“Ode to California” – Ferrandis leads the Santa Rosa Symphony

Luminous and thoughtful. For the past eleven years Bruno Ferrandis has led the Santa Rosa Symphony with skill and balance. After this season he is stepping down to return to his home in France. I was able to see him last weekend in a program titled “Ode to California” in the lively acoustics of Weill Hall at Sonoma State, and enjoyed his genius for programming and the wordless way that he communicated his insights into the music. This has been a busy year for North...

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Classical and Hip-Hop Party at the Paramount

In some courageous genre bending, the Oakland Symphony teamed up with Hip-Hop artist Kev Choice at Oakland’s Paramount Theater last Friday, March 23. The results were mixed, with deep sentiments, sparkling runs, and sometimes bland arrangements, but the crowd lapped it up and demanded more. [caption id="attachment_1809" align="alignright" width="261"]...

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Vitamin Em: electronics and Vivaldi at Piedmont Center for the Arts

Turning foreign languages into close dialects… “Berkeley Symphony and Friends” had their fourth concert this year at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. Last Sunday, March 11, an accomplished foursome forged new music out of professionalism and whimsey from very different branches of the musical tree. PCA founding member Gray Cathrall welcomed a packed audience to the hall and to this series, curated by Berkeley Symphony Executive Director René Mandel. “This series is now in...

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Henschel Quartett shines at Kohl Mansion

Riches in Burlingame Last Sunday while most people were busy watching the Oscars, a lucky few of us got to hear two polished string quartets in the perfect and intimate acoustics of Kohl Mansion, just south of the SF Airport in Burlingame. The Henschel Quartett is a formidable and prize-winning group (and yes, that is the German spelling of “quartet”), and they anchored a diverse program. And more importantly for some, the three men wore black with red ties and their violist...

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North Star Vocal Artists go deep in “water”

Watery themes, sea of harmonies Last weekend the North Star Vocal Artists presented an a cappella program on texts about water at three locations around the Bay Area: Novato, San Francisco, and Healdsburg. I attended the Saturday night concert at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco and enjoyed the lively and spacious acoustics of the main dome, where excellent singers sang unusual arrangements by contemporary composers. Led by Sanford Dole, who is a composer and also...

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Oakland Symphony Pride

Creating inclusion and community The Maestro of the Oakland Symphony took a courageous stand last Friday, Feb. 9 at the Paramount Theater. In a program titled “Pride & Prejudice: Notes from LGBTQ,” Michael Morgan gave voice to an often invisible population (except at the Pride parades), our own gays and lesbians. Each year Morgan programs a concert highlighting one facet of our diverse East Bay, and over the last ten years his “Notes from…” series has featured composers...

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