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Symphony
JOY, LOVELY DIVINE SPARK!
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Symphony
SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Symphony
ORCHESTRAL SPLENDOR IN MARIN SYMPHONY'S SEASON OPENER
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Symphony
BUCOLIC DAY AND MUSIC AT UKIAH SYMPHONY'S OPENING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Symphony
FANTASTIC FANTASTIQUE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Symphony
SONIC EXCITEMENT AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Symphony
CLOUDS AND PASSION: MARIN SYMPHONY'S STELLAR CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
MARIACHI MEETS ORCHESTRA AT THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, June 12, 2022

symphony Reviews

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...
11/19/2022 - 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 ...
11/12/2022 - 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...
11/6/2022 - 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....
10/15/2022 - 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...
10/2/2022 - 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...
10/1/2022 - 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...
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 ...
5/8/2022 - 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...
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...
4/3/2022 - 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 ...
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...
2/13/2022 - 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...
1/9/2022 - 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...