San Diego Symphony musicians make an impact on both sides of the stage
If you ever wondered what members of the San Diego Symphony do during their off hours, a look inside Anthology in Little Italy Tuesday night would have answered your question.
In a particularly inspiring Luscious Noise performance, almost a dozen symphony members were on stage showing talents you never would guess from their relatively restrained performances in Copley Symphony Hall. And the understandably sparse audience (given that it was election night) included at least another dozen symphony players cheering on their colleagues.
There was bassoonist Ryan Simmons (who sits second chair in the orchestra), clad in his finest Elvis outfit, closing the program with several of his friends in Michael Daugherty’s highly entertaining “Dead Elvis.”
There was double bassist Jory Herman, although he stayed in character, performing the equally engaging “B.B. Wolf — An Apologia” by Jon Deak.
There was the symphony’s newest violinist, Anna Skálová, fearlessly leading an ensemble of violinist Igor Pandurski, violist Gareth Zehngut and cellist Abe Liebhaber in a cohesive reading of the first movement of the Debussy String Quartet that was better — in fact, much better — than it had any right to be, given the pickup nature of this group (which played under the name Anna and the Velvet Revolution).
There was the orchestra’s new principal flutist, Rose Lombardo, offering a remarkably nuanced, sensuous interpretation of Ibert’s “Pièce for flute solo.”
There was Zehngut, with Pandurski (on piano), weaving a spell in Arvo Pärt’s magical “Fratres.”
And, if that wasn’t enough, there were lively performances of three dances from Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” and Schoenberg’s arrangement of Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” (with baritone Mark Wischkaemper).
By the time Simmons closed the concert, the outcome of the presidential election had already been projected, but it was abundantly clear conductor (and symphony violinist) John Stubbs’ occasional series is a winner.
Too bad you couldn’t make it Tuesday; but there’s no excuse for missing the next program in mid-January.
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