Music of Jubilation: Symphony Silicon Valley Finale

Tatsuya Shimono

Conductor Tatsuya Shimono led the 2018-19 season finale of Symphony Silicon Valley on Saturday, June 1, at the California Theatre. The program featured choral music by Dvorak and Beethoven, featuring guest soloists and the gifted Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, whose Music Director is Elena Sharkova. Besides the rarely performed 1891Te Deum of Antonin Dvorak, the powerful draw came in the form of Beethoven’s mighty 1824 Ninth Symphony, the “Choral.” Among the pedestals of Western Music, this last symphony of Beethoven casts a perpetual spell over performers and auditors alike, compelling us to examine the very foundations of the musical art.

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Archived in these categories: Choral, Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era

Monterey Peninsula College Orchestra — Spring Concert

Conductor David Dally and the MPC College Orchestra

The MPC Orchestra we heard last night at the MPC Theatre is a living testament to Conductor David Dally’s thirty odd years of successfully transforming a small Monday-Evening String Class into a thriving community orchestra that presents two major concerts every year. Yes, there are a few MPC students among the orchestra players, but there are also many distinguished local musicians from our community — among them are clarinetist Erica Horn, oboist Claire Horn, percussionist Greg Bullock, trombonist Suzanne Mudge, cellist (and former violinist) Vernon Brown, tuba player Jim Paoletti, and many others who regularly appear with other distinguished orchestra ensembles during the concert year.

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

Monterey Symphony ends its 2018-2019 Season

Guest artist: pianist Marcos Madrigal

Conductor Max Bragado-Darman led the Monterey Symphony in a concert of three popular masterpieces last night at Sunset Center in Carmel, and, not surprisingly, it was a great success with each work winning a rousing standing ovation. 2019-2020 will be the last season for retiring conductor Bragado-Darman, and he will be missed.

The concert began with one of Richard Wagner’s masterpieces, the Overture to his opera The Flying Dutchman. The tale of a cursed ship that can never make port and is doomed to wander the seas forever is effectively set to music by Wagner and continues to fascinate audiences today as much as it did at its premiere in Dresden in 1843. Last night the Monterey Symphony wowed us with its powerful performance that featured a full compliment of strings, woodwinds, brass, trombones, bassoons, harp and percussion, plus the strong direction from Bragado-Darman.

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

YMMC – Love Side Stories

YMMC concerts are family events, and we do mean big family events. When you add together all the young musicians from OITS (Orchestra in the Schools), and the young musicians from YMMC’s Youth and Honors Orchestra, it amounts to about 125 young players, who with their parents and siblings bring to each concert a capacity audience that fills Sunset Center in Carmel. It is also gratifying to see the level of generous community support as evidenced by the long list of donors and angels in the printed program — with Patricia & George Yellich, deserving a special mention as sponsors of this afternoon’s program.

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

Pianist Misuzu Tanaka performs for Aptos Keyboard Series

Misuzu Tanaka

Yesterday afternoon we had the distinct pleasure of hearing pianist Misuzu Tanaka in a brilliant recital at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Aptos. This event was presented jointly by St. John’s and the Aptos Keyboard Series, a series founded by composer-pianist Josef Sekon. Sekon has the knack of finding interesting young artists and persuading them to come and perform for intimate audiences on the series’ new Kawai 7’6” grand piano, an instrument that made its debut only a few months earlier.

Juilliard trained Tanaka had chosen a program that contained two seldom heard works by Leoš Janáček, and we are the richer for having heard them on this occasion. She performed two movements from Janáček’s Sonata No. 1 (1905), which turned out to be attractive and accessible, plus they sounded quite idiomatic for the piano. Tanaka caressed the opening motifs that established the tonal center of e-flat minor and held our attention throughout the work’s lovely melodic development tinged with moments of chromaticism. Not being familiar with traditional folk melodies from Bohemia, I was unable to relate to the specific melodic and folklore elements that inspired this work, but suffice it to say that Tanaka’s lovely sound and skill in shaping melodic elements captured our attention and held us spellbound throughout. 

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