Celebrating Complexity, the title of Saturday evening’s (Jan. 10) 2015 soundON Festival of Modern Music performance at the La Jolla Athenaeum, succinctly describes this festival’s aesthetic profile and the intention of its resident ensemble—not accidentally called NOISE . . .

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In his ten years at the helm of the San Diego Symphony, maestro Jahja Ling has been a Mahler proponent, and on Saturday (November 22) at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Hall, Ling offered Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 7 in E Minor. . .

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Sometimes the designation “competition winner” is a scarlet letter, a mark denoting that soulless technical wizardry capable of impressing judges, but Vadym Kholodenko, first prize winner of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, demonstrated probing emotional depth and daring individuality in his stunning account of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto Sunday . . .

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The San Diego Symphony titled last Friday evening’s Jacobs Masterworks program “Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony”, but when the audience rose to its feet in wonderfully noisy acclamation just before intermission, it was pretty clear that they had spontaneously re-named the evening “Jeff Thayer’s Second”, to honor the San Diego Symphony’s concertmaster for his impressive performance of one of the monuments of the violin repertoire, Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2…

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Listening to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra play Rachmaninoff is to step into a time machine, to enter a sonic world untouched by the anxieties and aggressive urgency of the 20th century. Friday (Feb. 28) at the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego, maestro Yuri Temirkanov led this orchestra, currently touring North America, in a rewarding program of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. . .

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