Speak Up Midori

There was an almost sell-out crowd for last Sunday’s joint recital of the violinist Midori and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet at Davies Hall in San Francisco.

And therein lays the problem!

The Fiddler's Pavarotti

I walked out of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) concert at Davies Hall after intermission last Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t because I hated what I had just heard; it was because I loved it!

Schumann and Brahms in Good Hands

Listening to Lars Vogt, the superb German pianist, play the Schumann Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) last evening I could not help but think what a deep, deep reservoir of fabulous pianists there are in the classical music world today.

Bruckner Triumphs in Dutch Hands

A big question in classical music circles is whether Jaap van Zweden, the new music director of the New York Philharmonic, got the job because of his musical talent or because he brought a few very rich donors with him from his last gig in Dallas.

I decided to check it out myself…

A Tale of Two Concerts

On December 12, I went to hear the much praised violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja play her debut recital in San Francisco with the excellent pianist Polina Leschenko.

The recital was given at Herbst Hall in San Francisco under the auspices of San Francisco Performances.

Europe is not #MeToo With America

The current political climate in the U.S. is such that if a symphony conductor is accused of sexual harassment, he is blacklisted by all the symphony orchestras in the country.

But with one notable exception, Europe is not America when it comes to alleged sexual assault violations.

Running Scared at the Met

"For someone sensitive to the stultifying effect the current sexual harassment environment can have on the performing arts, I doubt that Kaufmann... will be indifferent to the fact that Met boss Peter Gelb is running scared from the ‘#Me Too McCarthyites’."

Pressler Perseveres

"The legendary Menahem Pressler, who performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in San Francisco the other evening at the age of 94, is the personification of the triumph of art and beauty over the forces of evil."

The Two Sides of Valery Gergiev

"In 1966, Hollywood put out a very funny picture entitled, “The Russians Are Coming.” Well in the Bay Area this week, the Russians aren’t coming; they are already here—and making their presence felt in a big way."

Nostalgia for a Lost Don Giovanni

"The San Francisco audience is lucky that the opera’s most important cast member, Ildibrando D’Arcangelo as Don Giovanni, was more than up to the role’s demands. In fact, Mr. D’Arcangelo is one of the best Don Giovannis to come along in a long while."

Fabulous Fabio

"Applause from orchestra members exploded during the customary bows at the end of the evening’s entertainment, and backstage I was accosted by several musicians who were openly and unashamedly declaring their admiration for Mr. [Fabio] Luisi’s work. 'We love him, we love him' one of the musicians gushed to me."

Tasty Danish

"When played right, this Concerto never fails to bring tears to my eyes and last evening it was played wonderfully right by Ms. Steinbacher, a lovely woman who brings an unmistakable femininity to the music."

Mahler's Story

"At this week’s regular subscription concerts, San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) gave us the beginning of Gustav Mahler’s symphonic works and the very end, an unusual program he will take on the road to Carnegie Hall next week."

A Magnificent Russian Export

"What remains absolutely first class about the Russians is their musical culture, a fact underlined by the March coast-to-coast US tour of the magnificent Saint Petersburg Philharmonic (SPP), ostensibly to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra’s relationship with its great music director Yuri Temirkanov."