Classical Music Reviews

Every week, our professional critics attend concerts throughout the Bay Area to let you know what went well...and occasionally what didn't. Let their insights enrich your musical experiences, and feel free to share your own views!


Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Berkeley Symphony   Conrad Tao Wows at Berkeley Symphony
February 9, 2016

With conductor Tito Muñoz pinch-hitting for Joana Carneiro, the orchestra welcomed an exciting soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra  An Adventurous Mozart Trip for Philharmonia Baroque
February 8, 2016
The orchestra welcomed fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout as soloist in an all-Mozart program. More about Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 New Century Chamber Orchestra  NCCO Celebrates Yehudi Menuhin’s Centenary with Hope
February 8, 2016
Daniel Hope joined the orchestra as guest concertmaster and principal soloist in a tribute to his mentor. More about New Century Chamber Orchestra »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Cal Performances  St. Louis Symphony Puts Out an Interstellar Call
February 5, 2016

Messiaen asks the orchestra to move us toward the infinite in Des Canyons aux étoiles.

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Modern Classical REVIEW
 Earplay  Earplay Pays Tribute to Stefan Wolpe, Midcentury Modernist
February 5, 2016

The composer’s early piano sonata and an Andrew Imbrie’s Earplay Fantasy dominated the proceedings.

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Modern Classical REVIEW
 Stanford Live  Gabriel Kahane’s Musical Eclecticism Mixes with Schubert at Bing
February 1, 2016
The singer-songwriter/composer joined string quartet Brooklyn Rider for a different kind of Schubertiade. More about Stanford Live »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  S.F. Symphony Offers a Vigorous Mashup of the 'Exotic East'
January 30, 2016

Conductor Edwin Outwater and pianist Stephen Hough teamed up for Saint-Saens’ Concerto No. 5, and the orchestra leapt through several other Eastern-themed pieces.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Symphony Silicon Valley  Shimono and Baek Return to SSV with Fine Results
January 25, 2016
Popular guest performers, conductor Tatsuya Shimono and soloist Ju-Young Baek, returned for a concert at San Jose’s California Theatre. More about Symphony Silicon Valley »
Modern Classical REVIEW
 San Francisco Contemporary Music Players  New Music That Needs Space
January 22, 2016
The three pieces that made up San Francisco Contemporary Music Players’ Jan. 19 concert played with sound as a physical presence in the environment of the concert hall. More about San Francisco Contemporary Music Players »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Ax and Urbanski: A Meeting of Magnificent Musical Minds
January 19, 2016
Conductor Krzysztof Urbanski made an astonishing debut with the San Francisco Symphony, joined by pianist Emanuel Ax. More about San Francisco Symphony »