Halida Dinova performs on the “Aptos Keyboard Series @ St. Johns”

Pianist Halida Dinova has been a familiar presence both in the Santa Cruz area and on the Monterey Peninsula in several solo recitals during the past ten years. Thus, it was no surprise that enough of her fans showed up to hear her perform on Sunday afternoon at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Aptos so that the presenters ran out of printed programs.

Tatar born Russian pianist Halida Dinova studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with legendary pianist Anatol Ugorski and at the Kazan State Conservatory with Natalia Fomina (a student of the famed Heinrich Neuhaus). Ms. Dinova also studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she received her Artist Diploma. She is the prize winner of three International Piano Competitions. Read full story

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


Celebration Choir — August 12, 2018

A wonderful combination of song and service! What could be better than Turn The World Around: Stronger Together! ? Connie Fortunato continues her winning streak with the summertime Celebration Choir performing at First Presbyterian Church of Monterey.If music is truly the universal language, then gathering all ages and backgrounds into this stellar group to not only entertain but also continue to bring music to vulnerable children in Eastern Europe exemplifies this service. The happy gathering crowd was quite abuzz anticipating what was to come. And what came was spectacular.

What spirituals night would be complete without Moses Hogan’s music? The choral world and world in general lost a beautiful soul and composer far too young in 2003.  “Music Down In My Soul” makes the perfect opener to this evening’s program. With the signature entry of “surround sound” this choir of happy, smiling and singing faces set the tone as well as toes tapping and hands clapping. Following pieces included Bonse Aba featuring call and response so typical of spirituals as a way of learning and remembering; dynamite arranger Larry Farrow’s arrangement of Turn The World Around; and Craig Curry’s arrangement of “Room At The Welcome Table” with a smooth jazz opening before becoming a boisterous welcome for everyone. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral


Cabrillo Festival: Notes from a Journey

The Cabrillo Festival concert on Saturday, August 11, Notes from a Journey, was dedicated to the many incredible Host Families who are an intrinsic part of the Festival. They open their homes to these orchestra’s fantastic musicians. Thank you!

Liguria, (2012) by Andrea Tarrodi (b.1981) (US Premiere) opened the evening’s program. Two works in this concert followed the idea Modest Mussorgsky used in his Pictures at an Exhibition where a tour of art works served as musical illustrations. In this case five small Italian fishing villages were the models. As with Mussorgsky’s Promenade through the art works, Tarrodi used the pathway connecting the villages as a musical walking tour. Maestro Macelaru’s keen ear led the orchestra through adventurous texturing of Waves, the Horizon, The Blue Path, Colours, Mountains and Stars. Superb orchestral balance of sound filled the Civic. An enjoyable composition to be sure. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Concerto, Piano


Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 2018 — “In the Blue Room with the Kronos Quartet”

“In The Blue Room with the Kronos Quartet”

This annual tradition has really gained quite the following as part of the Cabrillo Festival. David Harrington, the first violinist and typically the speaker for the group, guessed that it was back in 1978 when they first collaborated with the festival. The San Francisco based group has always maintained strong political views and this concert was no different. They opened with a short piece by Egyptian composer, Islam Chipsy. Zaghlala, loosely translated as meaning blurred vision cause by strong light in the eyes, was full of glissandos and fast passages. Perhaps this choice of piece was a nod to the song and dance man in charge at the moment distracting from the real issues at hand. Friend of the festival, Missy Mazzoli, was up next with a piece named ‘Harp and Altar’ for string quartet and recorded sound. The recording began as low vocal intonations and grew stronger into full words, which began to overpower the sound of the quartet and eventually overtook them in prominence. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Chamber music, String quartet


Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 2018 — ‘After Dixieland’

Christi Macelaru welcomed everyone to the concert by inviting us ‘into the madness’ and ‘Dust Devils’, by Vivian Fung, which opened the concert with a whirl. She captured the swirl of a dust storm and everything the wind would pick up with it. In celebration of William Bolcom’s 80th birthday, the festival programed Bolcom’s ‘Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra’ and his students, Kristin Kuster and Gabriela Lena-Frank pieces as well. Having a teacher and his students all having pieces performed was a wonderful showcase of how the influence of a teacher lasts a lifetime and the progression of the festival. There was also an addition to the program: a piece by Karim Al-Zand, a friend of the festival. The piece is an elegy for the displaced with the title, Luctus Profugis after which Christi asked us not to applaud, but reflect instead on who we are and where we come from. What a difficult, yet poignant way to engage the audience by Christi Macelaru who Lena-Frank termed ‘a gem’.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cabrillo College