Published Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Symphony of the Vines announces February Concert

Brynn Albanese, violin, performs in an exciting program of music by Mozart, Haydn and Stravinsky at the historic Mission San Miguel on Feb. 23 at 7:30 pm and Feb. 24 at 3:00 pm.

Local favorite and Cafe Musique member Brynn Albanese will join Symphony of the Vines to perform Mozart’s charming Violin Concerto #4. The Vines will also present Haydn’s spirited and joyful Symphony #88 and Stravinsky’s contemporary take on Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto. Brynn has toured and performed world-wide, sharing her exhilarating style with audiences from Boston to the Netherlands.

She currently teaches violin and is an orchestral coach for the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Symphony. Performing virtually all styles of music, she travels extensively recording for various artists.

She has been a soloist with the San Luis Obispo Symphony for their Youth Concerts and has will be teaching at the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony Camp Ocean Pines Summer Youth String Program.

Published Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Symphony of the Vines’ Margarita Musicfest set for Sunday

North County orchestra Symphony of the Vines will close out its second season at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch

Looking for a fun, refreshing afternoon north of the Cuesta Grade? The Symphony of the Vines’ second season comes to a close with the Margarita Musicfest, Sunday at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

The North County chamber orchestra will perform alongside its own Vines Quartet, the woodwind choir Oaks Winds and bluegrass/folk group Bremen Town, based in Atascadero. “The ranch is just a lovely place” for a concert, said Gregory Magie, Symphony of the Vines’ music director and conductor. In addition to live and silent auctions, antique train rides, artists, and wine and food tastings, Sunday’s fundraiser will feature an array of crowd-friendly classical favorites, Magie said. Selections include Leroy Anderson’s “Blue Tango,” Aaron Copland’s “Saturday Night Waltz,” and excerpts from two operas, Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” and Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Audiences will also hear dance music by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Strauss.

Read the entire article here

Published Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Take Note of this Classical Ensemble

It was music to my ears to learn about a group dedicated to playing classical music in the North County. Consisting of between 15 and 30 musicians, this group of classical musicians is going into its second season.

The group calls itself Symphony of the Vines and is under the direction of Gregory Magie. Magie is director of traditional music at First Presbyterian Church in San Luis Obispo and teaches at Cuesta College.

The orchestra’s performances feature live classical music concerts held throughout the North County, well-known guest soloists, plus musical education and community outreach.

The mission is a simple one: “To consistently engage and enrich our audiences with music and artistry of the highest caliber.”

On Sunday, the chamber orchestra will be featured in a fundraiser and “pops” concert at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, playing in the large barn, which now protects a unique piece of California history, the Asistencia. It was the most northern outpost of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

This “Margarita Musicfest” will be held from 2 to 6 p.m., and in addition to good music from the group, there will be performances by Oak Winds, the Vines Quartet and Bremen Town Folk Group, wine and food tastings, silent and live auctions and even the opportunity to ride the vintage train that now traverses the former Mexican Land Grant ranch first owned by Joaquin Estrada, whose brother, Pedro Estrada, first owned the Atascadero Rancho.

Read the entire article here

Published May 10th, 2012

A sonorous season on Central Coast

We have enjoyed a musically active spring season on the Central Coast.

Worthwhile concerts took place from San Miguel to Santa Maria, and Saturday night at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly, heroic guest pianist Norman Krieger helped ensure a terrific San Luis Obispo Symphony season-closer.

In the North County, Greg Magie’s Symphony of the Vines is quietly growing into the “Little Orchestra That Can.”

At its April 14 concert at Mission San Miguel, the group sounded much larger than 19 pieces and gave a very pleasing reading of Haydn’s Symphony No. 44. Even better was the Mozart E-flat piano concerto (K. 271).

Under the hands of Marek Zebrowsi, director of the Paso Robles Paderewski festival, the Steinway sparkled, and its interactions with the strings were thoroughly Mozartean.

Another small-butmighty ensemble, the Santa Maria Philharmonic, gave an all-strings concert at Grace Baptist Church on April 28. Soloist and Director James Riccardo, who has played so well with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, helmed a program of Vivaldi, Respighi, Tchaikovsky and, most remarkably, “Fratres,” a wild piece for strings and percussion by Arvo Part.

The Part began with a white-hot scramble of notes from Riccardo’s violin that settled into a thick drone punctuated by booming tympani thuds. The eight-minute piece was static yet startling, tonally appealing yet structurally brave. It was a courageous inclusion, and Riccardo deserves points for his performance and his taste.

The finale of the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s 2011-12 season took place under the larger-than-life May moon, and like that moon, it offered a chance to feel wonder.

Read the entire article here

Published January 12th, 2012

Classically North County

Symphony of the Vines, now in its second season, was founded by conductor, pianist, and horn player Dr. Gregory Magie in 2010. He relocated to the Central Coast approximately five years ago and says he’d noticed an absence of North County-based classical music organizations, something he sought to remedy.

The orchestra boasts many players already familiar to local classical music lovers, such as violinist Pamela Sheffler, also of the Redskunk Jipzee Swing Band; cellist Jeanne Shumway; bassist Clifton Swanson; and Caroline Tobin, principle clarinet to the SLO Symphony, Santa Maria Philharmonic, and several other groups.

If you live in North County and haven’t made the acquaintance of Symphony of the Vines, here’s your opportunity. This relatively new chamber orchestra will perform baroque masterpieces from Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi in a gorgeous setting with “Bach in the Mission,” a concert at the recently renovated Mission San Miguel on Jan. 14 at 8 p.m.

Read the entire article here

Published September 8, 2011

Symphony of the Vines remembers Sept. 11 with concerts

When the Symphony of the Vines performs Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” on Sept. 11, there will be tears.

The 26-member symphony, joined by an 80-member choir, will perform the piece — considered by some to be the saddest classical work ever composed — on the 10th anniversary of America’s saddest day.

“Every time I hear that piece, or play it, tears come to my eyes,” said James Riccardo, concertmaster of the symphony. “The ‘Adagio’ is probably one of the two or three great contributions by an American composer to the repertoire of classical music.”

Yet, as the world remembers the 3,000 people killed in a shocking string of terrorist attacks 10 years ago, the symphony will not set out to make people cry during its Mission San Miguel concert, Riccardo said.

“I don’t think we’re trying to bring back that sadness,” Riccardo said. “This is to honor.”

Of course, the mere mention of 9/11 evokes sadness. And the “Adagio” — first performed in 1938 — is often played at major funerals because it is so somber.

“But the music is in its own way cathartic because you can live through the emotions of reliving that experience, and that is a positive thing,” said Greg Magie, the conductor of the Symphony.

Read the entire article here

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