Santa Cruz Symphony — Pianist Yuja Wang Returns


Faithful supporters of the Santa Cruz Symphony under the direction of Music Director Daniel Stewart were treated to rare, innovative programming, in a special sixth concert of its 2016-2017 season featuring Yuja Wang — certainly one of the most sought after pianists in the world. In her first performance with the Santa Cruz Symphony in February at Civic Center and Mello Center Wang created a sensation performing the Concerto No. 5 by Prokofiev and Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms. Subsequently. it was Yuja Wang who having enjoyed her first Santa Cruz appearances who suggested this special return engagement.  Read full story

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

Musical Delights by Mezzo-Soprano Solmaaz Adeli and Pianist Elizabeth Schumann

Pianist Elizabeth Schumann & Mezzo-Soprano Solmaaz Adeli

In a charming program called “Made in Vienna” the Aptos Keyboard Series yesterday afternoon in the Aptos home of Joseph and Maria Sekon presented a concert by mezzo-soprano Solmaaz Adeli and pianist Elizabeth Schumann. These two gifted musicians, based in the San Francisco area often perform together, as well as in larger ensembles.

Solmaaz Adeli has a strong connection to Austria, having studied at the Konservatorium für Musik und Dramatische Kunst in Vienna, the Operschule in Graz and attended classes at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She is a familiar presence to central California audiences, and her performance on this occasion showed precisely why. Her bold dramatic voice has an unusually broad range of three octaves, and her supple agility throughout her vocal range made even the most difficult vocal passages sound quite easy. Especially impressive was her dynamic range from the softest most intimate pianissimo to the fullest forte climaxes, where her voice was always under control and always served the music. Adeli has superb dramatic skills so that her facial expressions and physical gestures always tended to complement her musical presentation in an effective way. Read full story

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

Pianist Sofya Gulyak – Star Crossed Hands

With her one encore, Bach’s arrangement of the Adagio from Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, BWV 974, pianist Sofya Gulyak concluded the last of the 2016-17 Steinway Society concerts, Sunday, May 7 at the Petit Trianon Theatre. The ambitious, largely Russian program, which included music by Clementi, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Medtner, and Prokofiev, seemed intent on displaying virtuoso Gulyak’s deft abilities in music requiring the crossing of the hands, and at which her bewitched audience consistently expressed its awed approval. Read full story

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

Salute to Sal! A Farewell Concert at the Carmel Mission!

As expected it was a amazing sendoff! The Carmel Mission was packed to the gills, and into many six-seat-capacity pews were squeezed one or two additional music lovers — this was the largest audience I can ever remember seeing at the Mission. It was the first of two “Farewell Concerts” celebrating Sal Ferrantelli’s 36 years with I Cantori, and, sadly to say, marking his retirement from the group. Ferrantelli has nurtured and developed I Cantori over the last three and a half decades into a professional ensemble that has consistently presented performances on the highest artistic level of choral music that spanned many centuries. It has also often included his own compositions written for I Cantori.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Choral, Classical Era, I Cantori, Romantic Era, Strings, Vocal ensemble

Finckel, Han & Setzer play Beethoven Piano Trios for the Carmel Music Society

On Sunday, April 9, at 3:00 pm at Sunset Center, the Carmel Music Society presented three of America’s most exciting chamber musicians — David Finckel, cello, Wu Han, piano, and Philip Setzer, violin — in the second of two concerts featuring the complete Beethoven Piano Trios. The program was:

  • Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2
  • Piano Trio in E flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2
  • Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”

Approaching this concert, my initial feeling was that for me (and probably most of the audience at Sunset Center), yes, it was nice that we were going to hear two Beethoven Piano Trios that are less often performed, but the work I was really going to enjoy the most would be that great classic among piano trios, the famed “Archduke Trio” in B-flat Major, Opus 97. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Music Society, Classical Era, Piano trio