Gemma New leads Berkeley Symphony in triumphant “Totentanz”

When the stars are aligned Great music, incisive conducting, fabulous soloist, enthusiastic musicians… yes, the stars aligned last Thursday night at Zellerbach Hall, where guest conductor Gemma New led pianist Conrad Tao and the Berkeley Symphony in an evening to savor. [caption id="attachment_1578" align="alignright" width="291"]...

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Replacing Bruno: Santa Rosa Symphony tries out new conductors

Choices, choices: a job interview in the North Bay The Santa Rosa Symphony is in the middle of an exciting journey as they change artistic directors. Bruno Ferrandis, their beloved conductor, is stepping down and returning to France after eleven years at the helm. He balanced an electric tautness with depth of feeling, and the orchestra will surely miss him. But this year Sonoma audiences get to hear five different conductors strut their stuff, and they are even encouraged to offer...

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New Century in a new season

Finding their own sound. The New Century Chamber Orchestra delivered its latest concert series in halls around the Bay Area last weekend, culminating at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Nov. 12. Since 2008 they have been led by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, a divine violinist who is also a forceful personality, and although they had impressive achievements under her leadership, their own cohesion was increasingly subsumed in her wake. Sunday’s concert...

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Sonic Harvest at Berkeley Piano Club

A Harvest of reveries and nocturnes This year’s Sonic Harvest Festival evoked the turning of the season with songs set to autumn winds, the wintry distance of stars, and the dreams and nightmares of the young. Held Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Berkeley Piano Club, this celebration of chamber works for instruments and voice featured works by three composers and a librettist. [caption id="attachment_1126" align="alignleft" width="200"]...

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Finding Light within Darkness

“Chiaroscuro” is the name for pin-hole cameras and the dramatic black and white underpainting of Rembrandt’s oils. Italian for “light-dark,” it was also an apt name for a program held Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, an evening of works that cast light into the darkest parts of human nature. The  Circadian String Quartet teamed up with music historian Nicolas Hohmann to deliver three quartets woven together with storytelling and poetry. They performed...

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Opening the Season

Big names and rich substance With the Music Season fast upon us, Bay Area players are in their blocks and ready to sprint, the first heats of an Indian summer. Here is a short list of what is in store for us this fall. The San Francisco Symphony opens its doors with a splash on this very Thursday, Sept. 14, with a festive Gala. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas combines forces with...

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