Kenn Gartner began piano study at two and a half years with his mother and was to be a violinist. At eight he sang with the Children's Opera Company of NY and in children's roles at City Center and Metropolitan Opera. He studied piano at Mary Baldwin College, and holds degrees from Cornell University, studying with John Kirkpatrick and Donald Grout, and at he Juilliard School with Adele Marcus and Edward Steuermann. Mr. Gartner has Ph.D. from NYU, where he studied with Eugene List.
Nationally certified as a teacher of Piano and Voice, he is one of two teachers of Voice and Piano on the Juilliard's Private Teacher List in California. He is active as an accompanist and as both a music and vocal coach. Recently, he was elected to the Board of Directors, Bay Area Summer Opera and Theater Institute (BASOTI).
The group PianoSonoma presented a short program at Weill Hall August 10 for an audience of 330, part of a summer festival at Sonoma State University. This group consisted of violinist Mary Edge, violist Kim Mai Nguyen, cellist Julian Schwarz and bassist Eric Lamm. They were joined on stage by pianists Jessica Chow Shinn and Michael Shinn, artistic directors of this festival. The Shinns are faculty members at The Juilliard School of Music and the two fiddlers had just received Masters Degrees f... more
Brilliant! That is the only word to convey the musicality, sound, and the panache the San Francisco Symphony achieved Jan. 31 in Weill Hall with of guest conductor Charles Dutoit. The sound extant during this balanced program was spectacular, and I have rarely heard such substantial fortes, ones which I had almost to cover my ears!
While the Hall’s Choral Circle’s seats were completely filled, the main section’s seats were half empty, a condition which allowed the Weill’s acoustics g... more
Local favorite Natasha Paremski presented the final Concerts Grand recital of the ninth season April 15 with an eclectic program of super rare and super popular piano music. It was an exciting afternoon.
Miss Paremski is a deft verbal commentator with audiences and has great command of the instrument. Her octaves were almost like machine guns and her finger work in each of the five programmed pieces was elegant when necessary and forceful during passages which required strength.
Lawrence Sarabi, a 19-year old pianist now studying in Singpore, played a Dec. 14 concert in Healdsburg's Raven Theater to benefit an injured friend of the artist, Honza Ripa.
I have followed the pianist’s career in recent years with interest, and with the audience of 500 was looking to hear if Mr. Sarabi had fallen victim to what some call the “Lang-Lang Syndrome,” where everything is played fast and loud! The actual playing on the program has changed from a recent San Rafael recit... more
When I review a program, the hope is to provide performers with material they might use in future publicity, and there is an expectation of being moved by the performance and a desire to tell friends. The College of Marin Symphony Orchestra concert Nov. 21 in Novato’s Unity Church had less than sterling merit, the needs of the music largely unfulfilled.
In the Boxy wood-frame church at Hamilton Field the orchestra took up several front rows, the rest of the main floor was about eighty ... more
Eighty persons attended Frank Glazer’s recital July 1 which, to this perpetual piano student, was worth twenty piano lessons. Asked why he does not retire, Mr. Glazer pointed out he is beginning to like the sound he creates on his instrument, and he is now 95.
About the only negative part of the long concert was the less than sterling the quality of the house piano at Mill Valley’s United Methodist Church. The lower and middle register n... more
Upon entering the Marin Civic Center Auditorium Feb. 2 the reviewer was greeted by the spectacle of the chorus warming up on stage. Did Frank Lloyd Wright not provide a choral room? The distinguishing characteristic of this warm up was that not one singer managed to hit the high notes despite the sincere athletic gesticulations of the choral conductor. This was regrettable, for the sopranos often pushed for the A’s and occasional B flats in an exceedingly ugly fashion. As a voice matures, it... more
Polly Coote, program annotator for Marin Oratorio, has commented on how well choral singing builds community, and I agree. Marin Oratorio is an organization where the members enjoy working on music together, and appear to have a great time doing it. They must have a particularly gratifying social calendar. Their December 13 performance of Mendelssohn’s great Oratorio “Elijah” had moments of joy and sorrow ranging from the sublime to the careless.
Pianist Antonio Iturrioz, fresh from a series of recitals, played a season-ending concert June 14 at the home of Charles Harris in San Rafael. The event was the first in an expected series of concerts for piano aficionados in an instrumental club recently founded by Harris.
Known for his devotion to the arcane Polish composer Leopold Godowsky, Iturrioz began with a clear-cut performance of the Aria from Bach’s Second Sonata For Violin in A Minor (BWV 1002), the two-part lines clearly de... more
Antonio Iturrioz made an emotional return April 26 to the Newman Auditorium stage at SRJC, the same spot he was supposed to occupy nearly two years ago when an accident just one hour before curtain prevented his appearance. This time Iturrioz not only arrived in robust health but presented a program of rarely heard works, communicating to 135 people his devotion for the neglected composer Leopold Godowsky, and exhibiting elegant if occasionally unsatisfying pianism.
Mill Valley’s Chamber Music Society provided a nearly full audience April 19 with a superb Felici Trio concert in the Mount Tamalpais Methodist Church. Finally a piano trio with elegant ensemble skills, bravura and deft musicality. You should’a been there.
The Felici - violinist Rebecca Hang, cellist Brian Schuldt, pianist Paulina Zamora - is an exceedingly personable ensemble. With piano lid at full mast and rich string sound, the audience was treated to a set of three outstanding pe... more
Cellist Hai-Ye Ni, who grew up in Marin and attended San Anselmo’s San Domenico School, returned here Nov. 16 with pianist Lin Hong to perform in the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Series. Held at the Mount Tamalpais Methodist Church, a venue with near perfect acoustics, Ni proved quickly why she is the principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, possessing an innate musicality and an incredible bow arm. The church was filled to near standing room only for this brilliant performance, a... more
A nearly-full Ives Hall greeted Sonoma State’s resident Trio Navarro October 12, and demonstrated contemporary concert demographics. Who actually comes to programs nowadays? Two-thirds of attendees were students who must attend ten concerts as a course requirement - Music 251? The remainder, except for one family with two youngsters in attendance, were largely senior citizens who seem to be this ensemble’s posse. The absence of those between the age of college students and retirees should be ... more
Have you ever looked at a picture and asked someone next to you what he sees? The replies are often different. While I agree in large measure with my friend Terry McNeill, here's my two cents.
I regret to say I was somewhat disappointed with the performance, although the cocktail hour prior to the concert and the reception following deserve the highest praise.
I suggest Beethoven's Opus 57 may have been a new work for Ulyanova, or a work that has allowed a great deal of kitsch to be acquired, or she has not played it for a teacher or coach: few measures were given their rightful length. The pianist seemed to be aware that Opus 55 is the composer's Fifth Symphony, and its "knock of fate" was overly emphasized. Rests between notes seemed to be uncomfortable for the pianist as few of the correct length were heard throughout the work. Thus measures were much shorter than the composer had written and specified!
The second movement, a set of variations with an astounding German sixth chord, was given short shrift and quick tempi: so quick were the tempi that in the last variation with its thirty-second notes in the left hand, it sounded like Hanon! The last movement, with the last four soprano notes again emphasizing the dih-dih-dih-dah knock of fate could have been more accurately played. Indeed, Beethoven wrote four C's here: his piano did not go to the F above, which Casella suggests be used.
The Debussy works were the only pieces that actually approached piano, but they, too, suffered from too much expressionaism rather than impressionism: Debussy is aid to have entered a studio and lowered the lid on the piano, stating that was the way his music was to be heard. Several audience members complained about the volume.
I hope to hear Miss Ulyanova again, perhaps with closer readings of the score.