At FOOSA’s faculty recital, the musical talent will be off the charts

The Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy at Fresno State puts the spotlight on its teachers

Classical music fans, here’s a weekend event you don’t want to miss:

The concert: FOOSA (Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy) faculty recital.

The details: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 16, in the Fresno State Concert Hall. Admission is free with donations accepted.

The backstory: A faculty of acclaimed musicians gathers each June at Fresno State to teach in a vigorous and elevated musical environment. This year’s academy started Sunday, and students from around the world have been attending intense lessons and rehearsals. (And probably practicing up a storm, too.) They’re working toward a big wrap-up concert featuring students and teachers at none other than Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (8 p.m. Friday, June 22). But before that happens, a highlight of the academy’s first full weekend will be the annual faculty recital.

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This weekend, it’s Jeremy Denk times two

Noted pianist (and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow) performs with Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra

When you have an artist with the prestige and virtuosity of pianist Jeremy Denk come to town, why not double the impact? That was the thinking of Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, which are both putting the spotlight on Denk in separate concerts this weekend.

Denk returns to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series for an 8 p.m. performance on Friday, April 27, at Fresno State’s Concert Hall. The next evening, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the same location, Denk will perform Beethoven’s famed “Emperor” piano concerto with the Fresno State orchestra.

Jeremy Denk, 2013 MacArthur Fellow
Jeremy Denk performs with Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra. Photo / © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Denk is a winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award. He’s written for The New Yorker magazine and has a popular blog. His musical collaborators have included Joshua Bell and Steven Isserliss, and his recordings have reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Chart.

How is Fresno lucky enough to have not one but two Denk performances?

Andreas Werz, artistic director of Keyboard Concerts, explains that the timing was fortuitous.

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For cello fans, a wonderful weekend

Fresno State’s cello festival and Fresno Musical Club offer concerts

There are two promising classical music events this weekend I’d like to share:

Cello festival

The 2017 Cello Fresno international festival features two gala concerts:

8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6: The Fresno State Symphony Orchestra and an all-star lineup of professional guest artists perform at the Fresno State Concert Hall under conductor Thomas Loewenheim. The program includes Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” Von Suppe’s “Poet and Peasant Overture,” and works for cello and orchestra by Bragato, Bruch, Dvorak, Elgar, Offenbach, Popper, and Saint-Saens. Tickets are $5-$15.

YOOF Cello Mania 2015-042.jpg

4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8: The Youth Orchestras of Fresno, conducted by Loewenheim and guest conductor Emilio Colon, performs a program at the Shaghoian Concert Hall that includes the Pfitzner Cello Concerto, Paganini’s “Moses Variations” and winners of the concerto competition. Tickets are free.

The Sunday concert includes two notable highlights, Loewenheim tells me:

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