Pembroke Pines Concert Comment

 Just to let you know that I and my 92 year old dad thoroughly enjoyed, for the second summer running, your just completed 7/13 concert at the Katz Theatre in pembroke Pines.  The program was magnificent and high quality, including the shostopping flute suite.  I was pleased to see a nearly capacity house,  with a far reaching age and audience base represented.  I have long sought this tyupe of cultural presence in pembroke pines......and I hope we can expand upon it. If the audience is any indication, there is a good future in the Pines for all of us. Thank you!!!

Free Summerfest concert planned in Pines

A Pembroke Pines summer tradition is back as the Symphony of the Americas returns for a free concert.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Susan B. Katz Theater of the Performing Arts, 17195 Sheridan St. The concert is part of the Fort Lauderdale-based symphony's annual Summerfest series, which includes a musician exchange with an orchestra in a foreign country, along with a visit to Panama. This year, they're teaming up with the Rome-based Mission Chamber Orchestra, which frequently plays with the Vatican and is partnering with Vatican City for a music festival in 2013.

"Their musicians come over and combine with ours," said Kristen Noffsinger, the symphony's marketing and development director.

Mission Chamber is sending 14 musicians to Florida while the symphony is sending six of its musicians to Rome. In addition to music from composers like Bach and Mendelssohn, the concerts will feature the debut of an original composition by Lorenzo Turchi-Floris, Mission Chamber's musical director.

The symphony, now in its 25th year, has been playing concerts in Pembroke Pines for 10 years, Noffsinger said. Each year, its Summerfest features two legs of performances in Broward, with a visit to Panama sandwiched in the middle. Noffsinger said work on the next Summerfest begins as soon as the current one ends. The symphony's maestro, James Brooks-Bruzzese, selects partner orchestras in other countries based on conductors he's worked with in the past, but Noffsinger said the symphony also receives submissions from around the world.

"He has quite a worldly experience base. He has a lot of connections all over the place," Noffsinger said.

The Pembroke Pines concert is notable in that it's one of the few free concerts in the series, as it's funded in part by the city. The symphony will be performing another free concert at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Hollywood ArtsPark at Young Circle, on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and U.S. 1.


Summerfest 2012 - Comment from Bob Boyer

 “My name is Bob Boyer,  and I serve as the Asst Musical Director for PPTOPA (Pembroke Pines Theatre of Performing Arts).  We (as part of the city) are hostting your 7/13 concert at our stage at river of Grass, and I read with great interest and enthusiasm yor comments and article regarding summerfest etc. in the Sun-Sentinel's Community section today.

Elisso, Child Prodigy 2012


Elisso Gogibedaschwili, who celebrates her 12th birthday Saturday, will be the youngest guest artist to perform with the Symphony of the Americas. The young violinist from Austria will perform the Bruch violin concerto at the Broward Center of the Arts in the Amaturo Theater Tuesday evening. She had a special performance Friday at Sawgrass Springs Middle School for about 300 students.


Conrad Tao, 17, shows fully mature virtuosity in Rachmaninoff

conrad-tao-0e57286d3adeb1f5-390x588Conrad Tao performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Symphony of the Americas Tuesday night at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. An outstanding 17-year-old pianist gave a performance of a Rachmaninoff concerto Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale that would have done credit to a veteran virtuoso.

Conrad Tao, a student at Juilliard, performed the Russian composer’s Second Piano Concerto with Symphony of the Americas at the Broward Center, fresh off a performance of a Saint-Saëns concerto with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is an amazing dual talent who had previously performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Symphony of the Americas, and his deep musicality was apparent from the first notes.


Lots of pianists can bang their way through this difficult work. But Tao, from the dramatic flair with which he played the first pensive broken chords, showed a natural feel for the concerto’s yearning melodies and restless energy. Although he is clearly a master of the keyboard, his playing was so smooth and fluent that the difficulty of the work was never at the forefront; nor was there ever a hint of the look-how-hard-this-is virtuosity that marks the playing of some young keyboard phenoms. He could be grand, as in the sweeping swirls of notes that open the last movement, and his technical ability was apparent throughout, as he easily handled the rapid chords, runs and other challenges of a concerto composed by one of history’s great virtuosos.

But it was his playing of Rachmaninoff’s melodic passages that really distinguished this performance, as Tao’s natural musicality brought out the concerto’s smoky, Romantic quality. The orchestra, to which Rachmaninoff assigns much of the thematic material, was an admirable partner under the assured, attentive conducting of artistic director James Brooks-Bruzzese. Standing ovations are so common these days that they don’t mean that much, but in this case the audience rose immediately after the final chord in a spontaneous and virtually unanimous signal of acclaim. As an encore, Tao performed Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, a difficult but lightweight work, played by Tao with immaculate technical command.

annaAnna Maria LitvinenkoAnother 17-year-old soloist appeared first, Anna María Litvinenko, a student at Miami’s New World School of the Arts, in the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1. She also revealed herself to be a gifted performer. Although a Romantic virtuoso work like this calls for a more edgy, extroverted performance, she showed a silvery facility with rapid passages, easily handled the broken chords and other technical hazards and displayed a golden tone and sensitive phrasing in the concerto’s languorous melodies. As an encore, she performed the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s new work Violoncello Totale, a difficult piece for unaccompanied cello that attempts to show the variety of sounds that can be drawn from the instrument, including tapping on it with one hand.

The concert opened with Rossini’s William Tell Overture, in a performance notable for oddly subdued trombones in the passages in which they normally bark from the orchestra and spirited playing from the strings in the famous final section.

Symphony of the Americas seems intent this season on presenting soloists who are too young to vote. Next month the orchestra will present the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, with the 11-year-old Austrian prodigy Elisso Gogibedaschwilli as soloist.

Hungarian chamber orchestra brings polish and energy to Summerfest concert

James-Brooks-BruzzeseJames Brooks-Bruzzese conducted the Reményi Ede Chamber Orchestra Wednesday night at the Broward Center.

An excellent Hungarian chamber orchestra performed Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale as part of Symphony of the America’s Summerfest series, playing a concert of short works that ranged from the powdered-wig era of 18th century Austria to the smoky nightclubs of Buenos Aires.

The Reményi Ede Chamber Orchestra of Hungary played at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, as part of a series of performances that take the orchestra to Hungary, Panama and Ecuador.

The orchestra, led by Symphony of the America’s artistic director James Brooks-Bruzzese, performed a light, summer-style program, with some works that would be familiar to most concertgoers and others that could be appreciated easily on first hearing. A few members of Symphony of the Americas joined the ensemble for the performance. The concerts repeat July 22 through July 28 at various locations throughout South Florida.

The orchestra brought a high energy level, a rich sound and technical precision to every work on the program. The ensemble’s versatility was impressive, as it played with brisk authority in classical works of Mozart and Boccherini and throbbing, insinuating romanticism in tangos by Piazzolla. Particularly effective was a crackling performance of Boccherini’s Sinfonia No. 6 in D Minor, La casa del diavolo (The house of the devil), given a dramatic, symphonic account, especially in the sizzling final movement.

The only weak part of the program came at the end, with a performance of the 20th century Hungarian composer Leo Weiner’s Divertimento No. 1, a forgettable series of Hungarian-sounding motifs that occasionally recalled Bartók and earlier Hungarian music but lacked much originality.

The concert opened with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins, Cello and Cembalo, taken at a quick pace that gave it real rhythmic drive. With so many different soloists, this work can come off as a blur of notes, but Brooks-Bruzzese led a vigorous, strongly marked performance with transparent textures that allowed solo lines to emerge and fade into the background in a manner that never allowed the music to lose shape.

Violinist Laszlo Pap, associate concertmaster of Symphony of the Americas and a graduate of Budapest’s famed Franz Liszt Academy, performed Vitali’s Ciaccona for Violin and Orchestra, a series of increasingly difficult variations on a theme, involving chords, arpeggios and treacherous leaps up the fingerboard. In addition to crisp bowing and a flawless technique, Pap brought a dramatic flair to the performance, seeming to inhabit the role of the glamorous Central European virtuoso.

In the Elegie from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, the orchestra departed from the crisp, exposed baroque and classical works that made up the rest of the first half and displayed its tonal richness and sensitivity of phrasing. Particularly fine was the passage in which a melody in the cellos is set against one high in the first violins, played with warmth and transparent clarity.

Mozart’s Divertimento in D, K. 136, came off with authority and polish, with particularly good work by the second violins in the composer’s swiftly streaming inner passages.

Part of the concert was dedicated to philanthropist and arts patron Rose Miniaci, who just celebrated her 90th birthday. Pap performed the Meditation from Massenet’s opera Thaïs, played with a singing tone that brought out the work’s lyricism without milking it too shamelessly. The orchestra played Happy Birthday as pink balloons were dropped onto the audience.

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    Symphony Of The Americas

    Location 2300 E. Oakland Park Blvd. Studio # 306
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33306
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