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Geneva Anderson digs into art

Smooth trumpeter Chis Botti closes Green Music Center’s Summer Season this Sunday afternoon, September 25, 2013—plenty of ticket options still remain

Chris Botti wraps the Green Music Center’s summer programming this Sunday, August 24, with an afternoon concert at Weill Hall and lawn.  Smooth as silk, Botti—who originally hails from Oregon—imbibes the style of the jazz’s great trumpeters like Davis, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie and pop sophisticates Peter Gabriel and Sting.  His haunting, minor-key playing evokes some of the introspection of Miles Davis whose playing was so inspirational for Botti that he sites it as the reason why he chose to play the trumpet.  Botti’s melodies, many of which are his own, are also incredibly romantic.  I like to think of them as a portal to a dream world where time is suspended.  Since the release of “When I Fall in Love,” his 2004 critically acclaimed CD, the trumpeter has become the world’s largest-selling jazz instrumentalist (3 million plus albums) with PBS specials, Grammy Awards, gold and platinum records and A-list collaborators that have included Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and best pal Sting (the two even share similar blond-tipped spiky coifs).  His latest Grammy-winning album, “Impressions” (Columbia Records, 2012) features even more noted collaborators: Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock, Andrea Bocelli and David Foster, to name a few.   An afternoon at GMC in the summer is simply the best gig in Northern California: the combination of the music and the setting can’t be beat.  It looks the weather will cooperate Sunday for a peak lawn experience too—with temps projected in the high 70’s, the outdoor ambience should be maximal for those trying the lawn table or lawn seating.

Botti is joined by:

Billy Kilson, drums

Geoffrey Keezer, piano

Andy Ezrin, keyboards

Leonardo Amuedo, guitar

Richie Goods, bass

Sy Smith, vocal

Caroline Campbell, violin

Chris Botti performs My Funny Valentine

Chris Botti performs When I Fall in Love

Details:  Chris Botti is Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 4 PM at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn.

Ticket Availability:  As of Friday (August 23, 2013) there were approximately 100 Table Seats available at $45 and ample lawn places available at $25.  There are scattered tickets inside Weill Hall and additional seats may open up ($55 to $100) due to ticket returns: check with the Box Office in person 30 minutes prior to Sunday’s concert.  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

Dining:  Concessions at the Green Music Center are offered all year in the Person Lobby and during the summer on the south end of Weill Lawn. Offering everything from small bites to full meals, the concession offerings can help complete your Green Music Center experience. Guests are also From the south, take U.S. Highway 101 north to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

From the north, take U.S. Highway 101 south to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

August 23, 2013 Posted by | Green Music Center | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goat Rodeo Sessions, at Green Music Center this Friday, September 23, 2013 —the concert everyone’s buzzing about….plenty of ticket options still remain

The Goat Rodeo Sessions with special guest vocalist Aoife O'Donovan perform at Green Music Center this Friday. (L to R) bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolin master Chris Thile, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, and bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan join together create a unique, genre-breaking sound that’s part composed, part improvised and uniquely American. The music is so difficult to pull off, the group likens it to a Goat Rodeo – an aviation term for a situation in which 100 things need to go right to avoid disaster.  Photo: Jeremy Cowart

The Goat Rodeo Sessions with special guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan perform at Green Music Center this Friday. (L to R) bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolin master Chris Thile, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, and bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan join together create a unique, genre-breaking sound that’s part composed, part improvised and uniquely American. The music is so difficult to pull off, the group likens it to a Goat Rodeo – an aviation term for a situation in which 100 things need to go right to avoid disaster. Photo: Jeremy Cowart

The Goat Rodeo Sessions, joined by singer Aoife O’Donovan, wraps its first tour with just three West Coast performances including Friday night at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn.  It wasn’t too long ago that we had to trek down in traffic to Berkeley’s Greek Theatre for big name concerts.  All that’s behind us now—nestled right here we’ve got the acoustically stellar Weill Hall with its back doors that open out to expansive terraced patios and lawn seating, giving audiences a wonderful way to connect with performers on stage while enjoying the magic of late summer in the wine country.

If you were lucky enough to get tickets to Yo-Yo Ma’s January 26 concert at Weill Hall with Kathryn Stott on piano—a program of cello masterpieces that brought us to tears and introduced us Ma’s extraordinary humbling humanity—chances are you were first to snap up tickets coveted inside-the-hall seats for Friday’s performance.  In a 2005 article for Smithsonian magazine, Bay Area music critic Josh Kosman summed it up “If Yo-Yo Ma didn’t exist, no novelist in the world would have dared invent him. The combination of virtues—musical, intellectual, personal—is simply too implausible.”   At the press conference for the summer season we learned that our new hall and enthusiasm had impressed Ma too and that he was excited to come back with the innovative ensemble The Goat Rodeo Sessions and show us another side of his musical expression.  He’ll be sharing the stage with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin master Chris Thile—each Grammy winners and virtuosos in their own right and with Aoife O’Donovan, lead singer for Crooked Still string band and the folk-noir trio Sometymes Why.

Call it what you will—bluegrass, chambergrass or just plain good grass for string quartet, The Goat Rodeo Sessions combines a variety musical styles and traditions while leaving plenty of room for improvisation.  Immensely popularized by their Grammy Award-winning 2011 album for Sony Masterworks, the ensemble has reunited outside the studio just once for a January 2012 concert at Boston’s House of Blues that was simulcast to theaters around the country and later released as a DVD.

What’s a “goat rodeo,” you might wonder?   The term is from the world of aviation where so many things go wrong that a right move needs to made for it all not to end in disaster.  The group feels kinship with that concept and the name has suits highly their improvisational approach to music and life.

I’ve been to several of GMC’s summer performances, with seats inside and outside the hall, and they’ve all been spectacular in their own right.   Truth be told, it can get chilly when the fog rolls in, but there’s an exciting crowd vibe that emerges when you’re outdoors. I’m trying a table seat for this concert.   There’s something about Ma’s personality and his profound ability to from a connection with his audience that came through in his January performance that touched me—I can’t wait to see him as part of this group and to experience the give and take vibe that this type of intense collaboration requires.   With over 15 songs on the program, with plenty of opportunity for improvisation from all four of the players, it’s bound to be a goat rodeo to beat all.

Members of the Goat Rodeo Sessions—cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan— performing “Attaboy,” from the Goat Rodeo Sessions Live.  

The Goat Rodeo Sessions performs at Google New York in 2011 (Presented by Google on YouTube)

Details:  Goat Rodeo Sessions is Friday, August 23, 2013, at 7:30 PM at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn.

Ticket Availability:  As of Tuesday (August 20, 2013) there were approximately 100 Table Seats available at $45 and 2,000 lawn places available at $25.  Tickets inside Weill Hall sold out almost immediately when they were listed.  There may inside seating available ($55 to $100) due to ticket returns: check with the Box Office in person 30 minutes prior to Friday’s concert.  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

Dining:  It is too late to order from the selection of special Whole Foods dinners.  Concessions at the Green Music Center are offered all year in the Person Lobby and during the summer on the south end of Weill Lawn. Offering everything from small bites to full meals, the concession offerings can help complete your Green Music Center experience. Guests are also welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages (unopened, must be sealed) into the venue but no alcohol.  All alcohol must be purchased on-site.

Directions: Green Music Center is located on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, at the intersection of Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Hill Road.

From the south, take U.S. Highway 101 north to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

From the north, take U.S. Highway 101 south to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

August 20, 2013 Posted by | Green Music Center | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Up Wednesday, July 24, the legendary Josh Groban performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood.  He performs at Green Music Center on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood. He performs at Green Music Center on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

Dubbed the “love me tenor” by adoring female fans, the dreamy-voiced Josh Groban performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.  If you haven’t been to Weill Hall yet this summer, their summer concerts start a little earlier—at 7:30 p.m.—so there’s lots of natural light hitting the hall’s golden-hued wood interior, making a gorgeous setting for a charming crooner like Groban.

Now 32, the Los Angeles native, is  well known for his inspirational hits “You Raise Me Up,” “To Where You Are,” and “I Believe” (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) and all of his records have topped the charts.  Of late, he’s been venturing from the semi-poperatic sound that catapulted him to fame in the late 90’s and early 2000 ‘s into new territory.  His latest album, All That Echoes, is an impressive crossover into pop and rock that promptly went to No 1. On the Billboard 200 right after its February 2013 release.  He not only sings but had a hand in co-writing seven of the of the CD’s twelve songs.  He’s really all about interpretation, finding the perfect way to express himself musically.  He garnered a lot of new fans with his hilarious 2011 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” where he sat down to the piano and set Kayne West’s insane tweets to music.  He’s also known for his incredibly down-to earth stage presence and for taking a break at his concerts to chat with audience members.

Essential Groban—

Discovery:  In 1998, at age 17, Groban’s voice teacher connected him with world-renowned Grammy-winning producer/arranger David Foster who liked him and began to use him as a rehearsal singer for many high-profile events.  His big break came when he was stand-in for Andrea Boccelli at the 1999 Grammy Awards and rehearsed Foster’s “The Prayer” with Céline Dion.  Those who heard him, like the program’s hostess, Rosie O’Donnell, immediately booked him and his career was off and running.

Recording success: His first four solo albums (Josh Groban (2201), Closer (2003), Awake (2006), Noël (2007), have been certified multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was charted as the number-one best selling artist in the United States, with over 21 million records in the nation.  He has sold over 25 million records worldwide.

Grammy:  Groban earned his first Grammy nomination in 2005 for his single “You Raise Me Up” in the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance category.

Collaborations:  Recent collaborations include such artists as Sarah McLachlan, Adele, Josh Groban, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Hall and Oates, Gloria Estefan, the Indigo Girls, Diana Krall, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Merchant, Chris Isaak, Blue Man Group, Pink Martini, Brandi Carlile, The Decemberists, Martina McBride, Josh Ritter, Gloria Gaynor and others.

Olympics/ Obama: On February 24, 2002, Groban performed “The Prayer” with Charlotte Church at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  On January 18, 2009, Groban performed as part of the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies, performing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in duet with Heather Headley.

You Raise Me Up

Groban’s Hilarious Spoof CD compilation of Kanye West’s Tweets

Details:  Josh Groban performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony is 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at Weill Hall.  Tickets:  There is no remaining indoor seating.  There is outdoor and lawn seating $35-$55.  Recommend advance ticket purchase.  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040 or in person at the GMC Box Office, adjacent to the courtyard of Weill Hall , which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and one hour before all performances.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Classical Music, Green Music Center | , , , | Leave a comment

Summer at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall—this evening, violinist Sarah Chang and French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet perform with Moscow’s Best, the Russian National Orchestra

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs with the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro at Weill Hall on Tuesday, July16, 2013. Violinist Sarah Cheng also guest solos.

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet performs with the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro at Weill Hall on Tuesday, July16, 2013. Violinist Sarah Cheng also guest solos.

There’s a special performance at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall this evening.  As part of their summer programming, which has a particularly festive bend, GMC is partnering with Napa Valley’s Festival Del Sole in presenting the Russian National Orchestra (RNO), conducted by Carlo Montanaro, with renowned violinist Sarah Chang performing Samuel Barber’s popular Violin Concerto, and sensational pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Saint-Saëns’ “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5, a rarely-performed gem.  The concerts starts early, at 6:30 p.m., and ample tickets are still available in most areas except the front orchestra, so tickets can be purchased right before the performance at the GMC box office which closes at 4 p.m. and then re-opens at 5:30 p.m.

The Program—

Dmitri Shostakovich / Festive Overture, Op. 96:  Shostakovich wrote this short lively piece in 1954 for a concert held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.  A victim of Stalin’s suppression, he worked heroically under stifling conditions but was unable to share his music.  Many music historians have posited that piece’s ebullience reflects his relief over Stalin’s departure and his ability to practice his art freely.  It is based it on Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla overture from 1842, and it features the same lively tempo and style of melody.  The overture was played at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and at the 2009 Nobel Prize concert.

Founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pietnev, the Russian National Orchestra is described as “a living symbol of the best in Russian art” (Miami Herald) and “as close to perfect as one could hope for” (Classics Today).  The orchestra is unique among leading Russian ensembles in that it is a private institution funded with the support of individuals, corporations and foundations in Russia and worldwide.  The RNO maintains an active international tour schedule, appearing in Europe, Asia and the Americas and its guest artists include Nicola Luisotti, San Francisco Opera’s beloved Music Director and Renée Fleming, who opens GMC 2nd season on September 15, 2013.  The RNO is the resident orchestra of the Festival de Sole.

Camille Saint-Saëns / Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, Op. 103:  This concerto is nicknamed “The Egyptian” for two reasons. Saint-Saëns composed it in the temple town of Luxor while on one of his frequent winter vacations to Egypt, and secondly, the music is a synthesis of his far-flung eastern wanderings displaying influences from Javanese and Spanish as well as Middle-eastern music.  While it’s hard to imagine now, in 1872, Saint-Saëns received a large bequest from the estate of the director of the French Post Office, who expressed that a gifted composer should not have to work (as organist of La Madeleine in Paris) to supplement his income.  This bequest, together with income from royalties and performance fees, freed Saint-Saëns indulge his passion for travel.  He conducted in Moscow, London, and the United States and travelled to Egypt, Brazil, Ceylon, and Algiers.  He premiered the piece in 1896 with himself as soloist at a Jubilee Concert commemorating his debut 50 years earlier.

Thibaudet is known for coaxing the most amazing nuances from each work he performs and has recorded over 40 albums.  He has also collaborated on the soundtracks of Oscar-wining and nominated films Atonement and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.   He was just 20 when he was invited to be a guest soloist with the Napa Valley Symphony Orchestra and performed the Saint-Saëns concerto that he will be playing this evening.  For a delightful rendition of that performance and Thibaudet’s long-abiding passion for Napa Valley, click here to read L. Pierce Carson’s article in the Napa Valley Register.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 5 – The Egyptian 

Samuel Barber / Violin Concerto, Op. 14:  Commissioned by Philadelphia soap magnate, Samuel Fels for Russian violinist Iso Briselli, this controversial concerto, completed in 1939, was subsequently rejected by the Russian virtuoso.  Its tragic lyricism is in large part due to its dramatic violin parts which should find their true intense expression under Sarah Chang. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 8, Chang has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors and accompanists internationally in a career spanning more than two decades.  Her latest recording of the Brahms and Bruch violin concertos (EMI, Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 / Brahms: Violin Concerto, 2009) has been voted one of the top 250 best recordings of all time in Gramophone magazine.  If you’ve never seen Chang perform live before, you’re in for a remarkable experience.  Her intense bow strikes often seem like attacks. Her restless stage presence includes bending backwards, flipping her hair and making anguished facial gestures all while donning a body-hugging evening gown.

Sarah Chang performs Bruch Violin Concerto 3rd Movement

Sarah Chang age 12 masters Paganini’s Violin Concerto

Details:  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040 or in person at the Box Office which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and one hour before all performances.

For more information about the Green Music Center, visit www.gmc.edu .

For more information about Festival del Sole, which runs through July 21, 2013 and presents over 60 events featuring the stars of music, dance and theatre, visit www.festivaldelsole.org .

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Classical Music, Green Music Center | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Fourth of July! Weill Hall gets dressed with red white and blue…

It might look like the Parthenon but it's Green Music Center's Weill Hall celebrating the 4th.  The music begins at  7:30 featuring santa Rosa Symphony and the fireworks start at 9:15 p.m.   Image: Geneva Anderson

It might look like the Parthenon but it’s Green Music Center’s Weill Hall celebrating the 4th. The music begins at 7:30 featuring Santa Rosa Symphony performing American classics. Dazzling fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. Image: Geneva Anderson

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Art, Classical Music, Green Music Center | , , , | Leave a comment

Green Music Center’s Summer Season is around the corner—tickets are now on sale to the general public today

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers.  Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers. Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

Josh Groban, YoYo Ma and Goat Rodeo Sessions, Chris Botti, the Russian National Orchestra, El Gusto,  and a traditional 4th of July celebration are among the highlights of the Green Music Center’s inaugural summer season which was announced on April 23, 2013.   After offering first dibs on summer tickets to its high-level donors, followed by Mastercard holders, tickets are now on sale to the general public.  The stellar season features a nine-concert array of classical, orchestral, bluegrass and world music artists and represents an expansive and creative approach to musical entertainment offering some coveted big name draws and a sampling of some rare offerings of world music incuding El Gusto (the Good Mood), a reunited group of musicians from the Casbah of old Algiers that has been hailed as the Buena Vista Social Club of Algeria.  And like the Buena Vista Social Club, there’s a new documentary film by Safinez Bousbia that will screen in advance of their GMC performance that has largely been responsible for their re-launch.

The al fresco season takes full advantage of the wonderful Wine Country weather and lush accommodations of Weill Lawn, utilizing the expanded seating of the Green Music Center’s outdoor spaces for up to 6,000 patrons.  Many of those seats and outdoor tables allow for outdoor gourmet dining from Prelude, GMC’s culinary jewel.

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION: It all begins on July 4 with the revival of a community tradition – a family-friendly Independence Day orchestral concert amidst an afternoon of festivities, culminating in a dazzling fireworks display across the Sonoma County skies.

 THE MASTERCARD PERFORMANCE SERIES: HEADLINE CONCERTS

Josh Groban’s success as a singer and songwriter has extended beyond the classical genre and into the mainstream, following his rise to fame in the early 2000s with such Grammy-nominated singles as “You Raise Me Up.”   Dubbed the “love me tenor” by adoring female fans, he performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony led by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, on July 24 for the most intimate concert of his summer tour – and his only date in Northern California – produced by Rick Bartalini Presents.

Yo-Yo Ma liked Weill Hall so much in January that he’s coming back, with the renowned The Goat Rodeo Sessions, sharing the stage with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin master Chris Thile.  Special guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan joins this innovative ensemble that blends bluegrass influences with classical traditions on August 23.   What’s a “goat rodeo,” you might wonder?   The term is from the world of aviation where so many things go wrong that a right move needs to made for it all not to end in disaster.  The group feels kinship with that concept and the name has suits highly their improvisational spproach to music and life.

Members of the Goat Rodeo Sessions performing “Attaboy,” from the Goat Rodeo Sessions Live.

Retro-pop orchestra Pink Martini delivers its genre-crossing blend of jazz, classical, cabaret and world music on July 14, for a performance the New York Times calls “a polyrhythmic, one-world cocktail,” and lead singer China Forbes describes as “uplifting, romantic, multi-lingual and melodic – and of course it makes you want to dance.”

American jazz-trumpeter Chris Botti has had widespread success in the pop-instrumental genre, releasing twelve solo albums and collaborating with Andrea Bocelli, Paul Simon, Sting, and many of the world’s leading orchestras. His August 25 concert concludes the MasterCard Performance Series Summer 2013 programming.

ORCHESTRAL OFFERINGS

The Green Music Center partners with Napa Valley Festival del Sole for a July 16 concert by the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro and featuring Sarah Chang in Barber’s Violin Concerto and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the rarely-performed Saint-Saëns “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 5 – The Egyptian 

The suspense, the drama, the horror, the sorrow, and the excitement— the movies we love feature memorable scores.  The San Francisco Symphony performs an evening of “Music from the Movies” on August 4 with guest conductor Sarah Hicks and a very special narrator, as tunes from the silver screen come to life in a program that parents will appreciate, and kids of all ages are sure to enjoy.

ACCLAIMED FILM PROJECT WITH ALGERIAN ORCHESTRA EL GUSTO

 In 2003, film director Safinez Bousbia stumbled upon the inspirational story of El Gusto, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago but brought together by a shared passion for Chaâbi – a musical blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Flamenco-influenced sounds meaning “of the people.”

This moving ensemble has been called “The Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers” by Le Journal du Dimanche, and performs exclusively on the West Coast in Weill Hall, following performances at Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center.

Bousbia’s documentary, “El Gusto,” chronicles these musicians enduring friendships and the transcendent power of music.  A special screening of the film precedes their August 11 concert.  (Stay tuned to ARThound for special coverage.)

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood.  He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood. Claim to fame: 2003 single “You Raise Me Up.” He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

MUSIC FESTIVAL TIES WEILL HALL TO THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL

Following a week of workshops with faculty from The Juilliard School, participants of the innovative pianoSonoma workshop and music festival will culminate their experiences with a concert in Weill Hall on August 10. This educational program pairs pianists throughout the region with Juilliard faculty for private lessons, guided rehearsals, daily master-classes, and a final public performance.

This capstone concert concludes a robust lineup of music education classes, workshops, master classes, and amateur performances taking place throughout the Green Music Center from mid-June to August.

GMC SUMMER 2013 At A Glance

A Fourth of July Celebration: Thursday, July 4 at 730 pm
Fireworks to follow

Pink Martini: Sunday, July 14 at 4 pm

Russian National Orchestra
with Carlo Montanaro, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano, and
Sarah Chang, violin :Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm

Josh Groban
and the Santa Rosa Symphony
with Sean O’Loughlin, conductor: 
Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 pm

San Francisco Symphony “Music from the Movies”
with guest conductor Sarah Hicks:
Sunday, August 4 at 4 pm

pianoSonoma: Saturday, August 10 at 7 pm

El Gusto
Documentary film screening and concert: Sunday, August 11 at 4 pm

Goat Rodeo
Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile with guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan
Friday, August 23 at 7 pm

Chris Botti: Sunday, August 25 at 4 pm

TICKETS AND BOX OFFICE INFORMATION: General public sales begin Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. There are no subscription sales for the summer season.

Single-ticket prices range from $5 to $225. Discounts are available for youth (ages 12 and under receive 50% off lawn seating only), SSU students (50% discount, limit one per student per event), SSU faculty and staff (20% discount, limit two per employee per event), and for SSU alumni (10% discount, valid Alumni Association card required). Discounts do not apply to reduced-price events including pianoSonoma and El Gusto.

Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Chamber Music, Classical Music, Film, Jazz Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tara Erraught—she came she conquered! Monday, April 22, 8 a.m.—Green Music Center 2013-14 Subscription Tickets go on sale to the public

Her career was launched with an unexpected debut, replacing an ailing colleague and scoring great acclaim as Romeo in Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” at Bavarian State Opera. The rest is history.  26-year-old Irish-born mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught has elated critics and audiences ever since.  Today’s recital at Weill Hall included songs by Dvořák, Respighi, Brahms, Wolf, Handel and Rossini.  She was last in this season’s fabulous opera line-up, part of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Vocal Arts Series, which included eight soloists.

Her career was launched with an unexpected debut, replacing an ailing colleague and scoring great acclaim as Romeo in Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” at Bavarian State Opera. The rest is history. 26-year-old Irish-born mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught has elated critics and audiences ever since. Today’s recital at Weill Hall included songs by Dvořák, Respighi, Brahms, Wolf, Handel and Rossini. She was last in this season’s fabulous opera line-up, part of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Vocal Arts Series, which included eight soloists.

For those who missed mezzo Tara Erraught’s recital today at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall, she was FABULOUS.  The young Irish-born mezzo is blessed with a huge expressive voice, blissful tone and a radiant style that enchanted the audience through two encores.  Erraught sang rarely performed songs by Ottorino Respighi and Hugo Wolf as well as Brahms, Handel and Rossini—she explained that the common thread was their engrossing stories.  The repertoire was varied and performed in German and Italian, giving a good opportunity to hear her impressive range as well as linguistic dexterity.  In the second half,  Handel’s “Dopo notte: from Ariodante and Rossini’s “Una voce poco fa” from Barber of Seville, were so enthralling that you could have heard a pin drop as the audience reveled in her dynamic and colorful voice accelerating into divinely executed trills.   This was my first time hearing her live and this repertoire and the acoustics of Weill Hall combined to create the perfect vehicle for her to display what’s so special about her singing.   She topped off the afternoon with an encore that included “Danny Boy” and the rapt audience immediately began sniffling and wiping away the tears.  What a joy to experience a young singer at the top of her game, something we’ll brag about years from now. 

Erraught’s ascent has been rapid, so much so that when the programmers at Green Music Center booked her, it was solely on the basis of her acclaim for jumping in with five-days’ notice to perform Romeo in a new production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Bavarian State Opera.  She nailed it.  Since then, she’s been booked with debuts in several continents.  She is scheduled for a second North American recital tour in 2014, so you may be able to catch her then.  

In all, the GMC’s talent spotting radar has proved impeccable and that’s in large part due to Robert Cole whose connections are golden.  The inaugural season brought well-known delights—Joyce DiDonato, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, and Alison Krauss—and introduced some top world musicians less familiar in these parts—Spanish world-music singer Buika and Mexican-American singer and composer Lila Downs. 

Now is the time to lock in tickets for the second season. Tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Monday, April 22, 2013), subscription tickets go on sale for the 2013-2014 season.

Green Music Center’s 2013-14 MasterCard Performance Series Season:   

Six preset subscription packages are available for purchase at 15% off single ticket prices. Four of these packages are classically focused, featuring an assemblage of instrumental, choral, orchestral, and vocal performances. Two packages separately consist of jazz and world music offerings.

Subscriptions have already been offered to high-level patrons, followed by current subscribers and MasterCard cardholders.  On Monday, subscription tickets will be made available to the general public. ARThound checked with the GMC box office just before they closed on Friday and there are still plenty of great seats to be had, except for Renée Fleming, the season opener.

Opening Night Celebration, Sunday, September 15, 2013—Reminiscent of last fall’s inaugural festivities, this year’s season opener is global celeb soprano Renée Fleming, one of the world’s most beloved vocalists.  The unique rear wall of Weill Hall will be open to the terraced lawns and offers expanded seating for 5,000 additional outdoor patrons. There is very limited inside hall seating for this special performance. The only way to secure a ticket is to buy either a set subscription to one of the six pre-set series and purchase the concert as an add-on OR as part of the “Pick 6” package which allows patrons to select any six performances from the season lineup at a discount of 10% off single ticket prices.

Festivities will continue throughout the month of September with two additional Indian summer concerts utilizing the outdoor seating of Weill Lawn, beginning with world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman on Sept. 21, and followed by jazz legend Herbie Hancock on Sept. 28.

ORCHESTRAL:

Orchestral headliners of the season include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in March, The English Concert performing Handel’s Theodora, Venice Baroque Orchestra with rising star counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky, and returning holiday favorite Handel’s Messiah by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale.

VOCAL:

Acclaimed sopranos Jessye Norman, Ruth Ann Swenson, and Deborah Voigt are featured in a phenomenal vocal lineup, that also includes baritones Bryn Terfel in October and Florian Boesch in May, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau on piano. “An Afternoon of Opera” in March pairs operatic sensations Leah Crocetto and David Lomeli, accompanied by Weill Hall’s resident orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony.

ISTRUMETNAL:

An array of award-winning instrumentalists is intertwined throughout the twenty- three concert season, beginning with a return performance by Chinese superstar Lang Lang. The season also features fellow pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Richard Goode, as well as acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn, and a performance by The Takács Quartet.

JAZZ & WORLD MUSIC:

Six jazz and world music concerts showcase an impressive range of artistry, including Portuguese fado artist Mariza, Spanish flamenco sensation Estrella Morente, the distinguished Silk Road Ensemble, the inspirational Bahia Orchestra Project, and rising jazz stars Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

Descriptions of all packages and purchase options are at: www.gmc.sonoma.edu

Package prices for three-concert sets range from $78 to $204 and four-concert bundles range in price from $138-$336. The “Pick 6” package allows patrons to select any six performances from the season lineup at a discount of 10% off single ticket prices. SSU students receive a 50% discount on all tickets (limit one per student per event) and SSU faculty and staff receive a 20% discount (limit two per employee per event).

Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.sonoma.edu, or, over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.

Single tickets will go on sale this summer.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING:

 Programming in addition to the MasterCard Performance Series includes a full season by Weill Hall’s resident orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by music director Bruno Ferrandis and performing seven triple-sets of classical works and a variety of family and youth concerts.

The Grammy award-winning San Francisco Symphony returns to Weill Hall for a second year, featuring four concerts led by Michael Tilson-Thomas, Semyon Bychkov, Alexander Barantschik, and Charles Dutoit.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Chamber Music, Classical Music | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finally! Elīna Garanča makes her Bay Area debut at Weill Hall, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Latvian mezzo soprano, Elīna Garanča, makes her West Coast debut at Weill Hall on Tuesday, April 8, 2013.  Photo: courtesy Elīna Garanča.com

Latvian mezzo soprano, Elīna Garanča, makes her West Coast debut at Weill Hall on Tuesday, April 8, 2013. Photo: courtesy Elīna Garanča.com

She’s graced the stages of the world’s top opera houses, notably stunning at the Met three seasons ago with her break-out role as Carmen.  She was set to have her West Coast debut with San Francisco Opera in “Werther,” fall season 2010, but unexpectedly cancelled.  The closest we’ve come to seeing her up close was catching her riveting Sesto in the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD simulcast of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (December 1, 2012) at the Rialto Cinemas—wowing us with her opening “Parto, parto” and her Act II aria “Deh per questo istante.”  Finally!  Latvian mezzo soprano, Elīna Garanča, makes her West Coast debut in recital on at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall on Tuesday, April 9—her only West Coast appearance this year.  What a coup for GMC!  But it’s been quite a year for mezzos—Stephanie Blythe and Joyce Di Donato gave unforgettable performances earlier in the season.

Garanča’s rich mezzo, musicianship, and compelling stage portrayals have established her as one of the world’s newest opera stars.  In 2005, she locked in a coveted exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.  Now, at 36, she’s in her prime.  Along with her last best-selling solo album, Romantique (2012)(works by Berlioz, Donizetti, Gounod, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Vaccai), she has been releasing a series of glam-shots that accentuate her striking beauty and sensuality.  And like, Joyce DiDonato, who wowed us with her amazing red gown, Garanča also loves to dress up, so get ready for some amazing dresses on Tuesday!

On April 26, Deutsche Grammophon will release its recording of Metropolitan Opera’s 2009 production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola in which she sings Angelina, the opera’s central role.  Critic Steve Smith raved in a New York Times review (5.7.2009) that she was “technically flawless: her voice lustrous and even throughout her range and at any dynamic; her delivery, silken and seemingly effortless.”

Reviews of this particular performance run hot and cool. She was in recital this past Saturday at Carnegie Hall, with the same program she’s doing for GMC.  Critics praised her voice, precision and preparation but pointed to her lack of connection with the audience.  Forging that intimate connection is the factor that immortalizes a technically great singer, which Garanča already is.  The warm, intimate, and relaxed atmosphere of Weill Hall should go a long way towards taking care of that.  It’s been an elixir for the divas who’ve appeared there so far and we’ve experienced them at their finest.

Garanča’s program centers on love—a mother’s love for her newborn child, the early pangs of romance,  the solidarity of a great marriage, and the warm contentment of a bond that has matured over many years.  She’s selected three of the masters of German lieder: Robert Schumann, Alban Berg, and Richard Strauss.  The cornerstone for the recital is Schumann’s  Frauenliebe und – leben, which she said in an interview with Carnegie Hall is her current favorite lied cycle.

Program—

Robert Schumann

“Widmung”
“Der Nussbaum”
“Jemand”
“Zwei Lieder der Braut””

Frauenliebe und – leben”

INTERMISSION
Alban Berg
“Sieben frühe Lieder”

Richard Strauss
“Leises Lied”
“All mein Gedanken”
“Ach Lieb, ich muss nun scheiden”
“Meinem Kinde”
“Allerseelen”
“Heimliche Aufforderung”

Elīna Garanča introducing the romantic repertoire of her latest CD, “Romantique”

Elīna Garanča sings Mozart’s “Parto, ma tu ben mio” from “La celmenza di Tito”

Elina Garanca sings Gypsy-themed songs, introducing “Habanera,” her 2010 solo album.  

Details:  Elīna Garanča performs April 9, 2013 at 8 p.m. at Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park.  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.sonoma.edu, or, over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040.  Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.  The Box Office re-opens one hour before the performance.

Parking: As you enter the Sonoma State University campus from the Rohnert Park Expressway, there are multiple parking lots immediately to your right. Parking Lots L, M, N and O are available for parking for GMC performances. Parking is $10.  Have cash ready.

April 8, 2013 Posted by | Classical Music, Green Music Center, Opera | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Got a Mastercard? Tuesday, April 2, 8 a.m —Green Music Center 2013-14 go tickets on sale

She has been invited to perform on all the major opera stages of the world.  Renée Fleming will launch the Green Music Center’s second season with a special appearance Sunday, September 15, 2013 at Weill Hall.  Image: Decca/Andrew Eccles

She has been invited to perform on all the major opera stages of the world. Renée Fleming will launch the Green Music Center’s second season with a special appearance Sunday, September 15, 2013 at Weill Hall. Image: Decca/Andrew Eccles

A reminder: advance subscription sales for the Green Music Center’s  2013-14 MasterCard Performance Series start tomorrow morning, Tuesday, April 2 at 8 am for past subscribers and all MasterCard cardholders.  Six preset subscription packages are available for purchase at 15% off single ticket prices. Four of these packages are classically focused, featuring an assemblage of instrumental, choral, orchestral, and vocal performances. Two packages separately consist of jazz and world music offerings.

The opening night celebration is Sunday, September 15,2013.   Reminiscent of last fall’s inaugural festivities, this year’s celeb is soprano Renée Fleming, one of America’s most beloved vocalists.  The unique rear wall of Weill Hall will be open to the terraced lawns and offers expanded seating for 5,000 additional outdoor patrons.  If you want inside hall seating for this special performance, it is highly recommended that you get your tickets on April 2.  The only way to do so is to buy either a set subscription to one of the six pre-set series and purchase the concert as an add-on OR as part of the “Pick 6” package which allows patrons to select any six performances from the season lineup at a discount of 10% off single ticket prices.  

Descriptions of all packages and purchase options are at: www.gmc.sonoma.edu

Package prices for three-concert sets range from $78 to $204 and four-concert bundles range in price from $138-$336.

An additional “Pick 6” package allows patrons to select any six performances from the season lineup at a discount of 10% off single ticket prices.

Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.sonoma.edu, or, over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.

Single tickets will go on sale later this year.

SSU students receive a 50% discount on all tickets (limit one per student per event) and SSU faculty and staff receive a 20% discount (limit two per employee per event).

 An array of world-renowned classical, instrumental, vocal, and jazz artists has been assembled for GMC’s second season which launches in September 2013.

 Following soprano Renée Fleming’s season opener, festivities continue throughout the month of September with two additional concerts utilizing the outdoor seating of Weill Lawn, beginning with world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman on Sept. 21, and followed by jazz legend Herbie Hancock on Sept. 28.

Orchestral headliners of the season include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in March, The English Concert performing Handel’s Theodora, Venice Baroque Orchestra with rising star counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky, and returning holiday favorite Handel’s Messiah by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale.

Acclaimed sopranos Jessye Norman, Ruth Ann Swenson, and Deborah Voigt are featured in a phenomenal vocal lineup, that also includes baritones Bryn Terfel in October and Florian Boesch in May, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau on piano. “An Afternoon of Opera” in March pairs operatic sensations Leah Crocetto and David Lomeli, accompanied by Weill Hall’s resident orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony.

An array of award-winning instrumentalists is intertwined throughout the twenty- three concert season, beginning with a return performance by Chinese superstar Lang Lang. The season also features fellow pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Richard Goode, as well as acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn, and a performance by The Takács Quartet.

Six jazz and world music concerts showcase an impressive range of artistry, including Portuguese fado artist Mariza, Spanish flamenco sensation Estrella Morente, the distinguished Silk Road Ensemble, the inspirational Bahia Orchestra Project, and rising jazz stars Jon Batiste and Stay Human.

Programming in addition to the MasterCard Performance Series includes a full season by Weill Hall’s resident orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by music director Bruno Ferrandis and performing seven triple-sets of classical works and a variety of family and youth concerts.

The Grammy award-winning San Francisco Symphony returns to Weill Hall for a second year, featuring four concerts led by Michael Tilson-Thomas, Semyon Bychkov, Alexander Barantschik, and Charles Dutoit.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Chamber Music, Classical Music | , , | Leave a comment

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Green Music Center this Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Image: courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Image: courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center

Winner of nine Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records, the virtuoso trumpet player and composer Wynton Marsalis is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum, from New Orleans and bebop to modern jazz.  In 2011, Marsalis stepped in as artistic director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and his impact has been nothing short of monumental in both the creative and management realms.  Drawing from an extensive repertoire that includes original compositions by Mr. Marsalis, Ted Nash, and other members of the orchestra, as well as the masterworks of Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane, and other great jazz composers, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concerts are internationally critically acclaimed.  Marsalis and the orchestra, composed of many of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, will play at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall this Thursday, March 21, 2013, at 8 p.m.   The concert has been sold-out since last spring, when tickets first went on sale for GMS’s inaugural season.

Prelude Restaurant Pre-concert dinner: Taste of New Orleans: An exclusive pre-concert event featuring true New Orleans-style cuisine, bluesy-jazz music, and the best wine and beer Sonoma County has to offer will be held from 6pm – 8pm (concert begins at 8pm) this Thursday at Prelude Restaurant at the Green Music Center.  Price $375 / person, including concert seating.   This is one way to get tickets. Contact: Caroline Ammann at 707-664-3517 or email ammannc@sonoma.edu by Thursday evening

Wynton Marsalis & Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform Wigwam at the XIV Festival Internacional de Jazz San Javier in 2011—

In 1997, David Frost interviewed Wynton Marsalis at his home and they discussed jazz, music and culture in general.  Marsalis, then 36, had already won a Pulitzer and several Grammy Awards and comes across as thoughftul and wise beyond his years.   What a wodnerful ambassador for jazz— 

In 1983, Wynton marsalis won Granny Awards in both the Jazz and Classical recordings,  and did this agian in 1984.  Here is his performance of selections from both genres in the 1983 national broadcast of the awards ceremony with John Denver hosting—

Details: Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform Thursday, March 13, 2013 at 8 pm at Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park.  The concert is SOLD OUT.   Check for last minute returns at the Box Office in person, starting 1 hour before the performance or phone the Box Office at 7 p.m. at (866) 955-6040 to inquire about returns.  The Box Office closes at 4:30 p.m. but re-opens one hour before the performance.

Parking: As you enter the Sonoma State University campus from the Rohnert Park Expressway, there are multiple parking lots immediately to your right. Parking Lots L, M, N and O are available for parking for GMC performances.  Parking is included in your ticket purchase – no stub or receipt is needed to park.

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Jazz Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment