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

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


Symphonic Fire: The Santa Cruz Symphony

Music Director & Conductor Daniel Stewart

Under the brilliant direction of Conductor Daniel Stewart, cellist Jonah Kim’s nuanced performance of Antonin Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, demonstrated a deep understanding of the music’s emotional trajectory. The Santa Cruz Orchestra established a backdrop that was warm, luminous and animated by a tangy freshness, as indeed was the playing of Kim.

Kim’s interpretation of contoured passion responded to the music’s lyrical soul. He exhibited an expressive mastery that illuminated the concerto’s essential vitality with an attention to nuance that derived both from mature artistry and the orchestra’s excellent supporting role.

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


Santa Cruz Symphony: Enlightenment

Cellist Jeremy Tai

                    

Contemporary works are much like contemporary art. The major difference is one can spend time viewing an art work, looking at it from several angles in an attempt to better understand what in many cases the artist intended to depict. However, and unfortunately, music is performed in real time and as it passes, so too does the time it demands for a better understanding. 

“Enlightenment” is a most appropriate title for the opening concert of the orchestra’s 2019 season, and it was filled with wonderful surprises. Like the tortoise found in Hindu mythology, appearing capable of carrying the heavens on its back, one hears and witnesses towering achievements from our young conductor. In order to reach such heights, Maestro Stewart has created an impressive musical atmosphere based on mutual respect and partnership. When this occurs, impressive musical results are the artistic consequence, a fact the supportive audience has experienced during his tenure. He has built the technical quality of the orchestra much in the manner of the late Pierre Boulez, and his contemporary Esa-Pekka Salonen now of the San Francisco Symphony, who forever look for perfection in details and refinement in the intimacy of the works they perform. Especially evident was the orchestra’s sound in the Mozart Symphony No. 40. The orchestra’s development sounded like an impressive “major big city orchestra”!

San Francisco take note!

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


Christmas with the Santa Cruz Chorale at Holy Cross

It was a most impressive showing of support for a most impressive concert that took place on Sunday, December 9 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz. No less than three lines of supporters lined up in front of the church entrance that extended a block down to the street and waited patiently for the doors to open. One line was dedicated to ticket holders, one for “Will Call” and the third for those who wished to purchase tickets. The concert was a complete sell out with people hustling and hoping for a seat or two. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral


Berkeley Symphony presents Del Sol String Quartet at Piedmont Center for the Arts

What a delightful musical treat to hear the incredible Del Sol String Quartet perform with great depth and virtuosity six works, two by friends, neighbors, colleagues and mentors: Lou Harrison (1917-2003) and Ben Johnston (1926). Members of the stellar Del Sol String Quartet are Ben Kreith (violin I), recent member Sam Weiser (violin II), Charlton Lee (viola), and Kathryn Bates (cello), created a “California Flow” program. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, String quartet