ListenUp: Pianist Sullivan Fortner
Posted December 11, 2020
Sullivan Fortner got his start on the piano when he was just four years old. His mother, a big fan of the gameshow Jeopardy!
, had given young Sullivan a Fischer-Price piano for Christmas. After hearing the theme song a couple times, Sullivan plunked out the tune knowing just where the half steps were in the melody. From there, he began studying more formally at age seven, following a storied lineage of improvisers and blues-masters to whom he grew up listening. Check out this playlist to hear how this child prodigy has matured into one of today’s leading jazz pianists. It kicks off with the hippest version of the Wheel of Fortune
theme song you’ll probably ever hear.
ListenUp: Dance Me / Music of Leonard Cohen
Posted July 21, 2020
Last September, there was hardly a dry eye in the house as we kicked off our dance season with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal
’s Dance Me
/ Music of Leonard Cohen, a riveting homage to famed poet/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. Set to some of Cohen's most beloved songs including “Suzanne,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Hallelujah,” choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andonis Foniadakis and Ihsan Rustem created a stunning multidisciplinary work. Writing in The Dance Journal
, Debra Danese said, “Under the artistic direction of Louis Robitaille, [Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal] strives to present work that is both high quality and accessible to audiences. Dance Me
truly represented those key values with brilliant dance artists and innovative musical, light, and media design.” Grab a tissue and have a listen to Cohen’s evocative soundtrack.
ListenUp: Zeitgeist Playlist
Posted May 27, 2020
In October 2019, joined by Bowerbird
and Penn’s Department of Music
, we presented Zeitgeist: George Crumb at 90, a three-concert festival that celebrated more than seventy years of music by Grammy® and Pulitzer Prize®-winning composer George Crumb. Crumb is one of the most frequently performed composers today. His music often juxtaposes contrasting musical styles, ranging from the western art-music tradition, to hymns and folk, to non-Western music. Many of his works include programmatic, symbolic, mystical and theatrical elements, which are often reflected in his beautiful and meticulously notated scores. Crumb retired from Penn in 1997 after more than 30 years of teaching. He was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Penn in May 2009. This week’s playlist celebrates the music performed during Zeitgeist including Apparition
, Book I-IV
and the Vietnam War-haunted Black Angels
, in addition to a selection of Crumb’s early compositions. Listen in to this sweeping retrospective of the work of this essential American composer.
ListenUp: New Music Playlist
Posted May 21, 2020
We ring in this week’s playlist with the sound of bells. Sō Percussion
, slated to make their Annenberg Center debut this past April, has been rescheduled for October, when they’ll perform the world premieres of works by graduate students in composition from Penn’s Department of Music
. Here, we feature the ensemble’s recordings of music by Steve Reich
, Paul Lansky
, and Glenn Kotche
. Next up on the playlist is a sampling of The Crossing
’s gorgeous recording of Robert Convery
, which is set to Hart Crane’s early 20th-century poem of the same name. Although The Crossing’s residency at the Annenberg Center this year was cut short, we can’t wait to bring them back in future seasons. We round out our new music playlist by revisiting two solo piano works we heard at Jenny Lin
’s Glass Reflections recital at the Penn Museum
this past March: Philip Glass
’ hypnotic Etude No. 2 and György Ligeti’s intricate first étude, Désordre
ListenUp: World Music Playlist
Posted May 13, 2020
Listen up to the styles and rhythms of an array of different cultures reflected in this week’s world music playlist. We showcase outstanding artists we welcomed in our 19/20 season—Angélique Kidjo
, Sweet Honey in the Rock
, as well as 47SOUL
, who made their Philadelphia debut, and Jesse Cook
, who made his Annenberg Center debut. And we bring you the brilliant blend of traditional and contemporary Mexican music of Annenberg Center favorite Lila Downs
and Jarana Beat
(who would have made their Annenberg Center debut), artists we were sorry to miss hearing this spring. Get ready to experience this colorful mix of some of the best artists that cross our stages!
ListenUp: Children's Festival playlist
Posted May 6, 2020
This week, listen to one of our most lively playlists yet. Every year, the excitement of our Children’s Festival goes beyond our theatres with a fun mix of popular, kid-friendly songs playing in our lobby and outdoor plaza all day. From “Can’t Stop the Feeling” to “I’m a Believer,” get on your feet and dance to some of the best songs you would have heard at this week’s event.
ListenUp: Jazz Playlist
Posted April 29, 2020
This week’s ListenUp playlist features artists from our jam-packed 19/20 jazz season. We kicked things off in October with the electrifying pianist Hiromi
in a rare solo performance. In November, we welcomed drummer Ralph Peterson
, who brought with him a group of elite alumni from the Jazz Messenger bands, in a show celebrating the 100th anniversary of Art Blakey’s birth. The following week, we were delighted to present the Philadelphia debut of vibraphonist Joel Ross
. Two of today’s top jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves
and Alicia Olatuja
graced our stages in December and February, and the sizzling hot salsa and Latin band Spanish Harlem Orchestra
returned to the Annenberg Center on a cold night in January. Earlier this month, SFJAZZ Collective
was slated to celebrate the 50th anniversary of two essential albums: Sly and Family Stone’s Stand!
and Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way
. Although we missed them this time, we can’t wait to have SFJAZZ Collective back next April.
ListenUp: Early Music Playlist
Posted April 22, 2020
Our 19/20 season featured several early music artists from around the world. Vox Luminis
(Belgium) made its Annenberg Center debut in November and the Dunedin Consort
(UK) made its Philadelphia debut with us in January. Since we won’t get to present Les Violons du Roy
(Canada) in their own Philadelphia debut this weekend, this week’s ListenUp playlist includes some of the best early music heard in our theatres this season plus other stunning recordings by these remarkable early music ensembles.
ListenUp: #GLASSFEST Playlist
Posted April 16, 2020
During the 19/20 season, the Annenberg Center presented #GLASSFEST, a celebration of the career and impact of Philip Glass, one of our nation’s most significant modern composers. Our debut ListenUp playlist, curated by Executive and Artistic Director Christopher Gruits, contains the works performed during the three-week festival including those composed by Glass and those performed in juxtaposition with Glass’ works.