Classical Music

Reviews and previews of classical music performances and players. For a list of upcoming classical performances, visit our events section.

An opera without political conviction becomes esoteric quick

Guess the esoteric pick of the week

The esoteric pick of the week is turning into the “esoteric pick of the every now and then.” For this edition we’re going to see if anyone can guess the piece. It's a silly idea ...

San Diego Opera and the politics of Tosca

It's an election year and we might be missing the politics

What if the best way to get sex from a woman was to arrest her boyfriend and threaten to kill him unless the targeted woman meets the demands of your pants? From what I can ...

Bruckner and No. 5

The number 5 keeps coming in our curated playlist

Playlist No. 5 has gone from Beethoven 5 to Mahler 5 to Tchaikovsky 5 to Sibelius 5 and now to Bruckner 5. A more logical step would be to continue into the 20th Century with ...

San Diego misses out on conductor

One of San Diego's guest conductors makes a splash in Birmingham

Recall that time when Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla came to visit the San Diego Symphony and conducted Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring? She was maybe, possibly, a candidate to be the next music ...

Clarinetist down!

Ben Folds brings his new concertos to town for the San Diego Symphony

From the Ben Folds Five through solo projects and rubbing shoulders with William Shatner, Regina Spektor, and Weird Al Yankovic, pianist/composer Ben Folds likes to keep folks head-scratching. In concert with the San Diego Symphony, ...

Something San Diego’s musicians taught me

Classical music in San Diego is always in transition. Organizations have come and organizations have gone. General directors and conductors have retired, moved on, or shuffled away in disgrace. Attendance has been up and attendance ...

Nations no longer matter in classical music

Music is about humanity experiencing humanity

In reviewing the most recent San Diego Symphony concert, I made something of a big deal about countries of origin not being important in classical music. While that is true when it comes to performing ...

Brahms, Beethoven, the San Diego Symphony, and Mr. Cohen

Symphonic forces conspire

The San Diego Symphony put Beethoven and Brahms together on Friday night at Symphony Hall. The Beethoven was his Symphony No. 6: The Pastoral. The Brahms was his Piano Concerto No. 1. The sound of ...

Classical music and mind tricks

How we fool ourselves into thinking we're supporting when we're not

I’ve often heard people say how important it is to support the arts. If you’re reading this then you’ve probably said something along those lines yourself. Often this sentiment is then followed up by a ...

SYM-phony No. 3

Try to say “symphony” with a straight face

The lights dimmed, and the orchestra began to play. The music was much softer than I remembered from my past experiences. If it were a stereo, I would have turned it up.

More Beethoven is more Beethoven

An unexpected flurry of attendance

As I scrolled through the Flipboard app checking out various articles on classical music, the “typical” quality of the topics became oppressive. There were a few articles on presenting classical music in new ways which, ...

Netflix, Žižek, and Beethoven

A fertile documentary on Netflix includes a gem about Beethoven

Slavoj Žižek has a documentary on Netflix called The Pervert's Guide to Ideology in which he discusses the pervasiveness of ideologies and our general inability to recognize them. He uses several examples from movies to ...

Jeremy Denk, one of the great interpreters of Bach

How do you encore The Goldberg Variations?

Jeremy Denk shared the Bach Goldberg Variations with a cozy gathering of patrons at Symphony Hall on Tuesday night, January 19. The upper levels of the hall were closed off as was the entire right ...

The Murderer's Row of classical music

Heavy hitters coming to San Diego this week

In baseball terms the classical music lineup this week could be called Murderer’s Row because there are some heavy hitters in town. As mentioned in the symphony review from Saturday night’s concert, Jeremy Denk is ...

San Diego Symphony gets stuck

...before Jeremy Denk brings us home

Every piece of music on Saturday night was tied to the piano. The piano theme is part of the San Diego Symphony’s Upright and Grand initiative for the piano and I’m enjoying the music it ...

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