Rachmaninoff: Known and Unknown


A program of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s familiar and unfamiliar liturgical and concerted choral compositions provided the basis of a recital by the Slavyanka Chorus and assorted musicians, Saturday, June 9, at the First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, Irina Shachneva, conductor. Slavyanka embodies a 40-member chorus established in 2000, the name’s having been taken from the old Russian version of Northern California’s Russian River. In 2010, Irina Shachneva founded the International Rachmaninoff Music Festival in Boston. Ms. Shachneva has since led performances of the Rachmaninoff Vespers at various venues, including Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory and St. Petersburg’s Glinka Capella. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral, Orchestral


Monterey Symphony Ends Season with a Bang!

Pianist Philippe Bianconi

The Monterey Symphony ended its 2017-2018 season last night at Sunset Center in a blaze of glory. The ending work on the program, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, sent us on our way with its famous themes resonating in our heads and reminding us how great a piece it is, no matter how many times we may have heard it in the past. The Monterey Symphony, under the direction of Max Bragado-Darman never sounded better, and it is with shock and surprise that we learned in the printed program that Maestro Max will be leaving us at the end of the 2019-2020 season. We will miss him, but he has accomplished a lot during his tenure and will be leaving a much stronger orchestra than the one he inherited. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Monterey Symphony, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era


Youth Music Monterey — Mother’s Musical Souvenir

YMMC Competition Winner Courtney McDonald

Youth Music Monterey County attracted a huge audience at Sunset Center on Sunday afternoon. YMMC President Dorothy Micheletti gave a warm welcome to the talented young performers, their families who support them, and to their hardworking teachers who inspire them. She also gave thanks to all the donors whose financial generosity makes it possible to present concerts in a very professional venue like Sunset Center, rather than in a school auditorium on squeaky chairs or, heavens forbid, a gymnasium — where some youth orchestras with leaner budgets might end up performing. Thanks were also given to Hidden Valley Music Seminars, whose Director, Peter Meckel, continues to provide much needed rehearsal facilities. Since this concert not only represented the end of YMMC’s 2017-2018 season, but also the 30th anniversary of the founding of YMMC, the audience was invited to a birthday celebration following the concert with lavish goodies and birthday cake in the lobby and on the patio outside. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Competition, Concerto, Orchestral, Romantic Era, Youth Music Monterey


Monterey Symphony Treats us to Mendelssohn & Brahms

To hear Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “The Italian” in a live performance is an opportunity not to be missed, and our expectations were amply rewarded last night at Sunset Center as Max Bragado-Darman conducted the Monterey Symphony in the fifth program of its 2017–2018 season. This sunny, vibrant symphony represents Mendelssohn at his best, and the Monterey Symphony was at the top of its form with lots of fine playing from every section of the orchestra.  Read full story

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


MPC String Ensemble with Organ Soloist Tiffany Bedner at the Carmel Mission

Organist Tiffany Bedner
So often I feel incredibly fortunate to live on the Monterey Peninsula. Not only for its physical beauty, but also for its creative and artistic energy. On Friday night  I attended the MPC String Ensemble concert conducted by David Dally at the Carmel Mission Basilica, and not surprisingly, the Carmel Mission’s beautiful ambiance significantly enhanced the music we were hearing. The program began with an organ and string setting of Bach’s famous D minor Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565. I had never heard it before in its arrangement for strings and organ, and this performance turned out to be powerful and compelling. The featured organist was Tiffany Bedner, the regular organist at the Mission. Her playing was clean and elegant, with the strings complimenting her sound. Together they gave us a very satisfying performance of this great work.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Monterey Peninsula College, Orchestral, Organ