Symphonic Fire at The Santa Cruz Symphony

Peninsula Reviews:

“Stewart is a marvelously intelligent conductor, and to the amazement of all, continues to perform with keen attention to detail without a score.  In both works the orchestra displayed growth, development, individuality and clarity. The music’s intimacy and poetry were beautifully performed. “

“Jonah Kim is the Principal cellist of the Santa Cruz Symphony. There was an obvious thrill and feeling to this performance that made it irresistible. Under the brilliant direction of Conductor Daniel Stewart, cellist Kim’s nuanced performance of Antonin Dvořák’s Cello Concerto demonstrated a deep understanding of the music’s emotional trajectory.  The Santa Cruz Orchestra established a backdrop that was warm, luminous and animated by a tangy freshness, as indeed was the playing of Kim. Concertmaster Nigel Armstrong and Maestro Stewart violist have performed together in intimate settings and nothing can replace such musical camaraderie.”

“During the entire performance, Maestro Stewart gave the illusion of a painter with a huge orchestral color palette. The performance was admirably detailed and beautifully crafted.”

Local Santa Cruz:

“This kind of virtuosity reminds us of what it sounds, looks and feels like to fully refine and commit to a craft, and be thrilled to share that sensitivity and skill with the world. In collaboration with the ever-energetic SCS orchestra, Jonah Kim reflected the stormy, sentimental themes imbued in Dvořák’s symphonic concerto. Stewart and Kim shared a generous musical interplay that showed a deep understanding and respect for the composition and their fellow musicians. ”

“Following the masterful work of Dvořák and Kim, the Santa Cruz Symphony gave a fiery rendition of Rachmaninoff’s last major composition, Symphonic Dances.  In both the Cello Concerto and Dances, Maestro Daniel Stewart and his elegant orchestra powerfully transmitted themes of nostalgia and reminiscence. These sentiments gained extra tension and intensity under Stewart’s baton.”

“The electricity SCS can generate was established once again in Symphonic Fire.  In moments of extended solo or as a unified collective, the musicians conveyed the mysterious quality of Rachmaninoff’s work like musical chameleons. Their play of orchestral color during the waltz tempo contributed to a feverish, dreamy feeling of dancing between the real and the ghostly.”

“In the finale, Stewart lets the music linger into the following silence like a trail of smoke after a flame has been extinguished.  It is only when the musicians finally settle that the audience remembers to breathe and ignites into applause.  Musical performances like this inspire us to leave the concert hall and return to life with renewed passion and motivation.”