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Chamber
HEROIC TRUMPET AND ORGAN MUSIC AT INCARNATION
by Jerry Dibble
Friday, October 12, 2018
The strong connections between Santa Rosa’s musical community and California State University Chico were on display Oct. 12 as David Rothe, Professor Emeritus in the Chico Music Department, and Ayako Nakamura, trumpet with the North State Symphony, presented a concert titled “Heroic Music for Trumpe...
Symphony
LECCE-CHONG PROVES HIS METTLE WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 07, 2018
Francesco Lecce-Chong was handed two warhorses for his debut as conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and he rode them both to thrilling victory. For the first win, Brahms’ violin concerto, he owed much to soloist Arnaud Sussman, but for the other triumph, Beethoven’s fifth symphony, he and his musi...
Chamber
THORNY BARTOK AND ELEGANT MENDELSSOHN FOR THE BRENTANO
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In a minor masterpiece of programming choices the Brentano String Quartet played a Sept. 30 Weill Hall program with an emphasis on refinement, even with a challenging Bartok work in the mix. Dvorák’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola (Op. 75a) opened the concert with charm and gentle loveliness,...
Chamber
ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and aco...
Recital
IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series. Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long ...
Symphony
SAKAKEENY'S LION AND ROSE HIGHLIGHTS SO CO PHIL'S 20TH SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Latin America the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 20th season Sept. 22 in a celebratory concert in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. Keeping to the evening’s orchestra history and past performance, conductor emeritus Gabriel Sakakeeny, who led the So Co Ph...
Recital
DEDIK'S POTENT BEETHOVEN AND CHOPIN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, September 17, 2018
Anastasia Dedik returned Sept. 17 to the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series in a recital that featured three familiar virtuoso works in potent interpretations. Chopin’s G Minor Ballade hasn’t been heard in Sonoma County public concerts since a long-ago Earl Wild performance, and Beethoven’s...
Recital
DUO WEST OPENS OCCIDENTAL CONCERT SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 09, 2018
Before a full house at the Occidental Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 the cello-piano Duo West, playing from score throughout, presented a recital that on paper looked stimulating and thoughtful. Beginning with MacDowell’s To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51), the transcription by an unan...
Chamber
CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium. A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadle...
Chamber
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, May 01, 2015
Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano

Pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii

MOUNT TSUJII ERUPTS AT THE GREEN MUSIC CENTER

by Nicki Bell
Friday, May 01, 2015

A great painter changes the way we see and understand the world. The extraordinary Nobuyuki Tsujii, a 25-year-old Japanese pianist blind since birth, changes the way we hear music. He has a transformative power. Formidable technique, a staggering mastery of pianistic and tonal color, surprising tempo surges and lingerings, intense musicality--all these phrases hardly begin to describe the uniqueness of his musical voice and the thrilling nature of his performances, including the one at the Green Music Center on Friday evening, May 1, which featured gems by Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven.

Tsujii pulled the audience into his world with the opening notes of Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 1. The whisper of pianissimos, the quick surges of intensity, the extreme and instantaneous dynamic shifts--they all made perfect musical sense. The subsequent Nocturne (Op. 9, No. 2) had moments of such limpid quietude that the full house seemed to stop breathing so as not to lose a moment of the magic. Tsujii's concentration is extreme. With his isolation from visual distraction and the focused attention of his listening, the clarity of his playing is thrilling.

With his formidable technique, Tsujii brought moments of ecstasy to Chopin's late Barcarolle in F-sharp major. His exquisite trills were a blur of sound, just a vibration. Using his left hand as an engine, he displayed phenomenal power in the driving middle section.

The Consolation No. 3, written by a grieving Franz Liszt after Chopin's death, was exquisite. Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1, "The Dance in the Village Inn," had the devil in it, every extreme, from playing as fast as humanly possible to blessed quietude and back to staggering passion. Tsujii conveyed the colors and fullness of sound of a complete orchestra. He literally filled the hall, and the audience went crazy.

After intermission, Tsujii started Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata so slowly, so quietly, so daringly that you could not anticipate the speed, even though you knew what was coming. No matter how often you have heard this sonata--and it is often played--it becomes a new world in this young master's hands. So too with Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata, a huge work with mountains of difficulty, one of the composer's most violent and passionate creations. In Tsujii's hands, the tonal and emotional contrasts of the three movements kept building and building all the way to the thrilling conclusion.

The audience did not want to let Tsujii go, so he played three encores. The first was his own rendition of Stephen Foster's "I Dream of Jeanie," the second his own sweetly lyrical song, and the third a magnificent rendition of Liszt's "La Campanella." The only way for Tsujii to leave the stage was to close the lid of the piano's keyboard.