Ron Bierman has performed on saxophone and flute in several college and other orchestras. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where his studies included music theory as taught by Swiss pianist and composer Ernst Levy. His published work includes reviews of recordings, books, plays, films and live music performances for web sites and newspapers. He has an extensive library of books about music and over three thousand CDs. Now living in San Diego with his wife, he is the President of Advocates for Classical Music, an organization which has worked with local symphony orchestras to introduce tens of thousands of young students to classical music. He and his wife enjoy visiting classrooms with CDs and instruments in hand.
If a spouse transitions from one sex to another in a state where gay marriage is illegal, is the marriage still valid? There are many possible reactions to that question, including heated discussion, juvenile giggling, or reactionary distaste. Composer Laura Kaminsky chose empathy for those most directly affected. The result was her first opera, and it is a striking statement at a time when empathy for anyone different is in short supply. As one, a chamber work for two singers and string quartet, does a compelling job of describing a transgender's struggle with sexual identity. It is the latest offering in the San Diego opera's d tour series, which features smaller-scale works outside the usual operatic repertoire. Kaminsky's choice of artistic partners was as fortunate as her timing. Kimberly Reed, a transgender woman, and Mark Campbell, one of today's most successful librettists, collaborated to produce a story that feels real and has emotional impact.BWW Review: CROSSCURRENTS at The Balboa Theatre November 7, 2017
Jazz fans were at San Diego's Balboa Theatre to see Chris Potter, one of the best sax players in the world, and bass-playing legend Dave Holland. But why was half the audience in saris?? Well, the other five musicians in the Crosscurrents band are from India, and some of them are far better known in San Diego's Indian community, not to mention India itself, than either Potter or Holland.BWW Interview: Laura Kaminsky Composer of AS ONE at Joan B Kroc Theatre, San Diego November 3, 2017
As One, Laura Kaminsky's first opera, premiered in September 2014. While many contemporary operas are performed once and never heard again, it has been staged more often every year since then, and is already scheduled at nearly a dozen venues for 2018. In a recent phone interview Kaminsky and I spoke about that success, her peripatetic career, and what influences the music she writes.BWW Review: CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN SAN DIEGO at the Jacobs Music Center October 21, 2017
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is thought by many to be the best in the United States and among the top five in the world. The orchestra's performance at San Diego's Jacob's Music Center provided absolutely no support for a contrary view. The program consisted of Schubert's 'Unfinished' eighth symphony, the Mozart clarinet concerto and Schumann's second symphony.BWW Review: THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE at San Diego Civic Center October 18, 2017
The Pirates of Penzance--opera or operetta? The answer to that question seems important to some opera lovers who believe a 'serious' opera company doesn't do operettas. Too bad for them if their doubts made them miss out on San Diego Opera's hugely entertaining production. A nearly sold-out audience laughed frequently as Gilbert and Sullivan made fun of inept but kind-hearted pirates, cowardly policeman trying their best, and even Queen Victoria, who made a non-singing appearance with the signature rotation of the raised royal hand. While musicologists, historians and purists at home argued about the correct classification of the work, excellent operatic singers delivered clever lyrics and threw themselves into the light-heartedly silly plot.BWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at Jacobs Music Center October 10, 2017
he San Diego Symphony's opening concert of the season featured a return appearance by Edo de Waart. The program consisted of Liszt's second piano concerto and Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. De Waart has become a favorite guest conductor of orchestra members, and Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer. He consistently brings out the best sounds the orchestra and its soloists have to offer.BWW Interview: Patrick Carfizzi of PIRATES OF PENZANCE at San Diego Civic Theatre October 6, 2017
San Diego's waterfront on a cool summer night seems the perfect spot for exciting Latin-flavored music by Alberto Ginastera, Astor Piazzolla and Maurice Ravel. Conductor Sameer Patelopened with Four Dances from Estancia by Ginastera. After an overly careful treatment of the first dance. The slow second was gorgeous, and more of Ginastera's risk-taking energy exploded as the lively third led to a satisfying near-frenzy in Malambo, the final dance.BWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY: LATIN JAZZ MASTERS at San Diego Embarcadero Marina August 13, 2017
Latin jazz inspired the latest concert in the San Diego Symphony's Bayside Summer Nights series. Gilbert Castellanos, the creative force behind the Symphony's jazz concerts, assembled an all-star Latin band for a tribute to past masters such as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Mongo Santamaria. As usual, Castellanos's selection of talent from a huge network of jazz-world friends emphasized skill as much as national name-recognition. The band's lineup ran the gamut from baritone sax player Jean-Paul Balmat, perhaps more widely known outside of San Diego as a jazz educator, to three-time Grammy Award winner, pianist Oscar Hernandez.BWW Review: DR. JOHN IN SAN DIEGO at Embarcadero Marina July 31, 2017
A worse-for-wear Dr. John walked slowly to the piano with the help of two canes. He was no quicker while leaving the stage at the end of the set. But for over an hour in between, he and his sextet kept up an infectious funky beat, and his voice and piano playing erased half a century of his 76 years. Listeners felt an irresistible urge to tap feet, sway rhythmically, and sometimes laugh at the lyrics of songs such as 'How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come 'Round)?' sung in Dr. John's inimitable raspy growl. Contrary to the title of his biggest hit, it was 'Right Place Right Time.'BWW Interview: CEO of the San Diego Symphony Martha Gilmer, Part 2 July 12, 2017
As described in part one of the interview, Martha Gilmer works hard to expand San Diego Symphony audiences. That makes the summer program another priority. 'It's more ambitious than ever. We've really invested in it this year. And the results are spectacular. We already have advanced sales greater than those of past seasons.' Visiting artists include Leslie Odom Junior, Tony Bennett and Herb Alpert. There will also be a special program devoted to Broadway. Gilmer said Rob Fisher, 'Has created a program for San Diego, dedicated to the work of Bock and Harnik. Rob and I share a passion for little known musicals, but, of course, the second half will be Fiddler on the Roof.' Music director, conductor, and arranger Fisher's credits include Chicago, the recent revival of An American in Paris and many other successful productions.BWW Interview: Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO July 1, 2017
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is often cited as the best in the U. S. and one of the top five in the world. Martha Gilmer started there as an intern. Thirty-five years later she left the number two spot, vice president of artistic planning and audience development, to become CEO of the San Diego Symphony. We spoke about that, and much besides, at her office in the Jacobs Music Center. 'It wasn't that I really wanted to leave. It was an interesting opportunity to take what I'd learned there and apply it to a different orchestra. And I had never been a CEO. I'd always been in a sort of number two position, and so this gave me an opportunity to test myself in a new role ... San Diego intrigued me for a number of reasons.' She knew music director Jahja Ling had an excellent reputation, and was impressed when she heard the orchestrBWW Review: MAINLY MOZART FESTIVAL at Balboa Theatre June 20, 2017
Mozart in a party mood, conductor Michael Francis announced as he introduced the composer's Contra Dances to begin the concert. And the same party mood prevailed throughout much of the evening. The first and third movements of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1 owe a lot to the most spirited of Mozart's concertos; Mozart's Symphony in D Major, K. 204 (213a), was written while he was still heavily influenced by the easy-listening gallant style of the Manheim School; and Prokofiev's first symphony, which concluded the concert with a burst of youthful energy, is a tuneful delight written, with tongue in cheek, in the style of Haydn.BWW Review: MAINLY MOZART FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA at The Balboa Theatre June 12, 2017
William Preucil has been the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra's concertmaster since its first performance in 1989. He's also the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, so you might guess he and his Festival Orchestra cohorts are an impressive collection of musicians. You'd be more right than you probably suspect. The symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Philadelphia are among those that have contributed 26 principals, and 11 additional concertmasters to this year's concert-schedule roster! It's an all-star group. If you don't live in San Diego, you might want to plan a vacation here to coincide with the orchestra's brief season. This year's festival began on June 2nd and extends through June 25th.BWW Review: Maestro Ling Bids Farewell in Moving Final Performance as Music Director of San Diego Symphony May 28, 2017
The improvement during Jahja Ling's 13-year tenure as conductor and music director has been extraordinary. Friday's performance of the last program before his retirement confirmed that with an exclamation point. In a 2016 interview by Beth Wood, Ling said this about his 2017 concerts, 'I chose pieces I feel very deeply in my heart I want my last season to show my love for the people.' In a 2016 interview by Beth Wood, Ling said this about his 2017 concerts, 'I chose pieces I feel very deeply in my heart I want my last season to show my love for the people.' In a 2016 interview by Beth Wood, Ling said this about his 2017 concerts, 'I chose pieces I feel very deeply in my heart I want my last season to show my love for the people.'