Skip to main content

Music Columns

In 2014, I embarked on a new adventure when I began freelance writing as Music Columnist for Florida Weekly. Since that first concert preview for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra the assignments just keep popping up on my “To Do” list. Here are a few selected favorites.

Grammy-winning saxophonist takes center stage at CSO concert

While always at the head of the class when it comes to jazz, the sultry saxophone is often the ugly stepchild of the orchestral world. A bit of an outsider when it comes to classical music, it is an outlier – fine for the occasional “Bolero” or Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” but rarely featured in a concerto.

Continue Reading ››

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra takes a personal approach to music in schools

What does a busy maestro do during a typical concert week? He might be poring over scores; refining his interpretation, tempi and transitions; contemplating concert logistics; and meeting with musicians. And yet his most important instructions aren’t necessarily directed to professional musicians, but to third-graders hearing classical music – perhaps for the first time – or helping Murdock Middle School band’s percussion section perfect the groove of David Shaffner’s “Spania."

Continue Reading ››

Trombone Shorty brings the Big easy to the Big Orange

Trombone Shorty has been blurring the lines of musical style since the age of 4, when he picked up an instrument taller than himself, garnering him the nickname “Shorty.” Since that time, the genre-bending musician/producer/actor has played with many of the giants of the industry, including Lenny Kravitz, U2, Madonna, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars and the Rolling Stones.

Continue Reading ››

Venice Symphony appoints new maestro

When asked if he prefers to be referred to as “Maestro,” or “Mr.” Quinn, he quipped, “I’m not old enough to be Maestro.” So, Mr. Quinn is a 35-year-old, ubertalented musician with Hollywood looks and a smile that radiates his passion and love for what he does. He speaks about music, programming and his new post with the ease and comfort of a man twice his age

Continue Reading ››

Percussionist rocks the symphony

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s masterwork concert “One Thousand and One Nights,” led by music director Nir Kabaretti, featured concertmaster Reiko Niiya and principal percussionist Todd Betz in solo roles. These long-tenured musicians warmed an enthusiastic crowd on a cool, crisp Florida winter evening with tales inspired from Wagner’s “Ring” and Richard Francis Burton’s “Arabian Nights.”

Continue Reading ››

All mashed up

What do you get when you combine of the most monumental symphonies in classical music with one of the most innovative and provocative rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s? “Brahms v. Radiohead.” This unique mashup of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 with songs from Radiohead’s 1997 groundbreaking album “OK Computer” is the brainchild of conductor, composer, arranger, producer and songwriter Steve Hackman

Continue Reading ››

World-class violinist headlines Charlotte Symphony

German violin virtuoso Sabrina-Vivian Höpcker joins the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra for its next concert, “Ravel’s Bolero,” on Sunday, Feb. 25. On the program are American composer, conductor and educator Howard Hanson’s “Symphony No 3,” Ravel’s crowd favorite “Bolero,” and a work written by a violin virtuoso himself, Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No 2.

Continue Reading ››

Virtuoso pianist has a ‘license to play’

Although he may not look it — with a James Bond-like hunkiness and dreamy brown eyes — Thomas Pandolfi is a virtuosic classical pianist whose performances of Chopin and Liszt have taken him all over the world. His spectacular artistry (and good looks) will be front and center as he performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto.

Continue Reading ››