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Chamber
SURPRISING IVES TRIO AND SONGS AT VMMF'S HANNA CENTER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Chamber
SEMINAL SCHUBERT CYCLE PERFORMANCE FROM STEGALL-ZIVIAN AT VMMF
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Opera
MARIN'S STRIPPED-DOWN OPERA CHARMS
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
MOZART AND BRAHMS AN AUSPICIOUS COUPLE AT VMMF FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 17, 2022
Chamber
CLARINIST HOEPRICH'S VIRTUOSITY IN VMMF OPENING CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Recital
AGGRESSIVE PIANISM IN MYER'S MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Opera
SONOROUS WAGNER GALA AND CAPACITY CROWD AT VALLEJO'S EMPRESS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, July 9, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELING CHORISTERS SO CO DEBUT IN TWO BIG CANTATAS
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
CLOUDS AND PASSION: MARIN SYMPHONY'S STELLAR CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, June 19, 2022

Reviews

7/24/2022 - SURPRISING IVES TRIO AND SONGS AT VMMF'S HANNA CENTER - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Tanya Tomkins, cello; Allegra Chapman, Eric Zivian, Audrey Vardanega, piano; Liana Bérubé and Rachell Ellen Wong, violin; Kyle Stegall, tenor
In a recent Valley of the Moon concert review comments were made about repertoire that reflected summer at a festival – lighter weight music, much informality. The July 24 concert in the Hanna Boys Center appeared on paper to have muscle, and featured the music of Ives. Remarkably, though the idio...
7/23/2022 - SEMINAL SCHUBERT CYCLE PERFORMANCE FROM STEGALL-ZIVIAN AT VMMF - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Kyle Stegall, tenor; Audrey Vardanega and Eric Zivian, piano; Tanya Tomkins, cello; violinist TBA
It was a much cooler concert July 23, starting the second weekend of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival's three-week run, and easier on the performers, audience and instruments alike. The afternoon opened with Beethoven's 1801 curtain-warmer 7 Variations on "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen" ("...
7/17/2022 - MARIN'S STRIPPED-DOWN OPERA CHARMS - Abby Wasserman
College of Marin / Contemporary Marin Opera. Paul Smith, conductor. Sibel Demirmen, Valentina Osinski, Michael Mendelsohn and Michael Orlinsky, singers
Stripped to the bone but rich with flavor, Contemporary Opera Marin’s program “It’s All About Mozart,” presented July 17 in the College of Marin’s James Dunn Theater, was positively alchemical. Two works for chamber opera ensemble were performed by four soloists, nine choristers and an orchestra of ...
7/17/2022 - MOZART AND BRAHMS AN AUSPICIOUS COUPLE AT VMMF FESTIVAL - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Eric Zivian, piano; Kyle Stegall, tenor; Lisa Lee, violin; Eric Hoeprich, clarinet
Is there such a thing as summer music? Something lighter than heard in the winter season, with much informality? The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival specializes in this approach, and July 17 presented a concert in Sonoma Valley’s Hanna Center that even produced lightweight Brahms. Befor...
7/16/2022 - CLARINIST HOEPRICH'S VIRTUOSITY IN VMMF OPENING CONCERT - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Tanya Tomkins and Elisabeth Reed, cello; Erich Hoeprich, clarinet; Nikki Einfeld, soprano; Elizabeth Blumenfeld and Lisa Lee, violin; Eric Zivian, piano, and a pianist TBA; a violist TBA
Beautiful sounds filled the hot July 16 air at the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma Valley, as a nearly full crowd braved the late afternoon heat (95 in the shade) to enjoy some early Romantic Kammermusik and a glass of wine at an al fresco reception. The back wall doors of the hall were opened and bench...
7/14/2022 - AGGRESSIVE PIANISM IN MYER'S MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mendocino Music Festival / Spencer Myer, piano
Indiana-based pianist Spencer Myer has been a welcome Mendocino Music Festival performer since 2010, and he renewed his personal connection with North Coast piano buffs July 14 in a short recital in Mendocino’s Preston Hall. The afternoon was a mixed success, with Beethoven’s E Minor Sonata (Op. 90...
7/9/2022 - SONOROUS WAGNER GALA AND CAPACITY CROWD AT VALLEJO'S EMPRESS - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Vallejo Center for the Arts / Vallejo Festival Orchestra. Thomas Conlin, conductor. Othalie Graham, soprano
Opera galas in the San Francisco Bay Area are a rare occurrence, and an all-Wagner gala even more so. Therefore it’s a pleasure to report that the Vallejo Center for the Arts produced an exciting all-Wagner concert July 9 in Vallejo's charming Empress Theater. There was a near capacity and very happ...
6/25/2022 - TRAVELING CHORISTERS SO CO DEBUT IN TWO BIG CANTATAS - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Berkshire Choral International / Katherine FitzGibbon, conductor; Aundi Moore, soprano; Damien Geter, bass-baritone; Gretchen Yanover, cello; Santa Rosa Symphony
Berkshire Choral International (BCI) is a travel-loving chorister's dream. Drawing its membership nationwide, it is headquartered in the Western Massachusetts Berkshires region and travels to destinations for a week of rehearsals, sightseeing, and performing. What makes this group different however,...
6/19/2022 - VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR - Terry McNeill
Cinnabar Theater / Mary Chun, conductor; Elly Lichenstein, director. Michelle Drever, soprano; Sergio González, tenor; Igor Viera, baritone; Gene Wright, baritone
In years gone by Petaluma’s venerable Cinnabar Theater mounted two complete operas each season, but in COVID times alas it’s just one. But in this June’s run of six of Verdi’s La Traviata one was surely enough, if it was really good, and the June 19 performance was in every way splendid. As with ...
6/19/2022 - CLOUDS AND PASSION: MARIN SYMPHONY'S STELLAR CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
Marin Symphony / Alasdair Neale, conductor. Joyce Yang, piano
A wide contrast of era and mood characterized the first half of Marin Symphony’s stellar June 19 program in the Marin Center, opening with Jennifer Higdon’s transparent, cloud-light tone poem, blue cathedral, and ending with Stravinsky’s clashing, crashing Symphony in Three Movements. Conductor Al...
6/12/2022 - MARIACHI MEETS ORCHESTRA AT THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Mariachi Champaña Nevin
Quick, which semiclassical cantata includes the immortal line, “But the workers received from their employers an insurance that covered major medical expenses”? The answer is “Los Braceros,” a cantata by Enrico Chapela Barba for mariachi and orchestra suffused with great music but in desperate need ...
5/28/2022 - RARE MOZART COUPLING COMPLETES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON IN SCHROEDER - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sonoma Bach / Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach Choir; Live Oak Orchestra. Danielle Reutter-Harrah, soprano; Heidi Waterman, alto; Daniel Hutchings, tenor; Nikolas Nackley, bass
Sonoma Bach closed their impressive 2021-22 season May 28 treating a full Schroeder Hall audience to a pair of beloved, unfinished Mozart standards, The (Great) Mass in C Minor, and his Requiem from 1791, both conducted masterfully by founder and artistic director Robert Worth. Although modern audi...
5/19/2022 - EXOTIC RUSSIAN MUSIC FEATURED IN MV PHIL CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
The Mill Valley Philharmonic, in its twenty-second year, continues to mature. Founded and nurtured by Laurie Cohen, the all-volunteer ensemble is thriving under the baton of Dana Sadava, Ms. Cohen’s successor. The orchestra performed two Russian masterworks May 14 - Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Them...
5/8/2022 - SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
“The most sacred duty of audiences,” said Santa Rosa Symphony Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong at their May 8 concert, “is to hear orchestral works for the first time.” The concert offered that duty in the form of a world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s “Valley of the Moon,” a programmatic work sketc...
5/5/2022 - BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT - Nicholas Xelenis
Music at Oakmont / Israeli Chamber Project. Tibi Cziger, clarinet; Michal Korman, cello; Assaff Weisman, piano
The Music at Oakmont concert May 5 in Berger Auditorium was attended with mostly masked patrons who were buzzing at the door and then made an effort to get close to the stage to hear the piano trio from the Israeli Chamber Music Project. Berger’s sonics were a bit of a challenge for the musicians w...
5/1/2022 - CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT - Judy Walker
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Trio Navarro. Jill Rachuy Brindell, cello; Jenny Douglass, viola; Jeremy Constant, violin; William Klingerhoffer, horn; Marilyn Thompson, piano
The Navarro Trio, comprising regular members cellist Jill Brindel and pianist Marilyn Thompson, presented a concert May 1 in Schroeder Hall devoted to the music of Brahms, and were joined by violinist Jeremy Constant, William Klingerhoffer (horn) and violist Jenny Douglass. A small audience receive...
4/29/2022 - UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL - Gary Digman
Paul Galbraith / Paul Galbraith, guitar
Paul Galbraith is a unique guitarist: his instrument is unique, his technique is unique, and his repertoire is unique. This was clearly evident in his Redwood Arts Council performance at Community Church of Sebastopol April 29. Mr. Galbraith’s guitar has eight strings, two more than the usual six, ...
4/24/2022 - VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN - Terry McNeill
Vallejo Symphony / Marc Taddei, conductor. Jeffrey LaDeur, piano
After an extended COVID wait the Vallejo Symphony returned to the city’s Empress Auditorium April 23 and 24 with a program that easily proved the long layoff didn’t lesson the VSO’s legendary quality. The Sunday performance is reviewed here. One of the highlights of the afternoon was the seldom-hea...
4/15/2022 - A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Cantiamo Sonoma / Cantiamo. Chancel Choir and chamber orchestra. Carol Menke, director. Claire Frydenlund, soprano; Gene Wright, baritone
A lovely and emotional rendering of Fauré's beloved Op. 48 Requiem was presented on Good Friday by Cantiamo Sonoma at Santa Rosa's Church of the Roses. The singers of Cantiamo were joined by members of the The Roses Chancel Choir and Chamber orchestra to create a powerful yet tender and memorable p...
4/3/2022 - LUSH ORCHESTRA PLAYING IN SO CO PHIL-LLOYD MEMORIAL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Anthony Perry, English horn
Continuing into the post COVID era the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a set of sensual concerts April 2 and 3 in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater, rich in instrumental splendor. The Sunday afternoon concert, attended by 250 (all masked), is reviewed here. Anthony Perry’s laconic English horn solos ...
4/2/2022 - DISPARATE TRIOS IN HOLLYWOOD PIANO TRIO'S 222 CONCERT - Terry McNeill
The 222 / Hollywood Piano Trio. Inna Faliks, piano; Eric Byers, cello; Roberto Cani, violin
It’s often said that opposites attract, and the two piano trios performed April 2 did attract a full house at Healdsburg’s 222 Concert Series. And yes the Schumann D Minor (Op.63) and the Shostakovich E Minor (Op. 67), composed nearly a century apart, are pretty much antipodal. Played by the Holly...
3/27/2022 - TANGO IMMERSION IN MILL VALLEY CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
Quartet San Francisco / Jeremy Cohen and Joseph Christianson, violin; Chad Kaltinger, viola; Andrés Vera, cello
Quartet San Francisco, the eclectic and adventuresome Bay Area chamber ensemble, knocked the socks off its March 27 Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience with their program of Latin and Tango music. From the heated opening bars of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango through Chick Corea’s ebullient S...
3/25/2022 - ALLURING GLASS WORKS IN WEILL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Matt Haimovitz, cello; Simone Dinnerstein, piano
On paper Matt Haimovitz’s cello recital in Weill Hall March 25 appeared a bit routine– two Beethoven Sonatas, part of a Bach Suite and a Sonata, and perhaps a newly commissioned work and an encore. All of it happened, but the inclusion of virtuoso pianist Simone Dinnerstein turned the recital menu ...
3/21/2022 - LOVE AND DEATH CLOAKED IN BLISSFUL MELODY - Steve Osborn
The March 20 Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured unexpected music from Ukraine, a composition without a conductor, a ballet based on a movie, and a symphonic sound that inspired countless movie composers. The concert was the first installment in a four-year series, titled “Rachmaninoff & the Hollyw...
3/20/2022 - SONOMA BACH'S PALESTRINA FEAST AT ST. SERAPHIMS - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sonoma Bach / Bob Worth, conductor
For its Sacred Realms concert Très Riches Heures (The Very Rich Hours) Sonoma Bach presented March 20 an all-Palestrina feast performed by Green Mountain Consort in Santa Rosa's St. Seraphim Orthodox Church. This mighty, one-to-a-part mini-ensemble of top-notch vocalists was directed by Rober...
3/11/2022 - STERLING PELED-POLERA SHOSTAKOVICH IN REDWOOD ARTS RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Redwood Arts Council / Amit Peled, cello; Noreen Polera, piano
Following an Omicron hiatus, live music returned March 11 when the Redwood Arts Council in its 42nd season presented Amit Peled’s cello recital in Occidental’s Performing Arts Center. Mr. Peled’s artistry has been heard often at the RAC, and uniquely the same program was performed at 2 and 7 p.m. ...
3/10/2022 - FORGOTTEN BACH SHINES IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Music at Oakmont / Einav Yarden, piano
Berlin-based virtuoso pianist Einav Yarden brought an unfamiliar Bach program to her March 10 Music at Oakmont recital, her fourth appearance on the series, before a nearly capacity crowd in Berger Auditorium. Bach unfamiliar? Well yes it was, as in addition to Johan Sebastian the artist performed...
3/6/2022 - KALEIDOSCOPIC SAINT-SAENS AT MARIN SYMPHONY - Abby Wasserman
Marin Symphony / Alasdair Neale, conductor Vadim Gluzman, violin
Before launching into the long-delayed, long-anticipated Masterworks III Marin Symphony program March 6, Conductor Alasdair Neale announced that in solidarity, the orchestra would play the Ukrainian National Anthem. Without being prompted to do so, the audience of 1200 sprang to its feet. National a...
3/3/2022 - VENERABLE GALLIC MUSIC EXQUISITELY PLAYED IN WEILL - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Le Concert des Nations. Jordi Savall, director
An entire concert of mostly 16th and 17th century music in a large hall might be considered an acquired taste, but this reviewer had that taste, as presumably an audience of 400 did in Weill Hall March 3 for Jordi Savall’s Le Concert des Nations ensemble. Moving smoothly without intermission throug...
2/27/2022 - DYNAMIC TRIOS AT HORSZOWSKI MILL VALLEY CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
Horzowski Trio / Jesse Mills, violin; Ole Akahoshi, cello; Rieko Aizawa, piano
The Horszowski Trio brought the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society’s near-capacity audience to its feet Feb. 27 with sensitive and beautifully balanced ensemble playing. The music performed, piano trios by Smetana, Rebecca Clarke, and Arno Babadjanian, span 100 years and three cultures. The governing...
2/13/2022 - SR SYMPHONY CHOOSES HARMONY OVER FOOTBALL - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Aram Demirjian, conductor. Michelle Cann, piano
In his introduction to the Super Bowl Sunday concert by the Santa Rosa Symphony, guest conductor Aram Demirjian remarked, “We’re so glad you’ve chosen harmony over football.” He may have meant harmony in the literal sense, but his comment also evoked the idea of harmony between people rather than th...
1/23/2022 - DYNAMIC PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV MARIN RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Ilya Yakushev, piano
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev arrived Jan. 23 at his Mill Valley Chamber Music Society recital with the repute of playing loud and fast and delivering charming introductory musical remarks to his audience. He was true to form in Mill Valley’s Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, preceding Haydn’s sple...
1/9/2022 - THE SHOW MUST GO ON - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Olga Kern, piano
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so...