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Fall 2004 Arts Guide:
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First String: Violinist Robin Mayforth helps Symphony Silicon Valley with a selection from 'The Red Violin' on Oct. 30 and 31 at the California Theatre.

Valley High-Brow

A season of debuts and old favorites for lovers of classical music, dance and opera

By Scott MacClelland

PREMIERES and prodigies will spark a 2004-05 classical season already smoldering in Silicon Valley. The long-awaited reopening of San Jose's historic Fox California Theatre and its impact on two producer/presenters—Symphony Silicon Valley and Opera San José—rightly makes the ear hungry with expectation, especially since extravagant claims have been made for its intimacy and acoustics.

However, the about-to-ignite season of more than 50 major orchestral, operatic and dance productions in Silicon Valley stretches far from downtown—to Stanford University, Cupertino's Flint Center, Saratoga's Villa Montalvo and numerous points in between (and slightly beyond, of course).

And these attractions refract a sensationally colorful spectrum, from a 12-year-old piano prodigy, Kit Armstrong, performing at Stanford to Opera San José's production of Wagner's Flying Dutchman, from legendary guitarist John Williams at Villa Montalvo to Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley's world premiere of Middle Kingdom—Ancient China, and from Chanticleer's performance of 17th-century music from the medieval cathedral at Toledo to the West Coast premiere of Spaghetti Western, the latest in Michael Daugherty's brilliantly outrageous (Dead Elvis, Le tombeau de Liberace, Jackie O) "American Icons" series, by the Redwood Symphony.

Despite the usual gloomy predictions about the health/death of classical music—especially in the wake of the notorious David and Lucile Packard Foundation meltdown—things are looking decidedly up in Silicon Valley. While it may have something to do with the upbeat movie What the #$*! Do We Know!?, which links quantum mechanics to spiritual vision, nonprofit producers and presenters seem to have psychologically weaned themselves from high expectations of moribund or distracted foundations. Of course, some of the new optimism was fueled by the Packard Humanities Institute's commitment to renovating the California Theatre (and financing the scene shop for Opera San José).

In moving to the California Theatre, Symphony Silicon Valley has scheduled two performances, Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, to replace its single appearances at the Center for Performing Arts. Oct. 9-10, Sergiu Comissiona guest-conducts music that has been widely heard in the films The Red Pony, Porgy and Bess and Robin Hood. Also before the holidays, Oct. 30-31, Patrick Flynn returns to conduct Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and John Corigliano's The Red Violin, featuring concertmaster Robin Mayforth. Thomas Conlin will take the podium Dec. 11-12 when choral works by Poulenc and Wagner are featured. At the same venue, and before the end of the year, Opera San José will stage Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (Sept. 18-Oct. 3) and Puccini's Tosca (Nov. 20-Dec. 5) with evening performances and Sunday matinees.

At the venerable CPA, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley swashbuckles into fall with The Pirates of Penzance (Nov. 18-21), the vivacious Gilbert & Sullivan comedy choreographed by Daryl Gray, with sets by Kenneth Keith and costumes by Margaret Heaman and Emily Hoem. The ballet's traditional Nutcracker fills the holidays (Dec. 16-26) in artistic director Dennis Nahat's popular choreography.

Intimate, with its own unique charm, is San Jose's Le Petit Trianon, a replica of Marie-Antoinette's minichateau at Versailles. Acoustically one of the liveliest and most flattering halls in the region, it is ideal for smaller ensembles, including Barbara Day Turner's San Jose Chamber Orchestra, which showcases, on Oct. 2, the world premiere of Henry Mollicone's In Time of War: Prayers and Meditations. "It was written in response to the 9/11 attacks and the events following," says the composer of the acclaimed opera Face on the Barroom Floor. "The work alternates between orchestral meditations on wartime subjects and Latin prayers, juxtaposing thoughts having to do with the horrors of war with mystical Latin prayers such as the Agnus Dei and Ave Maria."

Other Petit Trianon presenters include Emily Ray's Mission Chamber Orchestra with concerts on Sep. 25 (works by British composers and Beethoven) and Nov. 6 (featuring the world premiere of Dong's Suite for Yang qin) and the Steinway Society hosting piano recitals by Stephen Prutsman (Sep. 26) and Gwendolyn Mok and Mack McCray (Nov. 7)

The busy Stanford Lively Arts fall lineup includes pianist Louis Lortie (Oct. 6), the Emerson String Quartet with pianist Jeffrey Kahane (Oct. 20), English Concert with violinist Andrew Manze (Nov. 7) and pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma (Dec. 8). At Villa Montalvo, hear Emanuel Ax (Oct. 17), 17-year-old Canadian violinist Caitlin Tully (Oct. 24), the Kronos Quartet (Nov. 4) and guitarist Sharon Isbin (Dec. 5.)

Mitchell Sardou Klein's Peninsula Symphony appears at Flint Center, Oct. 16, with Russian pianist Maxim Philippov in Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto. Nuvi Mehta's Nova Vista Symphony performs an all-French program at Foothill College Theater, Nov. 13. For those willing to drive, Eric Kujawsky's Redwood Symphony, playing at San Mateo's Bayside Performing Arts Center, includes in its Nov. 21 program Thomas Ades' Asyla and the West Coast premiere of Daugherty's Spaghetti Western.


California Youth Symphony
Various locations; $6-$12; 650.325.6666.
Works by Shostakovich and Sibelius, with soloist Ashley Lau—Nov. 14 at 2:30pm at Flint Center, also Nov. 21 at 2:30pm at San Mateo Performing Arts Center
Holiday Concert—Dec. 12, Foothill College Theatre, Los Altos

Cantabile Choral Guild
A new incarnation for the Baroque Choral Guild. First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto; Saturdays at 8pm; $10-$25; 650.424.1418. 'Seasons of Christmas'—Dec. 11

The Bay Area's premier all-male chorus; see www.chanticleer.org for details. Various venues.
'Women, Saintly and Otherwise'—Oct. 28 at Mission Santa Clara
'A Chanticleer Christmas'—Dec. 14-15 at Stanford Memorial Church

Mission Chamber Orchestra
Under the direction of Emily Ray, the orchestra offers a series called "Season of International Music Adventures." Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; Saturdays at 8pm; $15-$18; 408.293.6060.
Roger Wright performs Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 5, Holst's St. Paul's Suite, Bax's Summer Music and Jacob's Divertimento for Wind Octet—Sept. 25
Yanqin Zhao plays the Wang Suite on Chinese hammered dulcimer—Nov. 6
2005 Highlight: Ibert's Concertino da Camera performed by saxophonist Ashu—Feb. 5

New Century Chamber Orchestra
Performs at four venues around the bay, including Palo Alto. First United Methodist Church; Fridays at 8pm; $16-$39; 415.357.1111.
Works by Borodin, Webern, Lutoslawski and Tchaikovsky—Sept. 17 at First United
Works by Bach, Vivaldi and Handel—Dec. 17 at St. Marks Episcopal Church, Palo Alto

Nova Vista Symphony
Directed by Nuvi Mehta. Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, Los Altos; Saturdays at 8pm: $8-$15; 408.530.0700.
An all-French roster, with works by Ravel, Gounod and Sarasate— Nov. 13

Palo Alto Philharmonic
With a series of orchestra and chamber music concerts, the company will be using this year's performances to audition a new permanent conductor. Cubberley Theatre, Palo Alto; Saturdays at 8pm; $5-$16; 650.857.0737.
Thomas Shoebotham, conductor; works by Barber, Copland and Dvorák, plus Lee Actor's Redwood Fanfare—Oct. 23
Chamber music at 8pm at Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium—Nov. 6
Ann Krinitsky leads the orchestra in Barber's Overture to The School for Scandal, Brahms' Symphony no. 4 and Max Bruch's Concerto no. 1, with guest violinist Michelle Maruyama—Dec. 4

Peninsula Symphony
San Mateo Performing Arts Center and Flint Center: $21-$27; 650.941.5291.
'From Russia With Music,' with Maxim Philppov on piano; San Mateo—Oct. 15 at 8pm in San Mateo, Oct. 16 at 8pm at Flint
'In Remembrance,' collaboration with Stanford Symphonic Chorus—Nov. 18 at 8pm and Nov. 21 at 1:30pm at Memorial Church, Stanford

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto; $46-$62; 415.252.1288.
Rameau's Les Paladins Suite d'Orchestre and Zéphyre Acte de Ballet—Sept. 18 at 8pm
Program features works by Locke, Geminiani, Muffat and Bach, with violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch—Oct. 8 at 8pm
Nicholas McGegan conducts Schubert, Mozart and Haydn, with guest flutist Janet See—Nov. 5 at 8pm
Works by Bach (J.S. and C.P.E.) and Telemann—Dec. 3 at 8pm
2005 Highlight: Handel's Samson Oratorio—Feb. 18 at 8pm

Redwood Symphony
Bayside Performing Arts Center, San Mateo; Sundays at 3pm; $10-$20; 650.366.6872.
Works by Debussy, Copland and Mozart, plus Howard Shore's Suite from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring—Oct. 3
Movie-based selections by Nino Rota, Rossini and Michael Daugherty (Spaghetti Western)—Nov. 21

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Bleeding-edge modern classical; if you want to hear a work about the Attica prison riots, this is the place; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; San Francisco; Mondays at 8pm; 415.978.ARTS.
'Whispering. Murmuring. Ranting,' works by modern Italian composers Ada Gentile and Ivan Fedele—Nov. 15

San Francisco Early Music Society
Period music on period instruments. Sackbut lovers, look no further. First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto; Fridays at 8pm; $22-$25; 510.528.1725.
The Whole Noyse—Oct. 1
Musica Pacifica—Oct. 29
Liber Unusualis, music of 14th-century composer Johannes Ciconia—Nov. 19
Magnificat—Dec. 17

San Francisco Symphony
The orchestra brings a selection of concerts to the South Bay at Flint Center, Cupertino; series tickets $210-$416; 415.864.6000.
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Debussy, Copland, Gershwin and Bernard Herrmann's Suite from Vertigo—Sept. 11 at 8pm
Edwin Outwater conducts Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, with guest soloist Tamaki Kawakubo—Nov. 19 at 8pm
A choral Christmas concert with conductor Vance George—Dec. 19 at 2pm

San Jose Chamber Music Society
Group hosts Sunday concerts by visiting ensembles and guest artists. Concerts start at 7pm, with pre-show talks at 6:15pm; Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; $17-$30; 408.286.5111.
Eroica Trio—Oct. 3
The Schubert Ensemble of London performs selections by Martin Butler, Shostakovich and Elgar—Oct. 17
Cypress String Quartet, with pianist Ian Hobson, performing a program of Mendelssohn, Suk and Schumann—Nov. 21
Holiday concert with Brass Plus and the SJSU Choraliers, including a new work for brass and chorus by Craig Bohmler—Dec. 5

San Jose Chamber Orchestra
With music director Barbara Day Turner. Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; $20-$40; 408.295.4416.
Program features Henry Mollicone's In Time of War: Prayers and Meditations, plus a new work by Jeremy Cohen—Oct. 2 at Le Petit Trianon at 8pm
Holiday concert with the Choral Project—Dec. 10 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 13601 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga, at 8pm

San Jose Symphonic Choir
Choral group in 80th season; 408.897.9709.
Christmas Concert—Nov. 27 at 8pm at St. Joseph Cathedral, San Jose
You-Sing-It Messiah—Dec. 13 at 7:30pm at the California Theatre

Santa Cruz County Symphony
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium Saturdays at 8pm; Henry J. Mello Center, Watsonville, Sundays at 2pm; $12-$45; 831.420.5260.
Guest pianist Stephen Prutsman. Program features Ives' Variations on America, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Brahms' Symphony no. 1—Sept. 18-19
Program features Ravel, Burch and Tchaikovsky—Nov. 6 (no Sunday concert)
2005 Highlight: A memorial to composer Lou Harrison, in collaboration with New Music Works Ensemble of Santa Cruz—March 6

Schola Cantorum
Large choral ensemble directed by Gregory Waite. Multiple venues; Saturday-Sunday 8pm; $18-$22; 650.254.1700.
'Echoes of England: The Music of Jon Rutter'—Oct. 23 at 8pm at First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
'Echoes of England'—Oct. 24 at 8pm at Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos
'Winter Imprints'—Dec. 11 at 8pm at First Congregational Church, Redwood City
'Winter Imprints'—Dec. 12 at 8pm at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Saratoga
Messiah Sing—Dec. 13 at 8pm at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

South Bay Guitar Society
A volunteer organization that scored big in its previous seasons with a production called Platero y Yo. Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; Fridays at 8pm; 408.292.0704.
Cavatina Duo, with Denis Azabagic on guitar and Eugenia Moliner on flute—Sept. 24
Carlos Perez, Chilean guitarist—Nov. 6 at West Valley College, Saratoga
2005 Highlight: Roland Dyens—Jan. 14

Steinway Society of the Bay Area
A series devoted to pianists. Le Petit Trianon, San Jose; Sundays at 7pm; $25-$35; 408.246.4200.
Stephen Prutsman—Sept. 26
Gwendolyn Mok and Mack McCray—Nov. 7 at 7pm
2005 Highlight: Jon Nakamatsu—Jan. 8-9 at 8pm/2pm

Symphony Silicon Valley
California Theatre, San Jose; Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm; $32/$52/$72; 408.286.2600.
Sergiu Comissiona conducts Copland, Gershwin and Korngold—Oct. 9-10
Patrick Flynn conducts Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 5, Corigliano's Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra, Vaughn Williams and premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Fanfa Ritmo—Oct. 30-31
Holiday concert conducted by Thomas Conlin—Dec. 11-12
2005 Highlight: Paul Polivnick conducts Stravinsky's Song of the Nightingale—Jan. 15-16

Villa Montalvo
Classical concerts at the Carriage House, Saratoga; around $25-$50; 408.961.5858
Emanual Ax—Oct. 17 at 2pm
Caitlin Tully—Oct. 24 at 2pm
Kronos Quartet—Nov. 4 at 7:30pm
David Benoit with Asia America Youth Honor Orchestra and the San Jose Youth Symphony—Nov. 13 at 7pm
Leanne Rees—Nov. 14 at 4pm
Sharon Isbin—Dec. 5 at 2pm

Winchester Orchestra Of San Jose
Under the direction of Henry Mollicone.
Selections by Schubert, Smetana, Vaughan Williams and Rachmaninoff, with soloist Adler Ma—Nov. 5 at 8pm and Nov. 7 at 7pm at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 81 N. Second St., San Jose
Works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff—Dec. 19 at 8pm at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Center


Opera San José
California Theatre, San Jose; evenings at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm; $60-$88; 408.437.4450.
The Marriage of Figaro—Sept. 18-Oct. 3
Tosca—Nov. 20-Dec. 5
2005 Highlight: The Flying Dutchman—April 9-24

Bay Shore Lyric Opera
Various locations; $30-$45; 888.496.7372.
Rigoletto—Oct. 7-9 at the Capitola Theater for the Performing Arts and Oct. 16-17 at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center

West Bay Opera
Lucie Stern Theater, Palo Alto; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm; $36-$46; 650.424.9999.
La Clemenza di Tito—Oct. 16, 22 and 24


Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts; 408.288.2800.
Pirates of Penzance—Nov. 18-21
The Nutcracker—Dec. 16-26
2005 Highlight: Middle Kingdom Ancient China, a world premiere of work by Nahat and Yong Yao—Feb. 10-13

LINES Ballet
Choreographer Alonzo King's version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was one of the highlights of the 2004 dance season. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; www.linesballet.org.
Before the Blues, a collaboration with jazz master Pharoah Sanders—Nov. 5-14

San Francisco Ballet
The bulk of the season for the top-flight compny takes place next year, but SFB will present its first new Nutcracker in December. War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; 415.865.2000.
Nutcracker, with new choreography by Helgi Tomasson, set in San Francisco in the early 20th century—Dec. 17-31
2005 Highlight: Repertory program features Balanchine's Theme and Variations—Feb. 1-12

Smuin Ballet
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View; $18-$60; 650.903.600.
The Christmas Ballet—Dec. 1-5
2005 Highlight: Smuin's version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring—June 1-5

Splitsville Grupo Corpo leaps in Stanford Lively Arts Oct. 15-16.

Academic Angles

Stanford Lively Arts
Memorial Auditorium, Memorial Church and Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University; 650.725.ARTS.
Louis Lortie, classical piano—Oct. 6 at 8pm at Dinkelspiel
Grupo Corpo Brazilian Dance Theater—Oct. 15-16 at 8pm at Memorial Auditorium
Masters of Mexican Music—Oct. 17 at 2:30pm at Memorial Auditorium
Emerson String Quartet, with pianist Jeffrey Kahane—Oct. 20 at Dinkelspiel at 8pm.
Tapestry, Sapphire Night, female classical vocal quartet—Oct. 29 at Memorial Church at 8pm.
English Concert with Andrew Manze, violin—Nov. 7 at 2:30pm at Memorial Auditorium
Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra—Nov. 10 at Memorial Auditorium at 8pm
Emanuel Ax, piano, and Yo-Yo Ma, cello—Dec. 8 at Memorial Auditorium at 8pm
A Chanticleer Christmas, all-male vocal ensemble presents annual seasonal concert—Dec. 14-15 at 8pm at Memorial Church
2005 Highlight: Itzhak Perlman—Jan. 8 at Memorial Auditorium

Cal Performances
At Zellerbach Hall, UC-Berkeley; 510.642.9988.
Shen Wei Dance Arts—Sept. 25 at 8pm, Sept. 26 at 7pm
Economist and articulate Bush basher Paul Krugman speaks—Oct. 14 at 8pm
Branford Marsalis Quartet—Oct. 12 at 8pm
Mark Morris Dance Group—Oct. 22-24, 28-29 at 8pm; Oct. 30 at 7pm
Laurie Anderson—Nov. 11-12 at 8pm
Arlo Guthrie and the Klezmatics—Dec. 7 at 8pm
2005 Highlights: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—March 11-20

UC-Santa Cruz Arts & Lectures
Various Santa Cruz locations; 831.459.2159.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Beau Soleil—Oct. 8 at 8pm at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
A film tribute to monologuist Spalding Gray—Oct. 23 at Rio Theatre
Purna Das and the Bauls of Bengal—Nov. 5 at 8pm at Rio Theatre
Chuck D.—Nov. 18 at 8pm at Rio Theatre

SJSU Center for Literary Arts
Various locations; some events co-sponsored by Poetry Center San Jose; 408.924.4600.
W.S. Merwin—Nov. 15 at 7:30pm, booksigning at King Library; Nov. 16 at noon, conversation and Q&A on SJSU campus
Word for Word troupe performs Stories by Tobias Wolff—Dec. 1 at 7:30pm on campus
Tobias Woolf—Dec. 2 at noon, booksigning at King Library; Dec. 2 at 7:30pm, lecture at Morris Dailey Hall

Santa Clara University
Various campus locations; 408.554.4015.
Hans Boepple, classical pianist—Oct. 9 at 8pm at Recital Hall
Golden Gate Rhythm Machine—Oct. 13 at noon at the Concert Hall
Fall Dance Festival—Oct. 16 at 1 and 8pm, Oct. 17 at 2pm
Scott Kirby, ragtime pianist—Nov. 10 at noon at the Concert Hall
Fall Orchestra Concert, conducted by Emily Ray—Nov. 12 at 8pm at the Mission Church
Holiday Opera, with students and guest artists from Bayshore Lyric Opera—Dec. 1 at noon at the Concert Hall
Festival of Lights with SCU Choral Ensembles—Dec. 3-4 at 8pm at the Mission Church

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From the September 8-14, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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