Berkeley Symphony – bold and satisfying

With a scant one week’s notice, guest conductor Joseph Young stepped in on January 31 for an ailing Jonathon Heyward, who was himself about to guest conduct the Berkeley Symphony during their year-long search for a new Musical Director. That one week was a very short time to learn the music, but Young stepped up to the plate (or podium, rather) and conducted with clarity and passion, leading the Berkeley Symphony musicians in a top-notch performance. [caption id="attachment_2233"...

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2018—Music to brighten a year

Bay Area music made a strong showing in 2018. The arts are subtle but solid, a rock we can cling to despite a year when divisive voices and dire predictions roiled our society.  Pointing the way through political differences, music is an art form of discourse, a place where every voice matters, where each of us tries to speak our truth in beauty and in harmony. That strong showing is not so surprising when one recalls that small lights burn...

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Sonic Harvest celebrates this October 14 in Berkeley

On October 14, Sonic Harvest will host its 18th annual concert of music, poetry, original compositions, and more. The concert, From Troubador to Tango, brings together the premiere of guest composer D’Arcy Reynolds’ Tangria, songs by Ann Callaway, the premiere of a work by Peter Josheff for spoken voice and piano as well as his violin solo September. It will also include a song cycle by Allen Shearer and Claudia Stevens’ solo performance referencing...

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Berkeley Symphony opens the season with virtuosity

Ming Luke nails an “audition” A sophisticated Berkeley audience stood to applaud conductor Ming Luke, violinist Benjamin Beilman and the Berkeley Symphony last Thursday, Oct. 4, in a work that was as severely modern as it was technically jaw-dropping. That work, Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Crafted of harmonics and fierce call-and-responses, the concerto’s architecture and virtuosity were as unexpected as they were challenging....

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Gala at Davies

San Francisco Symphony knows how to party! Donors to the educational arm of the San Francisco Symphony were rewarded last Wednesday, September 6 with an extravagant party at Davies Symphony Hall. Celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman performed Bach and well-known movie themes, and the Symphony sizzled with Liszt and Gershwin. After, dance stages and bars took over the street between Davies and the Opera House. It was a night to savor! “The program isn’t that memorable,”...

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Music@Menlo – a whistle-stop in Hungary

The sixth main-stage concert in the Music@Menlo festival centered on the music of Budapest, the center of Hungarian culture. Held July 31 at the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton, this program featured four composers who drew from the folk music of Hungary. “This music is incredibly nationalistic,” claimed our presenter, “the essence of the Hungarian spirit!” Bella Hristova and Nicholas Canellakis, two rising stars of the string world, opened the concert with Zoltán...

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