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


The Santa Cruz Symphony Celebration

Maestro Daniel Stewart unveiled a tour de force of virtuosity and artistry supported by the ever more distinguished Santa Cruz Symphony. Sunday’s concert at the Mello Center opened with Mozart’s delightful Overture to The Marriage of Figaro (1786), with the orchestra bringing joy and spontaneity to each phrase. This work was the first of two works by Mozart, both impeccably performed and thoroughly enjoyed by all! Read full story

Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Classical Era, Santa Cruz Symphony


Chamber Music Monterey Bay presents a return engagement by the Claremont Trio

Chamber Music Monterey Bay (CMMB) has a long tradition of presenting the crème de la crème of chamber ensembles and also of commissioning significant new works by contemporary composers. In last night’s concert at Sunset Center CMMB once again hit it out of the ballpark. The Claremont Trio was at the top of its form, and the commissioned work, Four Folk Songs for piano trio by Gabriela Lena Frank, was a hit with the audience. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Chamber music, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Classical Era, Piano trio


Fervent and Fanciful — Pianist Daniel Hsu in Recital for the Steinway Society

Responding to the acclamation of an enthusiastic audience at Le Petit Trianon, pianist Daniel Hsu graced the audience with one encore, a Horowitz staple, Träumerei, from Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Op. 15. The sweet reverie extended the passionate and poised ambiance of the entire recital during this December 9 recital at Petit Trianon in San Jose presented by the Steinway Society the Bay Area. The Bronze Medal winner at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Mr. Hsu demonstrated in an essentially Romantic repertory that his taste and technical arsenal would justify his having selected the Cliburn Competition test-piece, Marc-Andre Hamelin’s Toccata on L’homme armé, as an example of the prowess and canny lyricism he can apply within the parameters of an honest virtuoso. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Choral