Santa Cruz Symphony — Pianist Yuja Wang Returns


Faithful supporters of the Santa Cruz Symphony under the direction of Music Director Daniel Stewart were treated to rare, innovative programming, in a special sixth concert of its 2016-2017 season featuring Yuja Wang — certainly one of the most sought after pianists in the world. In her first performance with the Santa Cruz Symphony in February at Civic Center and Mello Center Wang created a sensation performing the Concerto No. 5 by Prokofiev and Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms. Subsequently. it was Yuja Wang who having enjoyed her first Santa Cruz appearances who suggested this special return engagement.  Read full story

Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Orchestral, Piano, Romantic Era, String quartet

DIVA — Aria Women’s Chorus

Sean Boulware

On Sunday, June 11, at First Presbyterian Church in Monterey, Aria Women’s Chorus presented DIVA – a program of Broadway’s best with some classic light opera thrown in as sprinkles on the top. We heard many fine voices of all ages performing with featured soloists in most numbers. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware these women present the true joy of singing in an ensemble. Overall on a scale of 1 – 10, this afternoon’s presentation was a 12! Handling twenty-three songs with their myriad musical personalities was no mean feat.

Michelle Galindo continues as the consummate pianist on all of the arrangements that were not prerecorded. Framing this delicious mélange was “Shine” from the musical Billy Elliot, and “And All That Jazz” from Chicago. Billy is the young son of a Welsh coal miner who winds up being a dancer – definitely unlikely under the circumstances. This number really set the stage for all the glitz that followed. “And All That Jazz” perfectly tied up the afternoon’s selections with a musical bang. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Choral, Opera, Piano

Musical Delights by Mezzo-Soprano Solmaaz Adeli and Pianist Elizabeth Schumann

Pianist Elizabeth Schumann & Mezzo-Soprano Solmaaz Adeli

In a charming program called “Made in Vienna” the Aptos Keyboard Series yesterday afternoon in the Aptos home of Joseph and Maria Sekon presented a concert by mezzo-soprano Solmaaz Adeli and pianist Elizabeth Schumann. These two gifted musicians, based in the San Francisco area often perform together, as well as in larger ensembles.

Solmaaz Adeli has a strong connection to Austria, having studied at the Konservatorium für Musik und Dramatische Kunst in Vienna, the Operschule in Graz and attended classes at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She is a familiar presence to central California audiences, and her performance on this occasion showed precisely why. Her bold dramatic voice has an unusually broad range of three octaves, and her supple agility throughout her vocal range made even the most difficult vocal passages sound quite easy. Especially impressive was her dynamic range from the softest most intimate pianissimo to the fullest forte climaxes, where her voice was always under control and always served the music. Adeli has superb dramatic skills so that her facial expressions and physical gestures always tended to complement her musical presentation in an effective way. Read full story

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

Pianist Jura Margulis Returns to Hidden Valley

Pianist Jura Margulis returned to Hidden Valley last night and give us a glorious piano recital. His playing combined a richly rewarding blend of fascinating repertoire, masterful virtuosity and a richly conceived palette of expressive devices from the softest pianissimo whispers to the most roaring fortissimo climaxes. This was playing that grabbed us by the throat and held us captive for ninety minutes. Read full story

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

Steinway Society the Bay Area presents Sofya Gulyak in Recital

On Sunday, May 7, the Bay Area Steinway Society presented the distinguished Russian pianist Sofya Gulyak in what amounted to a monumental concert! The venue was The Petit Trianon in San Jose. The piano used for this performance was a magnificent 2005 New York Steinway, arguably one of the very finest pianos to be found anywhere! Under the hands of Ms Gulyak it sounded heavenly.

The challenging program consisted of Sonata Op. 33 No. 1 by Muzio Clementi (1752-1832); Seven works from the Nutcracker Suite by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1853) transcribed by Mikhail Pletnev (b. 1957); Prelude and Fugue in D flat Major, Op. 87 No. 15 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975); Four Fairy Tales by Nikolai Medtner (1879-1951) and Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82. And for the encore, a beautiful, haunting realization of the Adagio from the Concerto for Oboe in D minor by the Venetian composer Alessandro Marcello (1673-1747) transcribed by J S Bach. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Piano