Elaine Douvas leads Oboe Celebration at Hidden Valley

Making her eleventh annual appearance at Hidden Valley on June 12th, 2017, Elaine Douvas, principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, led from the front in a celebration of the great tradition of American oboe playing. As Hidden Valley impresario Peter Meckel put it to the audience, we were in the presence of four generations of oboists – not only Ms. Douvas and her former students Christopher Gaudi (established) and Liam Boisset (freshly graduated), but also the late beloved John Mack, former principal of the Cleveland Orchestra, who both taught Elaine Douvas, and later persuaded her to continue his series of master classes at Hidden Valley. We could probably add a fifth generation peering down from the Hidden Valley rafters – the spirit of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Marcel Tabuteau, under whose spell John Mack had fallen when studying at the Curtis Institute. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Oboe

Carmel Bach Festival 2016 Grand Finale — Best of the Fest

Paul Goodwin July 2016

The program of the final concert of the Carmel Bach Festival is always a surprise. Members of the audience entering Sunset Center have no idea what works will be performed, for there is no printed program. However, our Emcee for the evening, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival, Paul Goodwin, is constantly onstage to inform us of his choices of works that have been heard durning the previous two weeks at various venues around Carmel. Except possibly for Dramaturge David Gordon, there could be no more endearing host at a concert than Paul Goodwin. He is charming with his intelligent and witty comments that enhance and enlighten us at every step along the way.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Chamber music, Choral, Classical Era, Harpsichord, Oboe, Opera, Orchestral, Romantic Era, Strings, Violin, Vocal ensemble, Woodwinds

Santa Cruz Chorale at Holy Cross Church

  Christian Grube - June 2016               

Music Director Christian Grube

It has been said since time immemorial that the voice is the greatest musical instrument. Remembering the artistry of great singers like Pavarotti and Callas, the adage gains momentum. And the beautiful tradition continues with 10-year-old Dutch “Wunderkind” Amira Willighagen, who has set the operatic world on fire with her magnificent soprano voice –- a voice like that of a mature operatic diva of the past. As for choral groups, the concert we heard from the Santa Cruz Chorale last weekend reminded us at times of the great European choral tradition we have come to expect from magnificent German choirs.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Choral, Oboe, Vocal, Woodwinds

Carmel Bach Festival — Bach and Dresden


The (mostly) afternoon recital series at the Bach Festival has long been a favorite of mine. Performed in the relaxed, elegant setting and warm acoustic of All Saints Church, soloists and Festival Orchestra musicians come together to explore programs that call for smaller forces. This brings the audience closer to the musicians than in the more formal Sunset Theatre. Each hour-plus long recital has a theme that helps elucidate the overall theme of the Festival season.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Chamber music, Oboe

Oboist Elaine Douvas and Friends at Hidden Valley

Gaudi, Shapiro & Douvas 6-8-15

Christopher Gaudi, Marc Shapiro & Elaine Douvas

Attending a concert at Hidden Valley is always a special event. As I departed hastily to make an early morning deadline, Peter Meckel, Hidden Valley’s Director, called out to me, “Where else could you hear the principal oboe players of the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Symphony coming together in such an intimate setting?” He was correct. Whether it be an orchestra concert, a group of ensemble players or a solo recital, not only is there is usually a considerable distance separating the members of the audience seated at a lower level from the performers on stage, but there also tends to be an invisible curtain wall separating the audience seated in semi darkness from the players brightly illuminated on stage.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Classical Era, Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Master class, Oboe, Piano, Romantic Era, Woodwinds