San Diego Symphony Music Director Jahja Ling guided his orchestra and the Jacobs Music Center audience through Shostakovich’s puzzling, kaleidoscopic Symphony No. 15 Saturday (Nov. 23) in a tightly focused account that made a compelling case for the composer’s valedictory symphony. Pianist Jon Kimura Parker was on hand to slay the technical dragons in the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto in G Minor.
The prodigious trove of Benjamin Britten’s music needs no special occasion to warrant its performance, but San Diego State University’s Patrick Walders put together a worthy and occasionally inspired tribute to Britten at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Notable were tenor John Russell’s solo in “Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings” and the vibrant “A Ceremony of Carols” sung by Russell’s Chamber Choir from Cal State San Bernadino.
The highly respected Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is known for its commitment to artistic excellence and expanding the chamber music repertoire. The first half of that sterling reputation was upheld by five players from Lincoln Center in Friday’s (Nov. 8) program of Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak for the La Jolla Music Society at Sherwood Auditorium.
Friday’s La Jolla Athenaeum concert with the vocal ensemble New York Polyphony featured Gregory Brown’s radically conceived but sonically ingratiating “Missa Charles Darwin.” This impressive male quartet also offered Thomas Tallis’ “Mass for Four Voices” in an evening of tasteful virtuoso singing!
Back in town playing the Sergei Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto with the San Diego Symphony at the Jacobs Music Center on Saturday (Oct. 26), Chinese superstar Lang Lang once again basked in the adulation of his fans. Music Director Jahja Ling conducted Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major and two shorter Dvorak Slavonic Dances to round out the concert.
Tony and Grammy Awards winning vocalist Audra McDonald soared in her concert for the La Jolla Music Society Friday (Oct. 25) at the Balboa Theatre downtown. Her authority as an interpreter of musical theatre and her ability to captivate her audience were never in doubt as she explored the paths less taken in American stage music.