Ron Bierman

Ron Bierman 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.



MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Interview: David Bennett, Juan Carlos Acosta, And Walter DuMelle at San Diego OperaBWW Interview: David Bennett, Juan Carlos Acosta, And Walter DuMelle at San Diego Opera
Posted: Dec. 4, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA'S FLORENCIA EN LA AMAZONAS at San Diego Civic CenterBWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA'S FLORENCIA EN LA AMAZONAS at San Diego Civic Center
Posted: Mar. 23, 2018


BWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY PRESENTS JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH CHICK COREA at San Diego Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY PRESENTS JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH CHICK COREA at San Diego Jacobs Music Center
Posted: Mar. 28, 2018


BWW Interview: Gilbert Castellanos, Trumpeter, Curator of Three Jazz Concert Series, and Founder of The Young Lions Jazz ConservatoryBWW Interview: Gilbert Castellanos, Trumpeter, Curator of Three Jazz Concert Series, and Founder of The Young Lions Jazz Conservatory
Posted: Jul. 16, 2018


BWW Review: LA JOLLA ATHENAEUM PRESENTS ETIENNE CHARLES AND CREOLE JAZZ at TSRI Auditorium In La JollaBWW Review: LA JOLLA ATHENAEUM PRESENTS ETIENNE CHARLES AND CREOLE JAZZ at TSRI Auditorium In La Jolla
Posted: Apr. 11, 2018


BWW Interview: David Bennett, Juan Carlos Acosta, And Walter DuMelle at San Diego OperaBWW Interview: David Bennett, Juan Carlos Acosta, And Walter DuMelle at San Diego Opera
December 4, 2018

Can a musical drama set on a grim WW I battlefield make an audience feel good? Those working on the San Diego Opera's staging of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 are certain it can. The work tells the true story of the spontaneous unofficial truce between WWI enemies who left their trenches and entered the no-man's land between them to join in a celebration of the Christmas holidays. Peter Rothstein wrote the drama for his Minneapolis-based company Theatre Latte Da, and based it on material from the period, the most important of which is the verbatim text of letters and war journals written by soldiers who participated in the truce. The cast sings many songs popular during the war and a few traditional Christmas carols. All were arranged by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, and are sung a cappella in the English, German and French languages of the soldiers. Vanessa Dinning has taken on the challenge of coaching in nearly 20 different dialects.

BWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY CONCERT at Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY CONCERT at Jacobs Music Center
November 8, 2018

Guest Ccnductor David Danzmayr led the San Diego Symphony with unusual intensity in a program of one new work and two familiar favorites. Forceful skyward thrusts demanded full power when needed, and an active left hand called for expressive playing. The orchestra responded with performances that brought a range of satisfying effects from compelling excitement to wistful tenderness.

BWW Review: MARIINSKY AND SAN DIEGO ORCHESTRAS TOGETHER at The Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: MARIINSKY AND SAN DIEGO ORCHESTRAS TOGETHER at The Jacobs Music Center
October 30, 2018

It was a rare event, two symphony orchestras on stage at the same time, and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was spectacular. He first set a carefree festive mood with the drinking song from Puccini's La Traviata, performed with Viennese flair by the Mariinsky Orchestra and six singers from the Mariinsky Theater's Atkins Young Artists Program. Puccini's call to hedonistic living was followed by the boisterous joy of Glinka's overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla at the fastest tempo I ever expect to hear, a full minute faster than some of the best recordings. While perhaps wondering how a toothpick became his baton (though not his San Diego choice), you can judge the speed for yourself in a YouTube video recorded during a previous Gergiev concert. The breakneck speed, without seeming a showoff gimmick, demonstrated the agility and precision of the Mariinsky musicians and the warm rich sound of the string section.

BWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA: THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at the Civic Center TheaterBWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA: THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at the Civic Center Theater
October 27, 2018

The San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro featured expressive singing, clever attractive sets, beautiful costumes, and strong comedic and dramatic acting. The work is generally called a comic opera, but as director Stephen Lawless pointed out during my interview with him, 'There are tears behind the laughter.' The difficult political and social issues hiding behind laughter came from the Beaumarchais play on which the opera was based, and Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte had to make light of them or risk censorship. The play's depiction of royal abuses probably contributed to the start of the French Revolution. Napoleon went so far as to say the it was, 'the Revolution already put into action.'

BWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at The Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at The Jacobs Music Center
October 21, 2018

The first program in the San Diego Symphony's 2018-19 Jacobs Masterworks series featured conductor Edo de Waart and pianist Joyce Yang. So did the second, and that's far from a complaint. Three or four more from them this season would be fine with me. The concert format was also unchanged from week one: a contemporary orchestral work to begin, followed by a Romantic-Era piece for piano and orchestra, and concluding with a Classical symphony. The composers this time were Mason Bates, Rachmaninoff and Mozart.

BWW Interview: Stephen Lawless, Director of San Diego OPERA'S Civic Center Production of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGAROBWW Interview: Stephen Lawless, Director of San Diego OPERA'S Civic Center Production of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
October 17, 2018

Stephen Lawless will be directing the San Diego Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro this week. I met with him in the opera company's rehearsal room recently to discuss that, how he came to be a director, and his views of a director's responsibilities.

BWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at the Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at the Jacobs Music Center
October 11, 2018

The first concert in the San Diego Symphony's 2018-19 Jacobs Masterworks series included oft-returning guest conductor Edo de Waart and pianist Joyce Yang. The program consisted of Nocturne by contemporary composer Michael Ippolito which waspremiered in 2012, and two familiar works, Grieg's piano concerto and Beethoven's 7th symphony. In a pre-concert interview with Nuvi Mehti, Ippolito explained that Nocturne was inspired by Joan Miro's 1940 painting of the same name. Diverse musical influences include Chopin, Debussy, John Field, and the 'night music' of Bartok.

BWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OPENS THE 2018-19 SEASON at the Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OPENS THE 2018-19 SEASON at the Jacobs Music Center
October 7, 2018

Pianist Lang Lang all but disappeared from the concert stage late last year while recovering from an arm injury caused by intensely rushed practice of Ravel's concerto for left hand only. Now back touring, he was the main draw for the opening of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra's 2018-19 season.His performance provedall is well and whyhe is one of the few superstar classical-music attractions. With less flamboyance, conductor Edo de Waart confirmed his formidable international reputation is also deserved, and the orchestra responded with passion to his authoritative direction.

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA at At The Welk Resort TheatreBWW Review: MAMMA MIA at At The Welk Resort Theatre
September 15, 2018

The Welk Resort Theatre's production of Mamma Mia is a cheerful high energy entertainment, a worthy example of why the musical has been a favorite of many dozens of production companies around the world since its 1999 London premiere. The story is set on the Greek island of Kalokairi where we learn that Sophie, a 20-year-old bride-to-be, doesn't know who her father is. She's secretly read in her mother Donna's diary that it must be one of three men Donna had brief affairs with 20 years ago. Determined to find out which one it is, Sophie has invited them to her wedding without telling her mother.

BWW Review: 1812 TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR WITH THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at At The Bayside AmphitheaterBWW Review: 1812 TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR WITH THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at At The Bayside Amphitheater
September 4, 2018

The cannons boomed, bells rang, and spectacular multicolored fireworks exploded overhead as the SDSU Aztec marching band, including eight tubas, joined the San Diego Symphony to celebrate Russia's victory over Napoleon! Tchaikovsky would have been delighted, though probably secretly so since he said he loathed the piece. He also might have been a bit puzzled about a performance more than a century after his death 6,000 miles away from Moscow. I doubt he envisioned the overture as a mainstay of summer pop-season finales with cool summer breezes wafting in from a bay on the Pacific Ocean.but unjaded classical-music fans delight in the tradition.

BWW Review: THE FOUR TOPS AND THE TEMPTATIONS at the San Diego Symphony's Bayside Summer NightsBWW Review: THE FOUR TOPS AND THE TEMPTATIONS at the San Diego Symphony's Bayside Summer Nights
August 29, 2018

Nostalgic fans mobbed the San Diego Symphony's Four Tops and Temptations concert. Tables, stands and lawn were packed. Ticketless fans settled in spots outside the entrance, joining boats in the bay in listening to music that had created lasting memories. Tunes you hear growing up never leave you. You can tell how old someone is by asking which radio station they listen to. 'The one that plays oldies from the 60s,' is a good indicator, even if La Jolla's excellent plastic surgeons have intervened. Fond memories are why Motown vocal groups and 'ghost' bands from the Swing Era still attract enthusiastic audiences.

BWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY WITH THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at Bayside AmphitheaterBWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY WITH THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at Bayside Amphitheater
August 13, 2018

In 1962 West Side Story won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Musical. Is it still worth seeing more than half a century later? Sure is! Jerome Robbins' energetic choreography remains riveting, and Leonard Bernstein's marvelous score is a perfect frame for Sondheim's affecting lyrics. A live performance of its musical soundtrack by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra gave the film aneven greater impact. The dances seemed that much more energetic and exciting, and the closing Romeo and Juliet-like death scene more wrenchingly emotional. I don't think I've ever before heard more audible signs of a movie audience trying to repress tears.

BWW Review: LA JOLLA MUSIC SOCIETY SUMMERFEST CARNIVAL! at the Conrad Prebys Concert HallBWW Review: LA JOLLA MUSIC SOCIETY SUMMERFEST CARNIVAL! at the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall
August 7, 2018

'Carnival,' the opening concert in Cho-Liang Lin's last season as music director of the La Jolla Music Society's Summerfest, was an unusual jumble of works. Bartok's Contrasts for clarinet, piano and violin was written for jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman. It is based on Hungarian and Romanian folk dance and, though composed 80 years ago, includes bitonality that still imparts an edgy 'modern' flavor. Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileirassuites for eight cellos and soprano werewritten to honor Bach with Brazilian-influenced melodies and rhythms. And Saint-Saens wrote Carnival of the Animals, a work for 11 instruments, on a lark. He refused to publish it during his lifetime, thinking it would detract from his reputation as a 'serious' composer.

BWW Review: GODFATHERS OF LATIN JAZZ at San Diego Symphony Bayside AmphitheaterBWW Review: GODFATHERS OF LATIN JAZZ at San Diego Symphony Bayside Amphitheater
July 31, 2018

The San Diego Symphony's 2018 Bayside Jazz Series continued with 'Godfathers of Latin Jazz,' a concert inspired by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's merger of bebop and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Dizzy had wanted something new for a 1947 Carnegie Hall concert, 'One of those tom toms' he said, thinking of the different hand-struck drums played by Latin percussionist Machito and others. To get the effect he wanted he added Cuban conguero Chano Pozo.

BWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY PRESENTS THE ARTURO SANDOVAL SEXTET at  the Bayside AmphitheaterBWW Review: THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY PRESENTS THE ARTURO SANDOVAL SEXTET at the Bayside Amphitheater
July 21, 2018

Arturo Sandoval is best known as a Latin trumpeter. But at their San Diego Bayside Jazz performance, his sextet displayed exceptional versatility. At tempos from ballad-slow to escape velocity, they rocked the waterfront with Latin, bop, funk and even a little metal rock. Sandoval, in addition to trumpet, played flugelhorn, keyboards, and timbales, with a few vocals and a lot of clowning around thrown in.

BWW Interview: Gilbert Castellanos, Trumpeter, Curator of Three Jazz Concert Series, and Founder of The Young Lions Jazz ConservatoryBWW Interview: Gilbert Castellanos, Trumpeter, Curator of Three Jazz Concert Series, and Founder of The Young Lions Jazz Conservatory
July 16, 2018

It's a marriage committed to musical excellence. Jazz trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos says of his wife Lorraine, 'She's a classically trained guitarist, and her practice can be intimidating at times.' That helps motivate him to practice more, usually four or five hours a day. But she has said, his practicing inspires her to practice more because she feels guilty if she doesn't. Fortunately for the couple, and perhaps the neighbors, they both have successful careers that prevent them from escalating into a friendly, but potentially fatal, competition.

BWW Review: MAINLY MOZART'S THAMOS, KING OF EGYPT at San Diego's Balboa TheaterBWW Review: MAINLY MOZART'S THAMOS, KING OF EGYPT at San Diego's Balboa Theater
June 26, 2018

Thamos, King of Egypt, a play by Tobias Philipp, baron von Gebler, premiered in 1774. Mozart completed incidental music for it, the 18th Century equivalent of a movie soundtrack, in 1780. Before Mainly Mozart's performance of a concert version of the play, conductor Michael Francis, with a typically mischievous smile, said the original with Mozart's music would make for a really boring four hours. Mozart supported that view in a letter to his father saying he couldn't use the music he'd written because the play had failed. Francis and director Cynthia Stokes solved the problem by slashing the baron's text to a farcical smidgen while leaving Mozart's music intact. The result clocked in at less than an hour.

BWW Review: MAINLY MOZART at The Balboa TheaterBWW Review: MAINLY MOZART at The Balboa Theater
June 13, 2018

Every year since 1989 Mainly Mozart has been bringing many of the best orchestra musicians in the country to San Diego to perform a month-long series of concerts ranging from solo recitals to orchestral. When Michael Francis succeeded founding music director and conductor David Atherton in 2015 he reemphasized the organization's name by planning a six-year chronological traversal of Mozart's music. The first-year featured Mozart as prodigy. This year, the third, Mozart is a 'rebel' breaking ranks with the music establishment and the control of his father Leopold.

BWW Review: EDO DE WAART CONDUCTS THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at the Jacobs Music CenterBWW Review: EDO DE WAART CONDUCTS THE SAN DIEGO SYMPHONY at the Jacobs Music Center
June 1, 2018

Conductor Edo de Waart opened the last concert in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra's 2017-18 Jacobs Masterworks series with Overture to Candide. The overture has been perhaps Leonard Bernstein'smost frequently programmed workduring this, his centennial year. The cheeky, riotous piece is always taken at a brisk pace and sometimes, as in this performance, to the very edge of control. De Waart studied with Bernstein, and his interpretation was consistent with the composer's own. While the orchestra played well, the performance did miss a bit of potential unbuttoned fun.

BWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA'S ONE AMAZING NIGHT at The Balboa TheaterBWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA'S ONE AMAZING NIGHT at The Balboa Theater
May 17, 2018

The San Diego Opera's last concert this season was billed as 'One Amazing Night.' The program was originally scheduled to feature soprano Lise Lindstrom and tenor Rene Barbera, but Barbera was released from his commitment when he was offered a Teatro alla Scala debut as Ernesto in a new production of Don Pasquale. He's sung multiple time in San Diego, and will likely return, but the company understood a La Scala debut means too much to an opera singer's career to stand in his way. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, who had previously performed with Lindstrom in the San Diego production of Salome, was an effective stand-in. Earlier this season Grimsley played the pirate king here in Pirates of Penzance with surprising comic flair, though best known for dark and heroic roles.



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