Melancholy and Mirth: Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung in Recital

Alessio Bax & Lucille Chung

In a suave display of synchronous ensemble, duo-pianists Alessio Bax and wife Lucille Chung performed keyboard, four-hand music under the auspices of the Steinway Society, Saturday, January 11 at the Hammer Theatre, San Jose. Music by Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky and Piazzolla provided an emotional and color diapason of melancholy and mirth, traversing a range of piano music either meant for the salon or literally conceived on an orchestral scale, vehicles for the gifted duo whose acuity and precision may have reminded older auditors of the golden era of Vronsky and Babin.

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


Intimate Audacities: Pianist Changyong Shin in Recital

Changyong Shin

A modest but well-pleased audience hailed pianist Changyong Shin as he concluded his Sunday, November 17 recital for Steinway Society – The Bay Area at the Independence High School auditorium in San Jose. Responding with one encore, Chopin’s Grande valse brillante in E-flat Major, Op. 18, rendered flawlessly, Shin more than confirmed his prowess in music that demands audacity, dexterity, and poetry by such diverse personalities as Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel, and Granados. Shin seems to embody that “smart performer of smart music,” to paraphrase Ned Rorem — that musician whose mind proves as agile as his gifted fingers. The two large works on the program, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109, and Ravel’s daunting Gaspard de la nuit, each required the careful balance of deft articulation and intellectual acumen to bring off manifestation of power and lyric intimacy at the same time.

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


Monterey Symphony – Pianist Kun Woo Paik returns for a Double Header

Pianist Kun Woo Paik & Conductor Max Bragado-Darman

Last night at Sunset Center conductor Max Bragado-Darman and the Monterey Symphony presented its second concert of the 2019-2020 season, and it was quite an unusual program. It featured Korean pianist Kun Woo Paik performing two concertos — Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595 and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 in D Minor. Very rarely does a symphonic program contain no other works but a pair of piano concertos, and thereby hangs a tale.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Concerto, Monterey Symphony, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era


Pianist Péter Tóth delivers the goods

Hungarian pianist Péter Tóth had a great success last night as he appeared in recital at Hidden Valley. He attracted a capacity audience of loyal fans, and he didn’t disappoint them. Quite to the contrary his virtuoso skills and penetrating musicianship carried the day in a demanding program of works that spanned two and a half centuries.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Classical Era, Romantic Era


Carmel Music Society — Modigliani String Quartet

When the members of the Modigliani String Quartet took their final bows yesterday afternoon at Sunset Center in Carmel, we knew that we had just heard quartet playing on the highest and most artistic level. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. Violinists Amaury Coeytaux and Loic Rio, violist P. Laurent Marfang and cellist François Kieffer are celebrating their 15th anniversary playing together, and their their close association has produced such a tight knit ensemble that the music they perform flows seamlessly and effortlessly. This is not to imply that their playing was glib. Quite to the contrary, their playing was full of passion and artistic commitment to the works they perform, and when all the elements came together, as they did yesterday afternoon, it produces performances seemingly inevitable in their purity and technical mastery.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Romantic Era, String quartet