See the latest article about the Orchestra in the December 18 issue of Valley Scene Magazine above
Message from the Orchestra - March 2021 - After one year of Coronavirus
For the past year, due to the Coronavirus, the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra has been silent and sorely missed by season subscribers and others who have always looked forward eagerly to our yearly five-concert series.
Maestro Domine, while waiting for the orchestra to return to the stage, has undertaken in a unique way to fill the void via video, and has been busy composing new music for solo piano. These piano pieces, which he assiduously composes and records in the social-distance privacy of his home, represent one of the only types of musical performance possible under the strictures of pandemic circumstances.
He continues to churn out these piano solo pieces like clockwork, with a dogged perseverance and grim determination, and will continue to do so until such time as the orchestra returns once again to bring you, “Great Music Close to Home.” Within the set of pieces composed and performed by Maestro Domine, there is a surprisingly wide range of musical styles that testify to the versatility and freely associative qualities that are attributes of his compositions.
These new works are premiered every Sunday at noon on James Domine’s Youtube Channel, and are thereafter available for viewing at any time. Comments made on YouTube by hundreds of viewers have been positive and very rewarding.
We thank you for your many years of support in the past, and hope to have your support in the future.
On Saturday evening, the 18th day of the New Year, 2020, Maestro James Domine came onstage to thank everyone for coming to the concert at the Tutor Family Center. He spoke briefly about the program they were about to hear, and then led the orchestra in our National Anthem.
In keeping with the orchestra’s mission to provide opportunities for young people to perform with a symphonic orchestra, we were treated to a performance by 17 year old Ben Rosen of a blues-based jazz piece, Vanilla Variations: Sonata in Blue, written and arranged for solo trombone and orchestra by Maestro Domine. Ben was outstanding and wowed the audience with a great solo improvisation. They showed their appreciation with applause and cheers.
Following was Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, perhaps one of his best. In the hands of soloist Steve Piazza, who played brilliantly, this concerto depicts the clarinet's abilities to reach multiple octaves with beautiful clarity and angelic tone and sound. Accolades to the performer, orchestra, conductor and, of course, the composer. The audience loved it!
Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance #2 in E minor was performed next. This piece evokes both sadness and beauty that are superimposed exquisitely. The orchestra played beautifully under Maestro Domine’s direction, and the audience was absolutely mesmerized!
Following a brief intermission, the orchestra returned to perform Maestro Domine’s Eurosuite Symphonic Dances. This collection of orchestral arrangements of folk dances from Russia, Moldavia, and Romania included lively, melancholy, wistful, and exciting melodies. The concertgoers expressed their delight with applause and cheers.
The finale was the magnificent Beethoven Violin Concerto, performed brilliantly by 22-year old Gallia Kastner, a student of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles. Everyone knows this violin concerto is one of the best in the repertoire so there is nothing more to say about that, but must add that the orchestra played splendidly under the baton of Maestro Domine, and Ms. Kastner was sheer perfection! The audience cheered, applauded, whistled and came to its feet to acknowledge a fantastic performance and a great concert!
On Saturday evening, September 28, 2019, in keeping with the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra’s mission to provide young people with classical music performance opportunities, Maestro James Domine appeared onstage with a dozen children holding batons (they were actually chopsticks). He then gave them a lesson on how to conduct an orchestra and asked 10 year old Echo Hexum to lead the SFVSO in what was a rousing performance of Sousa’s "Stars and Stripes Forever." Needless to say, the audience loved it and the children exited the stage to tremendous applause. Maestro Domine then took up the baton and the orchestra played Beethoven's wonderful "Overture to Egmont" which was an obvious favorite of the audience based upon their applause and cheers.
Following the overture, three competition winning teenagers proved without a doubt that the youth of today will keep classical music alive and well in the future. First to perform was 15-year old Marc Soong who played the first movement of the Piano Concerto #1 in B-flat minor by Domine. Then 14-year old Gabriel Tsai performed the first movement of Kabalevsky's "Violin Concerto,” followed by 15-year old Sarah Liu’s performance of the first movement of Barber’s Violin Concerto. Each of these young people “brought down the house.” They, together with the orchestra, were simply marvelous.
After a 15 minute intermission, the orchestra and Maestro Domine returned to the stage to conclude the evening’s program with the Symphony #4 by Johannes Brahms. Written when the composer was 52 years of age and starting to think about retirement, it is a summation of his learning and technique, and cuts as close to the heart as music can. The audience sat enthralled by this great work and rewarded an outstanding job by the orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Domine, with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
if you were unable to attend this performance, please check out our website for the next wonderful concert on November 30th. We will be so pleased to see you there!
On Saturday evening, September 14 , 2019, the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra presented a “Concert in the Garden” by the SFV String Quartet at the home of gracious hosts Steve and Denise Beilinson. The audience of 40 classical music devotees was treated to a program that included Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, and three works by Music Director James Domine, two of which had never been heard before. During a short intermission and after the performance, the guests mingled, partook of refreshments, and were heard to make glowing comments about the wonderful performances by violinists Ruth Bruegger and Ruth Siegel, violist Novi Novag, ‘cellist Michelle Milner and bassist Larry Tuttle who accompanied the ladies in two of the four pieces. It was a most delightful evening of music, both divine and lighthearted, and the weather was perfect for the occasion.
On Sunday, July 28, 2019, Maestro James Domine presented the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and guest soloists in a performance of music for “A Summer Evening in the Park.” Held on the lawn at the Israeli American Council Shepher Community Center in Woodland Hills, close to 200 people, including many children, came with picnic baskets, or bought food from the food truck that was available. Many sat in the seats provided; others brought lawn chairs or blankets on which to sprawl on the grass. The gods were kind and the weather was just fine all evening.
While Maestro Domine and the orchestra were preparing to begin the concert, Mr. Amron Charash delighted the attendees by playing a medley of Israeli tunes on the accordion, for which he was soundly applauded. Then the concert began with the orchestra playing our National Anthem, followed by Hatikvah, the National Anthem of Israel, played on the piano by Joanna Ezrin (renowned teacher) and her 12 year old student Daniel Nehemne. And, in keeping with patriotic songs, Rebecca Ray delivered a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful."
“Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra,” a brand new composition by James Domine, was next on the program. The first movement was played by Joanna Ezrin, the second by her 10 year old student Nini Tu, and the third by her 13 year old student Sophie Huang. Another of the maestro’s compositions, the “Prelude” to his “Flute Concerto” was then performed brilliantly by Alice Park. These talented young musicians received great applause from an appreciative audience. Then, switching gears and going from patriotic and classical, the orchestra performed a medley from South Pacific by Richard Rodgers.
A spectacular solo guitar performance by Maestro Domine of his “Concerto Quasi Improvisando” followed. This reviewer sincerely believes that Domine is truly unique in his ability to comfortably move in between every kind of music, from classical to rock, perform a concerto as instrumental soloist without a conductor, compose for orchestra in virtually any style … and then to pull in a good sized crowd from their air-conditioned comfort on a hot summer afternoon to hear music they never heard before is truly amazing! Kudos as well to the orchestra, whose musical roots are in 18th century music, for their ability to play contemporary rock and jazz styles effortlessly in support of the solo guitar passages. The audience stood up and cheered at the end of this fantastic performance!
The last piece before the intermission was John Philip Sousa’s rousing Semper Fideles March.
After intermission the orchestra played and Rebecca Ray sang a Summer Solstice Medley, Land of 1.000 Dances & Dancing in the Street; George Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess; Dream a Little Daydream; La Vie en Rose, and Chuck Berry’s “Livin’ in The U.S.A.“ The concert concluded with Sousa’s very patriotic sounding “Liberty Bell March” and “Stars & Stripes Forever March.” The audience applauded wildly, cheering, and whistling at what was undoubtedly a roaringly successful “Summer Evening Under the Stars.”
On Saturday evening, June 1, 2019, the orchestra, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, delighted a houseful of appreciative concertgoers with yet another fantastic performance.
Following the playing of our National Anthem, the opening work was Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol.” Conceived by Rimsky as a fantasy on Spanish themes, and originally written for violin and orchestra, it eventually became a virtuoso work for not only violin but also for many other instruments. While the composition’s accent is Spanish, its emphasis is on solo instrumental virtuosity as well as on brilliant orchestration. The orchestra and the soloists were outstanding and much deserved of the audience’s applause and cheers.
The second work on the program was George Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne Suites Nos.1 and 2,” a thrilling and exciting work that consists of selections from his incidental music. For Suite No. 1, he chose four sections from the original score of 27 episodes, extensively modifying and rescoring the music in the process. The pieces for Suite No. 2 were selected and re-orchestrated by Bizet's close friend Ernest Guiraud following the composer's death in 1875. The audience showed its appreciation of this great work as well.
The next piece, performed by Alice Park, a recent graduate of Cal State Northridge, was the 1st movement from James Domine’s “Flute Concerto.” This wonderfully delightful work was played beautifully by the soloist, with the orchestra and conductor doing their parts as well. The concertgoers rose to their feet and rewarded Ms. Park ‘s virtuosity with great applause.
After intermission came the piece de resistance, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 in B-flat minor, performed by Mark Richman, a well-known and revered pianist who resides in the San Fernando Valley. Always a favorite concerto, nothing can be said about it that has not been said over and over again. Maestro Domine and the orchestra were stellar in accompanying Mr. Richman, who performed brilliantly. He received four curtain calls; and the entire audience got to their feet while applauding, cheering, and whistling. He was very pleased, especially when the orchestra, led by Maestro Domine, and the audience concluded the evening by playing and singing “Happy Birthday” to him.
It was indeed an evening of "Great Music Close to Home!"
On Saturday evening, March 23, 2019, the orchestra, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, gave an outstanding two-hour performance before a large and appreciative audience.
The concert opened with the National Anthem, followed by Maestro Domine's composition,"Rondo Fantasie,” a virtuostic solo transcription of the third movement of his third piano concerto. Fifteen year old Julia Wallace was chosen to play at this concert as part of the “Domine Sampler,” a program that affords an opportunity for exemplary students to play one of his works at each of our concerts, thereby introducing new works by him and offering rare opportunities for the students to perform with an orchestra. Julia was soundly applauded by a delighted audience. Maestro Domine was later heard to say how extremely pleased he was with her wonderful performance.
The next offering was Beethoven’s “Victory Symphony” from “Wellington’s Victory, Op. 91.” This eight minute piece was composed by Beethoven to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by British troops led by the Duke of Wellington, who became a great hero of the Viennese, and it anticipates Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture some 50 years later. Rousing and exciting, the audience applauded and cheered this rarely heard piece. Often seen today as a novelty, at the time of Beethoven’s death it was publicly thought to be one of his best works.
Weber’s ”Overture to Der Freischütz“ vividly depicts the two central elements in the opera,"the life of the hunter and the rule of demonic powers,” and shows Weber’s skill as an orchestrator. A romantic opera in three acts, it is widely considered one of the first German masterpieces in the world of opera. Probably no other German work in history was ever so quickly and widely accepted. The opera was to have a major influence on Wagner and, a century later, composers as diverse as Debussy, Stravinsky and Hindemith acknowledged its importance. The Overture was performed superbly through the combined skills of Maestro Domine and the orchestra. The audience showed its appreciation with thunderous applause.
The “Serenade in F minor, Op.3” was written by Leo Weiner, a Hungarian Jew, when he was 21 years old, and quickly became as highly regarded in Hungary as Bartok and Kodaly. He won two major prizes with this piece, which is filled with well-contrasted melodic ideas and is brilliantly orchestrated. The enthusiasm of critics and audiences in 1906 is not hard to understand and can, as proven by Maestro Domine and the orchestra, be enjoyed by listeners more than a century later. The audience sat enraptured by the unusual rhythmic intricacies and abounding colors in this work. They applauded and cheered yet another great composition on the evening’s program.
After an intermission came the “icing on the cake.” Blake Pouliot, our violin soloist from the Colburn School in Los Angeles, honored us with his magnificent and flawless performance of the ”Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.” Most of us know and love this great work, and Blake did it proud! It was everything it could be and more. He is a mega-talented, down-to-earth, handsome young man, destined for stardom to be sure! And we had the privilege of seeing him now as his career spirals upward and onward. At the end of his performance, the crowd went wild and rose from their seats applauding, whistling, cheering, and bringing him in from the wings three times to accept their accolades. It was sheer joy! Mendelssohn himself would have been thrilled. If you were not there, you missed something truly special.
On Saturday evening, January 26, 2019, the orchestra, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, gave another stellar performance before a large and appreciative audience.
The concert opened with our National Anthem, followed by Maestro Domine's composition, "Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, III," played by 15 year olds Dara Moayer and Maylian violin, students of Elyse Goodman.
Dara and Maylian were chosen to play in this concert as part of the “Domine Sampler,” a program that affords an opportunity for exemplary students to perform one of Maestro Domine’s works at each of his concerts, thereby introducing new works by him and offering rare opportunities for students to perform with an orchestra. These very talented young violinists were warmly applauded by a delighted audience. Maestro Domine was later heard to say how extremely pleased he was with their wonderful performance of his Concerto.
"Bridges: An Ecological Tone Poem," was composed and conducted by Cary Belling, who is also a violinist with the orchestra. This being a brand new piece and its inaugural performance, Cary chose to speak to the audience and paint a verbal picture of its meaning before having the orchestra paint the musical picture, and a very colorful musical picture it is. To paraphrase the composer, the message speaks to the importance of balancing humanity's technological demands without diminishing our biosphere. The orchestra did an outstanding job of interpreting and performing what I expect was extremely demanding.
Next on the program was the delightful Haydn's Symphony #103 in E-flat major (Drumroll) which he wrote when he was already an old man, but has all the daring, inventiveness and imagination of a young person setting out to break new ground. To quote a real critic ... "such extraordinary sounds, which still sound contemporary today (from the very first notes on the timpani). What craftsmanship and wealth of ideas!" The orchestra performed the piece expertly and received hearty applause and cheers!
After intermission, the SFVSO's first ever scholarship competition having been concluded, awards were presented to the winners by Joanna Ezrin and Nara Petrosyan. Emma Chau, 2nd place overall winner, was given the honor of playing the Domine Sonata #3, which she did beautifully.
The piece de resistance that concluded the evening's concert, Dvorak's Violoncello Concerto in B minor, was performed brilliantly by the Orchestra and with utter perfection by our soloist, Daniel Grab (YoYo Ma, watch out)! When the music ended, the house erupted with applause, cheers and whistles until Danny sat back down and favored us with an encore of the Bach Cello Suite #2 in D minor, Prelude.
As the audience exited the concert hall, many people were heard expressing their enjoyment of the music; their admiration for the great orchestra and outstanding soloist; and their gratitude to Maestro Domine for continuing to bring, "great music close to home!
On Saturday evening, November 24, 2018, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, and in spite of the unexpected necessity to change our concert venue with only one day’s notice, the show did go on … and what a great show it was!
Before the orchestra came onstage, Maestro Domine came out and thanked the concertgoers for their understanding and patience. He acknowledged that since some people might be late in arriving, he had arranged for a brief pre-concert treat. Sisters Sophie Bi (age 9) and Michelle Bi (age 12), piano students of Joanna Ezrin, were given the honor of playing piano while the latecomers were being seated. Sophie was first and played, “The Kiss,” by Catherine Rollin; Michelle followed and played “Bacchanal” by James Domine. The girls did themselves proud and were rewarded with enthusiastic applause by the audience.
The orchestra members then took their seats, and the concert began with the playing of our National Anthem. Raine Soriano, age 15, followed with a performance of James Domine’s,“Soliloquy” from his Piano Concerto #1." This beautiful piece was artfully played by Raine, a very talented young man, and the audience showed their appreciation with applause and cheers.
The following piece, “Persepolis Bazaar,” composed and conducted by Charles Fernandez, who also plays bassoon in our orchestra, was originally written for a Persian Festival in San Jose for concert band. This version was specifically done for the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Domine. A very lively and exciting piece, the composer depicts a day in the life of a Persian Bazaar from opening prayer to closing prayer. He paints a musical picture ranging from young children to men on horseback, to dancing women, to snake charmers, and finally growing into a massive celebration near the end with everyone dancing at once. The audience absolutely loved this celebration of symphonic instrumental orchestration and cheered wildly.
Back at the podium, Maestro Domine led the orchestra in the premiere performance of, “Thousand Mile Suite,” by Larry Tuttle, also a local composer and a bass player in our orchestra. This large-scale orchestral journey, in six movements, portrays different steps along the way. The first movement is bright, hopeful, and energetic, the second dark and unpredictable, the third movement features a huge mountain of percussion, brass and bass and is followed by an adrenalin-raising gallop. The strings were then featured on a dark and moody melody, while the last movement finished things off with an epic and visionary view of the future. This is a grand piece, which was played wonderfully by the orchestra, and the audience let the composer know how much they appreciated it with their heartfelt applause.
After the intermission came the pièce de résistance … the “Sibelius Violin Concerto.” This gorgeous and extraordinarily difficult piece was, in the hands of the soloist, Aubree Oliverson, seemingly effortless and so adroitly executed as to satisfy even the most critically demanding performance standards. Her playing soared masterfully above the dark orchestral colors and when the concerto reached the full force of its dramatic climax, the audience exploded with thunderous applause and cheering, rising to their feet in acknowledgement and appreciation of Ms. Oliverson, Maestro Domine, and the orchestra. It was truly a grand finale and a glorious ending to a wonderful program of, “Great Music Close To Home.”
Unfortunately, some of you missed the performance. Whether it was because of the holiday, illness, or still having to deal with issues resulting from the fires, we hope that Aubree will return to our stage soon so that you, too, will have a chance to see her perform before she steps out into the world on her way to becoming the megastar she undoubtedly will be.
On Saturday evening, September 22nd, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, the audience was treated to a phenomenal concert by the orchestra and the student competition-winning soloists. Maestro Domine was heard to say after the concert that it was one of the orchestra's best ever performances.
After the playing of the National Anthem, the first work presented was Mozart's delightful Overture to Cosi Fan Tutte, which was, of course, met with great applause from the audience for whom Mozart is always a favorite.
What came next were the three young soloists, each of whom had won the Music Teachers Assoc. of CA San Fernando West Valley competition. The first soloist was 14 year old Ethan Chao who performed the 1st movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto #2 in B-flat major; followed by 15 year old Hannah Kim in a performance of Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto #5 in A minor, 1st movement; and then came 16 year old Charmaine Lee playing Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen. Each of these very talented young people received tremendous applause from a very thrilled house.
Following intermission, the orchestra returned for the final work of the evening, Beethoven's Symphony #8 in F major. This symphony was completed in October, 1813, at a time when Beethoven was in poor health. Despite what appear to be trying circumstances, the Eighth is considered to be his most delightful and humorous. It premiered in Vienna on February 27, 1814.
At the conclusion, the audience rose to its feet, applauding, cheering and whistling; the first concert of the new season was a resounding success! Concertgoers leaving the auditorium were heard to remark how wonderful an evening it was and how much they enjoyed it.
We look forward to seeing season subscribers and individual concertgoers at our next four concerts, beginning with the performance on November 24, 2018.