Author Archives: Dr. Gary Lemco

Fervent and Fanciful — Pianist Daniel Hsu in Recital for the Steinway Society

Responding to the acclamation of an enthusiastic audience at Le Petit Trianon, pianist Daniel Hsu graced the audience with one encore, a Horowitz staple, Träumerei, from Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Op. 15. The sweet reverie extended the passionate and poised ambiance of the entire recital during this December 9 recital at Petit Trianon in San Jose presented by the Steinway Society the Bay Area. The Bronze Medal winner at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Mr. Hsu demonstrated in an essentially Romantic repertory that his taste and technical arsenal would justify his having selected the Cliburn Competition test-piece, Marc-Andre Hamelin’s Toccata on L’homme armé, as an example of the prowess and canny lyricism he can apply within the parameters of an honest virtuoso. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Choral


Korean Pianist Ji at Steinway Society the Bay Area — A sonic Artist!

Photo credit: Sangwood Lee

In a remarkable, marathon recital, the Korean pianist Ji — substituting for Seong-Jin Cho — performed music in such a way that attests to his love of sound and music more than to his love of keyboard celebrity, rare enough in any day and age. Reminiscent of the sensibility of such luminaries as Stokowski and Celibidache, Ji eschews the glamour element of concert appearance – sporting a seedy, “street clothes” look at his Saturday, November 4 venue at Le Petit Trianon for the Steinway Society – and requesting for his entire second half that the audience refrain from any applause. The effect, his having programmed the monumental Goldberg Variations for the first half, came to represent the 26-year-old pianist’s complex personality, which pays homage to tradition and discipline while embracing a thoroughly engaging, desultory confrontation with life and art as he sees them. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano


The Eternal Feminine: A Concert by Symphony Silicon Valley

Image result for Mayuko Kamio - images

Mayuko Kamio

Two talented musicians, each a master of her trade, graced the California Theatre Saturday, October 21, in a fine concert by Symphony Silicon Valley. Taiwanese conductor Mei-Ann Chen led music by Dvorak, Khachaturian and Brahms that had verve and elastic energy, supported by violin soloist Mayuko Kamio, gold medalist of the 2007 International Tchaikovsky Competition. The high spirits of the evening found welcome expression in two encores, each performed by the respective artists: Kamio performed the unaccompanied Caprice No. 24 from Paganini’s Op. 1, that in A Minor, the very inspiration of compositions by Liszt, Brahms, Lutoslawski, and Rachmaninov. After an absolutely rousing ovation following an expansive performance of the Brahms Third Symphony, conductor Chen and her responsive, enthusiastic Symphony Silicon Valley performed the complement of the Dvorak Slavonic Dances, the famous Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor, in the Martin Schmeling arrangement. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Concerto, Orchestral, Romantic Era


A Grand Leisure: Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo in Recital

With the ravishing, ecstatically brilliant final chords from Liszt’s La Campanella Etude – his one encore – still resounding through McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center, Saratoga, Sunday afternoon, October 8, an enchanted audience hailed Korean piano virtuoso Yekwon Sunwoo yet once more for what had clearly been a masterful recital, under the auspices of the Steinway Society the Bay Area. Sunwoo, the 2017 Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalist, demonstrated a staggering arsenal of color capabilities at the keyboard, in a recital of Schubert, Grainger, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel that, despite its obvious penchant for bravura and demonic virtuosity, no less presented a grand leisure in pacing and dramatic exposition that testified to a talent well beyond his years in musical maturity. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano


Restrained Fires: Symphony Silicon Valley Opening Night

Paul Polivnick

Symphony Silicon Valley began its 16th season Saturday, September 30 and October 1 at the California Theatre, with Paul Polivnick’s leading music by Wagner, Britten, and Beethoven. While each of the selections contained energy and fine colors, the one ingredient conspicuous in its absence remained inflamed passion and emotional abandon. Rather, each of the pieces maintained a careful, controlled pathos, true to the letter of the selected scores but rarely exceeding their prescriptions to burst into poetic ecstasy. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Orchestral