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Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
Recital
AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, October 8, 2021
People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise – a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hal
Symphony
MOVIE MUSIC ON THE WINDSOR GREEN IN SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 3, 2021
People approaching the Windsor Green bandstand Oct. 3 for the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s season opening concert had some cause for concern. After 18 months of silence would the all-volunteer orchestra have enough musicians for a big movie music program? After all, performers can move, retire, or
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY RETURNS IN TRIUMPH
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 3, 2021
It is often the case that a single piece or performer steals the show at a symphony concert, but at the Oct. 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the show itself stole the show. The concert opened with a serene 1982 tone poem by Libby Larsen, followed by a masterful performance by soloist Julia
Symphony
TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 26, 2021
The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance. Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a

Reviews

11/14/2021 - NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor. Morgan Harrington, soprano
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister...
11/14/2021 - THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society / Manhattan Chamber Players. Adam Golkas, piano; Emily Doggett Smith, violin; Luke Fleming. viola; Andrea Casarrubios, cello; Nicholas Cathcart, double bass
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D....
11/14/2021 - MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER - Terry McNeill
Ives Collective / An impressive group of musicians from the Bay Area's premiere music organizations take joy in bringing audiences electric repertoire, and sharing special collaborations aimed at presenting power musical experiences and fresh interpretations. Join us as Gwendolyn Mok (piano), Roy Malan (violin), Stephen Harrison (cello) and Susan Freier (violin/viola) present a program ranging from Brahms to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Five Negro Spiritual Melodies for Piano Trio.
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder...
11/7/2021 - MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN - Terry McNeill
Marin Symphony / Alasdair Neale, conductor Orli Shaham, piano
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba...
10/30/2021 - APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL - Terry McNeill
Apollo's Fire / Jeanette Sorrell, director and harpsichord; Francisco Fullana, violin. Cleveland Baroque Orchestra
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,...
10/9/2021 - SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT - Abby Wasserman
Devon House Garden Concerts / Elizabeth Prior, viola; Joseph Edelberg, violin; Chloe Tula, harp, Jesse Barrett, oboe, Rebecca Roudman, cello; Stacey Pelinka, flute
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li...
10/8/2021 - AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Redwood Arts Council / Andreas Klein, piano
People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise – a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hal...
10/3/2021 - MOVIE MUSIC ON THE WINDSOR GREEN IN SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER - Terry McNeill
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Norman Gamboa, conductor
People approaching the Windsor Green bandstand Oct. 3 for the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s season opening concert had some cause for concern. After 18 months of silence would the all-volunteer orchestra have enough musicians for a big movie music program? After all, performers can move, retire, or ...
10/3/2021 - SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY RETURNS IN TRIUMPH - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Julian Rhee, violin
It is often the case that a single piece or performer steals the show at a symphony concert, but at the Oct. 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the show itself stole the show. The concert opened with a serene 1982 tone poem by Libby Larsen, followed by a masterful performance by soloist Julia...
9/26/2021 - TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL - Terry McNeill
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Alexander Kahn, conductor. Matthew Bowker, saxophone; Isabella Grimes, flute
The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance. Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a ...
9/25/2021 - CLEARY'S NEW ORLEANS BAND IGNITES PARTY FOR THE GREEN AT SSU - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / Jon Cleary, piano snd the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
A dramatic and unique start to the new Green Music’s Center’ 2021-2022 season exploded in a “Party for the Green” Sept. 25, a New Orleans (NO) style commotion featuring Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band, inside and outside of Weill Hall. Beginning with a private gourmet dinner in t...
8/29/2021 - GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST - Terry McNeill
San Francisco International Piano Festival / Jory Vinikour and Philippe LeRoy, harpsichord; Gwendolyn Mok and Jeffrey LaDeur, piano
Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored prog...
8/27/2021 - SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Julia Den Boer / Julia Den Boer, piano
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe...
8/20/2021 - HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL - Terry McNeill
San Francisco International Piano Festival / Nicholas Phillips, piano
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F...
7/29/2021 - ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE - Terry McNeill
Piano Sonoma / Michael Shinn, Jessica Shinn, Christina Wu and Peter Dugan, Piano; Anita Graef, cello
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl...
7/29/2021 - PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT FEATURES GORGEOUS VOCALISM - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Emily Marvosh, contralto; Lisa Lee, violin; Liana Bérubé, viola; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano
The 2021 Valley of the Moon Music Festival continued on July 29 with a sumptuous online offering of French songs, concluding with the second piano quartet by Fauré, Op. 45. Such a beautiful bouquet of video performances wonderfully filmed and recorded softened the disappointment of not being able to...
7/25/2021 - SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL - Gary Digman
Napa Valley Music Associates / 6 guitarists: Eric Symons, Matthew Grasso, Marc Teicholz, Florante Aguilar, George Benton England and Pat Imbimbo
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be...
7/25/2021 - BOGAS' TENURE ENDS IN OUTDOOR GUALALA CHAMBER CONCERT - Iris Lorenzfife
Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series / Roy Bogas, piano; Peter Wyrick and Mariko Hiraga, cello; Amy Hiraga, viola; Mayumi Wyrick and Sarn Oliver, violin
The preconcert call that music lovers should gather at Gualala Arts July 25 to attend the final Roy Bogas and Friends Concert was not quite as dire as it sounded. It seems that a year of Covid 19 and an 88th birthday had combined to convince Mr. Bogas that he was working too hard. But with cellist P...
7/24/2021 - CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA - Terry McNeill
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Rachel Ellen Wong, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “...
7/21/2021 - RARE LANG SONGS SPARKLE AT VOM FESTIVAL VIDEO RECITAL - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Kyle Stegall, tenor; Eric Zivian, piano
Unexpected pleasures are often the best. Valley of the Moon Chamber Festival presented a such a pleasure last week-a July 21 recorded performance by tenor Kyle Stegall and pianist Eric Zivian in another mini-recital (very mini-just 15 minutes!) of six songs by the nineteenth century German composer ...
7/21/2021 - EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT - Terry McNeill
Mendocino Music Festival / Alexander String Quartet
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience ...
7/20/2021 - ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Piano Sonoma / Peter Dugan and Christine Wu, piano; Kara Dugan, mezzo-soprano
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia...
7/10/2021 - RARELY-PLAYED SCHUMANN HIGHLIGHTS HEALDSBURG RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Brave New Music / Gary McLaughlin, violin; Rose McCoy, piano
Brave New Music sporadically produces concerts in and around Healdsburg, and July 10’s violin recital in downtown St. Paul’s Church must have been one of the first post-lockdown, post-be-extra-careful classical music concerts in Sonoma County's summer season. New Music Founder Gary McLaughlin with ...
7/10/2021 - ECHOS ON A WARM SUMMER NIGHT - Abby Wasserman
ECHO Chamber Orchestra / Daniel Canosa, conductor. Carol Adee, Flute
ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s first concert in a year and a half, “A Musical Promenade,” was a promenade indeed. When patrons arrived at San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for the 6:00 performance July 10, they were funneled through the garden to the Duncan Hall patio, where folding chairs were set ...
6/24/2021 - LONG DISTANCE LOVE BEGINS VOM SUMMER FESTIVAL - Pamela Hicks Gailey
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Nikki Enfeld, soprano; Emily Marsh, contralto; Kyle Stegall, tenor; Edward Nelson, baritone; Allegra Chapman and Eric Zivian, piano
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival offered a 7th season preview June 24 with a stunning online concert, aptly named Long Distance Love, featuring inspired performances of Beethoven's short song cycle An die ferne Geliebte,, and selections from Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder Wal...
6/2/2021 - ROMERO'S ARTISTRY IN SLV RECITAL PROGRAMMING AND PERFORMANCE - Terry McNeill
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Gustavo Romero, piano
Gustavo Romero has been an admired visitor to North Bay stages, playing over a decade recitals at Dominican University, the Music at Oakmont concerts and at the Spring Lake Village Concert Series. He returned June 2 to SLV in a virtual recital, videoed from his home concert hall the University of N...
5/16/2021 - RUBICON'S VIRTUAL CONCERT A MALANGE OF CONTRASTS - Terry McNeill
The inaugural concert of a new Mendocino County chamber group is a reason for celebration, and the Rubicon Trio made the most of a mixed musical menu during a May16 virtual concert. Presented by the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra as the last in their “Salons with the Symphony” Series, the Rubicon began w...
5/16/2021 - PIANO VIRTUOSITY IN YAKUSHEV'S REDWOOD ARTS RECITAL - Nicki Bell
Redwood Arts Council / Ilya Yakushev, piano
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev’s recital for the Redwood Arts Council was perhaps the local season’s virtual music at the greatest distance, as the filming May 16 came from a church in St. Petersburg. And good filming it was, with multiple camera viewpoints of the church, full and split screens and ...
5/9/2021 - STYLISH HAYDN QUARTETS CLOSE GREEN ROOM SERIES - Terry McNeill
Green Music Center / St. Lawrence String Quartet. Geoff Nuttall and Owen Dalby, violin; Lesley Robertson, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello
Completing the Green Music Center’s spring series series of “Green Room” virtual concerts, the St. Lawrence String Quartet played May 9 a lightweight program of two Haydn works. Lightweight perhaps, but in every way satisfying. The G Major Quartet (Op. 76, No.1) began the music that was supplement...
5/5/2021 - ECLECTIC PIANISM IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE VIRTUAL RECITAL - Terry McNeill
Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series / Dmitry Rachmanov, piano
During the pandemic The Santa Rosa Symphony’s virtual concerts received their due in performance praise, but another series, Spring Lake Village, more quietly presented monthly virtual concerts to a select local audience. May 5 saw the latest event, produced by impresario Robert Hayden, and feature...
4/25/2021 - SONIC CONTRASTS HIGHLIGHT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SPRING PROGRAM - Terry McNeill
In a curious mixture of compositions, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s penultimate virtual concert of the season April 25 unfolded in ways both highly satisfying and a bit perplexing. Directed by resident Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, the event followed a familiar format – several contemporary wor...
3/28/2021 - ZUILL PLAYS ZWILICH WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
The Santa Rosa Symphony took a cautious step toward the return of live music in their March 28 virtual concert by sharing the stage with an actual live soloist rather than an apparition. Star cellist Zuill Bailey was still masked, and his back was toward the equally masked and plexiglassed orchestra...
3/28/2021 - ECLECTIC CELLO PIANO VIRTUAL RECITAL FROM TOMKINS ZIVIAN DUO - Terry McNeill
Redwood Arts Council / Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano
The venerable 41-year Redwood Arts Council Series in Occidental has joined the virtual recital world with low budget but artistically satisfying programs, mostly using videos filmed in the performer’s residences. March 28 saw the Tanya Tomkins-Eric Zivian duo present an eclectic program from their ...
2/28/2021 - SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HITS THE SWEET SPOT - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Small orchestras can inhabit a sweet spot between chamber ensembles and full orchestras, but how well they hit that spot depends on the composer's orchestration and the players' ability to project. That dependence was on full display in the Santa Rosa Symphony's Feb. 28 concert, which featured three...
2/21/2021 - NOVEL OBOE-HARPSICHORD RECITAL FROM AIKEN DUO IN UKIAH - Terry McNeill
Ukiah Symphony / Beth Aiken, oboe and English horn; Tom Aiken, harpsichord
Oboe and harpsichord recitals are a rare North Bay event, even in a pandemic environment where a formal hall setting isn’t available. So it was a delight Feb. 21 to experience on the Ukiah Symphony’s website a recital by Symphony oboist Beth Aiken and harpsichordist husband Tom. The Aiken home vis...
1/24/2021 - A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY - Steve Osborn
Santa Rosa Symphony / Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...