Exploring Rhapsody: A New Take on Gershwin with Marcus Roberts
The California Symphony Blog
by casymphony
1M ago
He’s been called “the genius of the modern piano” and has the honors to show for it—he’s a recipient of the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement, his Portraits in Blue album was nominated for a Grammy, and he regularly performs with top orchestras around the world. We talked with Marcus Roberts about his three decade-long exploration of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which his trio brings direct from Carnegie Hall to GERSHWIN IN NEW YORK—January 27 and 28, 2024 at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. Welcome, Marcus! Please tell us a little about yourself. I was born and raised in Jackso ..read more
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Rhapsody in Blue: A Young Clarinetist’s Obsession
The California Symphony Blog
by casymphony
1M ago
New York Times music critic Olin Downes described the opening passage of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as “an outrageous cadenza of the clarinet” after the piece’s premiere in 1924. 100 years later, this passage is considered an iconic orchestral excerpt for professional and amateur clarinetists alike. We talked to California Symphony principal clarinetist Cory Tiffin about his history with the piece ahead of his solo in GERSHWIN IN NEW YORK. Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in the Greater Chicago area and attended DePaul University. Before moving to the Bay Area with my family ..read more
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Program Notes — GERSHWIN IN NEW YORK
The California Symphony Blog
by casymphony
2M ago
Samuel Barber (1910­–1981) Symphony No. 1, in One Movement, Op. 9 (1936, rev. 1942) It must have been lonely to be Samuel Barber there for a while. Almost alone of mid-twentieth-century American composers he eschewed the era’s prevailing bleak modernism in favor of a rich musical language that emphasized melody, opulent harmonies, and traditional structures. The critics weren’t always kind. Neither were the cerebral types who signed on to conductor-composer Pierre Boulez’s dictat that musicians not riding the ultra-modernist bandwagon were “irrelevant.” From left to right, Aaron Copland, S ..read more
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MEET MVP ALLEN BIGGS – Principal Percussion
The California Symphony Blog
by casymphony
2M ago
Allen has been performing with the California Symphony since the very first concert back in 1986. He’s survived exploding canons and thrives on physical challenges like open water swimming in the Bay. Meet Principal Percussionist—and triathlete—Allen Biggs! Name: Allen Biggs Position: Principal Percussion Section: The best one—Percussion! Joined California Symphony: At the very first concert at the Rheem Theatre! Been playing with the group ever since. Hometown: The Richmond District of San Francisco College: San Francisco State University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music F ..read more
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Behind the Scenes at EPIC FINALE
The California Symphony Blog
by CeCe Salinas
2M ago
Soloist Nathan Chan performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto at California Symphony’s EPIC FINALE concert.We did it! Together, we navigated ever-changing health and safety standards and shifting community sentiments around attending in-person concerts again to deliver all ten concerts in the 2021-22 season, featuring amazing soloists like pianist Adam Golka, violin sensation Alexi Kenney, our own wonderful Concertmaster Jennifer Cho. This weekend’s EPIC FINALE concert was a fitting exclamation point on the season, as audiences got to hear Viet Cuong’s Next Week’s Trees (live and in-person, not on a s ..read more
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MEET MVP LAURA REYNOLDS – Principal Oboe
The California Symphony Blog
by casymphony
2M ago
She’s no sports fan but she knows all about leaving it all out on the stage when she performs. Meet Principal Oboe Laura Reynolds! Name: Laura Reynolds Position: Principal Oboe Section: Woodwinds Joined California Symphony: 2003 Hometown: Oneida, NY College: University of Michigan (BM) and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (MM) What is one line you might say to hype up your section before the big concert? “Let’s make some music and remember to have some fun!” What’s the coolest thing about your instrument? The sound! And the many colors of reed thread. Most Looking Forward to ..read more
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Donato’s Top 3 Sporting and Musical Highlights
The California Symphony Blog
by CeCe Salinas
2M ago
Baseball, football, or basketball?  Bruckner, Mahler, or Brahms..? ‘Tis the season of reflection and list-making. We asked Artistic and Music Director Donato Cabrera to talk us through his top three most memorable sporting moments and California Symphony concerts. Did yours make Donato’s list? Top 3 Sporting Memories In reverse order, of course… 3. 1989 Le Tour de France: This nail biter, still the closest contested in TdF history, was what got me hook, line, and sinker into road cycling. Also, Greg Lemond grew up in Reno, [where I lived from age 10 to 25] so it was particularly meaningfu ..read more
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MEET MVP FORREST BYRAM—Principal Tuba
The California Symphony Blog
by CeCe Salinas
2M ago
One of the original members of the California Symphony, Forrest enjoys being the only tuba player on stage at concerts most of the time, and he’s friendlier than you might think—especially if you have a really bad dad joke to share. Name: Forrest Byram Position: Tuba Section: Brass Joined California Symphony: Back when it was still New Contra Costa Symphony. Year unknown. Hometown: Chicago, IL College: Northwestern U Sporting Hero: #1 Ernie Banks. #2 Ernie Banks. #3 Who else? Ernie Banks Your Sporting Alter Ego or Lookalike: Megan Rapinoe Favorite Sporting Memory: Wat ..read more
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MEET MVP SAM WEISER – Assistant Concertmaster
The California Symphony Blog
by CeCe Salinas
2M ago
He’s Concertmaster Jennifer Cho’s right hand man. (Or left hand man, from her perspective on stage.) This East Coast-born violinist has made a home for himself in California.  Meet Assistant Concertmaster Sam Weiser! Name: Sam Weiser Position: Assistant Concertmaster Section: Strings Joined California Symphony: 2022 Hometown: Westport, CT College: New England Conservatory, Tufts University, SF Conservatory of Music Sporting Hero: Eli Manning Favorite Sporting Memory: In third grade, my team won our town’s Little League World Series! Go Ravens!! Your Sports Teams ..read more
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MEET MVP ANNIE RANZANI – Principal Bassoon
The California Symphony Blog
by CeCe Salinas
3M ago
A recent addition out of USC in her rookie year with the California Symphony, her instrument would be 8.5 feet long without all those kinks…  Please meet bassoonist Annie Ranzani! Name: Anne Ranzani Position: Principal Bassoon Section: Woodwinds Joined California Symphony: 2023 Hometown: San Diego, CA College: University of Southern California (USC) Favorite Sporting Memory: Trying to ice skate as a native Southern Californian with my Canadian in-laws. Your Sports Team: Calgary Flames Favorite California Symphony Memory:  The memory of being so warmly welcomed for my ..read more
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