Classical Music

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

March toward transcendence

The 2015-16 San Diego Symphony masterwork season begins

The overture to Die Fledermaus is usually reserved for New Year's Day but the San Diego Symphony decided to use it on a new season's day. This Viennese war horse, or Lipizzan stallion, as the ...

Gergiev and Vienna do Scheherezade in Salzburg

The curated video playlist's third entry highlights a great conductor and a classic story

It’s time for another video installment. This is video number three. Since Beethoven’s Fifth is the starting point for the playlist, how do a Russian composer and a Russian conductor fit in? Via the orchestra, ...

Weekend opera happenings

Queen of Carthage, Blue Monday, and — youth sacrifice!

There’s some opera happening this weekend. San Diego City Opera is performing Queen of Carthage as part of the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival. San Diego City Opera was founded by Cory Hibbs and ...

What we need is a musical cold war

Trade guns for violins and let the battle be joined

What if, instead of a military industrial complex, we had an arts industrial complex? What if we had about a dozen for-profit, hard-core, unethical, manipulative corporations that ran music programs? I mean the dirty, money-hungry, ...

Kick off with star power

San Diego Symphony prepares to open its 2015-16 masterworks season

The transition begins with the 2015-2016 San Diego Symphony season on Friday, October 9, at 7 p.m. The transition refers to Jahja Ling’s stepping down as the music director for the symphony after the 2016-2017 ...

Butt heads with the artist bio

Can we get something besides a resume from musicians?

I’ve mentioned the asinine quality of the artist bio a few times in the past but it’s time to take this thing on like bighorn sheep butting heads during the spring rut. That is to ...

Go to feeling, not mere comparison

Why do opera lovers fall into the familiar trap?

After the René Barbera concert I was tempted to compare the young phenom to other singers. It’s a typical response. Yet comparing one singer to another is not a fair game. Some singers might even ...

Music video number zwei

Beethoven, Mahler, and — Dudamel!

How do we get to music video number zwei in our curated playlist? We started with Beethoven's Fifth and then we found out about Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic creating a Fifth virtual ...

Tweet seats have got nothing on virtual reality

The Los Angeles Philharmonic brings a concert to the masses, but who benefits?

Tweet seats? The Los Angeles Philharmonic thinks that’s cute. “You’ve got tweet seats? We’ve got Beethoven in 3-D virtual reality.” That’s right. The L.A. Phil has developed a virtual reality performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. ...

Let freedom sing

San Diego Opera's 2015-16 season began with an exemplar of music's purpose

René Barbera gave his North American professional debut recital at the Balboa Theater on Saturday, September 19. The concert opened San Diego Opera’s 2015-16 season. Mr. Barbera started the concert with a piece by Rossini ...

Late summer ripens the soul

Josef Suk's personal crises transformed into beautiful music

If there is a piece of music for late summer, it is The Ripening by Josef Suk. Suk worked on the music over the course of five years or so from 1912 to 1917. Yet ...

Seats and tweets

All smartphone all the time, or during a specific window?

I just heard that an American orchestra is offering “tweet seats” at its concerts. See there? It even rhymes. This is a good thing — I think. After googling “orchestra twitter seats” and scrolling through ...

We begin to perceive the space between the notes

Get into Sergiu's boat and cross over

“In music, the present is a perpetual genesis. The ‘now’ is always bound up with the start and the end,” said Sergiu Celibidache. We could spend hours exploring the ramifications of such a statement. We ...

Music video number ein

Beethoven's Fifth is the start of a curated approach to classical music videos on the internet

This is the first of a series of curated YouTube videos. As videos are featured they will be added to a playlist here. The first piece to be featured is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Don’t ...

Zen Buddhism on the conductor's platform

Sergiu Celibidache conducted according to the principle of ichigo ichie

Alexander Scriabin was the composer who wanted to compose us all into nirvana. Sergiu Celibidache was the conductor who wanted to conduct us into enlightenment. Celibidache brought Zen Buddhism to the conductor’s podium along with ...

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