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Category Archives: Clients in the News

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday with “The Fairy Queen”

Posted on: April 19th, 2014 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Rutgers University–Camden’s Music and Theater Programs are collaborating for the first time in many years to produce a fully staged English masque by Henry Purcell, “The Fairy Queen” based on Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  Part-play and part-opera, this major project features dancers, actors, singers, chorus, complete stage and costume design, as well as a full Baroque orchestra.  It is directed by two outstanding artists: world renown Distinguished Professor of Music Dr. Julianne Baird and award-winning Associate Professor of Theater Dr. Kenneth Elliott.

 

This unique show runs April 24-27, 2014 and I am having a lot of fun promoting it.  You can read all about “The Fairy Queen” on the Department of Fine Arts’ website here and visit their Facebook page here.  We just got word that WHYY’s NewsWorks Entertainment Guide is featuring the production this week, yay!

 

Meanwhile, I have been making good progress learning how to work my new awesome digital video camera and no less awesome editing software for Mac, Final Cut Pro — a big transition from my previous PC set up and HDD Cannon.  So I was glad to have an opportunity to capture all the media and create this promo trailer for the Rutgers production:

 

 

It’s going to be a great show!

 

 

 


 

New Bach Cantata Series Draws Wide Attention in Town

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by Inna Heasley No Comments
Matt Glandorf conducts Choral Arts and the Bach Collegium orchestra members during a pre-concert warm up. Photo: Inna Heasley.

Matt Glandorf conducts Choral Arts and the Bach Collegium orchestra members during a pre-concert warm up. Photo: Inna Heasley.

I would like to congratulate Choral Arts Philadelphia and The Bach Festival of Philadelphia for launching the brilliant Bach Cantata Series this 2013-2014 season!  In the first half of the run, the series has already generated a lot of interest among the Philadelphia audiences, musicians and the media.

 

Named “Bach at Seven” (or Bach@7 for short), the programs take place at the historical Saint Mark’s Church near Rittenhouse Square (17th & Locust Streets) and feature a Bach cantata and other related music of any historic period. This could be a choral piece and/or an instrumental or organ work.

 

Each program (there are six offered this season in the series) lasts only one hour, including a live commentary by artistic director Matthew Glandorf. This is followed by a free informal post-concert reception  for all, a chance to  recharge with a light snack and fine wine,  have a good conversation and build some meaningful personal connections.  Combined with the “pay-as-you-wish” admission option and the timing of the programs (7 pm on a Wednesday night), these events have opened doors to some new audience demographics, including families with children, students, young professionals, and other folks who normally wouldn’t attend a classical music concert.

 

In addition, this is a unique chance for the Philadelphia public to hear some shorter choral, vocal or instrumental gems of all styles and periods, that are rarely or almost never performed in live concerts just because they are so hard to program into a larger concert setting.  As a singer with the group myself, I feel grateful for this season as it has been an exciting personal journey of discovering and learning some beautiful and challenging works by Hugo Distler, Charles Stanford, Orlando Gibbons, Bob Chilcott and more… and of course, by J.S. Bach himself.

 

All the Bach@7 post-concert receptions are generously sponsored by the Moore Brothers Wine Company (based in Pennsauken, NJ), with Mr. Greg Moore himself happily serving some of his finest wine samples to the attendees.  Additionally, the February program is sponsored by Hold-A-Plate, recently founded by a University of Pennsylvania young designer John Zax.

 

THIS IS WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BACH@7:

 

  • In this brief video (produced by PR Perfect), the audience members were asked to share their thoughts about the inaugural program in October 2013:

 

 

  • WHYY’s NewsWorks reporter Peter Crimmins praises Bach@7 for attracting younger audiences in this feature piece.

 

  • “Wonderful idea – and cosmopolitan. How often, when visiting major European cities, do you discover early-evening classical concerts offering a good dose of music without monopolizing your evening?.. The idea’s time has come. St. Mark’s Church was close to full (Glandorf expressed surprise) and the reception was warm, possibly indulgent…”  (The Philadelphia Inquirer, by David Patrick Stearns)

 

  • “Glandorf describes the one hour Bach@7 concerts as an “Art Break.” The post-concert reception adds the perfect finishing touch, complete with some notably delectable wines, provided by a local wine merchant who offers his wares with the same enthusiasm that Bach lavishes on counterpoint. Bach would have fitted easily into this scene— mingling with his audience and his fellow musicians in the same way Glandorf and his musicians joined the party…”  (Broad Street Review, by Tom Purdom)

 

  • “This approach, according to artistic director, Matt Glandorf is designed to encourage as many people as possible to attend the series. This goal was inspired by the large number of citizens of Leipzig, regardless of wealth, who attended the cantata performances back in Bach’s time. Is it working? If attendance of other concerts in the series matches the numbers I saw on December 18th, the answer is “yes!”… True to other Choral Arts concerts I’ve attended, the program was interesting and the performance quality was very high…”  (Examiner.com, by Sharon Torello)

 

RELATED LINKS:

Press Release: “Bach At Seven” Cantata Series – Original Innovative Programs Continue Into Spring 2014

Choral Arts Philadelphia videos on YouTube

Newsletter preview of Bach@7 – Spring 2014 (this link expires on March 11, 2014)

Interview with soprano Leslie Johnson

L to R: Rebecca Harris and Mandy Woman, violin; Danieal Pierson, viola, during pre-concert warm up at the inaugural Bach@7 program. October 2013.
Photo: Inna Heasley.

 

 


 

A New Partnership: Composer David Ludwig

Posted on: December 9th, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments

It is my extreme pleasure to announce that PR Perfect got hired to represent David Ludwig, one of the most talented, versatile, and up-and-coming composers in the region!

 

I met David during the audio recording session of his choral music album by Choral Arts Philadelphia last year.  When the recording came out, we plotted for a while how it could be promoted.  Then, in June of 2013, quite by a serendipity, I was asked by LocalArtsLive’s Sharon Torello to do a series of videos with David for a composer profile Sharon was planning that summer.  So, we met in his historical office at The Curtis Institute for an hour and a half, and I got to torture David by making him answer my questions in front of a video camera about all things interesting, like his thoughts on modern classical music, music for movies, his family history and his upcoming bassoon concerto premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra. And then David invited me to attend the concerto premiere at the Kimmel Center.  The beautiful and dreamy music from David’s “Pictures from the Floating World” is still sounding in my head, and it is my high hope that the Orchestra will find the means to eventually record this piece they commissioned so it can be shared with the world.

 

In each of my encounters with David, I have been touched by his friendly and unassuming demeanor, his open and accessible nature, and his sincerity.  And how he remains so humble, while great milestones and achievements add up to decorate his CV.  Some of these are things that even seasoned composers often only dream of.

 

It is for the moments like this that I love my work in public relations. It brings amazing new people into my life, and it takes me to amazing new places that I might never have otherwise visited. There is so much to learn from each and every one of these experiences. I never stop to be grateful for it.

 

I’m looking forward to bringing you some news about David’s upcoming projects soon.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 


 

Promotional Video – A Britten Festival

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Check out one of my latest videos I created to promote Choral Arts Philadelphia’s collaborative program to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Benjamin Britten, the “people’s composer” from England. I had a lot of fun following Matt Glandorf to one of his first rehearsals with Musicopia String Orchestra, the youth ensemble directed by Daniela Pierson, and to watch the real music making with these talented and responsive kids. I got to interview the Orchestra’s first violin Samir Robinson, who is just 15 years old. And I also filmed a very touching personal story told by violinist Rebecca Harris who was born in the same area as Britten…And of course, videotaping my own chorus in action is always a treat and it doesn’t happen often. The sound we make together, the blending of the voices (even in the rehearsal) never stops to amaze. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this magic, as both a singer and publicist.

 

 

The performance took place on November 17th (featuring cantata Saint Nicolas), and it was a fantastic celebration of life and music of one of the greatest composers of the 20th century! Amateur and professional musicians, both seasoned and young, came together in song as one – and the audience who filled Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul was singing along with us with such great enthusiasm! Read a rave review by Tom Purdom published in Broad Street Review.

 

 

 

 


 

Philadelphia Premiere of Rachmaninoff’s rarely heard opera “Francesca da Rimini” June 24-27, 2013

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Poster design by ModernGood

Russian Opera Workshop was founded in Philadelphia in 2011 by Ghenady Meirson (faculty member at the Academy of Vocal Arts and Curtis Institute of Music) as an independent summer training program for aspiring and professional opera singers. Like no other opera training program in the world, the 30-day Workshop offers an intensive immersion into the Russian language and vocal training, followed by free public performances of the studied repertoire. Participating opera artists arrive from across the United States and from abroad.

 

“Now in its third summer season, Russian Opera Workshop has established itself as one of the world’s most important and influential programs, right here in Philadelphia. Even Russians from Russia want to participate,” says Meirson, the program founder, principal coach and pianist. Indeed, its alumni success is impressive: as of Spring of 2013, five opera companies nationwide hired Russian Opera Workshop artists in the roles they learned here.

 

The 2013 season will open on Monday, June 24th with a lively lecture about Francesca da Rimini given by a renowned American composer Daron Hagen, followed by the concert of the Russian Romance Songs, which will introduce all the Workshop participants to the audience, with Laura Ward at the piano.

 

On June 25-27, Russian Opera Workshop presents, in concert, a Philadelphia premiere of S. Rachmaninoff opera Francesca da Rimini, and P. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, a rarely performed scene from the unfinished opera based on Shakespeare’s drama.

 

Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini, an opera with the libretto written by Tchaikovsky’s brother Modest, premiered in Moscow in 1906. It is based on the story of Francesca da Rimini in the fifth canto of Dante’s epic poem The Inferno (the first part of The Divine Comedy). The performance of Francesca da Rimini includes a chorus comprised of singers from local choral groups: Philadelphia Singers, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Mendelssohn Club, and Vox Ama Deus.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti "Francesca Da Rimini"

 

All performances start at 7:30 PM at the Helen Corning Warden Theater, the Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103. Performances are in Russian with English supertitles. Admission is FREE, with open seating.

 

The public performances are preceded by a series of three vocal Master Classes led by premiere voice coaches and professors, June 7-21, 2013, which are also open to public at no charge and offer a unique chance to observe the training process

 

For more information and full schedule, please visit www.RussianOperaWorkshop.com.

 

The above art image is from a public domain at Wikimedia Commons.

 

 


 

The Bach Festival of Philadelphia April 28-May 5, 2013

Posted on: April 26th, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Today’s METRO PHILLY features a nice preview article about the Philadelphia Bach Festival 2013 by Shaun Brady who interviewed the Festival’s artistic director Matthew Glandorf .

 

View the full festival schedule and information.

 

And here are three videos produced by PR Perfect to preview three out of four Bach Festival events:

Matthew Glandorf: Bach and the Art of Improvisation

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 4 PM:

 

 

Back Before Bach – with Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

Saturday, May 4 at 7 PM:

 

 

J. S. Bach: Great Mass in B-Minor

Sunday, May 5 at 3 PM:

 

 

 


 

Handel’s MESSIAH: Successful Collaboration

Posted on: April 2nd, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments

 

WHEN: March 17, 2013

 

WHERE: the University of Pennsylvania’s stunning Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street, Philadelphia PA.

 

WHAT: Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare and Choral Arts Philadelphia joined forces to perform Handel’s beloved oratorio MESSIAH, with soloists Ah Young Hong, soprano, Jennifer Lane, alto, Aaron Sheehan, tenor, and William Sharp, bass. The sound and style of this first-time collaboration by two of Philadelphia’s finest ensembles—a chamber-sized chorus and an orchestra of valveless trumpets, timpani, baroque strings, harpsichord, organ and theorbo—came pretty close to what the composer led at its premiere in Dublin on April 13, 1742.

 

While the choir was prepared by its artistic director Matthew Glandorf, there was NO conductor on the podium during the performance as Maestro Glandorf was busy playing a portable organ in concert. And yet the choir and the orchestra sounded so together, moving like one, as if they have been doing this conductor-less thing for years!

 

PRESS REVIEWS:

– “Messiah experiment on St. Patrick’s Day promising” – by David Patrick Stearns published in the Philadelphia Inquirer

 

– Review by Joyce Portnoy published on Local Arts Live.

 

PHOTOS:  PRE-CONCERT RUN THROUGHFacebook photo album by Inna Heasley

 

SOUND SAMPLE: live recording of “Since By Man Came Death”

 

LIVE VIDEO: excerpt from the concert, “And He Shall Purify” (video by Milton Brugada)

 

 


 

Choral Arts Philadelphia offers authentic Rossini

Posted on: January 21st, 2013 by Inna Heasley No Comments
One of the most popular composers of opera, Rossini spent the last forty years of his life in retirement in Paris.  Composing mostly for fun during this period, he nonetheless produced his two fine religious works, the Stabat Mater and the Petite Messe Solennelle.  Choral Arts will perform the Mass with its original instrumentation:  an historic pianoforte and an harmonium, creating a sound world that is foreign and fresh to our modern ears.  A brilliant cast of soloists, led by renowned Julianne Baird, specializes in period vocal performance and will add the icing to this brilliant confection for our delight.

 


 

CURRENT PR PROJECTS

Posted on: November 9th, 2012 by Inna Heasley No Comments

CHORAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA TURNS 30! 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16 @ 4 PM:  Premiere chamber chorus led by Artistic Director Matthew Glandorf, Choral Arts Philadelphia presents J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (with the Christmas interpolations), Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Audience Sing-Along in a festive Christmas program celebrating the ensemble’s 30 years of outstanding music making. With The Philadelphia Bach Collegium performing on period instruments and soloists Steven Bradshaw, Leslie Johnson, Benjamin Starr, and Jenifer L. Smith. Full info and tickets. Press Release.

 

MOYO YOGA (Montgomery County, PA) launches a major project to preserve, restore and open to the community the Lochwood Estate, a historical local property. Through active involvement and support of local businesses, volunteers and artists, this newly reconstructed space will offer expanded services, workshops and programs on yoga, wellness, arts, and natural living.  Grand opening date announcement coming soon!

 

 

 

 


 

Who’s Afraid of Horrible Jargon? Or, The Role of an Arts Critic vs. Reporter

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Inna Heasley 4 Comments

By Lewis WHITTINGTON

Lewis Whittington’s articles on the performing arts have appeared in several print and online publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Advocate, Dance Magazine, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill and Stage Directions. 

 

I am very excited and honored to welcome Lew to my blog! I have so enjoyed many of Lew’s intelligent insights on classical music, ballet and dance that I asked him to contribute to my blog by taking a look at the role of an arts critic.  I am very happy he said “yes”!

 

As an arts journalist I try to be mindful of the real role critics and criticism should play in the world of arts. I think of the essential primer found in Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray where one of the characters instructs that “diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.”

 

This truism is unfortunately ignored by audiences who follow lofty opinions, not to mention the dictates of the commerce of art. It is perhaps colder comfort for the playwright, choreographer, conductor, composer or artist who is at the financial mercy of professional critics, fairly or unfairly, not to mention hostile audiences.

 

Wilde also proclaimed that, in the scheme of things ‘All art is useless,’ so, by association, critics should be considered even more expendable. The irony here is that Wilde, of course, lived for art and actually went to jail just as much for his artistic criticism of Victorian hypocrisies, as he did for consorting with male prostitutes.

 

My other favorite line about critics in from Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead, Revisited. When the young Oxford student tells his father that he wants to be an artist, his father responds with this thinly veiled missile from Waugh: “I won’t have undraped models all over the house…or critics with their horrible jargon.”

 

Whenever I read those breathless blurbs on posters of movies, plays and operas I always think of that phrase – horrible jargon – and try to itemize, without dwelling, when I have been guilty of said jargon myself.

 

Unfortunately, horrible jargon and the fallout buzz can steer the course of art and careers.

 

The list of important plays, operas, ballets and symphonies that were trashed, misunderstood and closed down because of bad reviews is astounding. A few examples of the prevailing critics being pathetically wrong:  

 

  • Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, the site of a theater riot, with dissenting critics actually doubling their venom by thrashing Igor Stravinsky‘s score.
  • Georges Bizet’s Carmen was rejected by critics because it was the first hybrid opera to incorporate comic and tragic aesthetic.
  • West Side Story limped along in tryout towns, drawing venomous coverage from theater writers.

 

Well, Nijinsky went mad and Bizet had a heart attack before they knew that they had changed their respective arts forever. The “fab four” of West Side – Lenny, Jerome, Arthur and Stephen – collectively made the critics eat their words as the show became a cultural phenomenon and each of the creators went on to dominate two generations of American musical theater.

 

In his book Look, I Made the Hat Sondheim adroitly defines the difference between critics and reviewers.

 

“Reviewers are reporters, their function is to describe and evaluate, on first encounter, a specific event,” they are “victims of deadlines…They are of necessity drive-by shooters.”  In contrast, critics have the luxury of time, which “affords them distance, they can take in the whole range of the art and the artist.” Sondheim also notes deftly that “over time even the better reviews become desensitized, and atrophy sets in.”

 

Ouch! But think of what he could have said and how many examples could he have given, starting with the first very negative critical response he received for his masterpiece musical Company.

 

Of course, the other side of the spectrum is a writer who is completely drunk on his own laudatory opinions.

 

Pauline Kael’s review of the artsy potboiler Last Tango in Paris springs lustily to mind. Clammy film, clammier review. Kael may have had an artistic epiphany that it would change film forever, but even its legendary star, Marlon Brando, claimed he had no clue as to what it was about. The fallout was that even though Tango was an international hit, it aided in creating a backlash against films with less arcane, but more relevant, sexual content.

 

I bring up Kael and the movies to make a key point in criticism as it is practiced now:  movie reviewing has all but ruined the reviewing of live performance. People expect tag line assessments – the typical Meryl Streep IS Margaret Thatcher hyperbole that is so common. Or worse, the thumbs up/down condemnations of Caligula in the Coliseum.

 

The jargon used for movies is lacking in the extreme when you are reporting what occurs live on a performance stage – with living, breathing actors, musicians, and dancers who are collaborating in real time with a technical crew after working daily with a creative team. The production budgets alone make them completely different enterprises.

 

Choreographer Twyla Tharp punctures reviews by branding them ‘abstracts.’ Indeed, dance and instrumental music present the most challenges for a writer to translate into lay terms and, if done well, can have the most benefits, since by nature, these art forms are languages in themselves.

 

My preference is to be stealth as much as possible and write a review heavy on concrete technical analysis then have fun with the rest. But for various reasons that is not always possible. To make a critical point and move on, not to dwell on moments the audience should discover themselves.

 

The actor Richard Burton made the salient point in an interview with Dick Cavett in 1980s, that  praise-lavishing critics can ruin an otherwise magical moment and ruin it for everybody including the performer.

 

It is best to read reviews that hit all of the major bases, without being formulaic, petty or cheap. It is a balancing act of rhetorical devises. Editors consistently prefer more casual, chatty observations. The great dance scholar and critic Gary Parks’ credo was “Report what you see on stage and the rest will fall into place.”  This is, for me, a guiding principle.  Reviewing is in fact an intense reporter’s assignment and at its best it calls on many journalistic skills that can illuminate.

Actual reportage can be especially valuable in dance and music, more abstract forms which, unlike movies and plays, generally have much less exposure than other more mainstream entertainments.

 

Then there are “coded” reviews, which in the past occurred most frequently in dance, a point by point description of a performance carrying the unstated message that the critic disapproves of the performance, but is too polite to spell it out. I think it is healthier to state your view cleanly –  pro, con or mixed – just so you back it up. And always without piling on. Make a substantiated critical point and move on to the next journalistic point.

Authoritative criticism and certainly the more valuable craft of actual reporting can be a useful tool in navigating the arts and where you want your money and time to go. Especially helpful in hard economic times.

 

But it is my view that no one should follow a critic’s opinion, you should follow your viewer instincts and allow the experience of arts in all of their potential forms.

 

Lew Whittington, arts journalist & guilty-as-charged fouffy critic

 


 

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