Deutsche Marks — German Virtuosity at Menlo

The Saturday July 22 Concert Program III at [email protected], “German Virtuosity,” transported the Italian violin tradition from Cremona northward, as deftly demonstrated in five elegantly performed works at the Menlo-Atherton’s Center for Performing Arts. Works by Rode, Beethoven, Spohr, David, and Mendelssohn graced a felicitous program that took Beethoven’s last sonata as a point of departure for the violin’s emergence into a burgeoning Romantic tradition in which the instrument would soar in expressive range and scale. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era, Romantic Era

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

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

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

Tight-Lipped Optimism: Master Sinfonia Season Finale

Alex Zhou

A devoted few celebrated Mother’s Day with the music of Sibelius and Brahms, just two composers whom conductor David Ramanadoff chose to conclude the 2016-17 season of Master Sinfonia. The Sunday, May 14 concert at Los Altos Methodist Church featured gifted young violinist Alex Zhou in the Sibelius Violin Concerto, while the one work that occupied the second half, the Brahms D Major Symphony, added a bit of sunshine to an otherwise grudging, sometimes sullen exhibition of epic power. If the Sibelius Concerto expresses a Northern grandeur, the Brahms symphony mixes a pastoral sensibility with thunderheads, what the composer called “the black wings of my personal melancholy.” Read full story

Archived in these categories: Concerto, Orchestral, Romantic Era, Violin