Weekly Magazine

Miro Quartet


MIRÓ QUARTET returns to open Chamber Music Monterey Bay season, including CMMB original commission of Credo by Kevin Puts. Pianist ORION WEISS launches Carmel Music Society season, both at Sunset Center. The ROCKY HORROR SHOW is revived at Paper Wing Theatre in Monterey. SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY starts its season. For details and links, click our CALENDAR  


JUST ASK veteran conductor JoAnn Falletta, no stranger to the Monterey Bay. Several audio/video examples are included. Click HERE


FOREST THEATER will host the first of an annual concert by well-known local artists and student performers from Carmel High School to benefit the Forest Theater Guild. It is set for October 21 and 22, and features vocal soloists Reg Huston, Gracie Poletti and John Daniel in scenes from recent cinema and television, including La La Land, Game of Thrones and Hamilton. Proceeds will benefit Carmel High performing arts and Carmel Academy of Performing Arts. Producer is Walt deFaria. Click HERE


ANTHONY TOMMASINI, chief music critic of The New York Times, muses on the recent performances by NY Philharmonic music director-designate, Jaap van Zweden, and takes a stab at an explaining his job without really unpacking it. Click HERE


ARTS FUNDRAISING today increasingly turns to corporate sponsorships. So says blogger Doug Borwick. Click HERE


Paige_Dominique_BioluminesenceON SEPTEMBER 24, I attended the SpectorDance program, “A Weekend Celebration of Dance,” which included the first complete presentation of Ocean Trilogy, a collaboration between SpectorDance and MBARI, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The ‘trilogy’ of the name referred to rap lyrics by Baba Brinkman, numerous video interviews with MBARI and other ocean scientists, and dance sequences. I wrote about the program last week (HERE) and though I said I thought the piece needs some editing, my review came out after the fact. Fran Spector, who runs SpectorDance and is a veteran choreographer and is dedicated to making dance socially relevant to issues of local, national and, in this case, global concern. She told she was disappointed that there were some unfilled seats at the three shows in her Marina studios.

That got me thinking. Ever since Michael Jackson wowed the world of entertainment with his virtuoso moves, dance in America has done nothing but expand—rapidly. Today television is full-up with dance: Dancing With the Stars, Ellen DeGeneres, So You Think You can Dance, America’s Got Talent, and the more recent World of Dance courtesy Jennifer Lopez. And what about the dance master in Chicago who has created buzz by combining ballet and hip-hop (hiplet)? And then there was La La Land which asked two Hollywood stars to sing and dance, even though neither was very good at either.

Dance is in the air. Smuin Ballet has a deeply dedicated audience in Carmel, and now there are two dance training companies in Carmel competing aggressively with each other over their complete stagings of The Nutcracker this holiday season.

Meanwhile, on the point of social relevance, Wayne McGregor is determined to bring new meaning to dance. In his playground, the Brit choreographer uses dance and dancers to explore cognition, mathematics, neuroscience, astronomy and modern literature. He now works at the Wellcome Genome Campus, the Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute. As a recent profile of McGregor in the Economist puts it, his work “can do grandeur and it can do melancholy. It can do mischief and it can do heartbreak.” And, “he always tackles big ideas head on.” To read the Economist piece, click HERE  (“Bioluminescence” photo by William Roden.)


EbonyTHE EBONY QUARTET has just released a new Channel Classics CD titled “UNHEARD,” a collection of chamber music and songs they believe have never been previously recorded. The music comes from the “interwar” years and represents European composers who survived the Nazi “curse” and, all but one, lived out their post-war years in the US. The one is Josef Matthias Hauer (1883-1959) who was born and died in Vienna, and is represented here by Five Pieces for Quartet, Op 30. Like many chamber music aficionados, the Ebony Quartet indulges an insatiable appetite for discovering obscure works of distinctive merit. Composers of string quartets include Erich Itor Kahn (1905-1956), Otto Jokl (1891-1963) and Louis Gruenberg (1884-1964.) Hans Walter Susskind (1913-1980) who became well known as a conductor and is represented here by two sets of songs, sarcastic (like the singspiel cabaret songs by Kurt Weill) and serious. For them, the Ebony are joined by singspiel narrator Daniel Reuss and soprano Barbara Kozelj. Due to the disruptions and privations of the war, music of and around the period, much of it searingly intense, continues to surface.


TOM PETTY, 1950-2017. From the album Highway Companion, 2006.








CYRANO at Carmel’s Forest Theater & THE MOUNTAINTOP in Santa Cruz. Click HERE


MONTEREY SYMPHONY opens its “Concert Grand” season of piano concertos in Carmel with soloist Orion Weiss. ESPRESSIVO chamber orchestra plays “Stringing You Along” in Santa Cruz.

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor