to American Horror Story. (He recently composed a piece of music inspired by his fascination with witches and the television show.)

Hallman sees music as being part of who he is, that there’s a self-awareness in his compositions he calls “organic.”

“My music is me,” he says. Indeed, this might be the best way to describe Hallman’s philosophy on music-making. In a world of pop-star generators like American Idol and The Voice, his approach to cranking out tunes is refreshingly simple:  “Just be yourself.”

Sprung Rhythm is available for purchase on iTunes.  You can follow Joseph Hallman on Twitter: @HallmanComposer.