Cabrillo Festival: Notes from a Journey

The Cabrillo Festival concert on Saturday, August 11, Notes from a Journey, was dedicated to the many incredible Host Families who are an intrinsic part of the Festival. They open their homes to these orchestra’s fantastic musicians. Thank you!

Liguria, (2012) by Andrea Tarrodi (b.1981) (US Premiere) opened the evening’s program. Two works in this concert followed the idea Modest Mussorgsky used in his Pictures at an Exhibition where a tour of art works served as musical illustrations. In this case five small Italian fishing villages were the models. As with Mussorgsky’s Promenade through the art works, Tarrodi used the pathway connecting the villages as a musical walking tour. Maestro Macelaru’s keen ear led the orchestra through adventurous texturing of Waves, the Horizon, The Blue Path, Colours, Mountains and Stars. Superb orchestral balance of sound filled the Civic. An enjoyable composition to be sure. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Concerto, Piano


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 — Opening Night

Cristian Mācelaru

The Cabrillo Festival opened with its traditional pomp and ceremony. From 6:30-7:45 pm, there was an Alfresco Dinner in front of the Civic followed by the pre-concert talk with Sarah Cahill and Maestro Cristi Mācelaru. Previously written questions were submitted and answered by Mācelaru, and some good ones at that. Perhaps the most pressing was how does Mācelaru select his program? Actually what was missing was “to where or whom does a composer submit a score?” No information was given, except that the Maestro may ask a composer for a work or a work is commissioned. And does a composer receive feedback such as yes, no or maybe at some undetermined point do submitted compositions gravitate into a black hole never to be heard of again? One can assume these questions were directed to Ms. Cahill as well, since she specializes in performing new piano works. Read full story

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


A Penchant for the Moderns: Pianist Gabriela Martinez in Concert

As though serving as a foil for the oft-percussive, even “symphonic” sonority of several of her chosen compositions, pianist Gabriela Martinez concluded her Sunday, April 15 recital at Le Petit Trianon Theatre for the Steinway Society the Bay Area with the sweet, salon Romance in E-flat Major, Op. 44, No. 1 by Anton Rubinstein. Some of us elder auditors could recall that Frank Sinatra sang the melody version of the piece as “If You are but a Dream.” Ms. Martinez, however, seemed less concerned with performing “standard” repertory as much as inviting us to hear both old and new wine in new bottles. She opened with the Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33 of Beethoven, his so-called Kleinigkeiten, of 1802-03. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Piano, Romantic Era


Ensō Quartet performs for Chamber Music Monterey Bay


Photo by Erica Horn

Passionate enthusiasm and youthful vitality added a heightened dimension to Chamber Music Monterey Bay’s presentation of the Ensō String Quartet at Sunset Center last night. The four young players, violinists Susie Park & Ken Hamao, violist Melissa Reardon and cellist Richard Belcher, are seasoned masters of their craft and treated us last night to some of the finest quartet playing I have ever heard. It was a remarkable combination of style, refinement and artistry in equally generous amounts. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Chamber music, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Classical Era, Romantic Era, String quartet