Prodigies – Beethoven and Beyond!June 7th, 2012
Excerpts from San Francisco Classical Voice review of Oct. 13 concert by D. Kern Holoman
…Conrad Tao, a good deal shy of 20, anchored the first half of an inviting program as soloist in Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto and as composer of the opening work, Pángǔ. In both capacities he’s mightily impressive.…Tao has a deft touch, considerable tact for one so gifted, and sure musical instincts. Tao may well be at “The Vulnerable Age,” as New York magazine’s Justin Davidson had it in an article last March, observing (rightly) that it’s a little early to predict what will happen next and that the trajectory for such people is fraught. But in Sacramento’s Community Center Theater the meteor was unquestioningly ascendant.
…I heartily approved of the encore, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat, with the ricochet octaves. So did the audience…Audience and musicians alike were riveted by the virtuosity of a very young man captivating them much as Liszt himself might have done… I attributed my satisfaction, too, to the longevity of this particular band, many of whom first came west in the hey-day of the Sacramento Symphony and who have been playing together now for more than three decades. Despite collapses and reemergences and too-frequent arrivals at the brink, the orchestral enterprise in Sacramento is often a thing to admire. The Phil is in its 16th season; Music Director Michael Morgan, in his 14th, is as much a fixture in the Valley as in the Bay Area.
…The tableau that closed the first half of the program was the stuff of Romanticism writ large: audience and musicians alike riveted by the virtuosity of a very young man captivating them much as Liszt himself might have done. From stage right, behind the violins, Morgan stood proud and motionless, drinking in the moment. But there was no hiding the twinkle in his gaze.
Excerpts from Sacramento Press review by David Alvarez of Sept. 29 concert
The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra presented an afternoon full of dance, music, entertainment, community informational stations and children’s hands-on activities..The preconcert activities were free of charge, and the public was invited to attend and participate.
…”Viva la música!” was a concert celebrating Latin music, with musical influences from Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and the U.S. A brief presentation, “Speaking of Music,” by music director and principal conductor Michael Morgan, along with a Q&A panel, was a great addition to the event. Guest host and attorney Gabriel Vivas introduced the concert….Congresswoman Doris Matsui also welcomed guests to the Philharmonic Orchestra’s 16th season, saying, “The Sacramento Philharmonic is important to our region and the people who live here. Today’s concert is very special because it’s a celebration of Latin American and Central American composers who have contributed so much in the field of classical music….The need for support continues. In challenging economic times such as these, funding for the arts and cultural programs are all too often thought of as an easy area to cut. I can’t believe that at all, because without the arts there is no humanity, there is no soul; the arts provide us a way for communicating, and sometimes in nonverbal ways, with the richness of our diverse feelings, cultures and expectations. So enjoy the concert and activities today; please consider continuing to support the orchestra.”
…The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra continues to bring music from around the world, along with world-renowned talent, to Sacramento audiences…In my opinion, watching the Philharmonic live is one of the greatest pleasures in life. How else can you enjoy timeless live music performed by musicians from around the world, listening to the greatest composers that ever lived? Where else can you enjoy world, national and regional music in the same venue? The arts continue to suffer during hard economic times, and they depend on the continued support of community members…The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra is very involved with its community and has offered educational programs and open rehearsals for 16 years.