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MUSIC REVIEWS : Glendale Symphony Opens 71st Season

October 24, 1994|TIMOTHY MANGAN

The Glendale Symphony makes more sense in Glendale. Long a fixture at the Los Angeles Music Center, downtown, the orchestra there seemed like a suburban cousin putting on city airs.

Now, at the beginning of its 71st season, the orchestra has moved back home, right into Glendale's city center and the refurbished Alex Theatre.

The orchestra, under music director Lalo Schifrin, sounded better rehearsed than it often has with this conductor. The Alex Theatre, too, with the addition of a sound-shell onstage, surpassed its recent reputation. Heard from the front balcony, the orchestra had an appealing brightness and clarity.

For the most part, Schifrin took a back seat on this occasion, with three soloists on the bill. But he did get off a spirited, tidy, well-judged account of Stravinsky's "Pulcinella" Suite to start things off.

Later, the locally trained, 12-year-old pianist Jun Asai gave an assured performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, flying through the passage-work with ease, pointedly forceful when she needed to be, leaning into and shading phrases musically. In encore, she ripped through Liszt's "Forest Murmurs" and the finale of Prokofiev's Second Sonata. The kid has chops.

Before that, harpist Marcia Dickstein and flutist Sheridon Stokes partnered in Mozart's concerto for those instruments, offering technically solid playing, Dickstein the sensitive, engaging poet to Stokes' blunt journeyman. In both concertos, Schifrin and ensemble proved alert and robust.

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