Kitka brings “Wintersongs” to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Oakland

Weaving a mid-winter spell Creating deep harmonies in the long nights of December, Kitka brought its Wintersongs concert to the Bay Area this past week. Although it makes its home in Oakland, this women’s vocal group is internationally famous for its explorations of the music of Eastern Europe and Georgia, and they have been creating fresh arrangements based on ancient scales for the last 39 years. Friday night’s program, Dec. 15, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakland,...

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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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