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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...

Reviews

6/15/2018 - SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Hans Brightbill, cello
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
6/6/2018 - COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Laura Magnani, piano
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
5/25/2018 - MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM - Kayleen Asbo
Sky Hill Cultural Alliance / Jura Margulis, piano
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
5/12/2018 - FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano; Kyle Stegall, tenor; Joseph Maile, violin
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
5/6/2018 - FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jan Mikusek, cymbalom
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
5/1/2018 - SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE - Abby Wasserman
Marin Symphony / Alasdair Neale, conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
4/29/2018 - ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL - Terry McNeill
Sonoma State University Symphony / Alexander Kahn, conductor. Jonathan Dimmock, organ
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
4/21/2018 - HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Louis Lortie, piano
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
4/15/2018 - SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE - Terry McNeill
Vallejo Symphony / Marc Taddei, conductor. Cecile Licad, piano
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
4/14/2018 - VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Redwood Arts Council / Boris Andrionov, cello; Dimitri Illarionov, guitar
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
4/8/2018 - TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Victor Romasevich, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Marilyn Thompson, piano
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
4/8/2018 - KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY - Abby Wasserman
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Kevin Kenner, piano
Kevin Kenner’s April 8 recital at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kenner’s teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composers’ deman...
4/8/2018 - IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOICE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Tracy Silverman, electric violin; Jacalyn Kreitzer, mezzo-soprano; SSU Symphonic Chorus, Jenny Bent, director
In an April 8 Santa Rosa Symphony concert filled to the brim with instruments--electric violin, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard samplers, harps, piano and myriad drums, gongs and bells, to say nothing of winds, brass and strings--the instrument that came out on top was the hum...
3/31/2018 - VOM FESTIVAL TRIO CHARMS WITH CHAMBER MIX, AND HUMMEL - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / VOM Festival Musicians: Tanya Tomkins, cello; Monica Huggett violin; Eric Zivian, piano.
At the core of the group of Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) musicians is an ensemble of trios and duos, and as a trio March 31 Festival founders cellist Tanya Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian joined British violinist Monica Huggett for a chamber music concert in the Green Music Center’s Schro...
3/30/2018 - GOOD FRIDAY REQUIEM FILLS INCARNATION - Terry McNeill
Church of the Incarnation / Cantiamo Sonoma, St. Cecilia Choir. Carol Menke, conductor. and soprano. Robert Young, organ; Thomas Hart, baritone
Maurice Duruflé’s short and intense Requiem has been heard in Santa Rosa’s Church of the Incarnation before, but the March 30 Good Friday performance was stripped down in the number of performers, combining Cantiamo Sonoma and the St. Cecilia Choir with musical underpinning from organist Robert Youn...
3/25/2018 - HAMELIN'S HUSKY MOOD IN SCHROEDER RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Charles Richard-Hamelin, piano
Convention in piano recitals has the artist coming on stage and playing. Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin walked on Schroeder Hall’s stage March 25 and didn’t play for six minutes, chatting with the audience. A risk for some artists. Then most programs include a contemporary or rarely play...
3/18/2018 - VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL - Paul Blanchard
Green Music Center / Robert Huw Morgan, organ
Organist Robert Huw Morgan’s artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford University’s resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
3/17/2018 - ORFF AND HINDEMITH SONIC SPLENDOR AT FINAL SO CO PHIL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Ivalah Allen soprano; Mark Kratz, tenor; Igor Vieira, baritone
Sonoma County Philharmonic concerts are continually artistically successful but on the Santa Rosa High School’s stage the orchestra rarely numbers above 40, and in the 900-seat hall audiences can be scant. Violinists can be in short supply. An opposite scene occurred at the March 17/18 concert set...
3/12/2018 - DEDIK RECITAL MARCH 12 IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE SERIES - Terry McNeill
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Anastasia Dedik, piano
Pianist Anastasia Dedik has been an occasional North Coast visitor, playing with her Trio in Ukiah, and in recitals in Sonoma and with the Spring Lake Village series. She returned March 12 to Spring Lake (a retirement community, with Impresario Robert Hayden) in an abbreviated recital before a pack...
3/2/2018 - ADVENTUROUS BACH AND PENDERECKI IN MUTTER-ORKIS WEILL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin; Lambert Orkis, piano
German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter returned to Weill Hall March 2 in a recital curiously different than her appearance on the same stage several years ago, and also dissimilar to a recent San Francisco concert with a heroic Respighi Sonata performance. On a rainy night before 700 fans Ms. Mutter ...
2/25/2018 - BEETHOVEN'S MAJESTY IN TAKACS QUARTET CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Takács Quartet. Edward Dusinberre and Károly Schranz, violin; Geraldine Walther, viola; András Fejér, cello. Marc Andre Hamelin, piano
Greatness in a single musical composition carried the day Feb. 25 when the Takács String Quartet played Beethoven in Weill Hall. Sweeping aside two first half pieces, the Takács tackled Beethoven’s penultimate Quartet, the monumental C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131, written in 1826. From the first notes (<...
2/24/2018 - CHOPIN BALLADES FEATURED IN CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Concerts Grand House Recitals / Nancy Lee Harper, piano
Pianist Nancy Lee Harper made an elegant North Coast debut Feb. 24 in the Concerts Grand House Recitals series in a private Santa Rosa home. Ms. Harper, for decades a performer and teacher in Portugal, has recently relocated to Northern California, played an all-Chopin recital that was comprehensiv...
2/18/2018 - SOMBER GERMAN POETRY IN SONG AT ROSCHMANN RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Malcolm Martineau, piano
Two weeks does make a hefty difference. Feb. 3 saw the diva Renée Fleming beguile a full Weill Hall house in a mix of Brahms, Broadway show songs and Dvorak chestnuts. It was a gala event with couture gowns and colorful extra-musical communication between singer and her rapt audience. Dorothea Rösc...
2/18/2018 - KIM-PETERSEN DUO SHINE IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER RECITAL - Abby Wasserman
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Bomsori Kim, violin; Drew Petersen, piano
“Bomsori” means “the sound of spring” in Korean, and violinist Bomsori Kim’s sound is like spring - fresh, clarion, and nuanced. Her expressiveness and obvious pleasure in engaging with audiences is substantial, and she partnered with pianist Drew Petersen in a Feb. 18 recital for the Mill Valley C...
2/18/2018 - ROMANTIC MUSIC AND AMBIANCE AT SEB ARTS RECITAL - Nicki Bell
Sebastopol Center For The Arts / Robyn Carmichael, piano
Sebastopol had is own musical salon Feb. 18 with visits to Paris of the 1830s, and side trips to Wales and Germany. Pianist Robyn Carmichael presented a concert of favorite romantic masters and their muses, loves and inspirations, with music of Chopin, Liszt Mendelssohn and Schumann. This was no c...
2/18/2018 - POWERHOUSE TANEYEV QUARTET IN TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT - Sonia Tubridy
Trio Navarro / Victor Romasevich, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Wayne Roden, viola; Marilyn Thompson, piano
Now in their 26th year of presenting chamber music as artists in residence at Sonoma State University, members of the Navarro Trio have performed, over the years, piano trios both famous and rarely performed, including many contemporary works. Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478 opened the Fe...
2/11/2018 - NOVEL AND FAMILIAR WORKS FROM THE TILDEN TRIO - Terry McNeill
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Tilden Trio. June Choi Oh, piano; Sarn Oliver,violin; Peter Wyrick, cello
North Coast chamber music fans have the luxury of two fine resident piano trios, with the frequently performing Trio Navarro at Sonoma State, and the Tilden Trio at San Rafael’s Dominican University. The Tilden plays less often, but their Feb. 11 performance brought several hundred to Angelico Hall ...
2/10/2018 - A FIFTH CONTENDER ENTERS THE RING FOR THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Michael Christie, conductor. Anna Fedorova, piano
In these international times, what makes a piece of music American? For Michael Christie, the answer is that it needs to have at least premiered on these shores, if not been composed here. Thus the rationale for the “all American” program that Christie--the fifth and final conducting candidate for t...
2/9/2018 - BERLIN WIND QUINTET'S NOVEL PROGRAM SCORES IN WEILL CONCERT - nicholas xenelis
Mastercard Performance Series / Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. Walter Seyfarth, clarinet; Marion Reinhardt, bassoon; Michael Hasel, flute; Andreas Wittman, oboe; Fergus McWilliam, horn; Steven Hough, piano
Driving into the Green Music Center parking lot Feb. 10 I knew there was something unusual taking place since the lot was nearly full. Was another event going on this same night? A large crowd in Weill Hall isn’t expected for chamber music, in this case with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. S...
2/8/2018 - HAUNTING RACHMANINOFF WORKS IN HU'S MAO RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Music at Oakmont / Chin-Un Hu, piano
Ching-Yun Hu made a return Music at Oakmont appearance Feb. 8 in Berger Auditorium, reprising a recital she made in the same hall four years ago. Many of the recital’s trappings were the same, but the music Ms. Hu chose to play was decidedly different. All afternoon the pianist was in an aggressiv...
2/3/2018 - A COMPLETE ARTISTIC PACKAGE IN FLEMING'S WEILL HALL RECITAL - Vaida Falconbridge and Mary Beard
Mastercard Performance Series / Renée Fleming, soprano; Helmut Höll, piano
The diva Renée Fleming strode on the Weill Hall stage Feb. 2 in her first couture gown of the evening, a gray and swirling cream strapless sheath with flamboyant coordinating stole. For this concert, Ms. Fleming stayed to somewhat lighter fare, foregoing heavier dramatic and coloratura arias for a v...
2/2/2018 - ZNAIDER-KULEK DUO CHARMS AND CHALLANGES WEILL AUDIENCE FEB. 2 - Terry McNeill
Mastercard Performance Series / Nikolaj Znaider, violin; Robert Kulek, piano
Weill hall has mounted several exceptional piano recitals, with Garrick Ohlsson’s titanic Liszt concert, and of course Lang Lang’s two insouciant but also compelling performances topping the list since 2013. But arguably the virtuoso violinists have on balance been more impressive, and thoughts g...
1/27/2018 - VIVID GERMAN ROMANTICISM IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT IN SCHROEDER - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Eric Vivian, piano; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Hoeprich, clarinet; Catherine Manson, violin and viola
Though not new to Sonoma County, the Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) concerts are relatively recent in the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall. So the first of three spring concerts Jan. 27 provided a picture of what’s in the repertoire leading up to their Festival this summer at Sonoma’s Ha...
1/27/2018 - MONUMENTAL NIELSEN SYMPHONY CAPS SO CO PHIL CONCERT AT SR HS - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Hans Brightbill, cello
Turning again away from conventional repertoire, the Sonoma County Philharmonic programmed Jan. 27 three works in what were local debut performances in Santa Rosa High School’s Performing Arts Center. Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, Op. 29, called “Inextinguishable,” closed the program with an extravaga...
1/21/2018 - ECLECTIC ANDERSON & ROE TRANSCRIPTIONS CAPTIVATE WEILL HALL AUDIENCE - Nicki Bell
Green Music Center / Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
From the first moment when Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe walked Jan. 21 on the Weill Hall stage and spoke to the audience about their two-piano program, it was clear that an afternoon of drama, humor, virtuosity, warmth, transcendence and excitement was in store. This dynamic and mesmerizing ...
1/20/2018 - BALCOM TRIO HIGHLIGHTS DELPHI'S RAC CONCERT IN OCCIDENTAL - Sonia Morse Tubridy
Delphi Trio / Jeffrey LaDeur, piano; Liana Bérubé, violin; Michelle Kwon, cello
The Redwood Arts Council audience first met the Delphi Trio (Jeffrey LaDeur, (piano), Liana Berube (violin), and cellist Michelle Kwon) in 2013, and subsequent concerts in the same Occidental hall have become crowd favorites. The January 20th program before a capacity audience seemed to have enthus...