Author Archives: Sarah Morris

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 2018 — “In the Blue Room with the Kronos Quartet”

“In The Blue Room with the Kronos Quartet”

This annual tradition has really gained quite the following as part of the Cabrillo Festival. David Harrington, the first violinist and typically the speaker for the group, guessed that it was back in 1978 when they first collaborated with the festival. The San Francisco based group has always maintained strong political views and this concert was no different. They opened with a short piece by Egyptian composer, Islam Chipsy. Zaghlala, loosely translated as meaning blurred vision cause by strong light in the eyes, was full of glissandos and fast passages. Perhaps this choice of piece was a nod to the song and dance man in charge at the moment distracting from the real issues at hand. Friend of the festival, Missy Mazzoli, was up next with a piece named ‘Harp and Altar’ for string quartet and recorded sound. The recording began as low vocal intonations and grew stronger into full words, which began to overpower the sound of the quartet and eventually overtook them in prominence. Read full story

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


Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 2018 — ‘After Dixieland’

Christi Macelaru welcomed everyone to the concert by inviting us ‘into the madness’ and ‘Dust Devils’, by Vivian Fung, which opened the concert with a whirl. She captured the swirl of a dust storm and everything the wind would pick up with it. In celebration of William Bolcom’s 80th birthday, the festival programed Bolcom’s ‘Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra’ and his students, Kristin Kuster and Gabriela Lena-Frank pieces as well. Having a teacher and his students all having pieces performed was a wonderful showcase of how the influence of a teacher lasts a lifetime and the progression of the festival. There was also an addition to the program: a piece by Karim Al-Zand, a friend of the festival. The piece is an elegy for the displaced with the title, Luctus Profugis after which Christi asked us not to applaud, but reflect instead on who we are and where we come from. What a difficult, yet poignant way to engage the audience by Christi Macelaru who Lena-Frank termed ‘a gem’.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cabrillo College


La Traviata – San Jose Opera

On April 14 San Jose Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ opened on a lively scene: a party in a French salon held by Violetta, a stunning courtesan. Immediately drawing you in, Amanda Kingston returned to San Jose Opera with a bang. ‘The Drinking Song’ delighted the audience young and old alike, making the audience immediately comfortable. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera


The Flying Dutchman at San Jose Opera

Directed by Brad Dalton and conducted by Joseph Marcheso, Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” has sailed into Opera San Jose. Utilizing a large, Wagnerian orchestra, with no fewer than five French horns and three trombones, this opera truly knocks you over when it begins. A huge wave moving towards you, the rolling melodies in the string section hit you like a wall of sound. The leitmotifs associating musical themes with individuals or concepts are all introduced in the overture and appear throughout. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera


A Chanticleer Christmas at the Carmel Mission

Not surprisingly, since “Chanticleer” was the rooster in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” the choir with the same moniker is no different — bright and colorful. A sense of awe and wonder took over the audience as the choir entered the Carmel Mission Basilica from the rear of the sanctuary. All the lights had been turned off as the choir entered bearing candles and singing the Gregorian Chant, Christe redemptor omnium.

As the lights were turned back on and the music continued, the once hushed audience was filled with murmurs – comments on the sounds of the voices emanating from the all-male choir. One of the unique features of this choir is the presence of countertenors, a voice partly higher than a tenor and equivalent to a female contralto or soprano. Looks of confusion turned to gentle smiles amongst the audience, and the confidence of the choir took over to a sense of serene happiness. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cantus, Choral