Santa Cruz Symphony — Souvenir de Florence

                                  

Daniel Stewart

The Santa Cruz Symphony audience that attended the Sunday, September 15, Souvenir De Florence performance at Samper Recital Hall at Cabrillo College experienced a musical treat it will remember for many years. Most impressive was the exuberant, well deserved standing ovation that greeted Maestro Danny Stewart and his ensemble upon their stage entry!

Five wonderfully talented symphony musicians plus guest violinist Rebecca Jackson completed the sextet: Maestro Danny Stewart viola, Concertmaster Nigel Armstrong violin, Chad Kaltinger viola, Saul Richmond-Rakerd cello and Principal Cellist Jonah Kim rounded out this amazing group of artists/musicians. Considering the high level of musicianship required to perform the three works selected for the concert, one could clearly believe they have been together as a performing group for some time and more importantly rehearsed at length to achieve the high degree of sophisticated musicianship and individual artistry. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Santa Cruz Symphony


The Santa Cruz Symphony: Invocations

Esa-Pekka Salonen

The Sunday, April 7 performance of the Santa Cruz Orchestra offered a unique treat in that two of today’s finest leading composer-conductors were represented: Maestro Danny Stewart on the podium conducting Karawane (2014), a composition by fellow colleague, Finnish Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen. In 2020, Salonen will become Music Director/Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. With the passing of Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen seemed the likeliest leading active composer-conductor to assume that honor and the many challenges associated with it. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony


Symphonic Fire: The Santa Cruz Symphony

Music Director & Conductor Daniel Stewart

Under the brilliant direction of Conductor Daniel Stewart, cellist Jonah Kim’s nuanced performance of Antonin Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, demonstrated a deep understanding of the music’s emotional trajectory. The Santa Cruz Orchestra established a backdrop that was warm, luminous and animated by a tangy freshness, as indeed was the playing of Kim.

Kim’s interpretation of contoured passion responded to the music’s lyrical soul. He exhibited an expressive mastery that illuminated the concerto’s essential vitality with an attention to nuance that derived both from mature artistry and the orchestra’s excellent supporting role.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Concerto, Santa Cruz Symphony


Santa Cruz Symphony: Enlightenment

Cellist Jeremy Tai

                    

Contemporary works are much like contemporary art. The major difference is one can spend time viewing an art work, looking at it from several angles in an attempt to better understand what in many cases the artist intended to depict. However, and unfortunately, music is performed in real time and as it passes, so too does the time it demands for a better understanding. 

“Enlightenment” is a most appropriate title for the opening concert of the orchestra’s 2019 season, and it was filled with wonderful surprises. Like the tortoise found in Hindu mythology, appearing capable of carrying the heavens on its back, one hears and witnesses towering achievements from our young conductor. In order to reach such heights, Maestro Stewart has created an impressive musical atmosphere based on mutual respect and partnership. When this occurs, impressive musical results are the artistic consequence, a fact the supportive audience has experienced during his tenure. He has built the technical quality of the orchestra much in the manner of the late Pierre Boulez, and his contemporary Esa-Pekka Salonen now of the San Francisco Symphony, who forever look for perfection in details and refinement in the intimacy of the works they perform. Especially evident was the orchestra’s sound in the Mozart Symphony No. 40. The orchestra’s development sounded like an impressive “major big city orchestra”!

San Francisco take note!

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cello, Concerto, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony


Santa Cruz Symphony: Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps

               

I have the good fortune of having heard two unforgettable performances. In ca. 1968 I attended a Cleveland Orchestra concert with Igor Stravinsky conducting Le Sacre du Printemps. In ca. 1971, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing a more profound performance of Le Sacre du Printemps with Pierre Boulez conducting. At that point in time the Cleveland Orchestra was considered among the great orchestras of the world in a  group that included the symphony orchestras of Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Concertgebouw and Vienna! When Maestro Gustavo Dudamel conducted his Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, a major music critic wrote “Dudamel and his Venezuelan “band” are nipping at the heels of the great Vienna Symphony Orchestra.” Can you feel it San Francisco? Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Orchestral, Santa Cruz Symphony