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).

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


Monterey Peninsula Voices


Sean Boulware

The audience trickled in to the hustle and bustle of the dynamite combo warming up for the Monterey Peninsula Voices program on Sunday, May 12, at the Santa Catalina High School auditorium. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware, just the warm up was an exciting predictor of what was to come. These 100+ voices in their terrific themed tee shirts showed unflagging enthusiasm and delight to be part of this group. As a Road Trip theme might be imagined, Boulware has chosen a wealth of location songs stretching from I Left My Heart in San Franciscoto Boy From New York City with stops in between along Route 66. John Lett and Robin Jepsen soloed more than ably in Tuxedo Junction. As with many of these familiar songs the recording artist who made it famous is often more remembered than the actual composer. Erskine Hawkins wrote this piece made popular by numerous big bands as well as soloists. Hard to imagine Lynard Skynard being responsible for Sweet Home Alabama, but with the killer guitar work of Noah Reeves, the singers brought it home. Another popular song, Georgia On My Mind, is mostly remembered for the Ray Charles version. Phil Price not only soloed, but also provided his own guitar accompaniment. Next up, the tenors and basses gave a hearty treatment of Westward Ho! from the 1935 film of the same name. Actually moving eastward, Diane Ehlers gave Glen Campbell a run for his money with her version of By The Time I Get To Phoenix supported with a prerecorded backup.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Vocal


Camerata Singers — Wrapped in Song

John Koza

Talk about musical comfort food for the soul, Camerata Singers, under the direction of John Koza, Artistic Director and Conductor, presented Wrapped In SongAudience members were virtually wrapped in a cocoon of not only familiar choral works but also some newer versions of familiar texts. The multi talented George Peterson demonstrated his more than nimble fingers accompanying Dan Forrest’s The Music of Living to start off the program. This accompaniment is a definite “wake-up” call for the singers to maintain balance. The more familiar The Eyes of All Wait Upon Me by Jean Berger followed in a gentler mood. Eric Whitacre used the poetry of Octavio Paz for his setting of A Boy and a Girl. Such poignancy of the image of young love savoring their togetherness stretched out on the grass, stretched out on a beach, until stretched out underground keenly touched the audience’s heart. The delightful premise and novelty of Anders Edenroth’s I sing, You Sing, features the alto section. Koza explained the set up of SATB music with the sopranos getting the melody, basses the foundation and usual root of chord, tenors the color and altos “whatever is left” harmonically. This alto section more than held their own getting to sing more than the three or four notes often assigned to the section.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral


YMMC – Love Side Stories

YMMC concerts are family events, and we do mean big family events. When you add together all the young musicians from OITS (Orchestra in the Schools), and the young musicians from YMMC’s Youth and Honors Orchestra, it amounts to about 125 young players, who with their parents and siblings bring to each concert a capacity audience that fills Sunset Center in Carmel. It is also gratifying to see the level of generous community support as evidenced by the long list of donors and angels in the printed program — with Patricia & George Yellich, deserving a special mention as sponsors of this afternoon’s program.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Classical Era, Concerto, Orchestral


YMMC Woodwinds & Brass Ensembles Benefit Concert

Adam Shapiro, Jake Garneau, Cassidy Novack, Daniel Regaldo-Ortiz,
Elias Osorio & Bennett Bishop

On Friday evening, May 10, at Hidden Valley Seminars in Carmel Valley, Youth Music Monterey County (YMMC) presented a concert by Woodwind & Brass Ensembles. It was very inspiring to see these young musicians coming together to perform a wide variety of music, most of which is totally unfamiliar, unless you are a brass or woodwind player, of course. In a society where so many young high school students’ free time is dominated by various sporting activities, it is indeed gratifying to also see the fruits of many hours, spent not on the playing fields, but in practice rooms developing musical skills that often reached a very high professional level. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Brass, Woodwinds