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


Brahms in Rome

A spectacular all-Brahms concert in Rome with pianist Yefim Bronfman and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Daniele Gatti offered the Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 2 at the Sala Santa Cecilia on May 5. Arriving by bus in a torrential rainstorm, it nevertheless was exciting to see the Auditorium at the famed Parco della Musica, a huge modern building that contains several concert venues north of the city center.

Of interest to this retired orchestra player was the concert etiquette of the orchestra. Unlike symphony orchestras in the United States, here the players do not enter the stage early to tune and warm up. There is no pre-concert noodling in front of the entering public as in the USA. At four minutes after the announced concert time the players file on stage to continuous applause. They take their seats and the concertmaster begins the formal tuning process.

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Archived in these categories: Cello, Concerto, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era


Color Schemes: Symphony Silicon Valley review

“Favorite son” pianist Jon Nakamatsu joined conductor Tatsuya Shimono for a seamless performance of the ever-popular Rachmaninov Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18, as part of the Symphony Silicon Valley series May 4-5 at the California Theatre, San Jose. The evening, however, began with an unusual appearance of a second conductor, Henry Mollicone, leading a performance of his own Kathy’s White Knight – A Tone Poem for Orchestra, a ten-minute excerpt from his The Adventures of Alice ballet. It seems Symphony Silicon Valley President Andrew Bales wished to recognize the Saratoga, CA composer, who has been too long neglected in the repertory, so he asked Mollicone to direct the piece, which pays homage at once to Lewis Carroll and to Mollicone’s wife, Kathy, since the lyrical motif in the score derives from an Alleluia for their wedding day. Brash and energetic, the music flared out in galloping measures as the White Knight fell from his steed – some may recall that Gary Cooper enacted the mock heroics in 1933 — big in the brass and percussion sections. The glamour of the sonority easily reminded us of the Hollywood scores of John Williams with perhaps less bluster. No less effective, the flute solo (Sarah Benton) and tender string melody that ensued might pay homage to another Hollywood composer, John Barry.  

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Concerto, Orchestral, Piano