Yuja Wang, Wittgenstein and Ravel’s curious Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

  I suppose it’s not all that curious. If you are a concert pianist and your right arm is a casualty in World War I, afterwards you have two options. One: give up your music career and calling, do something inferior and cry into your soup for the rest of your life. Two: tell yourself, “All … Read moreYuja Wang, Wittgenstein and Ravel’s curious Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

Is Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 lowbrow?

Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op 18 is the kind of music that grips you by the collar and draws you into its world instantly, with its rich orchestral textures and dramatic fervor. I’ve loved it for years. Decades. Last weekend I attended the San Francisco Ballet’s Program 1, and was dazzled by the … Read moreIs Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 lowbrow?

Cellist Extraordinaire Gautier Capuçon

From the audience, that 2009 Sunday matinee performance in Davies Hall, nothing seemed amiss. Gautier Capuçon’s rendition of the Schumann Cello Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony won me over instantly, as did his stage charisma—and, okay, those  cinematic good looks of his. Two years later, his thoughtful, nuanced performance of Henri Dutilleux’s “Tout un Monde Lointain, ” … Read moreCellist Extraordinaire Gautier Capuçon

Madness, SHINE and the Rach 3

It’s impossible to watch a live performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 without thinking about the 1996 Australian movie, Shine. A few Sundays ago I attended the San Francisco Symphony and took in Garrick Ohlsson’s excellent performance of the concerto. Movie reference aside, I love this piece of music. I love all the Rachmaninov piano … Read moreMadness, SHINE and the Rach 3

Pianist Yuja Wang’s very short dresses and very big talent

The thing is, I didn’t know about the “very short/tight/colorful dress” business before Yuja Wang’s May 2014 performance with the San Francisco Symphony. I’d seen and enjoyed her performance in 2012, here at Davies Hall, when she played Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto and blew everyone away. She was 25 at the time, and lucky for San … Read morePianist Yuja Wang’s very short dresses and very big talent