Author Archives: Richard Lynde

Violinist Ilya Kaler & pianist Alon Goldstein open Distinguished Artist Series

Violinist Ilya Kaler
Pianist Alon Goldstein

The 2019-20 The Distinguished Artists Concert Series, founded and directed by John Orlando since 1984, now Emeritus Head of the Piano Department at Cabrillo College, opened this season’s performances with a splendid violin-piano recital at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on Saturday evening, September 21st. The stunning program, featuring violinist Ilya Kaler and frequent pianist here, Alon Goldstein at the mighty Yamaha CFX concert grand gave a rousing performance “as advertised” –- in a word “sensational.” While Goldstein often deceptively appears as if in a meditative trance, Ilya Kaler strode out with his fiddle in an energetic, forceful stance. Yet the duo performed “as one.”  Kaler is the only violinist to have gold-medalled in all three of these huge international competitions: The Paganini (1981), The Sibelius (1985) and the Tchaikovsky (1986).  He continues to concertize all over the world and is currently on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute. Goldstein also is in demand around the world, and his Festival appearances include not only the Marlboro in Vermont but also the super-exclusive Verbier in the Swiss Alps. 

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Chamber music, Piano, Romantic Era, Violin


Pianist Chetan Tierra — Return of a Native Son

Chetan Tierra

If you weren’t at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, you missed a great piano recital, presented by the Distinguished Artists Concert Series’ director John Orlando as a special event, not part of the regular series, by native son Chetan Tierra from Ben Lomond, now in his mid 30’s and living/teaching in San Diego with his lovely wife, also a pianist.

This writer first reviewed him around 20 years ago when he was a student of Hans Boepple and a “Wunderkind” — I often listen in my car to Tierra’s super CD from 2007. For several years, he has focused on a rock band; but, fortunately for musicians everywhere, he has put that behind him and returned to the classical “fold” with added maturity and intensity.

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


Recital by Organist Vlada Volkova-Moran in Aptos

Vlada Volkova-Moran

On Sunday afternoon, May 26, we had the opportunity to hear an all-Bach program inaugurating the recently installed tracker organ at the Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist in Aptos. Performing on this occasion was organist Vlada Volkova-Moran, who is also a distinguished Russian-trained pianist and teacher residing in Santa Cruz.

The two-manual tracker organ was built near Boston c. 1869 and was originally installed in a church in Marysville. The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist purchased the organ for one dollar, and then spent $100,000 to have it dismantled, packed up and shipped to Aptos, where it was then restored, installed and finely adjusted for its new home.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Organ


British Pianist Danny Driver — A Magical tour of Debussy & Ligeti

Returning here after an absence of 18 years, British super-pianist Danny Driver, now in his early 40’s delivered a commanding performance, seated at the ultra expressive Yamaha CFX concert grand at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on March 19. This event concluded the 2016-17 Distinguished Artists Series season. In April 1999 he had superbly performed a conventional program of Chopin, Scriabin and Ravel on the seven-foot Steinway at St. Andrew’s Church in Aptos, also for DACLS. What we heard on this occasion was a totally unexpected, but very successful, layering of familiar early 20th century Debussy (1862-1918) impressionistic works with selections from Gyorgy Ligeti’s (1923-2006) amazing and almost overwhelming “Etudes” from the mid-1980’s to early “90”s, even more “transcendental” than all those of Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Debussy put together. No wonder they are “cult” favorites for young, hotshot competition contestants. But Danny Driver was not showing off when, with DACLS Director John Orlando intently watching the scores as page turner, he sat lean and electric, using knowledge gained through his Cambridge degree in physiology as he sometimes reached the very depths of the bass with his left hand and the uppermost keys with his right. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Piano


Pianist Alon Goldstein Strikes Gold Here Again

Alon Goldstein

A favorite here already, 24 carat pianist Alon Goldstein returned to Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on July 31st to perform a benefit for the Juanita Orlando Piano Fund to continue raising money for the Distinguished Artists Concert & Lecture Series splendid Yamaha CFX, praised by Goldstein as one of the five best in the world he has ever played during his extensive travels. And, after a fine recital, he returned during a second, “interactive” intermission before his encores, to discuss new ideas for the series, such as having performers remain for a few days to give a master class, visit schools or play at convalescent hospitals – all this with the approval of Distinguished Artists’ founding director John Orlando.

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