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
 San Francisco Symphony  MTT and S.F. Symphony Bring Broadway to Van Ness with <em>On the Town</em>
May 27, 2016
The semistaged production cleverly transcends limits and delivers an exuberant reading of Bernstein’s score. More about San Francisco Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Susan Graham Triumphs as Cleopatra in Agony and Ecstasy
May 25, 2016
The popular mezzo-soprano justifies her adulation in a standout performance of an eerie Berlioz cantata. More about San Francisco Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Oakland Symphony  Michael Morgan Guides the Oakland Symphony on a Tranquil, Spiritual Journey
May 24, 2016
A John Adams piece featuring electric violin is at the heart of a program exploring the contemplative side of 20th-century music. More about Oakland Symphony »
Modern Classical REVIEW
 chamber/text  John Harbison’s Expansive, Playful Music Celebrated at chamber/text
May 17, 2016
A great American composer shows his variety in a well-balanced, entertaining performance at chamber/text, the free concert series. More about chamber/text »
Modern Classical REVIEW
 Center for New Music  Ligeti Etudes Ignite Under Taka Kigawa’s Fingers
May 13, 2016

Pianist Taka Kigawa brought energy and immediacy to Ligeti’s pianistic Everest.

More about Center for New Music »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 California Symphony  California Symphony Makes Room for the Guitar
May 10, 2016
A concerto penned under the auspices of the symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence program gets the spotlight in a beautifully balanced program. More about California Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Berkeley Symphony   Frankenstein’s Monster Wakes at Berkeley Symphony
May 10, 2016
With his opera in suspended animation, the composer Mark Grey puts forth a Frankenstein Symphony based on its themes at the Berkeley Symphony. More about Berkeley Symphony »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 New Century Chamber Orchestra  New Century Chamber Orchestra Spins Some Dance Tunes
May 10, 2016
A new Jennifer Higdon suite highlights an evening of music inspired by — but not necessarily for — dancing. More about New Century Chamber Orchestra »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 New York Philharmonic  New York Philharmonic Plays Hardball
May 9, 2016
Music Director Alan Gilbert’s muscular approach made a tame program exciting and fresh. More about New York Philharmonic »
Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Chamber Orchestra  Voices From Solitary: Neuburg Premiere Draws on Real-Life Prison Drama
May 3, 2016

In Hunger Strike, composer and vocalist Amy X Neuburg turns our attention to the conditions of solitary confinement.

More about San Francisco Chamber Orchestra »