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Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...

Reviews

8/1/2017 - YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT - Lee Ormasa
Piano Sonoma / Emi Ferguson, flute; Peter Dugan and Angie Zhang, piano; Down Na, violin; Julia Glenn, violin and viola; Michael Dahlberg, cello;
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
7/30/2017 - THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER - Lee Ormasa
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Jennifer Frautschi, violin; Liana Bérubé, viola; Jeffrey LaDeur and Eric Zivian, piano; Rachel Wong, violin; Liana Bérubé, viola; Tanya Tomkins, cello
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
7/30/2017 - PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Cynthia Freivogal and Monica Huggett, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano. Apprentices TBA
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
7/22/2017 - ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Kyle Stegall, tenor; Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Jeffrey LaDeur and Eric Zivian, piano
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
7/22/2017 - ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE - Lee Ormasa
Mendocino Music Festival / Molly Morkoski, piano
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
7/22/2017 - SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL - Lee Ormasa
Mendocino Music Festival / Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Allan Pollack, conductor. Julie Kierstine, soprano;Donna Olson, also; Alex Boyer., tenor; Phil Meyer, bass
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
7/18/2017 - ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL - Robert Young
Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts / Etienne Walhain, organ
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
7/14/2017 - DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION - Elly Lichenstein
Mendocino Music Festival / Jason Sherbundy, conductor. Ann Woodhead, stage director. Sergio Gonzalez: Ernesto; Sara LeMesh: Norina; Bojan Knezevic: Don Pasquale; Ben Brady: Dr. Malatesta
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
7/13/2017 - NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL - Terry McNeill
Mendocino Music Festival / John Novacek, piano
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
6/25/2017 - STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL - Paul Blanchard
Redwood Empire AGO / Robert Young, organ
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
6/21/2017 - KODALY DUO TRUMPS POPULAR MENDELSSOHN TRIO AT SLV CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Tanya Tomkins and Leighton Fong, cello; Eric Zivian, piano; Anna Presler, violin
It’s not really a secret, but Sonoma County’s best chamber music series is one without much notoriety or publicity. The concerts at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village programs are only for residents and a few invited guests. Impresario Robert Hayden years ago honed his producer skills as founder of ...
5/14/2017 - DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Benjamin Bellman, violin; Orion Weiss, piano
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
5/7/2017 - SOVIETS INVADE WEILL HALL, TAKE NO PRISONERS - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Vadim Gluzman, violin
Bruno Ferrandis may be French, but he excels in Soviet repertoire. His Slavonic expertise was more than amply demonstrated at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, where the program began joyfully with Khachaturian’s ballet suite from “Masquerade,” surged forward with Prokofiev’s second violin co...
5/5/2017 - MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL - Sonia Morse Tubridy
Mastercard Performance Series / Richard Goode, piano
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
4/30/2017 - ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION - Paul Blanchard
Green Music Center / Jonathan Dimmock, organ
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
4/29/2017 - NOTES AND BARS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE - Nicki Bell
Redwood Arts Council / Hermitage Piano Trio. Ilya Kazantsev, piano; Sergey Antonov, cello; Misch Keilen, violin
The Hermitage Piano Trio brought exuberant musicality and sumptuous sound to a packed house April 29 in Occidental's Performing Arts Center for the last concert in the Redwood Arts Council’s 37th season. With a wide interpretive range--from lush to delicate to passionate--these three young Russian v...
4/21/2017 - SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL - Lee Ormasa
Mastercard Performance Series / Yefim Bronfman, piano
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
4/8/2017 - HULKING MAHLER "TITAN" AT SO CO PHIL'S SEASON FINALE - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Leyla Kabuli, piano
A composer’s first symphony rarely gives a clear indication of what beautiful complexities will follow over the years. Early Mozart and Tchaikovsky are examples, and the big exceptions to this axiom are the “firsts” of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. Tackling Mahler ‘s D Major Symphony (No. 1,...
3/26/2017 - SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Joseph Edelberg, violin; Elizabeth Prior, viola; Adelle-Akiko Kearns, cello
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
3/19/2017 - SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Haochen Zhang, piano
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
3/12/2017 - FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE - Sonia Morse Tubridy
Green Music Center / Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
3/12/2017 - MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Sara Daneshpour, piano
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
3/9/2017 - NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Music at Oakmont / Einav Yarden, piano
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
3/5/2017 - CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL - Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Mastercard Performance Series / Miró Quartet: Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violin; John Largess, viola; Joshua Gindele, cello. Anne Marie McDermott, piano
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
2/26/2017 - BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Yu-Chien Tseng, violin; Chang-Yong Shin, piano
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
2/24/2017 - MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT - Nicki Bell
Mastercard Performance Series / Pinchas Zukerkman, violin; Amanda Forsyth, cello; Angela Cheng, piano
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
2/19/2017 - THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Phillip Setzer, violin; David Finckel, cello; Wu Han, piano
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
2/18/2017 - AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Tetzlaff-Vogt Duo. Christian Tetzlaff, violin; Lars Vogt, piano
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
2/12/2017 - WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE? - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Alessio Bax, piano
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
2/11/2017 - GOOD OLD WINE IN GOOD OLD BOTTLES AT VOM CONCERT - Jeff Chan
Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Eric Hoeprich, clarinet; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano; Catherine Manson, violin and viola.
February 11 was the first day of sunshine in Sonoma County after nine days of rain, but a nearly full house of music lovers chose to spend their afternoon in Schroeder Hall instead of being outside, soaking up the warm sun. There were two equally compelling reasons to attend this concert, which fea...
1/29/2017 - FUNG TRIUMPHS IN SHOSTAKOVICH CONCERTO WITH VSO - Elizabeth Warnimont
Vallejo Symphony / Marc Taddei, conductor. Zlatomir Fung, cello
The Vallejo Symphony Orchestra presented their season’s second concert Jan. 29 in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, devoted to early Haydn, middle Shostakovich and Beethoven’s ground-breaking “Eroica” Symphony. In remarks to the audiences of nearly 400, Conductor Marc Taddei characterized Haydn’s Sympho...
1/29/2017 - ENSEMBLE PERFECTION IN KLR TRIO'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Joseph Kalichstein, piano; Jaime Laredo, violin; Sharon Robinson, cello
Longevity has its place in classical music. Composers and especially conductors live a long time, and venerable piano trios can linger for years. One can recall the great Cortot-Thibaud-Casals staying on the international scene for decades, and more recently Stern-Istomin-Rose, Oistrakh-Oborin-Knu...
1/28/2017 - SUBLIME MOZART CLARINET CONCERTO TOPS SO CO PHIL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Roy Zajac, clarinet
Sonoma County Philharmonic’s long history of featuring soloists from the neighborhood struck gold again Jan. 28 with a ravishing Mozart Clarinet Concerto performance with soloist Roy Zajac. Before an audience of 300 the Santa Rosa High School hall the A Major Concerto (K. 626) unfolded gracefully w...
1/22/2017 - RISKY SPEED IN POTENT LUO RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Wei Luo, piano
Each half of pianist Wei Luo’s Schroeder Hall recital Jan. 22 contained beguiling interpretations and consummate technical command of Shostakovich and Albeniz works, but each half finished with less than exalted playing. Two of Shostakovich’s Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues opened the recital, from the ...
1/20/2017 - COLORFUL SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN WARM WEILL HALL IN AX RECITAL - Nicki Bell
Mastercard Performance Series / Emanuel Ax, piano
On a stormy winter evening Jan. 20 a rainbow of colorful Schubert and Chopin music came from the fingers, feet and heart of pianist Emanuel Ax.  Playing at the Weill Hall for the first time, this recital was a tribute to beauty in the arts. It conveyed the value and glory of balance, lyricism and el...
1/15/2017 - A MUSICAL ODYSSEY IN RIVITING PRESTON HALL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Ft. Bragg Center For the Arts / Carolyn Steinbuck, piano; Marcia Sloane, cello; Eric Kritz, clarinet
A standing room audience warmly greeted pianist Carolyn Steinbuck Jan. 15 in the season’s second Ft. Bragg Center For the Arts concert in Mendocino’s plebian Preston Hall. Ms. Steinbuck, to be joined in the program’s second half by clarinetist Eric Kritz and cellist Marcia Sloane, programmed Schube...
1/12/2017 - FAST BUT NOT ALWAYS FURIOUS IN OAKMONT CELLO RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Music at Oakmont / Edward Arron, cello; Jeewon Park, piano
New England-based cellist Edward Arron played an encore recital Jan. 12 at Music at Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium that was a in almost every way a success and surely an audience delight. Beginning with Bach’s G Major Sonata gamba the cellist and pianist Jeewon Park played the work that rolls along wi...
1/7/2017 - SYMPHONIC SPLENDOR AND HARP VIRTUOSITY AT SRS CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp
A rainy winter Weill Hall audience of 800 heard the Santa Rosa Symphony Jan. 7 in an eclectic program of four composers including a provocative harp concerto. The music was preceded by manifold stage announcements and somber recognition of SRS musicians that had recently died. A rollicking performa...