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

Steely Spectrum: A Recital by Pianist Kate Liu

That the roof of the Trianon Theatre remained intact may indicate a minor miracle, given the explosive performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8 in B-flat Major, Op. 84 by pianist Kate Liu, under the auspices of the Steinway Society, Saturday, January 12. Ms. Liu displayed a virile penchant for fiery contrasts, textural and dynamic, in her choice of selections: she opened with Beethoven’s 1821 Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110; the four Ballades, Op. 10 of Johannes Brahms; the late Mazurkas, Op. 59 (1846) of Frederic Chopin; and the aforementioned “War Sonata” (1944) of Sergei Prokofiev.  

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Archived in these categories: Piano

Organist Jonathan Dimmock at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

Meditations with Organ

What better way to start off a New Year than with an afternoon of inspiring organ music? As part of the Organ Concert Series at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church (Carmel, CA), organist Jonathan Dimmock presented La Nativitédu Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen. Heard on Monday, January 7, 2019 the Dobson Opus 94 organ was heard in a fine example of French music of the mid-twentieth century.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Organ

Chanticleer Christmas at the Mission


For 40 years the exquisite blend of the voices of Chanticleer have entertained, recorded and traveled the world. This eloquent and elegant group brought A Chanticleer Christmas to the Carmel Mission Basilica on Friday, December 21st. Founded in 1978 by Louis Botto and named for the “clear singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, they were first known for interpretations of Renaissance music. However, this group is as likely to also include jazz, folk, and contemporary choral works. 

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Archived in these categories: Choral, Vocal ensemble