Pianist Kate Liu performs for Aptos Keyboard Series

A rich program of classic works was on the menu for The Aptos Keyboard Series at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aptos on January 13. Pianist Kate Liu took advantage of the warm acoustics of the church to create an atmosphere of quiet moods and colorful displays of sounds. Beethoven’s late Sonata No. 31, Op. 110, engages the listener much as do the same composer’s late string quartets, with tuneful passages and complex textures. Ms. Liu emphasized the lyrical qualities throughout with a beautiful singing tone. Even the fugue subjects were clearly apparent in the final movement. Two Beethoven characteristics were plumbed for dramatic tension, that is, the dynamic contrasts between loud and soft, and the use of silences. Actors know that a quiet delivery can demand more attention from the audience than a forceful one. And musicians know that a quiet phrase draws the listener into the action. This was a technique used by Ms. Liu throughout her program.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era


Kevin Lee Sun — Winner of the 2018 Carmel Music Society Piano Competition

2018 Carmel Music Society Biennial Piano Competition winner Kevin Lee Sun appeared in recital yesterday afternoon at Sunset Center. It was, in retrospect, an oddly chosen program. The works on the first half, consisting of a Prelude & Fugue from Bach’s WTC II, the Fantasia nach J.S. Bach by Busoni and Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy,” were totally involving and demonstrated Sun’s ability to paint with a stunningly beautiful palette of colors while demonstrating a seemingly effortless total keyboard mastery. At the end of the first half, spontaneous bravos erupted from members of the audience, and he received a thunderous standing ovation.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Carmel Music Society, Competition, Piano, Romantic Era


Opera San Jose: Pagliacci

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Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci was written just over 125 years ago, and with a duration of only about 65 minutes, is considered a very short opera. While usually double-billed, the choice to perform it on its own was a nice surprise and perhaps the reason more children were in the audience. 

The resident company and orchestra were on point and did justice to this truncated opera. Baritone Anthony Clark Evans, as Tonio (the fool in the acting troupe) opened the performance stating, ‘I am the prologue’. There were some members of the audience who gave him a standing ovation for his opening dialogue. He was exquisite and completely captivating and it is surely a sad fact that we won’t be seeing him again this season. Setting the scene, the character of Tonio explains the roles of the three men vying for the attention of Nedda, sung by Maria Natale: her husband, Canio(Cooper Nolan), part of the company, Tonio(Evans) and Silvio(Emmett O’Hanlon), her secret lover. Setting the scene, the curtain rises and we watch the scene play out, ‘on the stage’ and ‘off it’. The line between the ‘real life’ lives and the parts they play on the stage are blurred throughout the opera, eventually leading to a blow up in front of the whole town during a performance.  Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera, Romantic Era


Monterey Symphony — “Sound Waves” — Concert No. 2

 

 Soloist Carol Wincenc 

Last night at Sunset Center in Carmel the Monterey Symphony conducted by Max Bragado-Darman treated us to the second concert in its 2018-2019 season, and it turned out to be a uniquely satisfying experience! There are many compositions that although readily accessible in recordings are rarely heard in live performance. We heard two such works last night — the Le corsaire Overture by Berlioz and Nielsen’s Flute Concerto. In the Berlioz overture that began the concert, the Monterey Symphony was joined by selected members of the Youth Music Monterey County Honors Orchestra, who had the great privilege of playing along with professionals in a large symphony orchestra. Maestro Max graciously asked them to stand and take a bow at the end of the performance. He also called YMMC’s Director, Farkhad Khudyev to the stage and take a bow. This was an experience the young YMMC players won’t ever forget. Read full story

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


Paderewski Festival 2018 – Gala Recital by pianist Kate Liu

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Last night we had the pleasure of hearing the exciting young pianist, Kate Liu, in an astonishing performance that combined blazing virtuosity with a rare subtlety of expressive magic that drew us into her world and held us spellbound for the better part of two hours. Since the occasion was the Gala Artist Recital in the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn that closes the Paderewski Festival every year, it was no surprise that the opening work on her program was a work by Paderewski, the Mélodie, Op. 16, No. 2. Read full story

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