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Category: Recital

BEETHOVEN’S LIFE, AT PIANO OR NARRATED, IS A PENINSULA SUCCESS STORY

BEETHOVEN’S LIFE, AT PIANO OR NARRATED, IS A PENINSULA SUCCESS STORY

The versatile pianist-actor Hershey Felder, who won praise for his performances as Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin and other musical giants, has moved into deeper waters with his hugely successful account of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, now in an extended run at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Felder is a remarkable performer – a fine musician whose pianism elevates this bit of theater to a lofty plane as he entertains us with his impersonations of the…

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CONDUCTOR KAHANE RETURNS TO PIANO ROOTS

CONDUCTOR KAHANE RETURNS TO PIANO ROOTS

BERKELEY—I’ve been fascinated by the California pianist Jeffrey Kahane ever since the 1981 Van Cliburn Competition. He didn’t win it (gold went to André-Michel Schub). But media reports established that, in the opinion of various finalists, though Kahane was unlikely to get the gold medal, he was considered the best keyboard performer of the lot. A rare accolade among high-echelon pianists! Happily, Kahane bounced back two years later, winning the Rubinstein International Competition. Although a successful symphony conductor over the…

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MEZZO MASTERS BAROQUE OPERA, GERMAN LIEDER 

MEZZO MASTERS BAROQUE OPERA, GERMAN LIEDER 

Is this the complete baroque opera mezzo we’ve been awaiting, carrying forward the long line of Horne, Hunt, Bartoli? BERKELEY— Joyce DiDonato has it all, the consummate artist, the seamless Kansan singer who is radically revising the recital medium in her latest concept “In War & Peace: Harmony through Music.” Her new concept, already booked into a 20-city international tour, involves a semi-staged performance of scenelets, equipped with mobile projections, elaborate lights, costumes, even a dancer. As well as a…

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MODERNS INSPIRED BY BEETHOVEN

MODERNS INSPIRED BY BEETHOVEN

Jennifer Koh Scores in Old-New Juxtapositions Beethoven and the Moderns—a new look. The San Francisco Performances concert series collaborated with stellar violinist Koh to create and perform a bold four-night ”Bridge to Beethoven” series. It’s Beethoven sonatas cum new and recent musical reflections on the latter, as created by active composers from both sides of the Atlantic. In recognition of this and other innovative recital enterprises, Chicagoan Koh was named the 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year by the publication Musical…

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STRIKING GOLD IN HEGGIE’S NEW VOCAL WORK

STRIKING GOLD IN HEGGIE’S NEW VOCAL WORK

“The Work at Hand,” an unusual song cycle by San Francisco composer Jake Heggie, shows him to be among the most sensitive and romantic creative artists of our time. The 20-minute work is unorthodox, sung by a mezzo with accompaniment on cello and piano. Extended passages for the instrumentalists separate the three poems dealing with end of life, but with consummate restraint and introspection. There is something hauntingly beautiful about the intermezzi, vacillating between minor and major modes, tender and…

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DAZZLING RHYTHMIC INTRICACIES

DAZZLING RHYTHMIC INTRICACIES

Cheng-Ades’ Two-Piano Tour de Force One of the masters of modern rhythmic complexity, Thomas Adès, paired up with Gloria Cheng for a 20th-century two-piano recital that still has my ears ringing. Their percussive repertory, delivered with muscular dispatch, offered more than 100,000 notes that may still be resonating through the facility, leading me to marvel at the dynamic pair’s sheer immunity to fatigue. None of their music is easy to play, or even to listen to. But the tour de…

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