Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – Virginia Best Adams Vocal Master Class

David Gordon, Master Class Director

This year’s sessions of the Adams Master Class are being led by Master Class Director David Gordon, Festival Associate Conductor Andrew Megill and Festival Vocalists Mhairi Lawdon, Meg Bragle and David Newman. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the last of the sessions on Thursday, July 26, at Carmel Presbyterian Church in Carmel. The culmination of these sessions will be the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass Showcase Concert at 1:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, July 28, also at Carmel Presbyterian.

All too often master classes involve distinguished performers lording it over young students, who become victims of the master class teacher’s vanity and ego. Nothing could be further from the truth during the Adams master classes. The participants we heard today are young professionals already successful in their careers, and the Adams Master Classes represent advanced coaching from a seasoned professional to younger colleagues. The interaction between David Gordon and the young young singers was always warm, courteous, respectful and gently inspiring.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Master class, Vocal

Soprano Hyesang Park & pianist Ken Noda

On Sunday afternoon May 13, 2018 lyric soprano Hyesang Park and pianist Ken Noda gave a stunningly beautiful recital of diverse love songs at the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall. Throughout Park’s unforgettable singing one could easily understand why she is scheduled for major operatic roles in the world’s principal opera houses during the next few years. It is hard to think of a more sensitive pianist for a vocal recital than Ken Noda, a Barenboim protégé who played as soloist and chamber pianist with virtually all of the world’s greatest orchestras and chamber musicians before becoming musical assistant to the Director of the Metropolitan Opera over 25 years ago. The interpretive collaboration and technical quality of his playing was simply unforgettable. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano, Romantic Era, Vocal

Camerata Singers – To Pauline – With Love

Image result for Pauline Troia

The Camerata Singers, under the direction of John Koza, presented To Pauline,…with Love on May 12 at First Presbyterian Church, Monterey. This bittersweet occasion to bid farewell to Pauline Troia – exemplary pianist, accompanist for 30+ years – was a terrific program of choral jewels. With the likes of Aaron Copland, Daniel Brimsmead, Randall Thompson, John Rutter, Moses Hogan along with arrangements by Josephine Poelnitz and Craig Hella Johnson all represented, some of the finest and most enduring works of choral repertoire were presented. Troia chose many of these selections as some of her favorites through the years. However, this was definitely a “working” tribute to Troia as she was most expertly busy at the piano. She continues to make the keyboard music look and sound effortless. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Classical Era, Piano, Vocal, Vocal ensemble

Arias and Art Songs Redefined through Jazz Improvisation

The Concert Series of the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula (CCMP) presented Heidi Van der Veer and Hart Smith in a unique program Sunday afternoon February 25, 2018. This was not the usual predictable vocal recital, but rather a unique blend of the classical and jazz.  The program was advertised as “Arias and Art Songs Redefined through Jazz Improvisation.” As hostess for the afternoon, Janice Griffin, a local singer and performer in her own right, made the introductions as well as described the efforts of the CCMP Concert Series as outreach. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Piano, Vocal

David Gordon Spins Magic in the Forest

After two seasons and 20 sold-out concerts in Oregon, David Gordon brought his pioneer era series to the Monterey Bay for a concert on Sunday afternoon at The Church in the Forest on the Stevenson School campus. Gordon’s music and history series focuses exclusively on songs popular west of the Mississippi between 1845 and 1875 — the songs sung by emigrants on the Oregon Trail, miners in California, soldiers in the Civil War, western settlers, city dwellers, and many more.

For an attentive and appreciative audience, Gordon, did what he always does. He focussed our attention on a historical time most of us know little about and made it come alive with anecdotes, a history lesson and his performance of hit songs from the 1850s and 1860s. Gordon painted a picture of the United States in the 1850s west of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers as a vast uncharted wilderness. Although the expeditions of Lewis and Clark and the Louisiana purchase had opened peoples’ awareness of the potential for westward expansion, the western edge of the United States in the 1850s remained St Louis. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Vocal