Roxborough Orchestra to perform with Andrés Cárdenes

by Michael Caruso
Posted 4/11/24

Music director Michael Ludwig will conduct the Roxborough Orchestra on April 12 at the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center.

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Roxborough Orchestra to perform with Andrés Cárdenes


Music director Michael Ludwig will conduct the Roxborough Orchestra in a concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 12, at the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center, 7 Lock St. in Manayunk.

The program will consist of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Nocturne” from the composer’s incidental music for William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, K. 385, (“Haffner”). The soloist in the Violin Concerto will be Andres Cardenes.

Ludwig explained, “I have directed the Roxborough Orchestra since 2015, and our soloist for this concert is Andres Cardenes in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. He is the former concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Andres and I both studied violin with Josef Gingold at Indiana University.” He added that the Mendelssohn “Nocturne” will feature the orchestra’s principal horn player, Richard Swartz.

“We strive to put together programs full of beautiful music that the audience will love and that the orchestra enjoys playing and also finds challenging,” Ludwig said.

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Recorder Fest returns

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, will host a “Recorder Fest” Saturday, April 13, at the historic central Mary Louise Curtis Branch of Settlement Music School, 416 Queen St. in Queen Village. Piffaro’s local home base is The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, where many of its local concerts are performed.

There will be a workshop for high school students at 3 p.m., a community “play-in” at 6 p.m., and live performances at 7 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public, but advance registration is kindly requested at

Lenten Concerts

Two of the most prominent churches in the region hosted Lenten concerts March 22 and 24. Here in Chestnut Hill, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church presented “Meditations on Christ’s Passion” Sunday afternoon, March 24; and in Center City, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church hosted “Choral Stations of the Cross,” featuring Musica Tevere, Friday evening, March 22.

St. Paul’s director of music and organist, Andrew Kotylo, led the 24-member Schola in a program of music built around the Passion of Christ that included “Crux fidelis” by King John IV of Portugal, “Our Blest Redeemer” arranged by Jeffrey Fraser, “Timor et tremor” by Orlande de Lassus, “Drop, Drop Slow Tears” by Kenneth Leighton, “Ex ore innocentium” by John Ireland, “O vos omnes” by Pablo Casals, “In manus tuas” by John Sheppard, and “Salvator Mundi” by Herbert Howells.

In each work, Kotylo and his choristers performed with the intent of presenting not merely beautiful sounds of choral music but of the inner spirituality of the texts that inspired those scores in the first place. Pitch, ensemble, balance, blend, and diction were exemplary – but more importantly, the emotional heart and soul of the music were projected with focused intensity and potent passion. Kotylo opened the service with a darkly brooding rendition of Cesar Franck’s “Priere,” Opus 20, making use of St. Paul’s almost completely restored Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.

Over at St. Patrick’s Church, the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) that administer the parish presided over the ancient liturgy of “Stations of the Cross.” Each marking of the 14 steps along the way from Christ’s condemnation by the Roman Proconsul Pontius Pilate to the Christian savior being laid in the tomb on Calvary was marked by meditations written by St. Cardinal John Henry Newman (the famous convert from the Church of England to the Catholic Church of Rome) and musical offerings composed by a broad spectrum of composers from across the centuries.

The principal work performed by Musica Tevere under the direction of Rebecca Ostermann was Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Stabat Mater pour des Religieuses,” H. 15. This rarely heard work was supplemented by the world premiere of Dorothea Wang’s “Tristis est Anima Mea,” Tomas Luis de Victoria’s “O vos omnes,” “Dulcis Christe” by Michelangelo Grancini, “Sepulto Domini” by Jan Dismas Zelenka, and two choruses from Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion”: “Herr, unser Herrscher” and “Ruht wohl.”

Although the generous reverberation time of St. Patrick’s expansive Roman basilica-style interior made the Bach a little difficult to fully appreciate, the other scores received impressive readings, both chorally and instrumentally.

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