Salonen and Beethoven with the Santa Cruz Symphony

Josef Sekon, Peninsula Reviews:

“Two of today’s finest leading composer-conductors were represented: Maestro Danny Stewart on the podium conducting Karawane (2014), a composition by fellow colleague, Finnish Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen.”

“Maestro Stewart seemingly exhausted the many possibilities available from the vast orchestral color pallet designed by Salonen.”

“The effect was arresting, remarkably poignant, and an attractive primitive allusion in a contemporary setting.”

“The Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus under the keen eye and ear of Cheryl Anderson was wonderfully prepared for this vocal outer-space journey.”

“The orchestra and chorus blended with dynamics that were impressive.”

“Karawane was an exhilarating 21st century musical experience from Maestro Stewart’s very first downbeat!”

“The contrast between Karawane and the magnificent Mass in C Major, Op. 86 (1807) by Beethoven couldn’t be greater, but also served as a perfect compliment.”

“Maestro Stewart led a performance that was elegantly shaded, organic with tempi that felt just right, the performance pulsed and moved gracefully.”

Fleur Williams, Local Santa Cruz:

“The Santa Cruz Symphony conjured up an otherworldly experience last weekend with Invocations, a concert featuring the musical sophistication of four guest Metropolitan Opera soloists and Cheryl Anderson’s Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus alongside Daniel Stewart’s illustrious orchestra.”

“The final program of a brilliant 2018-19 Season opened with Esa-Pekka Salonen’s ‘Karawane’ “

“The musical innovations and playful rhythms of “Karawane” highlighted the chorus and orchestra’s technical virtuosity and harmonic collaboration.” 

“Under Maestro Daniel Stewart’s baton, the singers and musicians evoked the music’s hallucinogenic quality with excellent timing and raw emotional power. “

“The group unfolded the music layer by layer in a solemn, steady way; smoothly intermingling the surreal incantations and melodies, and inviting the listener to settle into a dream-like experience that felt both amusing and hypnotic.”

“In collaboration with the orchestra and chorus, these four outstanding artists conveyed the serenity and spirituality that Beethoven apparently intended when he composed the work.”

“Stewart led a performance of great poise and precision.  The ensemble lulled us into a meditative state of being with a tranquil and profound performance of Beethoven’s “Mass”. Sublime vocals by the four elegant soloists, potent drama from the chorus, and emotional substance from orchestral musicians were all gracefully interwoven in a beautiful musical blend.”

“Invocations was a stirring farewell to the SCS 2018-19 Concert Season as well as a reminder of what to look forward to in months to come. “

“As a symphonic and operatic conductor, Stewart continues to inspire with his creative choice of scores and performing artists.” 

“His announcement of the 2019-20 lineup indicates that historic music and international superstars will be lighting up local stages again soon.”