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Choral and Vocal
SILVER ANNIVERSARY BACH RECITAL AT INCARNATION'S EVENSONG SERVICE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Symphony
JOY, LOVELY DIVINE SPARK!
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Other
DINOVA PIANISM CHARMS SATED AUDIENCE AT J-B MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Choral and Vocal
SONOMA BACH'S WORLD IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Recital
ASSERTIVE PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Symphony
SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Chamber
CONTRASTS GALORE AT THE VIANO'S CONCERT AT THE 222
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 11, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELS WITH SEBASTIAN IN SONOMA BACH'S OPENER IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, October 29, 2022

Reviews

12/4/2022 - SILVER ANNIVERSARY BACH RECITAL AT INCARNATION'S EVENSONG SERVICE - Terry McNeill
Church of the Incarnation / Jun Kim, organ
Santa Rosas’s Church of the Incarnation has always been a local center for organ music, and Dec. 4 was the 25th anniversary of the installation of its splendid Casavant instrument that has 1,886 metal and wood pipes. What better way to celebrate the many years of service to church and area music th...
12/4/2022 - JOY, LOVELY DIVINE SPARK! - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Elizabeth Prior, viola; Christopher Pfund, tenor; Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano; Katherine Whyte, soprano; Michael Dean, bass. SSU Symphonic Chorus, Jenny Bent, director
For the Dec. 4 Santa Rosa Symphony concert at the Green Music Center, the parking lot was full, and so was Weill Hall ... and so was the stage, including the choir loft at the back. The reason for all the fullness came down to the final ecstatic phrase of Beethoven’s Ninth, the star attraction of th...
11/20/2022 - DINOVA PIANISM CHARMS SATED AUDIENCE AT J-B MARIN RECITAL - Terry McNeill
J-B Piano / Halida Dinova, piano
Russian born and Cleveland-based pianist Halida Dinova has had many engagements with the J-B piano emporium in San Rafael, and she returned there Nov. 20 for an afternoon recital of mixed and shorter repertoire. Performing on the small stage and surrounded with 60 grands for sale or rent, Ms. Dinov...
11/19/2022 - SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA - Terry McNeill
Sonoma State University Department of Music / SSU Symphony. Alexander Kahn, conductor. Hikaru Hallberg, piano; Dan Norris, director
It was a daunting prospect - a fledgling college orchestra tackling the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony. Even conductor Alexander Kahn for the Nov. 19 concert in Weill Hall said from the stage that “programming it was a leap of faith.” Not to worry. The 49-minute performance under Mr. Kahn’s artistic ...
11/19/2022 - SONOMA BACH'S WORLD IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sonoma Bach / Bob Worth, conductor; Circa 1600; Barefoot All Stars; The Whole Noyse
Continuing the theme of “Bach’s World” and its very deep dive into the subject of how Bach came to be who he was, Sonoma Bach presented Nov. 19 a second concert of a variety of motets by the Leipzig Master, J. Christoph Bach, J. Michael Bach, old Johann Bach, and two of Sebastian’s Bach’s idols, Pac...
11/13/2022 - ASSERTIVE PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Redwood Arts Council / Ilya Yakushev, piano.
Russian based pianist Ilya Yakushev has had many North Coast engagements, playing recently in Mill Valley and Healdsburg, and Nov. 13 in the Redwood Arts Council’s Occidental 43rd season a recital originally postponed due to COVID restrictions. As is currently the custom and part of Mr. Yakushev’s ...
11/12/2022 - SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Connor Roham, piano
What’s a surefire opening work for a symphony concert? A Rossini overture? Bernstein’s Candide? Gershwin? The Sonoma County Philharmonic’s opener Nov. 12 hit a home run with the sprightly Dance of the Hours from Act Three of Ponchielli’s Opera La Gioconda. The 10-minute work featured harpist Chris...
11/11/2022 - CONTRASTS GALORE AT THE VIANO'S CONCERT AT THE 222 - Terry McNeill
Viano String Quartet / Viano SQ
Continuing a splendid series of downtown Friday evening concerts, Healdsburg’s 222 Art Gallery and Performance Venue presented the Viano String Quartet on Armistice Day in two widely contrasting works. Contrasts indeed, as Haydn’s G Major Quartet, Op.76, No. 1, fits the Viano like an old shoe, the ...
11/6/2022 - SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Bella Hristova, violin
The first unusual sight to greet patrons at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 6 concert was a bare-bones drum set at the front of the stage. The second was watching the musicians stomp their feet when a fundraising announcement mentioned that the Symphony League provides refreshments during rehearsals....
10/29/2022 - TRAVELS WITH SEBASTIAN IN SONOMA BACH'S OPENER IN SCHROEDER - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sonoma Bach / Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach; Agave; Jennifer Paulino, soprano
First up in this season of Sonoma Bach’s Bach’s World series was an Oct. 29 concert in Schroeder that focused on Bach and three of his contemporaries: teacher and friend Georg Böhm, the French composer Nicolas Bernier and the Italian Francesco Bartolomeo Conti. For this “Travels with Sebas...
10/15/2022 - ORCHESTRAL SPLENDOR IN MARIN SYMPHONY'S SEASON OPENER - Abby Wasserman
Marin Symphony / Alasdair Neale, conductor. Simone Porter, violin
Jubilant fanfares uncorked and capped Marin Symphony’s October 15 concert, the first Masterworks program of conductor Alasdair Neale’s final season with the orchestra. The first fanfare, just three minutes long but sonorous and impactful, was Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, Part One, w...
10/9/2022 - CANTIAMO BLOOMS AT CHURCH OF THE ROSES - Pamela Hicks Galley
Cantiamo Sonoma / Carol Menke, director
As part of the Church of the Roses’ "Signature Concert Series,” Cantiamo Sonoma, under the direction of Carol Menke, presented an afternoon of exceptionally beautiful and impeccably prepared a capella literature to a full and appreciative house on Sunday, Oct. 9. The program duration was a perfect n...
10/9/2022 - DRAMATIC SHOSTAKOVICH SONATA HIGHLIGHTS BOSCO-GABRIELSON CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Occidental Center for the Arts / Carol Anne Bosco, cello; Abby Gabrielson, piano
Redwood Arts Council’s long running concert series opened its new season Oct. 9 with a beguiling concert of music for cello and piano in the Occidental Center for the Performing Arts. After considerable audience education talk from the stage, Washington D. C.-based cellist Carol Ann Bosco joined S...
10/2/2022 - BUCOLIC DAY AND MUSIC AT UKIAH SYMPHONY'S OPENING CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Ukiah Symphony / Phillip Lenberg, conductor. Paul Yarbrough, viola; Stephen Zielinski, clarinet
People arriving at the Mendocino College campus usually have the same reaction – a lovely quiet place, birds chirping, sounds of distant tennis, hardly anyone around. Bucolic indeed, and that seemed the overarching theme of the Ukiah Symphony’s season opening concerts Oct. 1 and 2 in the College’s ...
10/2/2022 - FANTASTIC FANTASTIQUE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Awadagin Pratt, piano
The Santa Rosa Symphony’s Oct. 2 concert featured three stars: Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón, pianist Awadagin Pratt and conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. After beginning the concert with a spirited rendition of Beethoven’s “Creatures of Prometheus” overture, Lecce-Chong invited Negrón to th...
10/2/2022 - STUNNING ALL-BACH CONCERT AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY - Abby Wasserman
Chamber Music Marin / Yuko Tanaka and Janine Johnson, harpsichord; string players from the Philharmonic Baroque and other ensembles
Chamber Music Marin, formerly Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, inaugurated their 50th season October 2 with a stunning concert of Bach harpsichord concertos. A stellar ensemble of musicians including Janine Johnson and Yuko Tanaka, harpsichords; Kati Kyme and Elizabeth Blumenstock, violins; violi...
10/1/2022 - SONIC EXCITEMENT AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Dave Lindgren, flügelhorn
On paper the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Oct. 1 concert didn’t seem too attractive – an all-American composer program, maybe the usual Copland, maybe an Adams overture, some Gershwin and an obligatory short contemporary work that faded from memory by the concert’s end. Conductor Norman Gamboa surp...
10/1/2022 - NINE COM FACULTY IN GALA MARIN RECITAL - Abby Wasserman
College of Marin / Joanna Pinckney, violin; Paul Smith, Cheryl Ziedrich, Jim Stopher and Jeffrey Paul, piano; Michael Mohammed, voice; Trevor Björklund, guitar; Mark Culbertson, bass viol
The second of two performances by College of Marin’s music faculty members October 1, featured a satisfying balance of modern, folk and classical music, with a dose of poetry thrown in. The concert in the College’s small hall opened with Cheryl Ziedrich’s charming “Five Poems by Mary Oliver in Pian...
9/23/2022 - DRAMATIC CELLO LYRICISM IN RECITAL AT THE 222 - Terry McNeill
The 222 / Thomas Mesa, cello; Ilya Yakushev, piano
For classical music events at the newly-minted 222 Gallery off the Healdsburg Plaza are different. There is cabaret seating, artist rep Gary McLaughlin conducts extended pre-concert performer interviews from the stage, and before each programmed piece the performers frequently add to the verbiage
9/22/2022 - SAXOPHONE VIRTUOSITY IN SCHROEDER HALL RECITAL - Nick Xenelis
Andrew Harrison, Saxophone; Jason Lo, Piano /
“Acclaimed for his unique approach, virtuosic performances, and as a champion for both new and forgotten works, Indian-American Saxophonist Andrew Harrison has captured the hearts of audiences while introducing the world to important new instrumental voices.” These words could have expressed the de...
9/18/2022 - HEROIC LIM PERFORMANCE AT STEINWAY SOCIETY RECITAL - Abby Wasserman
Steinway Society / Yunchan Lim, piano
The audience in San Jose’s Montgomery Theater September 18 were clearly fans, for when 2022 Cliburn gold medalist Yunchan Lim walked on stage he was greeted with a roar of applause, cheers and whistles. But the moment he sat to play, the capacity crowd settled into profound quiet. During the long pr...
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...