Pianist Kevin Lee Sun in Aptos Keyboard Series

Pianist Kevin Lee Sun

Kevin Lee Sun made quite a splash when he won the Grand Prize in the Carmel Music Society’s 2018 Biennial Piano Competition, and he reinforced this positive impression when he appeared as a recitalist on the Music Society’s regular concert season in January 2019. It was, however, noted in 2019, that Sun’s programming for this recital was odd. The most dramatic works that should have ended the program were scheduled in the first half so that the more problematic selections ended the program with a whimper rather than a bang. It so puzzlied the audience that at the end of the program there was a weak standing ovation and no encore.

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

The Thoughtful Muse: A Recital by Pianist Daria Rabotkina

Daria Rabotkina

In a letter to me some years ago, composer Morton Gould remarked that writing a new composition lay “fraught with danger — that of being judged less on its own merits than by an amalgam of its influences.” Such might have been the case for pianist Daria Rabotkina’s performance of the Sonata in B-flat Minor (1975) of American composer Paul Aurandt, given Sunday, February 9 at the Hammer Theatre, in San Jose under the auspices of the Steinway Society the Bay Area. Certainly, Aurandt follows Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto in its dramatic, if Hollywood-compressed, attempt to imitate the grand Russian style. Yet Ms. Rabotkina’s sincerity and singular keyboard prowess managed to convince us that this bravura essay in Neo-Romantic temperament had moments of singular merit. 

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

Ehnes Quartet in Beethoven Quartet Cycle

Ehnes Quartet

On Tuesday January 28, 2020 the Ehnes Quartet continued its cycle of the complete Beethoven String Quartets in Miami. Each year it has played a program of the Beethoven Quartets, with the final concert of the series to be played next year to coincide with the Beethoven Anniversary. James Ehnes formed the quartet a few years ago with violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti and violist Richard O’Neill after discussing the idea with Robert deMaine, now Principal Cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after a rehearsal. James says ,”The amazing thing is that we both had the same idea – that we wanted it to be with Amy and Richard.”

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era

New York Philharmonic Quartet in Miami

 On Sunday January 5, 2020, the New York Philharmonic Quartet
and Joseph Kalichstein played a beautiful concert of Mozart, Dvorak
and Shostakovich at Florida International University’s Wertheim
Concert Hall in Miami to a large, most appreciative audience.

The quartet is comprised of four of the Philarmonic’s principal
musicians – Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Associate
Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Viola Cyntia Phelps, and
Principal Cello Carter Brey.

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

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