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Saturday, February 24, 2024
 Recent Reviews
OPERA
OPERA GEMS IN COZY SEBASTOPOL THEATER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, February 9, 2024
Mezzo Soprano Christa Durand
It was indeed a huge loss to the Sebastopol theatrical community when Main Stage West folded several years ago, not being able to survive the financial ravages of the COVID pandemic. Likewise, when a few years previously the beloved People’s Music closed its doors after decades of being the musical ...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
LUSTROUS VOCAL SOUND AT KUZMA'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Soprano Magdalena Kuzma
As the atmospheric river raged through California Feb.11, another flood was inundating Schroeder Hall, that of thrilling singing and piano playing, roaring out of the extraordinary young Polish American soprano Magdalena Kuźma and her equally gifted musical partner, pianist Marika Yasuda. These...
SYMPHONY
HAYDEN'S SAXOPHONE CONCERTO AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Ron Teplitz
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Saxophonist Andrew Harrison
The Sonoma County Philharmonic produced a great program with their usual passion and dedication Jan. 27 at the Jackson Theater on Sonoma Country Day’s campus. Titled “American Shades,” it consisted of works by 20th and current century American composers. Michael Daugherty’s Route 66 was a driving...
CHAMBER
SPIRITUAL STRING MUSIC IN BLACK OAK ENSEMBLE'S MARIN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Black Oak Ensemble 1/28/24 (A. Wasserman Photo)
Black Oak Ensemble’s Jan. 28 concert at Mill Valley’s Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, one day after Yom Ha Shoah, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, included two works by Jewish composers who met death in Nazi concentration camps: Gideon Klein and Sándor Kuti. Presented by Chamber Music Ma...
CHAMBER
VIRTUOSIC HARP RECITAL AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Harpist Anna Maria Mendieta
Not within memory has there been a formal North Coast harp recital, but Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Concert Series produced one Jan. 24 with virtuoso harpist and consummate entertainer Anna Maria Mendieta. Before a full house Ms. Mendieta performed a catholic recital of works from mostly known...
CHAMBER
EMOTIONAL BLOCH PIECE HIGHLIGHTS PELED'S RAC RECITAL
by Peter Lert
Sunday, January 21, 2024
Cellist Amit Peled
Heavy rain Jan. 21 did not deter a capacity audience from enjoying the excellent acoustics of the Sebastopol Community Church and a recital by Israeli American cellist Amit Peled, with pianist Peter Miyamoto. The recital’s theme was “American Landscapes,” and Mr. Peled is known for augmenting his r...
CHAMBER
OYSTER TRIO AT THE ROSE SIGNATURE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Violinist Jennifer Cho
There is surprisingly a new piano trio around, The Oyster, supplementing pianist Marilyn Thompson’s preeminent North Coast Trio Navarro. Wait, Ms. Thompson was also at the piano for the Oyster’s Jan. 14 concert in Santa Rosa’s Church of the Roses, playing two of her favorite Beethoven “Geister” and...
CHAMBER
CANTABILE CHARMS IN MIXED 222 GALLERY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Cantabile at the 222 (Marinka Solman photo)
Healdsburg’s 222 Art Gallery has become one of the North Coast’s most busy concert venues, fielding a large menu of multi theme events, some with cabaret seating, and longtime area violinist Gary McLaughlin produces attractive sporadic classical music programs. Ukiah based vocal instrumental ensemb...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A GRAND DIVA'S SHIMMERING AND PROVOCATIVE RECITAL IN WEILL HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, January 11, 2024
Soprano Renée Fleming
Celebrated American opera star Renée Fleming returned in recital at Weill Hall Jan. 11 with pianist Gerald Martin Moore. Their program featured 19th, 20th, and 21st century works under the thematic umbrella of the inspiration nature bestows upon all facets of human artistic endeavors, and the curren...
SYMPHONY
SCHUBERT AND MENDELSSOHN BOUQUETS AT COLLEGE OF MARIN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Cellists (l) L. Allen and D. Lusterman Dec. 9 (A. Wasserman photo)
The College of Marin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jim Stopher, presented a finely conceived concert of Mendelssohn and Schubert December 9 in the College’s James Dunn Theatre. The orchestra is a combination of COM students, high school students, and members of the Bay Area musical community. ...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Santa Rosa Symphony / Saturday, February 17, 2024
Conductor Emeritus: Jeffrey Kahane, conductor, piano

Conductor/Pianist Jeffrey Kahane

SOLO BRILLIANCE IN SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 17, 2024

In a program widely advertised as Kahane Returns, the former Santa Rosa Symphony conductor’s performance at the piano Feb. 17 was almost upstaged by a potent performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 and a sensuous small orchestra piece in its local premiere.

If memory serves Mr. Kahane made his SRS audition and initial performances with the Beethoven G Major Concerto, and here he again conducted it from the piano. He has played the Op. 58 throughout his career, eschewing forays into major repertoire concertos and the wealth of lesser heard repertoire works. Well, he has been busy with conducting stints in Los Angeles, Denver and worldwide, but has been uninterested in exploring his instrument’s rich lode of concertos. Even the cadenzas he chose were the standard Beethoven, where a choice from 15 others might have generated new interest and shed new light on an overperformed work.

Well, how was it played? Very well, but also a relaxed and understated conception with slow tempos throughout. How slow? Three minutes less than the usual readings, but in many ways his interpretation to this masterpiece from 1806 was ingratiating, with stretched out phrasing, bantamweight endings to thematic statements, ample ritards, sensitive trills and small left-hand accents. The composer’s first-movement cadenza had a jocular character.

The Andante con moto’s laconic mystery was well suited to Mr. Kahane’s reading and the orchestra managed splendid quiet playing. The finale featured strong sforzandos and potent string playing, the pianist managing to get enough performance cues (many head movements) from the keyboard and when standing.

There was a standing ovation and a surprise, as Mr. Kahane returned to the stage for an encore that was not the expected Chopin study or Mendelssohn lieder ohne worte. Over more than five minutes he performed a captivating lyrical transcription of the 1882 hymn tune America the Beautiful. Some suspected Keith Jarrett was the composer, but others suspected the pianist himself. Marvelous.

Following the Concerto was a beguiling work for chamber orchestra, Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s Primal Message. Over 11 minutes the SRS produced a lush, warm sound for harp (Dan Levitan), percussion and strings. The muddy program notes for the 2020 work (25,000 light years; interstellar radio waves; DNA structure; binary anthropomorphic organization to globular M13) added nothing to the audience’s palpable delight with the often contemplative character of the music, with fine solos from cellist Adelle-Akiko Kearns and celesta player Kymry Esainko. A lovely SRS premiere, the sound reminiscent of a bucolic Alan Hovhaness’ score.

The concert concluded with the crackling energy of Shostakovich’s F Minor Symphony No. 1, Op. 10. Taking the baton, Mr. Kahane drew a thrilling performance over 36 minutes from the large SRS musicians, commanding the large-scale structure in four movements. The composer’s signature sounds were everywhere on vibrant display - blaring brass, peppery snare and bass drums, wind duos, divided solo strings, a piano part that could actually be heard and Andrew Lewis’ mighty solo timpani crescendos in the Allegro Molto.

Especially memorable were exemplary duos in the second movement from flutist Kathleen Lane Reynolds; Roy Zajac (clarinet); hornist Meredith Brown and Carla Wilson (bassoon). Additional thematic solos came from violinist Joseph Edelberg and oboist Laura Reynolds.

The conductor drove the finale to a powerful sonic climax, with more standout solos from Ms. Akiko Kearns and tubist Scott Choate. A roaring ovation from the 800 in Weill Hall followed as Mr. Kahane was called back to the stage and waded into his musicians, recognizing many to stand for more applause

Additional concerts of the same program were heard Feb. 18 and 19.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Chamber Music Marin
Sunday, February 25, 2024
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
Manasse-Nakamatsu-Frautshi Trio. Jennifer Frautschi, violin; John Manasse, clarinet; Jon Nakamatsu,
Program TBA...
Details

RECITAL
Roses Signature Concert Series
Sunday, February 25, 2024
4:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Carol Menke, soprano; Marilyn Thompson, piano.
Clara Schumann: 3 songs; Brahms: 3 songs from Op. 57; Berg: early songs; French songs of Duparc, Chausson, Fauré, Hahn; Spanish songs of Obradors, Rodrigo, Turina and Guastavino. Free admission, do...
Details

CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Friday, March 1, 2024
7:00 PM - Sebastopol
Miró Quartet
Brahms: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1; Haydn: G Major Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1; Caroline Shaw: Microfictions (Vol. 1)...
Details

CHAMBER
The 222
Friday, March 1, 2024
7:30 PM - Healdsburg
Fry Street Quartet. Robert Waters and Rebecca McFoul, violin; Bradley Ottesen, viola; Anne Francis
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 9 in E-flat major; Beethoven: Quartet in F Major, Op. 135; Gabriela Lena Frank: TBA Admission is $35 - $75...
Details

CHAMBER
ECHO Chamber Orchestra
Saturday, March 2, 2024
7:30 PM - San Anselmo
Daniel Canosa, conductor. Jason Whitney, horn
Glinka: Kamarinskaya; Gordon Jacob: Concerto for Horn and Strings; Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor "Unfinished" ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Sunday, March 3, 2024
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Alexander Kahn, conductor. Orchestra musicians are side by side with Santa Rosa Symphony youth musi
Copland: Fanfare for thee Common Man; Appalachian Spring from the Ballet....
Details

CHAMBER
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, March 14, 2024
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Calidore Quartet. Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violin; Jeremy Berry, viola; Estelle Choi, cello
Bach: Well Tempered Clavier Sections (arr. Mozart); Mendelssohn: Quartet in E Minor, Op. 44; Purcell: Chacony in G Minor (arr. Britten); Britten: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36 Music at Oakmont concer...
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SYMPHONY
Green Music Center
Saturday, March 16, 2024
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
David Russell, guitar
Program TBA...
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CHAMBER
Roses Signature Concert Series
Friday, March 29, 2024
7:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Musicians TBA
Annual Good Friday Concert. Program: Dan Forest -Requiem for the Living. Free admission; donations gladly accepted....
Details

RECITAL
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
7:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Frederick Moyer, piano
Program: TBA. SLV concerts are open to SLV residents and their guests...
Details