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


Pianist Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough appeared in a piano recital at Temple Beth Am in Miami on
Sunday March 31, 2019. Hough is a fascinating intellectual who not only has an extraordinarily vast piano repertoire but is also a composer and published novelist.

The program he chose for his recital in Miami was most interesting in several respects. For many years it has not been fashionable to play transcriptions in recitals. However, since in recent years transcriptions have come back into fashion, we were not surprised that Hough chose to begin with Busoni’s great transcription of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin. Unlike the Brahms transcription of the Chaconne, which is for left hand alone, Busoni’s is for both hands and in its complexity presents even more formidable technical and musical difficulties for the performer. Hough’s performance exhibited extraordinary technical mastery and made us enjoy the amazing sonorities created in the transcription of this work from solo violin to solo piano.

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Baroque, Piano


Third Coast Percussion at Herbst Theater

What an imaginative and extraordinary way to spend Wednesday night, April 3, in San Francisco. I had the privilege of attending a performance by Third Coast Percussion at Herbst Theater presented by San Francisco Performances.

Having recently released its newest album, ‘Perputulum’, Third Coast Percussion is, if they haven’t already, becoming a force to be reckoned with. ‘Perpetulum’ is a joint venture with Philip Glass, its latest commissioned composer. Glass has never before written for percussion alone, and TCP thought it was time. They premiered the West Coast performance of the piece written last year (2018) last Wednesday at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco to a very receptive, but not sold out crowd. In the spirit of musical convergence, Glass leaves the cadenza between the second and third movement mostly up to the performers. 

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century


Monterey Symphony: A Whale of a Concert!

Conductor Jung-Ho Pak

This was an extraordinary event and unlike any other concert I have ever attended! Monterey Symphony guest conductor Jung-Ho Pak had selected four innovative works for this program, the fourth in a series themed with the title “Sound Waves.” Not unexpectedly, two of the four compositions we heard last night at Sunset Center immersed us in the sound and images of sea in a major way with a video by Feo Pitcairn to accompany the Hovhaness work and a video by Annie Crawley to accompany Stella Sung’s Oceana (2018). The videography was projected on a screen above the Monterey Symphony players. Both Pitcairn and Crawley were in the audience and were introduced.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Monterey Symphony, Orchestral


Catalyst Quartet

Violist Paul Laraia, cellist Karlos Rodriguez, violinist Karla Donehew Perez
and violinist Jessie Montgomery

When the Catalyst Quartet appeared at Sunset Center last night, courtesy of Chamber Music Monterey Bay, we heard four fabulous musicians and a fabulous program — by any standard, a great combination. Every once in a while, we hear a concert in which the polish and refinement of the musicians’ individual mastery combined with their ability to respond to each others individual artistic skills produces a concert in which there is an inevitability about the playing. Simply said, it was difficult to imagine the works they performed being played any other way.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Strings