Author Archives: Dr. Gary Lemco

The Third Ear: A Recital by Seong-Jin Cho

An extraordinary exhibition of pianistic virtuosity and seamless musicianship graced the precincts of the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on Monday evening, October 21, under the auspices of San Francisco Performances, with Seong-Jin Cho’s electrifying renditions of music by Bach, Schubert, Chopin and Mussorgsky. The Korean pianist, winner of the 2015 Gold Medal at the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw, may appear demure and shy in person, but once seated at the keyboard he commands no less than a Titan’s arsenal of power and colors, focused entirely and aptly, to the style of the music at hand. It seemed as if each successive selection unleashed potential within the piano that a wizard had found the alchemy to manipulate. By the time Cho graced the audience with two encores, the sense of awe and veneration in the hall had us palpably in thrall. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era

Virtuoso! JoAnn Falletta Leads Symphony Silicon Valley’s Opening Concert

Thoroughly engaging the Symphony Silicon Valley in their program of Barber, Prokofiev, and Sibelius, guest-conductor JoAnn Falletta led a spectacularly successful demonstration of orchestral discipline Saturday, October 6 at San Jose’s California Theatre to inaugurate the 2018-19 season. By the time we reached the commanding series of chords that conclude the Sibelius E-flat Symphony, Op. 82, the irrevocable impression we had gleaned convinced us that master musicians had assembled to deliver nothing less than a virtuoso display of musical temperament buttressed by seamless technical control. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Orchestral

Russian Nefertiti: Zlata Chochieva in Recital


The Steinway Society the Bay Area inaugurated its 2018-19 season on Saturday, September 15, with a fine recital by Russian piano virtuoso Zlata Chochieva, who performed music by Bach, Rachmaninov, Chopin, and Liszt. Appearing in a silver, svelte gown, Ms. Chochieva might have resembled a sleek, modern incarnation of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, in the classic pose with her hair slicked back, except this deity of the keyboard holds her wrists low and exerts magical, athletic presence on the music she surveys. A combination of potent textures and poetic temperament ensued, inflamed her appreciative audience to demand one encore, a breathless, scintillating rendition of Chopin’s Etude Op. 10, No. 5 in G-flat Major, the “Black Keys.”    Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era

Vienna Transfigured

The “City of my Dreams,” Vienna, provided the spectacular venue for the last of the [email protected] concert series, 2018, Saturday, August 4 at the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton. Music by Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, and Schoenberg found vibrant, uplifting realization by ensembles thoroughly engaged in style and temperament, concluding the program not so much by frantic applause, but by that thoughtful, mesmerized quiet that followed the long-held, evaporating chords from Schoenberg’s 1899 sextet after the poem by Richard Dehmel. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Classical Era, Romantic Era

[email protected] — Ich bin Berliner

The city of Berlin provided the cultural venue for the indubitably successful concert from [email protected], Saturday, July 28, at the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton. Music by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and Mendelssohn elicited a series of dazzling ensembles in seamless harmony, since each of the representative composers had found in Berlin receptive sponsors who fostered their artistic growth or challenged their native ingenuity. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Baroque, Chamber music, Classical Era