Within the San Diego arts community, participation in Pacific Rim culture is at most only intermittently experienced. But at Saturday’s (Feb. 8) San Diego Symphony concert, a performance of Zhao Jiping’s Second Pipa Concerto featuring the internationally known pipa virtuosa Wu Man sent a clear signal that San Diego claims its Asian connection.
Milwaukee’s recent brazen Stradivarius violin heist—and subsequent recovery—has garnered a good deal of media attention, including a front-page story in the New York Times of Feb. 7, 2014. That same evening, another storied Stradivarius with an equally crime-tinged history made an appearance at downtown San Diego’s Balboa Theatre played by Joshua Bell in his performance with pianist Sam Haywood.
Four young Scandinavian musicians, the Danish String Quartet, dazzled UC San Diego’s ArtPower audience with their Friday (Jan. 31) concert of Debussy, Mendelssohn and Abrahamsen at the university’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall.
Promoting a concert that featured two symphony orchestras playing together on the same stage conjured the image of a circus barker luring patrons into a tent to see the bearded lady or a two-headed dog. Fortunately, under the baton of guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman, the combined performance of the San Diego Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra easily provided an unusually powerful, moving account of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor.
Fans of cellist Alisa Weilerstein who have been following her progress over recent seasons of La Jolla SummerFest and last spring’s solo appearance with the touring Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra brought the highest expectations to her joint recital with pianist Inon Barnatan Friday (Jan. 17) at Sherwood Auditorium. Neither musician disappointed our high hopes, and the chemistry between these accomplished young artists produced a evening of inspired and probing performances.