Joshua Weilerstein

David Bazemore

Joshua Weilerstein

Review: Music Academy’s Festival Orchestra at the Granada Theatre

Joshua Weilerstein Conducted Concerto Night on Saturday, July 19

Two-thirds of the way through the Music Academy of the West’s Summer Festival comes Concerto Night, when winning soloists from the competition two weeks earlier showcase their stuff, backed by the thrilling support of the full orchestra. “Thrilling” must have been the sensation, judging from these inspired performances. Meanwhile the orchestra was magnetically attuned to conductor Joshua Weilerstein (brother to famed cellist Alisa Weilerstein), who was making his Music Academy debut. This concert was a homecoming for the young New York Philharmonic assistant conductor, who not only attended the Music Academy as a violin fellow (’07-’08), but also was a Concerto Competition winner in 2008.

Danbi Um, violin
Click to enlarge photo

David Bazemore

Danbi Um, violin

First up, hornist Trevor Nuckols, standing left of Weilerstein with bell oriented toward the audience, delivered a skillful and spirited Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Playing from memory (as did the evening’s other soloists), Nuckols demonstrated brass mastery with his smooth, even tone and crisp accents. Violinist Danbi Um followed with the opening movement to Violin Concerto by William Walton. Originally written for Jascha Heifetz, the Concerto was a wonderful showpiece to highlight Um’s warm tone and energetic finesse. Finally, pianist Micah McLaurin played the final two movements to Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 in F Minor. So persuasive is McLaurin’s conviction that he only had to touch the first chords of the Larghetto, and the concert hall seemed to unhinge from ordinary time. The concertos completed, after intermission Weilerstein and the orchestra returned for Tchaikovsky unleashed — Symphony No. 5.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.