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


Youth Music Monterey – Opening Concert of its 2016-2017 Season

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In our sports-dominated world, where it is all too common to enter a school and see a  sign proclaiming “Athlete of the Month,” it is indeed gratifying to see large groups of fine young musicians playing their hearts out on the stage of Sunset Center Theater in Carmel. Not only does this serve to remind us that music plays an important part in the lives of school age students, but it also serves to remind us that we are hearing these young orchestral players in a first-class concert venue like Sunset Center, rather than an uncomfortable, dusty gymnasium or a school assembly hall, thanks to the organizational efforts of the board and officers of Youth Music Monterey (YMM). Read full story

Archived in these categories: Strings, Woodwinds, Youth Music Monterey


Santa Cruz Chamber Players: A Chest of Treasures

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On Saturday, October 8, at Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos, The Santa Cruz Chamber Players presented a “A Chest of Treasures, Lesser Known Gems of the Great Composers,” sponsored by Rowland and Pat Rebele. Actually the title should have continued by adding: performed by four gems and musical gems they were! The soloists were Roy Malan, Concert Director and violin; Susan Freier Harrison, violin; Polly Malan, viola; Stephen Harrison, cello and Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano. All four of the master musicians come fully equipped with accolades and letters of grand distinction. Roy Malan’s 40-year tenure as first chair of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra most certainly sets a Guinness Book record. Perusing his accomplishments, this is but the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.”

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Piano, Romantic Era, Strings