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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Berkeley Symphony explores French themes

Wandering towards musical truths Last Thursday, Feb 1, the Berkeley Symphony was led by guest conductor Keitaro Harada in a concert of French themes and composers. Beginning with the luminous visions of Fauré and ending with the stormy emotions of Berlioz, this was a concert of potent themes, but it wasn’t entirely successful. After their regular conductor Joana Carneiro announced that she was pregnant again and could not travel to Berkeley from her home in Lisbon, the orchestra...

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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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