A Whole New Holiday Playlist for 2017

3 new CDs to break out of a December listening rut   Over nearly three decades of reviewing, I feel like I have almost heard it all when it comes to Christmas fare: more Messiahs, more Nutcrackers, and endless re-packagings of the tried-and-true…not to mention the better-off-left-alone. Ah, but things brightened considerably this year, when… Continue reading A Whole New Holiday Playlist for 2017

This “Grinch” Doesn’t Steal Christmas—He Steals Hearts

Dr. Seuss’ timeless characters enchant kids of all ages in Overture Hall   I don’t usually start my Christmas traditions before Thanksgiving (although Santa Claus always was the last in line at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), but you can almost guarantee to jump start the holiday spirit with a trip to the Overture Center… Continue reading This “Grinch” Doesn’t Steal Christmas—He Steals Hearts

Sharon Isbin and Her Never-ending Legacy

A recent DVD and new CD add insights and break new ground to the guitarist’s singular accomplishments   Sharon Isbin long ago earned the right to drop the word “female” from the phrase “greatest (female) classical guitarist.” If anyone cares to argue the point, just hand them a copy of the 2015 DVD “Sharon Isbin:… Continue reading Sharon Isbin and Her Never-ending Legacy

Yakushev Delivers the Whole Package

Salon Piano Series remains a Madison treasure   Wonderful things always happen at the Salon Piano Series, but it was particularly gratifying to see what appeared to be a couple of extra rows of chairs squeezed in at Farley’s House of Pianos last Sunday. The occasion was the second of this year’s Salon Piano Series… Continue reading Yakushev Delivers the Whole Package

David Kim Bares His Heart and Soul (Musically and Otherwise)

Concertmaster of Philadelphia Orchestra tells his life story at Mills Hall Have you ever listened to a great classical musician and wondered what it would be like to play like that? Did you ever take it a step further and ask yourself what price might have been paid to produce those results? An audience of… Continue reading David Kim Bares His Heart and Soul (Musically and Otherwise)

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Concert—Let’s Hear Two!

Salon Piano Series and the Pro Arte Quartet made Sunday a day to remember   With all due respect to Ernie Banks’ original quote, expressing his joy in the game of baseball, and to the Green Bay Packers and their legions of fans, there was no place I would have rather been last Sunday at… Continue reading It’s a Beautiful Day for a Concert—Let’s Hear Two!

Lincoln Center Sizzles on State Street

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis delivers the big picture   For seventeen years I’ve been saying that the night I heard Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (pictured above, courtesy of Joe Martinez) in Santa Barbara, CA was one of the “Top 10” live performances I had ever experienced.… Continue reading Lincoln Center Sizzles on State Street