Monterey Symphony Chamber players

Monterey Symphony Chamber Players — Zlata Grekov, Christina Mok, Chad Kaltinger, Robin Bonnell, Beth Zare & Caitlyn Smith-Franklin

Last night at All Saints’ Church in Carmel, the Monterey Symphony Chamber Players treated us to a wonderfully varied and festive program that gave us the feeling the Holidays had truly arrived. All Saints’ Church lends itself well to such an event, not only because of its superb acoustics, but also because of its naturally warm and spiritual ambiance.

At Monterey Symphony concerts, we are accustomed to hearing the musicians performing together as a large ensemble. On this occasion we heard six of the players, concertmaster Christina Mok, violinist Zlata Grekov, violist Chad Kaltinger, cellist Robin Bonnell, and hornists Caitlyn Smith-Franklin and Beth Zare, stepping into the limelight to entertain and uplift us with music of a more intimate nature. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, All Saints' Church, Chamber music, Monterey Symphony


Electrifying Performance by pianist David Jae-Weon Huh with Monterey Symphony

David Jae-Weon Huh

Pianist David Jae-Weon Huh

Appearing last night at Sunset Center with the Monterey Symphony under the direction of Max Bragado-Darman, Korean pianist David Jae-Weon Huh gave us an electrifying performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 that was overflowing with pent up energy, explosive virtuosity, rampant expressive romanticism and a spontaneous joy of music making. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Concerto, Monterey Symphony, Piano


Monterey Symphony presents pianist Orion Weiss In Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1

Pianist Orion Weiss

Last night at Sunset Center the Monterey Symphony launched its new season “Concert Grand” – featuring as its centerpiece in each of its 2017-2018 season concerts a major “blockbuster” piano concerto. When the Monterey Symphony’s new Executive Director, Nicola Samra, came out on stage before the concert to welcome the audience, we can guess that if she had asked for a show of hands from audience members who had at one time or another had taken piano lessons, there would have been a lot of hands in the air (probably considerably more than half the audience). Read full story

Archived in these categories: Concerto, Monterey Symphony, Piano


Monterey Symphony Ends it 2016-2017 Season

Soloist Michael Noble & Max Bragado-Darman

What a way to end a season! Max Bragado-Darman and the Monterey Symphony pleased us with exciting performances of two works so rarely heard that most of us in the audience were hearing them for the first time, and then ended the program with a knockout performance of César Franck’s Symphony in D Minor — a work that was at one time more popular than it is today, but which sounded fresh to our ears for all the loving detail lavished on its performance.

The evening’s soloist, 28-year-old pianist Michael Noble, the Grand Prize winner of the Carmel Music Society’s 2013 Piano Competition, is a DMA candidate at the Yale School of Music who balances his doctoral studies with concerts and advanced study throughout the world. That the Monterey Symphony has invited him to perform as soloist is a lovely example of synergy — an acknowledgement and endorsement of a talented competition winner unearthed by the Carmel Music Society, whose biennial Piano Competition is one the most eagerly anticipated events on the Monterey Peninsula. Read full story

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


Monterey Symphony Reaches New Heights in Mahler

Gustav Mahler

The culmination of the Monterey Symphony’s concert at Sunset Center on Sunday afternoon, April 23rd, was a convincing performance of Mahler’s 4th Symphony in which they sounded like a big-city orchestra. This was a remarkable achievement by conductor Max Bragado-Darman, mellifluous soprano Cyndia Sieden, and the players, after only a couple of days of rehearsal and two previous performances. Kudos to the Monterey Symphony team who recently held auditions yielding twelve new musicians to the orchestra: Max Bragado Darman, the orchestra audition committee, the staff, and personnel manager Drew Ford. Special kudos also to acting principal horn Alex Camphouse, principal clarinet Julia Sarah Bonomo, and acting principal bassoon Nikolasa Kuster, who all made distinguished contributions. And of course, this being Mahler, we heard a large complement of orchestral instruments, including sleigh bells, piccolo and E flat clarinet, English horn, bass clarinet, contra-bassoon, tuba, harp, and bass drum. The orchestral players all rose to the occasion – none more so than the strings, who made uniformly beautiful and expressive sounds throughout — a quality that can be much harder to achieve in a less than full-time orchestra than brilliance in the more soloistic winds and brass. That said, the horn section also earned high honors, taking their cue from the confident sonority of the acting principal.

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Archived in these categories: Monterey Symphony