Pianist Chetan Tierra — Return of a Native Son

Chetan Tierra

If you weren’t at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, you missed a great piano recital, presented by the Distinguished Artists Concert Series’ director John Orlando as a special event, not part of the regular series, by native son Chetan Tierra from Ben Lomond, now in his mid 30’s and living/teaching in San Diego with his lovely wife, also a pianist.

This writer first reviewed him around 20 years ago when he was a student of Hans Boepple and a “Wunderkind” — I often listen in my car to Tierra’s super CD from 2007. For several years, he has focused on a rock band; but, fortunately for musicians everywhere, he has put that behind him and returned to the classical “fold” with added maturity and intensity.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era

Opera San Jose — Die Fledermaus

Vienna in the 19thcentury was having a love affair with the waltz, and Johann Strauss II’s 1874 operetta (a pre-cursor to today’s musical) satisfied this desire in an excellent way. Having learned from his conductor/composer father, Strauss II knew exactly how to employ his techniques as a serious composer and how to incorporate the dance tunes of the day into his works. 

Act I opens with a fun scrim of a newspaper clipping intended to be read by the audience to give them background on the wide number of characters they’re about to meet, created by set designer, Charlie Smith. The scrim gives way to the Klimt-style home of Mr. and Mrs. Eisenstein, and the action begins. The number of characters and the farcical nature of their relationships is quite dizzying at times, but by the end of the first act, Elena Galván as Adele, Maria Natale as Rosalinde and Eugene Brancoveanu as von Eisenstein are the clear main characters all hoping for a secret bit of fun at the expense of each other. The trio ‘Oh dear, oh dear, how sorry I am’ is acted brilliantly by all three. Robyn Tribuzi’s choreography in this song is gleeful and witty, a sneak-peek of much more to come in the dazzling second act. The short trumpet solo was particularly of note, played with a lovely, dark tone. 

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Opera

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

Danko Druško — Newly Appointed Director of Youth Music Monterey County

The Board and staff of YMMC are excited to announce the successful conclusion of its Music Director search! Starting in May, YMMC reviewed 47 applications from the U.S. and beyond, including many very talented and accomplished candidates. The search committee wanted to find a Music Director who possessed both the musical talent and the wonderful personality we have witnessed in its past Directors. After reviewing the applications and meeting with candidates, YMMC invited a very accomplished and highly-regarded conductor, Danko Druško, to work with YMMC students. 

Danko Druško was born and raised in Germany. He speaks German, English and Croatian fluently. His primary instrument is the trumpet. He holds a DMA in conducting from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He was a fellow competitor of Farkhad Khudyev at the Solti conducting competition, and was a finalist in this event. Danko’s full biography can be found on his website:  https://www.dankodrusko.com/. He has worked with youth and professional orchestras in the US and Europe, and he is looking forward to working with the students of YMMC. Danko is married to a cellist, Ameena, who grew up near San Jose. She is currently working with Youth Orchestra LA.

We will have an opportunity to observe Danko and YMM students at the YMMC concerts on Sunday November 3, 2019, March 1st, 2020, and May 3, 2020. 

We look forward to meeting Danko, and giving him a warm welcome to the Monterey Peninsula!


Archived in these categories: Youth Music Monterey

The Joy of Modern & Traditional Music

            Our little corner of the World is a quiet one. We have many opportunities to savor live performances of wonderful music. While those concerts would probably not demand the attention of those hungry for elite spectacles, I enjoy an hour or two of carefully chosen music competently prepared for our listening pleasure. Those who gathered at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel on Sunday, August 18, 2019 experienced a lovely afternoon of music. Cortez Montalbo, trumpet and Steve Denmark, organ shared with us their Joy of Modern & Traditional Music. Dr. Denmark did double duty by accompanying on the piano as well as the organ. Mr. Montalbo used a collection of three instruments, cornet and two trumpets (B-flat and C) to play a variety of compositions.

Read full story
Archived in these categories: Baroque, Brass, Organ