Victor L. Schermer is a contributing editor to the the "All About Jazz" website, a practicing psychologist in Philadelphia, and a free-lance writer on music, psychology, and other subjects. He lives in Center City.
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The Philadelphia Museum of Art opens its new Frank Gehry interior Core Project
Gehry’s egalitarian future
The long-awaited Frank Gehry interior redesign of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is finally open to the public. Does it enhance the museum’s original vision and speak to art in the 21st century? Victor Schermer considers.
Dolce Suono presents ‘Rediscoveries: Festival of American Chamber Music II’
The second in a series of Dolce Suono concerts of American chamber music highlighted varied instrumentation and concepts from the fertile midcentury period, reviving music rarely heard today. Victor L. Schermer reviews.
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presents the Jerusalem Quartet
Life's mysteries among the strings
The Jerusalem String Quartet brought out their best at this Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert. Victor Schermer reviews.
'Les Innocentes' ('The Innocents'), directed by Anne Fontaine
Ungodly acts in a wartime convent
In 'Les Innocentes' ('The Innocents'), director Anne Fontaine draws from the story of Madeleine Pauliac, a WWII-era doctor called to assist a convent filled with pregnant, traumatized nuns.
Dolce Suono Ensemble's 'The Americas Project' at Curtis Institute of Music
A musical journey through the Americas
The Dolce Suono Ensemble's 'The Americas Project' takes a musical trip through North, Central and South America, jet setting around the material with panache.
Ruth Naomi Floyd at the Episcopal Cathedral
A unique and sonorous voice
Ruth Naomi Floyd sings with a great seriousness that made me quake a little in my seat
Andrew Haigh's '45 Years'
45 years of marriage and a postscript of unanswered questions
45 Years is like a Rorschach inkblot onto which we can project many layers of meaning. We know that Geoff and Kate are stunned and puzzled, but much of what is going on inside each of them is left to our imagination.
The East Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s 'Cold Mountain' (second review)
From epic novel to operatic realization
Cold Mountain manages to retain enough of the grandiose proportions of plot, effects, and setting to satisfy the opera buffs while — largely though the words and music — a more humble humanity comes through.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s final Vienna concert (second review)
Romance with a touch of class
This Philadelphia Orchestra concert succeeded so admirably because all the musicians were on the same page. They embodied a fundamental idea that romance and boundaries, emotion and structure, are reconcilable opposites that, under the right circumstances, attract. The composers put this idea down on paper, and the musicians executed it in real time.
The Philadelphia Orchestra with pianist Jan Lisiecki
Exploring the beauty and tumult of Vienna
The music in this concert of Viennese pastry reflected both of the faces of Vienna: It was romantically sweet but with a bitter crust. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, while exploiting the rich sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra to bring out the grand sonorities, also conveyed Vienna’s underlying disturbances and tensions.
'Bridge of Spies' and 'Trumbo'
Revisiting the Red Scare
Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and Jay Roach’s Trumbo are reminders, instructive and nostalgic, that what scares us now happened before, and we survived.
Tom Lawton's 'Man Ray Jazz Suite'
Where the ear meets the eye
Tom Lawton's Man Ray Jazz Suite, performed in the main hall of the Art Museum, was a stunning musical evening that combined the intimate, spontaneous experience of a jazz club with the seriousness of a classical concert.
Opera Philadelphia's 'Yardbird' (first review)
A contradictory enterprise
Yardbird composer Daniel Schnyder went well beyond 1930s popular music (the legacy that Parker and cohorts unabashedly used as a foil to create the new bebop jazz) to create a unique synthesis of many other musical ingredients and flavors.
'Bonhoeffer's Cost' by Beacon Theatre
High drama about the price of commitment
While Bonhoeffer’s theology is important, we remember him today for his courage in seeing through the Nazis' lies and his willingness to die so that others might live. While it asks penetrating questions, this play is ultimately about Bonhoeffer the man.
Batiashvili and Lewis with the PCMS
Musical greatness without Sturm und Drang
The recent performance of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society emphasized lyrical beauty over struggle, power, and tension, yet in its own way it achieved a measure of greatness and depth of feeling.