Author Archives: Dr. John Orlando

Spring Festival of Bands at Cabrillo College

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May I begin by reminding the reader of how festive a live concert band, notwithstanding the limitations of beginning and intermediate student musicians, can be. However perfect professional orchestras might sound, they can be hard pressed to match the heartfelt energy and enthusiasm of a community or student concert ensemble. Such was the case today at the Cabrillo College Spring Festival of Bands concert.

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Archived in these categories: Cabrillo College, Concerto, Piano


Carmel Music Society – Dueling Pianos

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Jon Kimura Parker & James Parker

Jon Kimura Parker & James Parker (known affectionately to their friends as Jackie and Jamie Parker), seated at magnificent Steinway concert grand pianos, unleashed a formidable program celebrating the intoxicating rhythms, images and musical fragrances of the dance. Starting with Astor Piazzolla’s Grand Tango, they took us into a dreamy, lush musical landscape of hot, sensual South American temperaments. It was an instantaneous hit with the audience and a great beginning to an evening that got better with each new work on the program. With separate solo careers, the brothers rarely concertize as duo pianists, but have played together since they were very young. And it showed. Without a care in the world, they breezed through their program and their joy in doing so was a delight to the audience.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Carmel Music Society, Classical Era, Piano


Cabrillo College Band & Symphonic Winds — New Work by Heather Morris

Composer Heather Morris

There is nothing like the sound of a concert band. Not that I have anything against the full orchestra timbre, but the sound that come from the combined brass, woodwinds and percussion (minus the strings) is inherently festive and rousing. Such was the case for Cabrillo College’s Concert Band and Symphonic Winds on Sunday, May 4, under the direction of instructor Jon Nordgren. Along with familiar works by Mozart and John Phillips Sousa, the program spotlighted an outstanding ensemble of percussionists in Vaclav Nehybel’s Festivo. More percussive virtuosity followed, featuring Paul Kuhn, in Variations on a tune for Tympani by Maurice Garner. Into the Storm by Robert Smith was expertly conducted by assistant conductor Nicholas Marinovich.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Brass, Cabrillo College, Romantic Era, Vocal ensemble, Woodwinds


Pianist Adam Nieman Plays Liszt with Santa Cruz Symphony

In a nutshell last weekend, the Santa Cruz County Symphony offered up a delicious serving of musical delicacies beginning with Percy Grainger’s In a Nutshell, an orchestral suite of considerable novelty that included steel and wooden marimba-phones, altered Swiss hand bells and a 5-octave South American sounding nabimba. The work showed Grainger’s affection for music of the popular Edwardian music hall. It is music joyfully fit for family consumption and was properly received in response to the orchestra’s adept rendering. The program ended with another tour de force masterpiece of orchestration: Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov. Performed with characteristic Spanish flare, the work was a parade of outstanding soloists from nearly every section of the orchestra.   

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Archived in these categories: Concerto, Orchestral, Piano, Santa Cruz Symphony