Ensemble Monterey — Serenades for Strings

On Saturday evening, October 13, at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church in Carmel Valley, Ensemble Monterey opened its 2018-2019 concert season with a program of works exclusively for strings. Dr. John Anderson not only directed the ensemble, but was also most likely the person who selected the works we heard. It was an interesting program, especially since the first half featured two composers seldom heard in live or recorded performances — Arthur Foote and George Antheil. Very likely I was not the only person in the audience to be hearing the works by Foote and Antheil for the first time. Read full story

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


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — Eight Seasons

On Monday, July 16, the Carmel music community enjoyed two beautiful and contrasting performances of the Four Seasons at Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The first half of the program was Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and the second half was Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Under the leadership of concertmaster and director Peter Hanson, members of the Festival Orchestra presented a fascinating and ultra-clear characterization of nature, elements and people. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Orchestral, Strings


Ensemble Monterey Presents the First Concert of its new Season

Last night at St. Philips Lutheran Church in Carmel Valley conductor John Anderson demonstrated once again how he can assemble a group of the finest orchestra players on the Monterey Peninsula and create a program that was as strong in innovation as it was in charm and individual virtuosity. Although I attend a lot of concerts, on this occasion I was hearing three works of novelty and substance I had never heard before. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Jazz, Orchestral, Piano, Strings, Woodwinds


Roller-Coaster Strings: [email protected]’s Final Concert

The finely-honed [email protected] summer series concluded Saturday evening, August 5, with “National Flavors,” a highly diverse and musically challenging array of compositions whose scale and intensity, while varied, did not lack for stylistic panache and gorgeous showmanship. A thoroughly enthusiastic audience graced the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton, eager to experience the culmination of the fifteenth anniversary season which had assiduously celebrated “The Glorious Violin.”

Violinist Danbi Um and cellist Nicholas Canellakis intiated the proceedings with Bohuslav Martinu’s 1927 Duo No. 1, a two-movement work that exploits the tonal range of the respective instruments, set in a modal, angular syntax enriched by multiple stopping on the strings. The first movement Praeludium: Andante moderato had Danbi and Canellakis share the melodic tissue and shuttle into improvisation until the calm atmosphere returned at movement’ end. The piece indulged Martinu’s Parisian sense of Jazz in striking syncopations that led to cellist Canellakis’ extended solo, which rather lit up our ears. The lyric appeal of this music had us in thrall when violinist Um joined in for a mad dash to the gratifying finale. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Strings


Salute to Sal! A Farewell Concert at the Carmel Mission!

As expected it was a amazing sendoff! The Carmel Mission was packed to the gills, and into many six-seat-capacity pews were squeezed one or two additional music lovers — this was the largest audience I can ever remember seeing at the Mission. It was the first of two “Farewell Concerts” celebrating Sal Ferrantelli’s 36 years with I Cantori, and, sadly to say, marking his retirement from the group. Ferrantelli has nurtured and developed I Cantori over the last three and a half decades into a professional ensemble that has consistently presented performances on the highest artistic level of choral music that spanned many centuries. It has also often included his own compositions written for I Cantori.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Baroque, Choral, Classical Era, I Cantori, Romantic Era, Strings, Vocal ensemble