Serenade Bliss from a Pre-Beard Brahms

You know the phenomenon: you hear some beautiful yet unfamiliar classical music being played on the radio, but you don’t have access to the details like its title or its composer. It stops you in your tracks because it’s so beautiful and fresh, and you mentally scroll through possibilities. Mozart? I had, after all, overheard … Read more

Don’t let Esa-Pekka Salonen go!

When I heard the news last week that Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, had announced he would step down as music director of the San Francisco Symphony next year, I was so distraught by the news, I’ll admit it: I wept. I love classical music and Esa-Pekka that much. He was only … Read more

Tchaikovsky and SF Ballet deliver an irresistible Swan Lake

Exciting news just announced by San Francisco Ballet: encore performance of Swan Lake with thrilling guest artists. Details below! I know some of you, my dear readers, are classical music fans but not ballet fans. Likewise, some among you are just as happy—maybe you even prefer—to see contemporary ballet works set to jazz, soul, even electronica. … Read more

The pure, true beauty of “O Holy Night”

  Confession: I stopped writing this essay on “O Holy Night,” soured by something I couldn’t name, bogged down by the online research. I set it aside, but the urge returned and I started it up again several days later. Then it happened again, an edgy, almost negative feeling as I read article after article … Read more

We love you, Michael Tilson Thomas

Last week I called the San Francisco Symphony box office to switch dates for a subscription ticket with a conflict: Sunday’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. There was Saturday night availability, but as life has been busy of late, I weighed the pros and cons of deferring to a … Read more