Melancholy and Mirth: Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung in Recital

Alessio Bax & Lucille Chung

In a suave display of synchronous ensemble, duo-pianists Alessio Bax and wife Lucille Chung performed keyboard, four-hand music under the auspices of the Steinway Society, Saturday, January 11 at the Hammer Theatre, San Jose. Music by Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky and Piazzolla provided an emotional and color diapason of melancholy and mirth, traversing a range of piano music either meant for the salon or literally conceived on an orchestral scale, vehicles for the gifted duo whose acuity and precision may have reminded older auditors of the golden era of Vronsky and Babin.

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


Pianist Keiko Shichijo in Aptos

Keiko Shichijo

In the close and intimate space of The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Aptos, which handed out warm and delicious apple cider, a cozy afternoon audience was treated to a world-class piano performance from Keiko Shichijo. Her repertoire was far from conventional; most of the composers weren’t household names, but still carried a substantial torch among their own people. From the pianist we heard a performance of cultural exuberance: 6 Dances by Armenian composer Komitas, Feux d’artifice by French composer Claude Debussy, Charmes by Catalan composer Frederic Mompou, Meditations by Dutch composer Rosaline Hirs, and 6 Moments Musicaux by Austrian composer Franz Schubert.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Piano, Romantic Era


Bay Area Steinway Series — Pianist Albert Cano Smit

Albert Cano Smit

Despite the venue challenges the Bay Area Steinway Series has experienced, it continues to present many of the world’s most impressive keyboard artists as witnessed by the December 8 performance by Albert Cano Smit at the West Valley College in Saratoga. Although Swiss-born Albert Cano Smit won his first international competition at age 14 , it was his winning First Prize in the 2017 Naumburg Competition that sent up the red flag of special attention.

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


Easy Panache: Symphony Silicon Valley Concert

Soloist Nareh Arghamanyan

For those who braved the rainy weather on Saturday, December 8, the concert at the California Theatre in San Jose by Symphony Silicon Valley with Pietro Rizzo conducting proved most auspicious. Assisted by Armenian piano virtuoso Nareh Arghamanyan in the Piano Concerto in D-flat Major by Aram Khachaturian, all participants generated a colossal excitement in the course of this percussive, nationalist testament to the spirit of the Caucasus. Complementing the vivid colors of the 1936 Khachaturian Concerto, we had Rizzi’s conducting works by Glinka and Brahms that demonstrated a refined and sensitive approach to familiar staples that had the power to sound refreshed in their easy panache and suave execution.

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


Intimate Audacities: Pianist Changyong Shin in Recital

Changyong Shin

A modest but well-pleased audience hailed pianist Changyong Shin as he concluded his Sunday, November 17 recital for Steinway Society – The Bay Area at the Independence High School auditorium in San Jose. Responding with one encore, Chopin’s Grande valse brillante in E-flat Major, Op. 18, rendered flawlessly, Shin more than confirmed his prowess in music that demands audacity, dexterity, and poetry by such diverse personalities as Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel, and Granados. Shin seems to embody that “smart performer of smart music,” to paraphrase Ned Rorem — that musician whose mind proves as agile as his gifted fingers. The two large works on the program, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109, and Ravel’s daunting Gaspard de la nuit, each required the careful balance of deft articulation and intellectual acumen to bring off manifestation of power and lyric intimacy at the same time.

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