Youth Brings Back Neglected Masterpiece

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) presented two terrific young artists at its Memorial Day subscription concerts—the violinist Vilde Frang and the conductor Krzysztof Urbanski.

The two collaborated on an absolutely beautiful performance of Edward Elgar’s neglected masterpiece, the Violin Concerto in B minor, Opus 61.

The Bells Are Ringing—And So Were My Ears

I don’t get it. Francesco Piemontesi, the young Swiss pianist who made his San Francisco debut in recital with San Francisco Performances last Tuesday in their last concert of the season, is listed in his promotional data as being a student of Murray Perahia and Alfred Brendel.

Both these piano greats are especially known for elegance, refinement and subtlety.

But unlike his teachers, Mr. Piemontesi is a tremendous banger;

The Torch is Being Passed

A good tip can be more valuable than gold.

Regarding the recital of the Tetzlaff-Tetzlaff-Vogt Trio (TTVT) presented under the auspices of San Francisco Performances on April 27 in Herbst Theatre, I advised the readers of this blog to, ‘Be There or Be Square’.

The ones that were ‘there, not square’ are the ones that had the good fortune to attend what I consider to be the absolute best classic music concert of the 2018-19 concert season.

Revelling in Ravel

The harp had a big night at last Saturday evening’s concert of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS). It figured prominently in all three pieces on the program—Ravel’s “Pavane for a Dead Princess”; Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”. That’s very special.

Also, special was the guest conductor Simone Young who made her debut with the SFS with these concerts.

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."