Classical music picks up on the hair of the beast – Monterey Herald


It has been two years since this column provided an overview of the classical music seasons of the Monterey Peninsula. Shortly after, live performances stopped all over the planet and this column and others were suspended. The pandemic had gone global.

Our intrepid classic presenters overcame the challenges and obstacles of the past year and a half. They invite us to return to the world of live music in person through their exceptional ensembles and soloists. Here are the offers for their 2021-2022 seasons.

Carmelite Music Society

Carmel Music Society performances take place Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. at Carmel’s Sunset Center. For now, all members of the public, staff and artists must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Ticket holders must provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result (dated within 72 hours of the date of the performance), before entering the Sunset Center. It is suggested to arrive early to allow time for the COVID protocol checks.

On October 24, the Carmel Music Society kicks off its season with a special free concert presented in collaboration with the 2021 Carmel Bach Festival. Pianist George Li makes his Carmel debut with a music program by Bach, Beethoven and Liszt. Dubbed a musician of “astounding technical prowess, command and depth of expression” by the Washington Post, Li was a silver medalist in the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

On January 9, the Society presents the Dover Quartet in works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Alexander von Zemlinsky. The ensemble gained international fame after a breathtaking sweep of all awards at the Banff Competition and ranks among the best string quartets of their generation.

On February 6, violinist Stefan Milenkovich presents a music program by Handel, Prokofiev, Paganini, Henryk Wieniawski and Pablo de Sarasate. Proclaimed Serbian Artist of the Century, Milenkovich has a prolific international career as a soloist and recitalist. The Washington Post calls it “disarmingly magic … dazzling virtuosity … in search of musicality.”

On March 13, legendary Cuban guitarist Manuel Barrueco performs works ranging from Girolamo Frescobaldi and Domenico Scarlatti to Ignacio Cervantes, Manuel M. Ponce and Joaquín Malats. A writer for Fanfare Magazine says: “If Barrueco isn’t the greatest guitarist alive on stage today, I don’t know who is.

On April 3, popular Russian pianist Olga Kern returns to Carmel in concert with her son Vladislav Kern for a program of solo works by Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, and four-handed compositions by Ravel and Brahms, as well as other works to be announced at the concert. Kern launched his career in the United States with his historic gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

On May 1, the Israel Chamber Project will present a program of works by Korngold, Zemlinsky, Alban Berg and Brahms. Now in its second decade, the Israel Chamber Project is a dynamic ensemble of strings, winds, harp and piano, with distinguished musicians from both sides of the Atlantic.

On May 22, the season ends with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, featuring pianist Wu Han, violinist Arnaud Sussmann, violist Paul Neubauer and cellist David Finckel. BBC Music Magazine calls this group “the mighty team of American classical music”.

For tickets and more information, visit or call 831-625-9938.

Monterey Symphony

The Monterey Symphony’s outdoor pop concert “Love Letter to Carmel” at the Forest Theater in Carmel earlier this week was sold out.

The previously announced String (s) Theory concerts have been canceled for November.

Single tickets will go on sale for the 75th anniversary season on December 15th. Subscription renewals are available now by calling the Symphony box office at (831) 646-8511. The organization will not schedule any other concerts or events until February, when its search for a musical director resumes.

Executive Director Nicola Reilly said the organization launched its search for a replacement for longtime Music Director Max Bragado-Darman in 2019. “We interviewed the finalists and announced these people in September 2019 and opened our latest season with Max. We can only present the concerts for October, November and February, canceling the last two concerts and then our entire next season.

Fortunately, all applicants are still available for audition concerts next year. The search committee plans to decide in June 2022, when the new conductor will be announced.

Chamber music Monterey Bay

Chamber Music Monterey Bay is celebrating its 55th season with a return to live concerts starting Saturday. The Lincoln Trio opens its 2021-2022 season, making its Carmel debut in a program of lesser-known works inspired by folk music. The trio is described as “fervent and imaginative… [with] passionate textures and fine phrasing ”by the San Francisco Chronicle,

On November 13, the Manhattan Chamber Players will also make their regional debut with Schubert’s “Trout” and a romantic-style quintet by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

In partnership with the Carmel Bach Festival, Chamber Music Monterey Bay presents acclaimed pianist Simone Dinnerstein. She will perform Bach’s Goldberg Variations in a concert without an intermission on January 20.

On February 26, the Horszowski Trio returns for their second chamber music performance. Called “elegant and exciting” by the Boston Globe, the group will perform works by Shostakovich, Debussy, Bernstein and Armenian-Soviet composer Arno Babajanian.

On April 19, the Catalyst Quartet closes the season with a program of works by Haydn, Terry Riley and Webern. The quartet concludes the concert with the west coast premiere of “CQ Minute,” a work celebrating the quartet’s 10th anniversary, co-commissioned by Chamber Music. The commission presents short pieces by 10 composers from a wide range of the musical world. Composers include Joan Tower, Kevin Puts, Jessie Montgomery, Billy Childs, and Paquito D’Rivera.

Chamber Music Monterey Bay requires spaced seats in the hall as well as mandatory proof of COVID vaccination and face masks. All concerts start at 7:30 p.m. and take place at the Sunset Center.

For tickets and more information, see www. or call 625-2212.

Ensemble Monterey: Celebrate New Beginnings!

The Monterey Chamber Orchestra Ensemble opens its New Beginnings season with a Halloween concert featuring “Dracula, Viola Zombies, Alfred Hitchcock Theme, Dance Macabre, Monster Mash and more”. Soprano Lori Schulman lends her vocal talents to spooky musical enjoyment, and you are invited to come in costume. “Halloween – be afraid! Will be performed on October 30 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monterey and on October 31 in Santa Cruz at the Peace United Church of Christ, the two main concert venues in this series.

In November and January, the ensemble will present the world premiere of a major work by famous composer Kirke Mechem: “Befana – A Christmas Fable” is a production in partnership with the music and theatrical arts departments of Cabrillo College commissioned by the Monterey Ensemble and the Cabrillo Choirs of the College. It will be presented on November 14 as a concert at First Presbyterian Church Monterey and from January 6 to 9 as a theatrical performance at the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College, Aptos.

On March 26 in Monterey and March 27 in Santa Cruz, the ensemble presents “Seven Gets You Eleven!” for three treasures from the repertoire of Saint Sans, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Australian composer George Palmer.

On May 7 in Monterey and May 15 in Santa Cruz, the Monterey Ensemble is joined, as is tradition, by the elite vocal ensemble Cantiamo! and the Cabrillo Youth Chorus, conducted by Cheryl Anderson, for the season finale, “Mass of the Children” by John Rutter.

Founder and Music Director John Anderson says he’s deeply grateful to their consistently loyal audience for making those 28 years possible. Join him before each performance for a pre-concert chat.

For tickets and more information see or call (831) 333-1283.

Carmel Bach Festival update

The Carmel Bach Festival has announced an addition to its main concerts for its 2021 season which will run from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5 at the Sunset Center in Carmel. Five hour-long chamber music concerts, including two in the Sunset Foyer and three concerts on the main stage, will take place during the second week of the Festival, November 2-5. For tickets and information, contact the Festival at or call (831) 625-1521.


Comments are closed.