Donald’s list: Weekend choices (April 6)

You can win a pair of tickets to hear the Alexander String Quartet, which performs Sunday. Also: The Fresno Master Chorale salutes Bernstein

I have two promising picks for you this weekend, both music-related: the Alexander String Quartet; and a cheery sounding cabaret performance put on by members of the Fresno Master Chorale.

Famed quartet

On my monthly talk show, “The Munro Review,” I got a chance to interview David Fox of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series and Jack Fortner of Orpheus chamber ensemble. Those two august institutions are partnering to present a performance by the world-class Alexander String Quartet at Fresno State.

alex string quartet

You can catch up with the interview on the clip below, starting at about the 4:40 mark and going through to about the 12:00 mark. Fox (who calls himself an ASQ “groupie”) tells us a little background about the quartet, and also fills us in on Keyboard Concerts (which later this month is bringing noted pianist Jeremy Denk to Fresno, on April 27). And Fortner fills us in on Orpheus, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. (Along with the ASQ special event, Orpheus is planning a big concert on April 29.)

Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 general, $18 seniors, $5 students.

Win tickets: I’m giving away a pair of tickets to Sunday’s concert to a lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us why you’d like to hear the Alexander String Quartet. Deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Saturday. I’ll pick a winner at random.

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Keyboard Concerts welcomes back famed Irish pianist Barry Douglas, and you can win tickets

Barry Douglas, stellar pianist and gold medal winner in the 1996 International Tchaikovsky Competition, is a favorite of Fresno’s classical-music community. And it seems that Fresno is a favorite of his, too.

Douglas returns for the fifth time to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Fresno State Concert Hall.

barry douglas
Barry Douglas performs March 11, 2018, at Fresno State. Photo / Katya Kraynova

It’s no surprise to series artistic director Andreas Werz that Douglas will be back on campus.

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Keyboard Concerts: Win tickets to Armenian chamber ensemble

Chilingirian, Hakobyan and Bagratuni will perform Friday at Fresno State’s Concert Hall

Keyboard Concerts is best known for the world-class pianists it brings to Fresno on a regular basis. But the series also hosts several special events each season, including chamber music.

A concert at Fresno State (8 p.m. Friday, March 2) brings together three of today’s most prominent Armenian musicians: violinist Levon Chilingirian, cellist Suren Bagratuni and pianist/composer Karen Hakobyan. They have received international acclaim for their activities as performers, pedagogues, competition jurors and recording artists.

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World-class piano on Valentine’s Day: What could be more romantic than that?

You can win a pair of tickets to the Feb. 14 concert featuring Yefim Bronfman with the Fresno State Keyboard Concerts season

The Chicago Tribune once described pianist Yefim Bronfman’s style as “a marvel of digital dexterity, warmly romantic sentiment, and jaw-dropping bravura.” That “romantic” part is a good sell for Bronfman’s Valentine’s Day performance as part of Keyboard Concerts at Fresno State.

Yefim Bronfman, pianist
Yefim Bronfman performs Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Fresno State. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

Bronfman regularly plays the world’s top concert venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Hertz Hall in Berkeley, the Schiller Theater in Berlin, and Symphony Center in Chicago, among others. The Israeli-American pianist is a regular soloist with the Vienna, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, and the Boston, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle symphonies.

He last performed for the Keyboard series in 2016.

His program for the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at the Fresno State Concert Hall includes Beethoven’s Sonata in F major, Schubert’s Sonata in C minor, Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque” and Stravinsky’s “Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka.”

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Jan. 5)

As January’s cultural scene slowly begins to ramp up, here are two weekend picks for you:

Keyboard Concerts

If you’ve never heard a professional organist play the Elizabeth V. Lyles Pipe Organ in the Fresno State Concert Hall, you owe yourself the experience. (Fun fact: The impressive instrument was built by the Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company in St. Louis and installed in 1996.)

Kimberly Marshall, organist
Acclaimed organist Kimberly Marshall performs Sunday, Jan. 7, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

You’ll get that opportunity when Kimberly Marshall, who has an illustrious performance and academic background (at one point she was dean of postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music), returns to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series on Sunday, Jan. 7.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Nov. 10)

Options include Keyboard Concerts, the Fresno Film Festival and Fall Dances at Fresno City College. Plus: events at Bitwise and Sequoia Symphony

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Keyboard Concerts

This highly regarded series has brought some of the world’s most famous, seasoned pianists to Fresno. But the series is also a way to experience some of the most accomplished young talent as well.

Daniel Hsu, pianist

That’s the case with Daniel Hsu, who will perform as part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State. Hsu is winner of the bronze medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which made him an instant star. The 19-year-old Bay Area native on Friday will present a virtuoso program consisting of works by Schubert, Chopin, J.S. Bach/Busoni, Rachmaninoff, and Marc-André Hamelin’s Toccata on “L’homme armé.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Oct. 20)

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Drive-through

All eyes on Saturday will be on the Fulton Mall — whoops, Fulton Street, and it will be a while before I can train myself to automatically say that — for the official ribbon-cutting and opening celebration. This isn’t just an event; it’s an historic occasion. I remember when I came to Fresno more than 25 years ago for my job interview, and my future boss took me to lunch at the Downtown Club, pointed in the direction of the mall, and told me, “We hope this can be revitalized soon.”

SCENES - FULTON 1
Photo / Downtown Fresno Partnership

So, decades later, change is in the air. I’m crossing my fingers.

Bethany Clough has a nice list in The Bee of pop-up stores and restaurants that will line the street for the 3 p.m. ribbon cutting at Fulton Street and Mariposa Mall. Most will be open until 10. (It’s nice to see the Fresno Art Museum on the list with a wine/shopping option.) There will be two beer gardens and three stages for live music.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Sept. 29)

Choices include ‘The Tempest’ at Fresno Soap Co., chamber music at Keyboard Concerts and ‘Scoundrels’ in Visalia

Here’s a roundup of promising cultural/arts picks for the weekend:

‘The Tempest’

Think you’ve already seen “The Tempest”? Probably not with an all-women cast. An enthusiastic band of actresses take on the challenge of Shakespeare’s island-adventure comedy in a production that opens Friday, Sept. 29, at the Fresno Soap Co.

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An all-women “Tempest”: Bridget Paul (Ferdinand), Casey Ballard (Prospero), and Paige Tucker (Miranda). Photo / provided

The performers bring to life all the characters in the play: men, women and all those famous other-worldly characters. (Plus, there’s one inanimate object making a debut: Stephano’s companion, Trinculo, is a hand-puppet.)

The cast includes Bridget Paul (Ferdinand), Casey Ballard (Prospero), Paige Tucker (Miranda), Patricia Fretwell (Alonso), Sara Smith (Antonio), Kayla Weber (Caliban), Tania Haigounian (Stephano with Trinculo) and Kathie Mollica (Gonzalo).

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