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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | July 19, 1994
You can tell a good bit about a pianist by the kind of instrument he chooses and by how well he utilizes its particular capabilities.Garrick Ohlsson, whose recital Sunday in Tawes Theatre kicked off the piano festival associated with the University of Maryland's William Kapell Competition, has almost always opted for a Bosendorfer. This Viennese instrument differs considerably from the Steinways with which we are most familiar. The Bosendorfer's sound is much less homogenized because its bass is not as thick as the Steinway's and its strings are less carefully controlled by the instrument's dampers.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | July 27, 1996
If David Zinman were not to renew his contract as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's music director in two years, Mario Venzago would be a good bet as the leading candidate to replace him.Venzago, who conducted last night's BSO Summer MusicFest Mozart-Schubert-Beethoven program in Meyerhoff Hall, is the orchestra's unofficial principal guest conductor. He is leading all but one of the orchestra's summer concerts in Meyerhoff Hall and he will return this fall to conduct an unprecedented three subscription concerts.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 16, 1998
When he is at his best, the work of Jeffrey Tate compares to that of most of the conductors of his generation as a figure cast in bronze by Michelangelo does to a Dresden figurine.The 54-year-old British conductor was at that level for most of last night's concert -- his first with the Baltimore Symphony -- in Meyerhoff Hall.For listeners who sometimes cannot understand why Goethe thought so highly of Mendelssohn's music, Tate's account of the composer's Symphony No. 3 ("Scottish") may have come as something of a revelation.
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By David Donovan and David Donovan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 26, 1995
Thanks to the electrifying solo efforts of percussionist Evelyn Glennie, the Tuesday night debut of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at Meyerhoff Hall will go down as one of the highlights of this young season.Ms. Glennie played in three of the five works on the program. From the second she appeared on stage the orchestra and the audience were captivated by her stellar personality -- even before she played one note. She started her part of the program with her own transcription of Vivaldi's "Concerto in C Major for Vibraphone," and the phrasing and tone coloration was simply magical.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | July 17, 1997
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's current Summer MusicFest continues to shape up as one of the best in several years.Under Pinchas Zukerman's leadership, there has been an increased emphasis on chamber music; and with each program -- last night's was the third -- the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall audience seems to be growing.The big work on the chamber music portion of last night's all-Beethoven program was the Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat (Op. 16). This work may not be the masterpiece that its predecessor in the same key by Mozart is.But the performance by guest pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the orchestra's principal woodwinds -- oboist Joseph Turner, clarinetist Steven Barta, bassoonist Phillip Kolker and hornist David Bakkegard -- tempted a listener to reconsider the conventional wisdom about the Mozart's superiority.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | June 10, 1995
Last night's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert in Meyerhoff Hall showed how well the torch has been passed from one generation to the next.The conductor, making his first appearance as a guest with the BSO, was Michael Stern, the son of the famed violinist Isaac Stern. The soloist was violinist Pamela Frank, the daughter of pianists Claude Frank and Lillian Kallir.Although Stern got his start as associate conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra, he has made his career in Europe, primarily in Switzerland and France.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | April 19, 1993
The excellence of yesterday's violin and piano recital by Joseph Bykov and Maribeth Gowen in Westminster Hall was partly the excellence of the performers themselves -- Bykov's sweet, focused tone and the reliability and sensitivity of his partner -- and partly the fact that they brought these qualities to bear on such interesting repertory.When had anyone in the audience -- except perhaps for a Russian emigre violinist or two -- heard of, much less heard, Leonid Nikolayev's Sonata in G Minor?
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By David Donovan and David Donovan,Special to The Sun | February 27, 1995
Paavo Berglund's long-awaited debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Meyerhoff Hall on Friday did not disappoint expectations. The Finnish conductor has long been celebrated as an interpreter of the works of his countryman, Jean Sibelius. It was scarcely a surprise, therefore, that the highlight of the evening was a white-hot performance of the Symphony No. 1.This was a reading of Sibelius that had the authority that one associates with Bruno Walter's Mahler or Otto Klemperer's Beethoven.
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By Judith Green and Judith Green,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 13, 1998
Baltimore's own Hilary Hahn plays with the zest appropriate to her age (18) and the lyricism of a much more seasoned player. The piece she is performing this weekend with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein's "Serenade" for violin, string orchestra, harp and percussion, is the one she'll record with the BSO for her first CD with a orchestra.Though not the expected work for a young violinist's debut, it's a charming choice: American, like its player, and unburdened with the interpretations of older violin masters.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 24, 1998
Sometimes a familiar piece surprises the listener with details that have never been noticed before. Such was the case last night in Meyerhoff Hall when Tamaki Kawakubo played the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony and guest conductor Hans Graf.The California-born Kawakubo is only 17, and her youth made her individual approach to the concerto's first movement all the more remarkable. Even in an era when musicians appear to be playing ever more slowly, her tempos sounded unusually spacious.
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