Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus is a music critic, professional whistler, and lecturer on classical vocal recordings. His credits includes Seattle Times, Listen, Opera News, Opera Now, American Record Guide, Stereophile, Classical Voice North America, Carnegie Hall Playbill, Gramophone, San Francisco Magazine, Stanford Live, Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco Examiner, AudioStream, and California Magazine.

Articles by this Author

CD REVIEW
  Scarborough Fair: Songs from the British Isles Bryn Terfel Sinks the British Isles
October 27, 2009

As powerful as bass-baritone Bryn Terfel’s voice is, it’s not strong enough to sink the British Isles by itself. But were you to play the great Bryn’s latest CD, Scarborough Fair: Songs from the British Isles (Deutsches Grammophon B0012642-02), loud enough, the combined force of Terfel’s magnificent instrument and Chris Hazel’s insufferable arrangements for the London Voices and London Symphony Orchestra, unsparingly conducted by Barry Wordsworth, just might do the once-mighty empire in.

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Upcoming Concert
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    October 26, 2009

    Not since winter 1997, when pianist Sarah Cahill organized a three-day piano marathon of works by Henry Cowell (1897-1965) and those he influenced, have Bay Area music lovers had an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the oeuvre of one of America’s most brilliant musical mavericks. Now, thanks to Charles Amirkhanian’s Other Minds, we can enjoy two different concerts on Nov. 12 and 13 that explore the breadth and depth of Cowell’s legacy.

    More about Other Minds »

    Recital REVIEW
     San Francisco Conservatory of Music  Lieder Highs
    October 20, 2009

    It was a night of opposites. For the first half of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s semi-annual Lieder Alive concert series in SFCM’s Concert Hall, we had tenor Eleazar Rodriguez, a 2009 Merola Opera participant who is compact of voice and frame. The second half belonged to soprano Heidi Melton, a former Merolina and second year San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow who is robust of voice and frame. 

    More about San Francisco Conservatory of Music »
    Feature Article
    October 20, 2009

    Berkeley-raised conductor J. Karla Lemon, who conducted a host of local and national new music ensembles and orchestras between teaching gigs at Stanford University and other institutions, died peacefully at her Oakland home on October 15. The cause of death was a massive and catastrophic stroke endured during open-heart surgery for correction of a congenital heart condition.

    More "In Memoriam: J. Karla Lemon" »
    Upcoming Concert
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      October 20, 2009

      Mexico’s Día de los Muertos is hardly a day for mourning. A celebration of those who have died, it centers on offerings of food, flowers, and fanciful ceremonial altars for the departed. More about San Francisco Symphony »

      CD REVIEW
        <em>Neharót</em>, ECM New Series Pan-Cultural Beauty and Longing for Kim Kashkashian
      October 20, 2009

      Award-winning producer Manfred Eicher’s transcendent vision for his ECM New Series recordings defies simple categorization. A case in point is violist Kim Kashkashian's Neharót, a collection of unusual, oft-rarefied pieces that transcend national and genre boundaries, the recording touches the heart with its universal expressions of longing and prayer.

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      Opera REVIEW
       San Francisco Opera  The Demented and the Divine
      October 18, 2009

      “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death,” sings Salome, the eponymous central character in Richard Strauss’ 1905 opera.

      More about San Francisco Opera »
      Upcoming Concert
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        October 12, 2009

        Some people are born to pound their way through life. Take Loren Mach, for example. In an extended phone chat about his plans for the second installment of San Francisco Chamber Orchestra’s “Classical at the Freight Percussion Fest” (details here), the percussionist with both the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) and the Adorno Ensemble revealed that “As a kid, I was tapping and beating on everything, from my high chair at the dinner table to coffee cans in the basement.”

        More about Classical at the Freight »

        Recital REVIEW
         San Francisco Performances  Thomas Hampson Surveys American Song
        September 30, 2009

        Midway through his Song of America recital on Wednesday, presented by San Francisco Performances, Spokane-raised Thomas Hampson paused to address the adoring Herbst Theatre audience he had sung for on 10 previous occasions. “In many of the places where I’ve presented this project," the 54-year-old baritone declared, “people ask me if I’d please sing more songs like that one called Shenandoah. But here, on the 30th anniversary of this wonderful organization, I want to do a group of songs from our own century.”

        More about San Francisco Performances »
        CD REVIEW
          Various Composers: A/Rhythmia, Alarm Will Sound Heartening a/rhythmia From Alarm Without Sound
        September 29, 2009
        Within three or four measures, the riot is in full swing. It’s as though Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti embrace under acid rain madness, while Frank Zappa and Bruce Springstein come sloshing through in quick-step fashion. You may not know just what’s happening here, but you sure as hell want to dive in to find out. More »
        Opera REVIEW
         Cal Performances  A House of Many Chambers
        September 26, 2009

        It’s easy to understand why Cal Performances scheduled four preconcert educational events in association with the two-performance U.S. premiere of Evan Ziporyn’s new opera, A House in Bali, at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. There’s little that’s literal about the work.

        More about Cal Performances »
        Feature Article
        September 22, 2009

        As we approach the year 2010, downloading music has become as ubiquitous as iPods.

        More "Downloading Primer: How to Get the Most From Your Clicks" »
        Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
         San Francisco Symphony DVD REVIEW:<br>Keeping Score</em> Season Two: Berlioz, Shostakovich, Ives Keeping Score Scores a 10
        September 22, 2009

        Keeping Score is about to return. The first three musical journeys in the second season of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score TV series are set to air nationwide. Scheduled locally on KQED-TV for Oct. 15, 22, and 29 at 10 p.m., the one-hour programs explore BerliozSymphonie Fantastique, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and Ives’ Holidays Symphony.

        More about San Francisco Symphony »
        Upcoming Concert
        Michael Moschen
          September 21, 2009

          Beyond the splendor of the big city’s symphony, the extraordinarily progressive California Symphony is often relegated to “over there” status. But ensconced in Walnut Creek’s Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, where it performs four concerts per year, Barry Jekowsky’s gem of an orchestra continues to break new ground.

          More about California Symphony »

          CD REVIEW
            <em>Wondrous Free: Song of America II </em> Listening to Thomas Hampson's America
          September 15, 2009

          After several decades of championing American art song, baritone Thomas Hampson refuses to let the major label slowdown hold him back. Instead, he’s started the Thomas Hampson Media label, and launched a full-out multimedia American song assault, as well.

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          Artist Spotlight
          September 8, 2009

          As he prepares to open the San Francisco Symphony’s 2009-2010 season Wednesday with Prokofiev’s challenging Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26, in Davies Symphony Hall, 27-year-old Lang Lang seems to have embraced his superstar pianist reputation — and run with it.

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          Opera REVIEW
            DVD REVIEW:<br>Washington National Opera<br><rm>La Rondine</em> A Shockingly Different <em>La Rondine</em>
          September 8, 2009

          Those of us who saw San Francisco Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Rondine in fall 2007 may think that we know the opera. We don’t. SFO’s Nicolas Joël production, which was reprised at the Metropolitan last season and simultaneously shown in hi-def in many theaters around the world, is not the final word on Puccini’s Johnny-come-lately masterpiece. For that we must turn to the scholarship of Marta Domingo, and Decca’s newly released DVD of her radically revised version of La Rondine for Washington National Opera.

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          Upcoming Concert
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            September 7, 2009

            With a fraternal nod to Julie Andrews, the men of Clerestory are set to open their fall season with more than a few of their favorite things. While they're not about to climb a mountain, their concerts in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Lodi are filled with music that members of the eight-man a cappella choral ensemble love the most.

            More about Clerestory »

            Feature Article
            September 6, 2009

            With autumn upon us, the Bay Area's classical music groups are tuning up for hundreds of intriguing events. San Francisco Classical Voice asked several of our critics and editors to comb through the performance announcements available to date and pick their favorite choices for September through December. We've put the season in chronological order for the convenience of music-lovers organizing their datebooks. More "The Season Ahead: A Preview of Fall Concerts" »

            Opera REVIEW
              San Francisco Opera Merola Grand Finale<br/>Grand Beginnings
            August 22, 2009

            For those of us who love opera, the Merola Grand Finale is like a decisive first date. Some singers who parade their stuff before us may have the looks, the glamour, the ease, and the savoir faire for an enjoyable outing.

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