Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Alina Ming Kobialka

     This past Sunday, I did an unusual thing.  I went to hear an orchestra concert.  I was not playing but part of the audience.  It's good to do that sort of thing now and again.  It is enlightening and a good way to get a fresh feel for the business of performing music.

     The concert was Symphony Parnassus, a group of amateur musicians who love to play.  It gets its name from the street on which University of California, San Francisco Medical Center is located.  I assume many of the players are doctors, nurses, and medical students.  One of the bass players runs the business end of his wife's hand therapy clinic.  The concertmaster, Victor Romasevich, is a professional musician; he is a violinist in the SF Symphony.  The conductor, Stephen Paulson, is the Principal Bassoon in the SF Symphony.  He is a tireless, dedicated soul who  designs interesting programs and enables the Parnassus Orchestra to sound its best.

   The first half of the program included a a tone poem by Samuel Barber, Fadograph of a Yestern Scene.  It is a strangely lush and romantic work which the Orchestra carried off well.  Next came the well-known Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky.  It is also very romantic and dramatic.  The strings, particularly the cellos and basses, played with a rich and singing tone.  After intermission came the treat many of us were excitedly anticipating.

     Alina Ming Kobialka was the soloist in Barber's Violin Concerto.  Miss Kobialka, age 13, was poised and confident in a one-shoulder, floor-length coral gown.  To say that she is mature beyond her years would be an understatement.  Her technique and expressiveness were first rate for a person of any age.  She is the daughter of retired SF Symphony Principal Second Violin, Daniel Kobialka and SF Symphony violinist, Chun Ming Mo.  That both her parents are wonderful violinists in their own right is an obvious legacy inherited by Miss Kobialka.  But I do not want to slight the  individual accomplishment of this talented young lady.  In the lyric and melancholy first two movements, her rich tone, flawless intonation, and graceful phrasing had a glistening sheen and luster.  During the perpetual motion of the third movement, her completely relaxed bow hand combined with her agile left, resulting in an absolutely riveting performance.  She played from memory and imparted total command of the stage.  It was breathtaking to hear her and she was a true inspiration to all.  Stay tuned because we have not heard the last from this extraordinary violinist.

     For an encore, Miss Kobialka preformed Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Ballade, by the Belgian violinist, Eugene Ysaye.  It, too, was wondrous.

     To see and hear Alina play the Barber, go to You and type in Alina Ming Kobialka Plays Barber Violin Concerto.

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