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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...
Chamber
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Chamber
PASSIONATE BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG MUSIC CLOSES VOM FESTIVAL SUMMER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
An extraordinary program of chamber music by Brahms and Schoenberg attracted a capacity crowd to the Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s final concert July 29th in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. It opened with a richly expressive reading by Festival Laureate violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur...
Chamber
PRAGUE AND VIENNA PALACE GEMS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The remarkable Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented a concert called “Kinsky Palace” July 28 on their final Festival weekend in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. Two well-known treasures and one lesser gem were programmed. Starting the afternoon offerings were violinist Monica Huggett and Fest...
Chamber
INNOVATIVE CHAMBER WORKS IN HANNA CENTER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented a July 22 concert featuring three giants: Haydn, Schubert and Schumann, composers who altered music of their time with creative innovations and artistic vision. In the fourth season the Festival’s theme this year is “Vienna in Transition”, and VOM Fes...
Chamber
VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism” Prior to Saturday’s m...
Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
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...
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.