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

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

Santa Cruz Symphony: Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps


I have the good fortune of having heard two unforgettable performances. In ca. 1968 I attended a Cleveland Orchestra concert with Igor Stravinsky conducting Le Sacre du Printemps. In ca. 1971, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing a more profound performance of Le Sacre du Printemps with Pierre Boulez conducting. At that point in time the Cleveland Orchestra was considered among the great orchestras of the world in a  group that included the symphony orchestras of Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Concertgebouw and Vienna! When Maestro Gustavo Dudamel conducted his Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, a major music critic wrote “Dudamel and his Venezuelan “band” are nipping at the heels of the great Vienna Symphony Orchestra.” Can you feel it San Francisco? Read full story

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

Santa Cruz Symphony: Fidl Fantazye


The highly anticipated Mahler Symphony No. 4 was performed by the spirited Santa Cruz Symphony under the baton of Maestro Danny Stewart, Music Director and Conductor extraordinaire. To compound this intensity, once again Maestro Stewart conducted this masterpiece and the entire concert from memory! The venue was the Mello Center for the Performing Arts Sunday on October, 7. The fourth movement featured the superb voice of guest artist, Chinese soprano Meigui Zhang. It is quite obvious Stewart’s affinity for Mahler allows him to capture and magically express Mahler’s musical intensity. The performance had a tremendous impact on the audience, especially the ‘Mahlerites’ who filled the Mello with eagerness and appreciation. Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is set for the following season.  Read full story

Archived in these categories: Orchestral, Romantic Era, Santa Cruz Symphony

Cabrillo Festival: Notes from a Journey

The Cabrillo Festival concert on Saturday, August 11, Notes from a Journey, was dedicated to the many incredible Host Families who are an intrinsic part of the Festival. They open their homes to these orchestra’s fantastic musicians. Thank you!

Liguria, (2012) by Andrea Tarrodi (b.1981) (US Premiere) opened the evening’s program. Two works in this concert followed the idea Modest Mussorgsky used in his Pictures at an Exhibition where a tour of art works served as musical illustrations. In this case five small Italian fishing villages were the models. As with Mussorgsky’s Promenade through the art works, Tarrodi used the pathway connecting the villages as a musical walking tour. Maestro Macelaru’s keen ear led the orchestra through adventurous texturing of Waves, the Horizon, The Blue Path, Colours, Mountains and Stars. Superb orchestral balance of sound filled the Civic. An enjoyable composition to be sure. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Concerto, Piano

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 2018 — Opening Night

Cristian Mācelaru

The Cabrillo Festival opened with its traditional pomp and ceremony. From 6:30-7:45 pm, there was an Alfresco Dinner in front of the Civic followed by the pre-concert talk with Sarah Cahill and Maestro Cristi Mācelaru. Previously written questions were submitted and answered by Mācelaru, and some good ones at that. Perhaps the most pressing was how does Mācelaru select his program? Actually what was missing was “to where or whom does a composer submit a score?” No information was given, except that the Maestro may ask a composer for a work or a work is commissioned. And does a composer receive feedback such as yes, no or maybe at some undetermined point do submitted compositions gravitate into a black hole never to be heard of again? One can assume these questions were directed to Ms. Cahill as well, since she specializes in performing new piano works. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Chamber music, Concerto