Something New: The San Francisco Symphony — Under the Stars

Frost Amphitheatre
photo by Brandon Patoc

New Zealand conductor Gemma New appeared in an all-Tchaikovsky program with the San Francisco Symphony Wednesday, July 10, at the refurbished Frost Amphitheater in Palo Alto. The well attended outdoor concert drew an appreciative, if unsophisticated, crowd of admirers, some of whom decided to ignore protocol and crunch cellophane in the quieter moments of the evening’s scores. As for Ms. New, she sports an athletic demeanor on the podium, graceful and demonstrative, even conducting the solo passages that make the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony its colorful, fateful self. 

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Archived in these categories: Concerto, Romantic Era


Pianist Sofya Gulyak’s Triumphant Return

Sofya Gulyak

Yesterday afternoon, by popular demand, the brilliant Russian-trained pianist Sofya Gulyak returned for a triumphant fifth recital appearance in central California. The event was jointly sponsored by Joseph Sekon’s Aptos Keyboard Series and the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist at 125 Canterbury Drive in Aptos.

Gulyak has won many prestigious piano competitions — among them first prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition — the first woman to achieve this in the history of the competition. She has also won first prizes at the William Kapell International Piano Competition (USA), the Helsinki Maj Lind International Piano Competition, Tivoli Piano Competition (Copenhagen), Gyeongnam International Piano Competition (South Korea) and the Allegro vivo International Piano Competition (SanMarino).

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


Music of Jubilation: Symphony Silicon Valley Finale

Tatsuya Shimono

Conductor Tatsuya Shimono led the 2018-19 season finale of Symphony Silicon Valley on Saturday, June 1, at the California Theatre. The program featured choral music by Dvorak and Beethoven, featuring guest soloists and the gifted Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, whose Music Director is Elena Sharkova. Besides the rarely performed 1891Te Deum of Antonin Dvorak, the powerful draw came in the form of Beethoven’s mighty 1824 Ninth Symphony, the “Choral.” Among the pedestals of Western Music, this last symphony of Beethoven casts a perpetual spell over performers and auditors alike, compelling us to examine the very foundations of the musical art.

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Archived in these categories: Choral, Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era


Pianist Jura Margulis Returns to Hidden Valley

Pianist Jura Margulis

Having heard pianist Jura Margulis fifteen times previously in recital at Hidden Valley, we had every reason to believe his solo recital yesterday afternoon would take us on a special musical journey. We were not to be disappointed. Not only did his recital contain some very significant music, but it also displayed his mastery that enhanced the music he performed rather than merely showing off his brilliant technique. Not surprisingly he attracted a capacity audience.

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Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era


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