Weekly Magazine

THIS COMING WEEK

DAVID ARROW’S one-man Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade from Jewel Theatre extended through November 15. EDWIN HUIZINGA plays an online Bach solo violin recital for the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival. STEINWAY SOCIETY HOME CONCERT HALL presents pianist Zlata Chochieva in recital. STANFORD UNIVERSITY presents Beyond the Wound is a Portal. FOR DETAILS AND LINKS, CLICK HERE

MCTA’S VIRTUAL VENUE PROGRAM

SOME LOCAL presenters and producers seen stymied by technophobia. The Monterey County Theatre Alliance offers solutions and encouragement.  

By Andrea McDonald

WE MISSED OUR SHOWS, the acting, the watching, and everything in between. So what to do? As they say, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Once we of the Monterey County Theatre Alliance realized that in-person meetings would be on hold for a while, we started using Zoom for board meetings. Turned out Zoom Meeting had many advantages over a conference call. It is much easier to do a “share screen” to explain something, view financial reports, and more.

I started musing about how we help our theatre community, took a couple of Zoom training classes, and realized that Zoom Webinar was a great tool for moving live theatre to virtual. Different from Zoom Meeting, which is designed to be a collaborative event with all participants being able to screen share, turn on their video and audio, and see who else is in the meeting, Zoom Webinar is the equivalent to a virtual lecture hall or, in our case, a theatre; perfect for large audiences or events. At one of our performances, we had over 80 ‘audience members,’ four actors, and a concurrent slide presentation in a single session. And we can turn attendee microphones on and off during the Q & A sessions.

Setting up a Zoom Webinar is quite a bit more complicated than setting up a Zoom Meeting. Rather than diving in, trying a bunch of features and functions all at once, we chose a phased approach and are adding new features gradually. As we discovered early on, setup, testing, and rehearsals are critical, so Zoom offers free training. Zoom Webinar has a monthly add-on cost, but if the “audience” experience is what we want, we recommend Webinar. MCTA Virtual Venue has exceeded our expectations. Audiences for the performances are increasing and theater-goers tell us that they are thrilled to see live theatre again.

Just a reminder, if you are looking for a virtual venue, MCTA is here to help. If you have any ideas, want to do a public play reading, try out a new play as a play reading, present/record a monolog, give me a call (831) 915-1968 or send an email to admin@theatremonterey.org, and we can work out the particulars.

FARKHAD KHUDYEV WINS MAJOR AWARD

THE INTERNATIONAL ARTHUR NIKISCH CONDUCTING COMPETITION announces the Special Prize “Beethoven 250,” consisting of a highly valuable gold medal for the best video including a performance of a piece by Ludwig van Beethoven, has been assigned to Farkhad Khudyev! Described by the critics as “magician on the podium” and “the man of exceptional charisma” with “the ability to connect with invisible worlds and to bring them alive in the music,” Farkhad Khudyev has been recognized by the government of the United States as an Artist of Extraordinary Ability. Khudyev told us, “There were around 200 conductors who participated across the globe, and I am deeply humbled to be chosen for this prestigious and meaningful prize.” Khudyev is the Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the University of Texas at Austin Symphony Orchestra and an Assistant Professor of Music in Orchestral Studies at the same university, as well as a Music Director of the Orchestral Institute at the Hidden Valley Institute of the Arts in Carmel. He is previous Music Director/Conductor for Youth Music Monterey.

SF SYMPHONY CANCELS TIL FALL 2021

“WHILE IT IS deeply disappointing to have to cancel the remainder of the planned concerts in our 2020-21 Season, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 make it clear that this is the best course of action for the Symphony at this time,” says San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson.

SHAKEUP OVERDUE AT SF STATE?

MUSIC PROFESSOR Hafez Modirzadeh says SFSU’s music program is fettered by “a deep intergenerational upholding of that archaic ‘separate but equal’ logic that miseducates, leaving our students perpetually revolving around a musical caste system stuck thick in ethnic myopia.” Andrew Gilbert reports for SFCV, HERE

HERBIE HANCOCK ON MUSIC THEORY

 

BRUCE LAMOTT RETIRES

THE DIRECTOR of the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Chorale is retiring after 23 years where he also served as PBO’s Scholar-in-Residence. He first performed with the Orchestra in 1989 as continuo harpsichordist for Handel’s opera Giustino. In his 30-year tenure with the Carmel Bach Festival he served as a harpsichordist, lecturer, choral director, and conductor of the Mission Candlelight Concerts. As the founding director of the Sacramento Symphony Chorus he conducted annual choral concerts of major symphonic choral works and prepared the Symphony Chorus for their subscription seasons. From PBO’s press release: Music Director Richard Egarr will take over Lamott’s duties, leading both the Orchestra and Chorale in the first season that live performances are allowed to resume. An international search for Lamott’s replacement will begin during that time.

FORENSIC MUSICOLOGY

IT CAN LITERALLY move fortunes. Click HERE

A NEW INTERVIEW WITH JONI

CANADIAN superstar songwriter Joni Mitchell struggles to walk and talk after an aneurysm. Click HERE

“OK” – AMERICA’S ‘POETIC’ GIFT TO THE WORLD

Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

RELEASED EARLIER THIS YEAR on the London Philharmonic label, this CD will be indispensible for fans of the late Krzysztof Penderecki (died March 29 at age 86), the greatest Polish composer of his generation. His career began auspiciously with the Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, an avant-garde study in string sonorities and special effects that got noticed around the world. The Hiroshima reference was added well after the piece had been finished but it stuck. (During a phone interview with the composer in the 1990s I told him that I’d heard from people who said they could hear the drone of bombers overhead. “Oh, please!” he snorted.) But soon on Penderecki came to realize the limitations of the avant-garde of his time; during a 2000 interview he said, “We pushed music so far in the ‘60s that even for myself, for me, I closed the door behind me, because there was no way to do anything more than I have done.” In short, Penderecki became a neo-romantic composer but never lost his original voice. The pieces on this CD have been recorded before—except the horn concerto so far as I can learn–with a fine soloist in Radovan Vlatkovic. These recordings were made in live concerts in 2013 and 2015 at Royal Festival Hall in London. The composer conducts them, save the Violin Concerto No 1 with soloist Barnabas Kelemen and conductor Michal Dworzynski. The horn concerto, in a single 17-minute movement and titled Winterreise, contains a passacaglia (dedicated to Pope John Paul II and with allusions to Wagner and Richard Strauss) that leads directly into a vivacious rondo of many changing moods, not least a funeral march, and featuring a parade of concertante solos from within the orchestra. The Adagio for Strings is a reworking of the third movement from the composer’s Third Symphony in its 1995 update; it actually sounds more like a concerto movement that flatters the solo violin. The first violin concerto, composed for Isaac Stern in 1976, revised 1987, is a massive single movement of 40 minutes duration, but with a great variety of changing character. From the start it sets a darkly romantic mood that pervades throughout. Yet even here there are moments that seem almost jocular, such is Penderecki’s protean imagination and expressive grace. The program ends with the Threnody, today sounding far tamer than it did 60 years ago. SM

MAKING LOVE IN TUSCANY

WITH Andrea Bocelli and Cecilia Bartoli

 

FRESH CONCERT REVIEW

THE DOVER STRING QUARTET’S online performance of string quintets by Richard Danielpour and Franz Schubert on Saturday. Click HERE

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor