REVIEW | 5.04.2012 | by James Chute | San Diego Union-Tribune
File this one under the category marked: nailed it.
San Diego Symphony music director Jahja Ling’s concept of formulating a program around rhapsodies proved to be both enlightening and entertaining, especially with piano soloist Jon Kimura Parker’s energetic contributions to Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
In a Masterworks program Friday at Copley Symphony Hall that also included Alfvén’s “Swedish Rhapsody No. 1” and Enesco’s “Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1,” Parker displayed a rare combination of exuberance and finesse.
When Rachmaninoff, in what is essentially a set of variations, demanded pure, unbridled virtuosity, as in the work’s double-fisted,… Continue reading
A John Harbison Sonata at Alice Tully Hall
REVIEW | 04. 27.12 | By Allan Kozinn | The New York Times
New-music fans who object when musical organizations present contemporary works in special concerts, where they won’t intrude on the classics — the New York Philharmonic’s Contact! series, or the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse concerts, for example — would have approved of the way the society presented John Harbison’s new Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano on Tuesday evening at Alice Tully Hall.
The work, which the society commissioned as part of a consortium, was given its world premiere at the concert by the violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the pianist Jon Kimura Parker, and it was surrounded by two staples of the Romantic canon: Beethoven’s Trio in E flat (Op. 1, No. 1), for which Mr. Lin and Mr. Parker were joined by the cellist Gary Hoffman, and Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor (Op. 60), with the violist Richard O’Neill filling out the ensemble. Continue reading
REVIEW | 3.05.2012 | By Holly Harris | Winnipeg Free Press
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra welcomed March not with a lamb, but with a formidable musical lion as it featured world-class Canadian pianist Jon Kimura Parker in its latest Masterworks concert, the aptly titled Parker Plays Brahms 2.
The highlight of Friday night’s concert, led by Alexander Mickelthwate, was the Vancouver-born artist performing Johannes Brahms’ Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 83. Continue reading
We need to have a quiet talk about pianists and their closet desires to be percussionists. In fact, we already are: by any rational definition, the piano is a percussion instrument – we hit a key, which in turn causes a hammer to hit a string, and sound is produced. But most pianists spend their entire professional lives trying not to make a piano sound like a percussion instrument. Our greatest inspiration in this endeavor is Chopin, whose music invites an approach more akin to singing.
But every once in awhile, the urge to be percussive takes over. My colleague, the great artist Emanuel Ax, took tympani lessons which culminated in a cameo performance in a Beethoven Overture with the Toronto Symphony. My approach is less subtle: I just work in percussion instruments whenever they’re handy. Continue reading
Program 2 of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival – “The Archduke” – featured two trios, the romantic Spanish-flavored Trio of Joaquin Turina, and the weighty gravitas of Beethoven’s mighty Archduke Trio. With the presence of the Gryphon trio, Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann had the choice of who should play what… and wisely chose first to invite Chee-Yun, Desmond Hoebig and I to play the Turina, a work where last-minute rehearsals, a sense of urgency, and a willingness to indulge each other’s spontaneity complemented the music exactly as it was written. Continue reading
Season 14 of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival has begun!
A Poet’s Love took its audience on a musical journey so extraordinary that when I polled concertgoers at the post-concert reception and asked “So, what traditional element of a chamber music festival concert was missing?!” nobody came up with the answer. (More on that later.) Continue reading
So what is Gypsy Music? What is Hungarian folk music? How do we even know a folk tune is a folk tune? Why is it called the “Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5” when it’s not written by Brahms? These are some of the questions that Music@Menlo asked this week in its program Alla Zingarese.
Composer/broadcaster/speaker extraordinaire Bruce Adolphe surveyed these questions with dizzying intensity in a 2-hour encounter last Wednesday, and this past weekend I’ve participated in the musical response, in everything from Haydn’s Gypsy Rondo trio to Hungarian Dances of Brahms, Slavonic Dances of Dvorak, and the glorious C Major Trio of Brahms.
Honestly, though, violist Paul Neubauer stole the show (yes, that’s right, I did just say… Continue reading
Music@Menlo is a unique festival. I’ve been here two days and already their video team headed by Tristan Cook has shot, edited and posted this teaching portrait. This kind of frenetic behind-the-scenes activity is emblematic of what makes this festival stand apart: you can go online and truly experience Music@Menlo from afar, and I suggest you check it out for yourself!
I came here with at least a few expectations. I had known in advance from my colleagues to beware the infamous ears of producer and engineer Da-Hong Seetoo, who never misses an incorrect note, and has been known to suggest better fingerings to nonplussed violinists. (More on that later…) But I hadn’t been so aware of how extensive the educational aspect of Music@Menlo would be. Continue reading
I’ve played in Taiwan before, but only in Taipei. This tour also includes stops in Taichung and Tainan. According to Jimmy, the preponderance of “Tai-“ as a city prefix is a point of pride, and is indeed related to “Tai-“ as the country name’s prefix.
On Wednesday Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin and I played our first recital in Taichung. It was an evening concert, and although it was billed as an educational concert, it wasn’t like any educational concert I’ve played before. I love giving school concerts, but typically much of my energy is devoted to simple crowd control. This audience had kids of all ages, but they were spectacularly attentive, silent during the performances, and demonstratively cheering after each piece.
Apparently you can ask most Chinese in China where to find the best Chinese food, and be told “Taiwan.” Over a one week period I have learned this to be true! Continue reading