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Urbanski turns in another dazzler with SF Symphony

There’s just no way around it: This month’s visits to Davies Symphony Hall by the magnificent young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski constitute the most exciting development on the San Francisco Symphony’s [Read entire story]

New music from snowy Scandinavia

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen landed on the radar of many observers with the 2013 arrival of “Let Me Tell You,” an exquisite song cycle written for the powerhouse Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan. [Read entire story]

Hrusa takes the Symphony on a watery ride

The swirling waters that cascaded through Davies Symphony Hall over the weekend sounded vivid enough to swim in, or at least to indulge in a picturesque al fresco meal on the riverbank. Such was the power of the San [Read entire story]

Hrusa takes the Symphony on a watery ride

The swirling waters that cascaded through Davies Symphony Hall over the weekend sounded vivid enough to swim in, or at least to indulge in a picturesque al fresco meal on the riverbank. Such was the power of the San [Read entire story]

Muti and the Chicago Symphony take Berkeley by storm

Unless you live around the corner from Carnegie Hall, where the great performing ensembles of the world troop in and out on a weekly basis, most orchestra patrons in the United States survive on a limited diet. We hear [Read entire story]

Roman, Jack Quartet play it safe in Herbst

Once upon a time, there used to be jazz LPs with titles like “Smooth and Easy” or “In a Sentimental Mood,” where a firebrand improviser would show off a more mellow, approachable side. Often the cover art [Read entire story]

Muti and company to blow in from the Windy City

When the San Francisco Symphony celebrated its centennial in 2011-12 by hosting a series of guest appearances by most of the leading American orchestras, we learned that the combination of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [Read entire story]

Muti and company to blow in from the Windy City

When the San Francisco Symphony celebrated its centennial in 2011-12 by hosting a series of guest appearances by most of the leading American orchestras, we learned that the combination of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [Read entire story]

The complete package

Christian Reif Age: 28 Lives in: San Francisco What he does: The German conductor is in his [Read entire story]

New music with strings attached

Future music historians, assuming there are any, are going to look back on this as a golden age of the string quartet. From the established masters (the Kronos and Arditti Quartets) to the younger new-music ensembles [Read entire story]

Urbanski makes a dazzling return to Davies Hall

It was just last year that the young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski made a knockout debut with the San Francisco Symphony, leading the orchestra with a rare combination of dramatic intensity and kinetic flair. It [Read entire story]

Carneiro makes a joyful Berkeley homecoming

It’s been a long and lonely year for the Berkeley Symphony, as Music Director Joana Carneiro absented herself for the arduous and glorious task of giving birth to triplets. But she was back on the stage of Zellerbach [Read entire story]

A new Passion setting comes out sadly monotonous

By the very nature of the enterprise, a period-instrument ensemble like the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is going to devote nearly all of its attention to the music of the 18th and early 19th centuries. So the rare [Read entire story]

Straddling the line between jazz and classics

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In Berkeley, Carneiro is back in the saddle

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A sweet, if a bit flimsy, birthday tribute to Leonard Bernstein

Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard’s contribution to the Leonard Bernstein centennial celebration at Herbst Theatre on Sunday night was just like frosting on a birthday cake — delectable, sweet and perhaps a bit thin. [Read entire story]

Denk and the Symphony make it all look easy

There’s practically nothing in the standard classical repertoire that’s actually simple to pull off — even the most straightforward music requires boatloads of precision and expressive transparency — but you can [Read entire story]

California Symphony tackles Mahler with mixed results

Playing Mahler’s symphonies can be made to seem easy enough in the right hands, but the truth is that these are pretty difficult undertakings for any orchestra. The technical challenges in the composer’s intricate [Read entire story]

At SF Opera, 3 strong debuts add up to a powerful ‘Traviata’

What if staging great opera isn’t as treacherously complicated as they would have us believe? What if a performance as communicative and powerful as the Saturday, Sept. 23, opening of “La Traviata” at the San [Read entire story]

Symphony swings and sings with Bernstein

Of all the multifold moods and personalities that course through the music of Leonard Bernstein, there are two traits that stand out as particularly characteristic — his jazzy energy and his tender, sometimes sodden [Read entire story]