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Symphony
UNFINISHED AND FINNISH
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 08, 2019
Having a new resident conductor on the podium for the Ukiah Symphony was an attractive invitation for a long-delayed visit to Mendocino College’s Center Theater Dec. 8. The insouciant Les Pfutzenreuter recently retired after decades of conducting the ensemble, replaced by Phillip Lenberg who also j...
Choral and Vocal
PRAERTORIUS IN RENAISSANCE GLORY FROM SONOMA BACH
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Sonoma Bach Choir, in collaboration with Barefoot All-Stars Viol Consort and The Whole Noyse Brass Ensemble, presented “Sing Glorious Praetorius!” November 16 to an almost full Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. The Soloists were soprano Dianna Morgan, Christopher Fritzsche, (countertenor), m...
Symphony
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL EXCITEMENT IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Beginning with a scintillating reading of Rossini’s Overture to the Opera “Semiramide,” the Sonoma County Philharmonic performed a splendid program Nov. 16 in the Jackson Theater, and featured two additional works, one showcasing the winner of the San Francisco Conservatory’s Young Artist Award. It...
Chamber
SPIRITUAL LATE BEETHOVEN QUARTET HIGHLIGHTS MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, called “unparalleled in its inexhaustibility” by critic Thomas May, is a daunting challenge. Orchestral in concept, filled with wit and charm, melancholy and fury, it almost overwhelms listeners. Playing the frenetic Scherzo, a viol...
Symphony
MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANCE IN UNIQUE SRS CONCERT IN WEILL HALL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, November 04, 2019
It was a concert full of surprises Nov. 4 as the Santa Rosa Symphony responded to the area’s wild fires and evacuations with challenging, songful and somewhat unique music in Weill Hall. The last of a three-concert series titled "Master of the Modern Banjo" is reviewed here. The evening began with...
Symphony
DVORAK SYMPHONY CYCLE CONTINUES IN VSO SEASON OPENING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 03, 2019
There was a surprise at the Nov. 3 Vallejo Symphony’s 88th season opening Concert. Of the three works programed by conductor Marc Taddei, the Bartok E major Piano Concerto was the least craggy and sonically demanding. Bartok upstaged in musical impact? How so? Before a nearly sold out Empress Theat...
Choral and Vocal
INSPIRED SONOMA BACH CONCERT IN GLAZER CENTER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, October 26, 2019
On October 25 Sonoma County residents were being put on notice that due to the wind-whipped and rapidly spreading Kincade Fire in Geyserville, many parts of the county would soon need be evacuated. Sonoma State University had closed the campus for the weekend, which meant that Sonoma Bach's season o...
Recital
ELEGANT BACH AND BUXTEHUDE HIGHLIGHT HOULIHAN'S ORGAN RECITAL IN SCHROEDER
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Organist Christopher Houlihan presented an October 20 recital of mostly Bach and Buxtehude with a few detours into the Romantic Era, playing in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. He was enthusiastically received by the capacity audience. The artist gave informative co...
Chamber
RARE LEKEU QUARTET HIGHLIGHTS SEASON OPENING RAC CONCERT IN OCCIDENTAL
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, October 19, 2019
The five musicians of the American Chamber Players brought mostly unfamiliar music to their Oct. 19 Redwood Arts Council concert in Occidental’s intimate Performing Arts Center. Violist and group founder Miles Hoffman spoke briefly to the audience to open the evening.  An instantly engaging speaker...
Chamber
POTENT MANHATTAN TRIO PERFORMANCES AT GUALALA ARTS CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Gualala Arts has been North Coast gem since 1980s, presenting a wide menu of musical programs in the charming small concert hall in the redwoods near the ocean in Gualala, and the Manhattan Piano Trio opened the new season Oct. 13. It was the fifth appearance in Gualala for this New York-based ense...
Chamber
OLD COMPOSERS INSPIRE A NEW OCTET AND RAVISHING PLAYING IN WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, October 13, 2019
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble brought a program of provocative interest and beauty to Weill Hall October 13, giving an audience of 800 a musical afternoon to cherish. This ensemble draws musicians from the renowned chamber orchestra founded in London by Sir Neville Marrine...
Symphony
ORCHESTRAL VIRTUOSITY IN SR SYMPHONY'S 92nd SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Monday, October 07, 2019
Season-beginning orchestra concerts usually feature a splashy mix of overture/fanfare, a sonorous symphony and a virtuosic concerto. Santa Rosa Symphony’s Oct. 6 opener in Weill Hall had a contrary design with two new works and a Richard Strauss symphonic showpiece tone poem. Sunday’s afternoon’s ...
Chamber
DEMANDING PIANO TRIOS ADORN TRIO NAVARRO'S OPENING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Continuing a decades-long search for innovative piano trio repertoire, Sonoma State’s resident Trio Navarro opened their current season Sept. 29 in Schroeder Hall with three works of mostly arcane and rigorous music. Not rare of course was Mozart’s G Major Trio, K. V. 564, that opened the program i...
Symphony
ELEGANT BEETHOVEN CONCERTO IN SO CO PHILHARMONIC'S SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 28, 2019
After last season’s schedule with one big repertoire work per concert, the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 21st season Sept. 28 with two, and both received committed if disparate performances under resident conductor Norman Gamboa. The first half in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater opened not wit...
Recital
GINASTERA'S PERCUSSIVE SONATA SHINES IN WALTER'S PETALUMA RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Elizabeth Walter has had considerable impact on Petaluma’s classical music scene, actively promoting music programs in schools, producing concerts through her Sky Hill Cultural Alliance, and playing benefit concerts to raise funds for music in area schools. Sporadically she performs just for the mus...
ECHO OPENS NEW SEASON WITH PROVOCATIVE PROGRAMMING
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 22, 2019
ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s season opening concert Sept. 22 featured an ambitious program of four works, ranging from 1815 to the very present. Performed in the graceful high-vaulted First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, the concert engaged rapt attention of the 70 attending. Conducted by Daniel Ca...
PERLMAN TRIUMPHS IN LOW TEMPERATURE SOLD OUT WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Itzhak Perlman did a rare thing for a classical musician in his Sept. 15 recital – he sold out Weill Hall’s 1,400 seats, with 50 more on stage. Clearly the violinist has an adoring local audience that came to hear him perform with pianist Rohan De Silva in a concert of two substantial sonatas mixed...
Recital
TRANSCRIPTIONS ABOUND IN GALBRAITH'S GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Master guitarist Paul Galbraith’s artistry was much in evidence Sept. 14 in his Sebastopol Community Church recital. Attendees in the Redwood Arts Council events were initially bothered by the afternoon’s heat in the church, but it was of small importance when the Cambridge, England-based artist be...
ECLECTIC DRAMATIC PROGRAMING IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Marin-based pianist Laura Magnani combined piquant remarks to an audience of 100 Sept. 11 with dramatic music making in a recital at Spring Lake Village’s Montgomery Center. Ms. Magnani’s eclectic programming in past SLV recitals continued, beginning with three sonatas by her Italian compatriot Sca...
Chamber
PERFORMER AS PROMOTER: CLARA SCHUMANN AND MUSICAL SALONS CLOSE VOM FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 28, 2019
The July 28 closing performance of the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival could have been subtitled "Friends", as it was devoted to works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, and those of their friends and protégés Brahms and virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom Clara toured extensively...

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