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Dan Leeson

Dan Leeson is a retired businessman, a former member of the now defunct San Jose Symphony, and a historical musicologist with some 50 publications in major journals and four books on Mozart, including the novel The Mozart Forgeries.

Articles by this Author

Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 25, 2010

At the February 25 San Francisco Symphony matinee, Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt led the orchestra in two polar opposite symphonic masterpieces. Both works received the high-polish performances you expect from a world-class orchestra and their juxtaposition turned out to be brilliant programming.

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Chamber Music Review
January 8, 2010

On the surface, Friday’s program for a concert at Palo Alto’s First Lutheran Church looked peculiar. The concert consisted of four works, all with the same instrumentation — two violins, one viola, two cellos — all written by the same late-18th- and early-19th-century composer; one who is not perceived as being among the hot shots of classical chamber music.

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Chamber Music Review
November 20, 2009

On Friday, the remarkable duo of clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu gave a sensational recital of works that covered the period from the first half of the 19th century to a celebratory composition written for the centennial of Benny Goodman’s birth, which occurs this year.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 11, 2009

Sunday afternoon’s inaugural performance at the sumptuous new Center for the Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton opened both eyes and ears.

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Festival Review
July 27, 2009

Following what I had expected to be the preconcert lecture for the [email protected] evening presentation of "Midsummer Night Dreams," I found myself listening to an extravagant performance of the Dvořák Terzetto in C Major, followed by a breathtaking presentation of Brahms' Clarinet Trio in A Minor. After that explosion of sound, energy, and undisguised romance, I stumbled dizzily to another venue for the program that I was there to review.

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Festival Review
July 22, 2009

In two programs Wednesday at the Carmel Bach Festival, Schubert and Mozart came to the fore. In the first concert, an afternoon performance at the Church of the Wayfarer in downtown Carmel, baritone Sanford Sylvan and fortepianist David Breitman presented a program of Schubertiana, consisting of three lieder and two impromptus for piano.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
May 7, 2009

Some orchestral programs are naturally perfect — the compositions are linked by friendly key relationships, similar temperaments, and compatible styles.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
April 11, 2009

For its 2008-2009 season finale on Saturday, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, under Benjamin Simon’s effective direction, presented an eclectic program with a theme of “Bach to Bach” — meaning, of course, that the concert would both begin and end with a Bach composition, though the finale was a very different kind of Bach.

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Archive Review
February 3, 2009

The second of four programs designed to celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the Ives Quartet had, as its theme, "With an American Voice." Terrific idea. Imaginative programming! The players, Bettina Mussumeli and Susan Freier, violins, Jodi Levitz, viola, and Stephen Harrison, cello, are a unified force that shows some brilliant playing. While the program, presented at St.

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Archive Review
January 27, 2009

In the second of its three performances on Stanford Lively Arts' 2008-2009 season, the St. Lawrence String Quartet practically tore the house down with the final number of its program. For Sunday's Dinkelspiel recital, the quartet invited back two of its former members. The quartet on its own set itself a tough assignment in the middle of the program, but it was the Dvořák Sextet at concert's end that raised the roof.

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Archive Review
January 20, 2009

The beautifully restored California Theatre in San José — thanks to the generosity of David Packard — was the site for Symphony Silicon Valley’s fourth of eight programs in its 2008-2009 season. Sunday's was a brilliantly performed program, but one of such mixed styles, content, and format as to raise eyebrows.

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Archive Review
January 13, 2009

Sunday night, San José's Le Petit Trianon welcomed the San José Chamber Orchestra in a concert refreshingly titled "Ah, Youth!" The program consisted of music both composed and played by youthful talent, and it traveled a bumpy road from the 14-year-old Felix Mendelssohn to the unrelenting dissonances of the 29-year-old Harlan Otter. Soloists were Graham Nelson, a competent cellist at only 14, and David Do, an equally capable violinist aged 16, both of whom are mature and seriously involved in their performances.

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Archive Review
December 16, 2008

To say that the Pacific Mozart Ensemble concerts are eclectic is a serious understatement. Having researched a few of their previous programs, I can’t think of a single San Francisco group — and very few elsewhere — that display this much variety, creativity, and invention in programming. Certainly, their December 18 concert in the Green Room at the Veterans War Memorial Building, and titled “Brubeck and Brahms: Canticles and Love Songs” fit this mold.

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