Author Archives: Josef Sekon, D.M.A.

Bay Area Steinway Series — Pianist Albert Cano Smit

Albert Cano Smit

Despite the venue challenges the Bay Area Steinway Series has experienced, it continues to present many of the world’s most impressive keyboard artists as witnessed by the December 8 performance by Albert Cano Smit at the West Valley College in Saratoga. Although Swiss-born Albert Cano Smit won his first international competition at age 14 , it was his winning First Prize in the 2017 Naumburg Competition that sent up the red flag of special attention.

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


Santa Cruz Symphony — Horizons

Maestro Daniel Stewart

Esa-Pekka Salonen is certainly one of today’s finest and most adventuresome composers. In 2018 the Santa Cruz Symphony under Stewart’s imaginative programming, ventured out into the world of contemporary music by presenting Salonen’s Karawane, a work that incorporates a poem set in synthetic language by Dadaist poet Hugo Ball, by all consideration a huge success. Now the Maestro turned to yet another of Salonen’s musical creations, his eclectic 30-minute Violin Concerto, composed in 2009, in a performance featuring virtuoso Concert Master Nigel Armstrong.  

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony


Santa Cruz Symphony Ascendance

Soloist Jon Nakamatsu

On Sunday, October 13, the Santa Cruz Symphony under the direction of Maestro Danny Stewart opened its 62nd season at the Mello Center for the Performing Arts with three works that covered a time span of some 250 years. In perfect tune with Maestro Stewart’s imaginative programming, the concert offered works the audience knows and loves, a concerto from Beethoven’s growth and development period, one of Stravinsky’s finest ballet scores and a new work by Mason Bates. The 2019-2020 season was off to a most exciting start. 

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Classical Era, Concerto, Santa Cruz Symphony


Santa Cruz Symphony — Souvenir de Florence

                                  

Daniel Stewart

The Santa Cruz Symphony audience that attended the Sunday, September 15, Souvenir De Florence performance at Samper Recital Hall at Cabrillo College experienced a musical treat it will remember for many years. Most impressive was the exuberant, well deserved standing ovation that greeted Maestro Danny Stewart and his ensemble upon their stage entry!

Five wonderfully talented symphony musicians plus guest violinist Rebecca Jackson completed the sextet: Maestro Danny Stewart viola, Concertmaster Nigel Armstrong violin, Chad Kaltinger viola, Saul Richmond-Rakerd cello and Principal Cellist Jonah Kim rounded out this amazing group of artists/musicians. Considering the high level of musicianship required to perform the three works selected for the concert, one could clearly believe they have been together as a performing group for some time and more importantly rehearsed at length to achieve the high degree of sophisticated musicianship and individual artistry. 

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Santa Cruz Symphony


The Santa Cruz Symphony: Invocations

Esa-Pekka Salonen

The Sunday, April 7 performance of the Santa Cruz Orchestra offered a unique treat in that two of today’s finest leading composer-conductors were represented: Maestro Danny Stewart on the podium conducting Karawane (2014), a composition by fellow colleague, Finnish Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen. In 2020, Salonen will become Music Director/Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. With the passing of Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen seemed the likeliest leading active composer-conductor to assume that honor and the many challenges associated with it. 

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony