“Last Sunday evening at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra (SCO) performed a mixed program of baroque music and 20th century music from Argentina. Enjoying pride of place on this program were a clutch of the SCO’s own musicians, now enjoying their star turn before the audience. Pianist Natasha Marin, whose impressive pianism had the audience at the edge of their seats at an SCO chamber concert last month, was guest soloist in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5.
The combined artistry of flautist Salpy Kerkonian, violinist Yi-Huan Zhao, and guest pianist Natasha Marin had no problems bringing the red-blooded Bach to life. Marin’s muscular, golden tone and her handling of the first movement’s cadenza were breathtaking. Managing to balance pianistic flair with musical intelligence, Marin’s playing of the cadenza was at once a dazzling showstopper, but also integrated firmly into the texture of her partners’ voices. Yi-Huan Zhao’s creamy tone was, as always, a delight. The winsome playing of Salpy Kerkonian’s flute was a joy. Kerkonian was able to spin web after web of gossamer webs of music. After the work came to its close, the audience leaped to its feet in a much-deserved standing ovation. ”
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Santa Cecilia Orchestra Rings in the Spring at Eagle Rock Center for the Arts
by Ted Ayala
Spring in January? The weather certainly seems to think so, bringing in some much needed warmth and sun after a month that soaked our state in deluge after deluge. Did the musicians of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra (SCO) somehow know something we don’t? Their mixed program of chamber and solo piano works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Piazzolla, Schumann, and Mendelssohn as played by SCO concertmaster Yi-Huan Zhao, cellist Beth Park-Zhao, and guest pianist Natasha Marin seemed to be just right for the unseasonable warmth we’ve been enjoying.