Album

Unless you’re a serious jazz wonk or an avid auditor of Philadelphia’s jazz history, you’re probably not that familiar with a pianist named Hasaan Ibn Ali. The fact that he was known by his musician peers as the "Legendary Hasaan" both belies this relative obscurity and clarifies the esteem in which he was held for a near-maniacal work ethic and a musicality thought to be ahead of its time.

April 12, 2021. Sergei Rachmaninoff considered The Philadelphia Orchestra his favorite American ensemble, and our Classical Album of the Week reveals why.

Courtesy of Michael Tilson Thomas

Before stepping down 10 months ago at age 75, the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) owned the longest active tenure of any music director of a major American orchestra; he’d held the position since 1995. Though he’s played piano, composed, and conducted at an elite level since his teenage years, Tilson Thomas has always been more than the classical music wunderkind who grew up to become the great maestro. There was a piece of himself he’d inherited, a piece that hadn’t necessarily been ignored but hadn’t been foregrounded in his work either.

A young, mild-mannered soprano from Norway with a huge voice has been turning heads in the opera world.

Lise Davidsen is an emerging star whose voice has been called one-in-a-million. It can soar like a rocket over enormous orchestras. And yet on her new album, in the Verdi aria, "Pace, pace mio Dio!" it can dial down to a single gleaming strand of polished silver.

While it's not easy to find duets for two tenors, Lawrence Brownlee and Michael Spyres uncovered a number of them in seven early 19th-century Rossini operas. After a video of their encore duet in 2018 at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam went viral, they put together a groundbreaking album, Amici e Rivali, which collects over a dozen duets and trios and shines a light on the genius of Gioachino Rossini. 

Jimmy Heath made one of his first appearances on record as a member of Dizzy Gillespie's band, late in 1949. Released on Capitol under the title Dizzy Gillespie And His Orchestra, it featured Heath on alto saxophone alongside his fellow Philadelphian, an up-and-comer named John Coltrane.