What’s Worth Seeing in October: Neil Young, Thurston Moore, Midtown Village Fall Festival, and More

neil young

Neil Young

Neil Young
October 8th and 9th
Academy of Music
The gritty Canadian singer and guitarist has always had a huge Philadelphia fan base, and his shows here are the stuff of legend. He performed a solo set and one with Crosby, Stills and Nash at Live Aid, he headlined a special 2008 concert to commemorate the end of the Spectrum, and his 2007 Tower shows were memorialized by filmmaker Jonathan Demme in the documentary Neil Young Trunk Show. If you don’t catch at least one of his two performances here this month, you’ll be missing out.

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One of Us: Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Illustration by Andy Friedman

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Yannick Nézet-Séguin, since I was 16. I was born Yannick Séguin, but I decided to legally add my mother’s last name, Nézet, because we were the only family in North America with that name. And my mother is the only child of her family, so I wanted to make a future for that very strange name. People assume I am Egyptian or Hungarian or Turkish, but it is very plainly Celtic French.

My friends call me … Yannick. I was desperate when I was younger to get friends to call me Yan or Nick. But I never got anyone to do it.

I am a … lover of life.

I grew up in … Montréal, in the city and very close to everything — so much so that I never bothered to take driving lessons. I still don’t have a driver’s license. A conductor but not a driver.

My secret junk food obsession is … poutine. But the problem is, I am lactose-intolerant. So when I have those cheese curds and poutine, I assume the consequences.

The thing most people don’t understand about my job … is how much psychology is involved. I have a mysterious job to begin with, but everything has to do with using the right amount of psychology and diplomacy.

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FALL ARTS PREVIEW: 30 Awesome Shows You Can’t Miss This Season

Lorde performs at the Mann Center on September 5th.

Lorde performs at the Mann Center on September 5th.

1. Lorde
Maybe you’ll see Cecily Tynan there, singing along to “Royals.” The 17-year-old Kiwi is one of her personal faves. Mann Center, September 5th.

Zachary Chiero and Peter Alan Danzig are gay Mummers in Tribe of Fools' "Two Street," part of the FringeArts Festival.

Zachary Chiero and Peter Andrew Danzig are gay Mummers in Tribe of Fools’ “Two Street,” part of the FringeArts Festival.

2. FringeArts
Every year, we wonder if the event previously known as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe is going to lose its mojo. But based on this year’s lineup, which includes everything from an interactive public art installation floating on the Delaware River (WetLand) to Two Street, a gay version of Romeo and Juliet as told through the lens of South Philadelphia and the Mummers to one of the most unusual walking tours you’ll ever join (Experiment #39) and a few dozen other shows, and the fact that the FringeArts venue is now fully open, complete with brasserie, outdoor performance plaza and 240-seat theater, it seems the mojo is stronger than ever. Various locations, September 5th to 21st.

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Philadelphia Orchestra Playing National Anthem at Tonight’s Phillies Game

Seven musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra brass section will toot the “Star Spangled Banner” at tonight’s Phillies game at Citizen’s Bank Park. The ensemble includes Jennifer Montone, Jeffrey Lang, and Jeffry Kirschen on French horns, Robert W. Earley and Darin Kelly on trumpets, and Blair Bollinger and Brian Santero on trombones. In case the names don’t ring a bell, this is the same group who did that pop-up performance on a delayed plane last year that spread like wildfire across the Internet.

The engagement marks the homecoming of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which just returned from trips to Colorado and Asia, and the beginning of a busy week: On July 23rd and 24th, catch them at the Kimmel Center, where they’ll perform “A Tribute to the Beatles.” Then, on July 25th and 26th, they’ll perform “PIXAR in Concert.”

Tickets to all shows can be found here, and  you can still snag seats to tonight’s game—when the Phillies take on the San Francisco Giants—here.

8 Things To Do This Week: Movies, Concerts, and More


7 Shows to See in Philly This Week: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ben Folds, Lady Gaga and More

You know what the doctor says: A little music every day keeps the blahs away. To help, we round up a concert for every day of this week. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra Backs Ben Folds at the Mann

ben folds philadelphia orchestra

This summer, the Mann Center will house the Philadelphia Orchestra for a three-week summer residency that kicks off with an awesome-sounding collaboration with singer-songwriter Ben Folds on Tuesday, June 24th.

Ben Folds is no stranger to tinkering with new ways to present his music — remember the whole Chat Roulette thing in 2010? — and this new blending with classical orchestras is apparently a winning combo. Described as “part piano concerto, part pop hits,” The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience was recently tried out with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Here’s what one reviewer from the St. Louis Post Dispatch had to say about that performance:

The centerpiece of the concert’s first half was Folds’ newly written piano concerto. Folds performed its first movement, which he said is designed to “kick ass” before giving way to a more sedate second movement and then going out with a bang during the third. More than anything, he seems determined not to reinvent the wheel in terms of composition. The piece draws on Folds’ pop sensibilities while also offering an opportunity to show off his digital dexterity: clearly, he’s been practicing.”

His romp with the Philly orchestra will be conducted by Steven Reinke. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $49.50, can be purchased here.

Philadelphia Orchestra Makes History With Free Live-Stream China Concert Broadcast


On Sunday, May 25, the Philadelphia Orchestra will be making history, but they won’t be at the Kimmel Center: they’ll be in China, and guess what? You’ll have a chance to be part of the milestone concert.

The Orchestra’s performance from the Shanghai Grand Theatre will mark the first symphonic webcast from China to an international audience. The concert, which takes place at 7:30 PM in China, can be streamed live at 7:30 AM EST via a-Peer Synergy Shanghai Culture and Technology’s newly developed digital platform; listeners must pre-register at www.yunbomedia.com. As an added bonus, those who “attend” this digital concert will have the opportunity to share up to three minutes of the concert via social media, which includes Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has a long history with China that stems from President Nixon’s 1973 request to have the ensemble be the first American orchestra to perform in China. They have returned in 1993, 1996, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2013.

Expect to hear the signature styles of music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin on the webcast; The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2014 tour of Asia and China marks his inaugural tour with the company after becoming music director of the Orchestra in 2012.

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, visit their website.

REVIEW: Opera Philly and the Philadelphia Orchestra Team Up for Salome


It sounds like a headline ripped from an episode of Nancy Grace or Law and Order: young female necromaniac flaunts her sexuality to get down and dirty with a corpse she’s got the hots for (and you thought opera was boring). But, in essence, that pretty much captures the plot of Strauss’s Salome, which, in it’s sold-out staging at the Kimmel Center, marks the first collaboration between The Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia. The production, which opened Thursday evening, features many solid moments, but the highlight clearly is the daunting performances of Camilla Nylund and Alan Held who play the title character and her soon-to-be dead lover, respectively.

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Philly Conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin’s Opening Night at the Met

Yannick Nezet-Seguin Met Rusalka

Yannick Nezet-Seguin (right) conducts superstar soprano Renee Fleming in Dvorak’s Rusalka.

In a recent interview, where he discussed returning to the podium at The Metropolitan Opera to conduct a revival of Dvorak’s Rusalka, Philly’s own Yannick Nezet-Seguin raved about the show’s star, soprano Renee Fleming. “Anything sung by Renee Fleming becomes the most gorgeous music,” said The Philadelphia Orchestra music director. “There is just something special about Renee and Rusalka,” And he’s right. I was there at last night’s opening, and watched — ogled, even — as Ms. Fleming ascended to the top of a tree early in the first act to sing the opera’s signature aria, “Song to the Moon.”

She was dazzling, no doubt, but Mr. Nezet-Seguin is being far too humble. There’s something else “special” about this production, and that is Yannick himself.  His masterful direction of Dvorak’s lush, Romantic score breathed new life into what would normally be a rather dark, dreary and downright depressing tale of ill-fated humanity.

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