Author Archives: Lyn Bronson

Pianist Sofya Gulyak’s Triumphant Return

Sofya Gulyak

Yesterday afternoon, by popular demand, the brilliant Russian-trained pianist Sofya Gulyak returned for a triumphant fifth recital appearance in central California. The event was jointly sponsored by Joseph Sekon’s Aptos Keyboard Series and the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist at 125 Canterbury Drive in Aptos.

Gulyak has won many prestigious piano competitions — among them first prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition — the first woman to achieve this in the history of the competition. She has also won first prizes at the William Kapell International Piano Competition (USA), the Helsinki Maj Lind International Piano Competition, Tivoli Piano Competition (Copenhagen), Gyeongnam International Piano Competition (South Korea) and the Allegro vivo International Piano Competition (SanMarino).

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


Pianist Jura Margulis Returns to Hidden Valley

Pianist Jura Margulis

Having heard pianist Jura Margulis fifteen times previously in recital at Hidden Valley, we had every reason to believe his solo recital yesterday afternoon would take us on a special musical journey. We were not to be disappointed. Not only did his recital contain some very significant music, but it also displayed his mastery that enhanced the music he performed rather than merely showing off his brilliant technique. Not surprisingly he attracted a capacity audience.

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Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era


Monterey Peninsula College Orchestra — Spring Concert

Conductor David Dally and the MPC College Orchestra

The MPC Orchestra we heard last night at the MPC Theatre is a living testament to Conductor David Dally’s thirty odd years of successfully transforming a small Monday-Evening String Class into a thriving community orchestra that presents two major concerts every year. Yes, there are a few MPC students among the orchestra players, but there are also many distinguished local musicians from our community — among them are clarinetist Erica Horn, oboist Claire Horn, percussionist Greg Bullock, trombonist Suzanne Mudge, cellist (and former violinist) Vernon Brown, tuba player Jim Paoletti, and many others who regularly appear with other distinguished orchestra ensembles during the concert year.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Concerto, Monterey Peninsula College, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era


Monterey Symphony ends its 2018-2019 Season

Guest artist: pianist Marcos Madrigal

Conductor Max Bragado-Darman led the Monterey Symphony in a concert of three popular masterpieces last night at Sunset Center in Carmel, and, not surprisingly, it was a great success with each work winning a rousing standing ovation. 2019-2020 will be the last season for retiring conductor Bragado-Darman, and he will be missed.

The concert began with one of Richard Wagner’s masterpieces, the Overture to his opera The Flying Dutchman. The tale of a cursed ship that can never make port and is doomed to wander the seas forever is effectively set to music by Wagner and continues to fascinate audiences today as much as it did at its premiere in Dresden in 1843. Last night the Monterey Symphony wowed us with its powerful performance that featured a full compliment of strings, woodwinds, brass, trombones, bassoons, harp and percussion, plus the strong direction from Bragado-Darman.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Concerto, Monterey Symphony, Piano, Romantic Era


Gallery Showings by Lucas Blok and Mel Prest

It was all about color yesterday afternoon at the Carl Cherry Foundation as friends and fans attended a joint gallery display by artists Lucas Blok and Mel Prest. Both artists employ acrylic in their creations of large canvases, but their individual artistic outlook has led them in different, yet complimentary directions. Blok specializes in bold rectilinear designs imposed on large areas of vivid colors that tease the mind and envelop us in vibrant strong colors enclosed in both hard and soft edged rectangles. Although many of Blok’s paintings are in a gigantic scale with linear lengths approaching 16 to 20 feet wide, his paintings on display yesterday were smaller in scale — partly because the Carl Cherry Gallery has smaller wall spaces lending itself to smaller paintings.

San Francisco artist Mel Prest also employs acrylic in her very personal use of color, line and perspective to create muted and subtle images on large panels that can draw you into each one in an hypnotic way that compels your eye to roam in each direction to interact with the more intimate details of movement of lines — sometimes linear, and sometimes diagonal — while always retaining more distant overall effect. This is my first acquaintance with Mel Prest’s artistry, and I found that her warm personality is a complimentary aspect that graces and enhances her artistic aura.

We hope there will be future showings by these artists, individually and jointly. They both have found compelling ways to engage the minds and moods of those exposed to their artistry.

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Piano