‘Young Musicians’ to play 90th Anniversary Concert at Woodmere

by Michael Caruso
Posted 3/21/24

Young Musicians Musicales will celebrate its 90th anniversary season with a special concert at Woodmere Art Museum.

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‘Young Musicians’ to play 90th Anniversary Concert at Woodmere


Young Musicians Musicales will celebrate its 90th anniversary season with a special concert at Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m.

 YMM’s mission is to provide performance opportunities to top young classical instrumental and vocal performers by presenting daytime concerts in exceptional homes in Northwest Philadelphia and its nearby suburban communities. One such venue was once the home of legendary pianist Josef Hofmann.

 YMM has featured a stellar roster of performers including young musicians in the early years of their careers, many of whom have become recognized names in the musical world. During its early seasons, YMM promoted such luminaries as William Kapell, Eugene List, Anna Moffo, Peter Serkin and Andre Watts. Later stars include Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Anthony McGill and Eric Owens.

 The 90th Anniversary Concert will feature a chamber orchestra comprised of 16 young musicians from some of the finest musical institutions in the region. The program will feature “Carnaval of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens, “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland and the Concerto for Two Keyboards in C minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. A reception will follow the performance, where attendees will have the opportunity to meet the performers while enjoying wine and light refreshments. For more information, visit

 Music in the afternoon

 Two of the region’s most musically active Episcopal parishes presented musical experiences two Sunday afternoons in a row. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, proffered a Choral Evensong March 3; the following Sunday, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, presented an organ recital featuring its newly appointed organist & director of music, Robert McCormick. Both events attracted large audiences that provided enthusiastic support for their respective performers.

 Andrew Kotylo, organist and director of music at St. Paul’s Church, along with organ scholar Andy Brown at the console to accompany, presided over a roster of music that focused most highly on the works of 20th century modernists who continued to compose within the context of an expanded major/minor tonality. 

 Kotylo opened the service with Louis Vierne’s “Romance” from Symphonie No. 4, Opus 32, and brought it to a close with C. Hubert Parry’s Voluntary on “Eventide,” the hymn that closed the Evensong. In between the two, the parish’s acclaimed Choir sang Kenneth Leighton’s Responses, Edward Bairstow’s setting of Psalm 107, Herbert Howells’ “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimittis” from his “Gloucester Service,” and William Harris’ anthem, “Bring Us, O Lord God,” at the Offertory. 

 Each of the six composers worked either well into the 20th century or completely within its decades. Each started from the context of late romanticism and each incorporated the modern use of chromatic dissonance that nonetheless retained an accessibility for audiences to follow.

 With the restoration of St. Paul’s mighty Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ nearly 80% complete, Kotylo was able to conjure up its kaleidoscopic range of colors for a sterling rendition of the Vierne as well as its lush tones and timbres for a touching performance of the Parry that brought tears to the eyes of many of his listeners.

 Under his direction, the Choir sang its four choral pieces with a sumptuous generosity of choral sound that projected their texts’ inner meanings with passion and precision. St. Paul’s will mark the opening of Holy Week musically, at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 24, with “Choral Meditations on Christ’s Passion.” 

 After 10 years as organist and choirmaster at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Locust Street, Philadelphia, Robert McCormick assumed that post at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, following the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6, 2024. It was a transfer from a “Prayer Book High Church” parish to one that is most accurately described as “Anglo-Catholic,” from an historic example of English Gothic revival architecture to an intimate and peerless gem of one that recalls the English countryside of centuries ago as though it had been part of the filming of “Downton Abbey.”

 McCormick’s program consisted of Bennett’s “Prelude and Toccata on Kingsfold,” Durufle’s reconstruction of Tournemire’s “Cantilene improvisee,” Franck’s “Chorale in mi majeur,” Hurd’s “Fantasie on Wondrous Love,” Shearing’s arrangements of “I Love thee, my Lord” and “There is a Happy Land,” Bohm’s “Vater user im Himmelreich,” Durufle’s “Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain,” and his own improvisations on theme submitted by the audience.

 McCormick elicited a glorious smorgasbord of timbres and colors, tints and shades, textures and counterpoints from Good Shepherd’s Austin pipe organ, Opus 2613, from 1977. More importantly, he employed its 57 pipe ranks and five digital stops to dazzle the ear with technical wizardry, sway the heart with consuming and passionate intensity, and inspire the spirit through music that enlivened the soul.    

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