Weekly Update: June 11, 2013

The 14th Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist, Vadym Kholodenko, is scheduled to open the Carmel Music Society’s 2013-2014 season on October 6 (subject to confirmation that he has no previous commitment elsewhere.) The 26-year-old Ukrainian’s award was announced Sunday evening in Fort Worth as the competition’s final event. Kholodenko also won awards for best performance of a new work, and best performance in chamber music. Italy’s 20-year-old Beatrice Rana, the audience favorite, took silver, and American competitor, Sean Chen, 24, won the third-place Crystal Award. Speaking of piano competitions, Michael Noble, a Southern California native now pursuing an MMA at Yale, took first prize at the Society’s annual contest on June 1. Santa Cruzan Chetan Tierra won second and South Korea native Jeong-ah Ryu, on aDMA track at Northwestern, took third. Eight competitors were selected as finalists.

Please check our Links of Interest page. We’ve just added Paul Hertelendy, former music and dance critic for the San José Mercury News, who blankets the San Francisco Bay Area with his distinctive coverage and archives everything he publishes. He’s a regular one-man show who isn’t afraid to go to the edge. You may like him or hate him, but he’s a Bay Area force to reckon with and a sparkplug conversation starter.

Thanks to the Smuin Ballet’s stunning weekend performances at Sunset Center in Carmel, we have officially launched our Dance Review page. And Philip Pearce appears again on our Theater Review page covering a reenactment of the ancient Indian epic Ramayana by the students and faculty of Watsonville’s Mount Madonna School.

The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur hosts many live music and other performance events. Mike Scutari has asked us to let you know about a new film series in Monterey. With our focus on live events, we aren’t prepared at this time to undertake film coverage. But this will bring the library’s work to the attention of people who may not have visited the library itself. Mike writes, The HML will be showing our films every Wednesday, starting June 12th at the OSIO Cinemas and ending on Aug. 28th. Here’s where you can buy tickets (only $9.75!!!):  http://bigsurfilmatosio.eventbrite.com/# We hope to create a sustainable relationship with the Cinemas and while man can live on art alone, it would be doubly-wonderful to consistently pack the place.

Cheryl Anderson’s Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus is about to spend two weeks on tour in Italy and Croatia. To kick off their European adventure, they will sing to the community on June 15 at 7pm, at the Cabrillo College Music Recital Hall. Also this weekend, Michael McGushin and his Ariose Singers will celebrate 150 years of women composers, including a commissioned world premiere of Hyo-shin Na’s Three Pieces for Mixed Choir, at two churches in Aptos (See our Calendar Page for details.)

Phil Collins, director of the New Music Works of Santa Cruz, was utterly exhausted after Sunday’s Avant Garden Party. But he did manage to send us his enthusiastic report on the event, set in a “spectacular” Soquel garden.

Phil writes, “our 32nd annual Avant Garden Party celebrated the cultures of Brazil and Argentina, accenting the African inheritances of both with a walloping Zimbabwean marimba ensemble to boot.  There were four ensemble acts in all: Tango Y Chorro Quartet, the Cabrillo College Latin Music Ensemble, Singing Wood Marimba Ensemble, Capoeira Luanda, and a solo set of deliciously-modified electric guitar by Bill Walker.

“Bristling with energy and collective expertise, the Cabrillo Latin Music Ensemble, under Director Michael Strunk, performed an animated set of sambas and bossa novas. Vocalists Liz McKenna, Carly Bliman and Kelly Cummins delivered alluring renditions with precise elocution of Portugese and Spanish languages.

“The final and featured act was Tango y Chorro, which explored a less traveled path, drawing as much from traditional Latin music styles (tango and chorro) as it did from the oeuvres of twentieth century classical composers, Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Darius Milhaud (France), and Astor Piazzolla (Argentina). The band found graceful footing in the commonality between popular composers like Ernesto Nazareth, Pixinguinha and Jacob de Bandolim, and the fully-composed opuses of Milhaud and others. The instrumentation of mandolin (Billy Packard), piano (Jack Bowers), bass (Steve Larkin) and percussion (Matt Riley) spoke in unobtrusive syncopations, snuggly joined by pianist Bowers’ arrangements. The bi-tonal harmonies of the Milhaud pieces were deftly captured with spartan means, and the ragtime rhythms of Ernesto Nazareth’s traditional chorro works were scintillating on the handheld pandeiro drum.”

Scott MacClelland, editor