Performance Reviews

There are reviews and information about Osvaldo and La Pasión in virtually every major publication. You can find them at Osvaldo's La pasión web site. This page will list articles related to the Orange County and Stanford performances. [buy the cd from amazon]

Preview Articles:

"... they went crazy. It was literally a half-hour standing ovation. I had never seen anything like it. It was a rock-concert type reaction." — San Jose Mercury News Article, October 11, 2002 (by Mike Guersch)

"When "La Pasión Según San Marcos" debuted in Stuttgart in September 2000, it was hard to tell how all this was going over. The German audience sat silently for an hour and a half and, despite the intense Latin rhythms, not a head was seen to bob, or a foot tap. Then the music ended, and they cheered for 20 minutes. Five months later, the North American premiere set off pandemonium again." — LA Times Article, October 13, 2002 (by Paul Lieberman)

San Francisco Chronicle Article, October 18, 2002 (by Joshua Kosman)


October 18, 2002 - Osvaldo Golijov, on the cover of Palo Alto Weekly (story here, by Robyn Israel)

"The string section will be comprised of the Stanford Chamber Strings, under the direction of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford's ensemble-in-residence. Current Stanford musical students and recent alumni will also join forces to bring Golijov's work of genius to life in an exclusive Bay Area engegement."

Performance Reviews:

"Heard again Saturday night at Segerstrom Hall as part of the Ecletic Orange Festival, it felt all the more to be a breakthrough work. Were it to get enough widespread exposure, it could well do for the music of Latin America what Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" did for its literature -- namely, make the rest of the world aware of what it has been missing." — "A composition for the ages?L.A. Times (by Mark Swed), October 21, 2002

LA Weekly Article (by Alan Rich), coming soon.

"And Sunday's performance, presented at Memorial Auditorium by Stanford Lively Arts, had vitality and genre-busting energy to spare. Under the brilliantly focused leadership of conductor Maria Guinand, a touring company comprising some 75 singers and instrumentalists delivered the music with all the forceful pizzazz anyone could ask for." - "'Pasion' exciting but unfocused new work by Argentine composer", San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2002 (by Joshua Kosman)

"When a classical piece astonishes professional musicians and a diverse group of teenagers who have never been to a concert hall, it's tempting to call it a masterpiece." - "`Passion' plays to an adoring audience", San Jose Mercury News, October 21, 2002 (by Mike Guersch)

"The Orquesta La Pasión, a tight ensemble of virtuoso percussionists, sizzling mariachi-style brass, guitar, accordion, and a string contingent of Stanford students under the direction of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, propelled the work with relentless energy, at times locking onto ostinatos à la Philip Glass, and providing instrumental interludes of intense rhythmic complexity. Unfortunately, the audience was held at the mercy of a sound engineer whose day-job must be setting sound levels at a local megaplex; what could have been captivating instead held the audience captive, an oppressive aural assault that caused the listener to share the suffering on the road to Golgotha." - "The Powerfully Theatrical Pasión", San Francisco Classical Voice, October 20, 2002 (by Bruce Lamott)

(BAM Performance) "Souza is not yet widely known, but I left the theater sure that she is going to become a very bright star... My hunch is that the same thing will happen to Osvaldo Golijov. His St. Mark Passion, mind you, is not without flaws: It's a bit harmonically static and somewhat repetitive, and the overmiked Brooklyn Philharmonic failed to make the most of the string writing, though Robert Spano conducted the orchestra to within an inch of its life. Still, these are the merest quibbles over a piece whose total effect is roughly similar to the sensation of being knocked down by a tornado... For me, Golijov's St. Mark Passion was the major event of the year to date, though it wasn't the only memorable thing I saw or heard last month." - "Osvaldo Golijov's Grand Passion, Echoing Powerfully From Brooklyn", Washington Post, December 1, 2002

Other Articles:

"Writing Music That Sings, Cries, Screams and Prays", New York Times - Front Page, Arts Section! October 27, 2002 (by Paul Griffiths)

October 20, 2002

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:50am, but because of newly federalized security at Orange County airport, we had been advised to arrive three hours early. We boarded the airport shuttle just after 6am (missing a few people whose wake-up calls failed to materialize), and were at the airport before 6:20am. We then proceed to wait for the Southwest airlines employees to arrive. I think it's bad business to ask your customers to arrive before your employees do. By 6:45am, we were in front of gate #2, with a full two hours to sit around wondering why we had arrived so early.

The Schola Cantorum boarded a flight an hour after our flight. I wish I had been there to witness their antics! I heard that they were singing and dancing by their gate -- at eight in the morning -- and that on the airplane, flight attendants had to announce that the plane "would not take off until Venezuela sits down." :)

Even though Stanford's Memorial Auditorium is considerally smaller than Segerstrom Hall, the concert did not sell out (which was strange, considering that it was Lively Arts' "centerpiece" show for the year). These three West Coast concerts have been only ones so far that have not sold out, and it left all of us wondering if something was wrong with arts appreciation in California. La Pasión has received more publicity than anything else that hits the halls we played in.

Sound check was at 6pm, and food awaited us, backstage. The sound check involved the same chaos that that we experienced in Orange County; the sound crew seems to start over at every venue with the same initial problems (and associated stress). I stuck around, taking photos on stage after the strings were no longer needed, but was kicked out a little later (with Ben) by the tour manager because he and sound check guy found us "distracting." Fair enough, but I think it was really because Ben told them that the chorus mics were pointed too low.

The show went well, though, and we received a standing ovation. Like in Orange County, a large Venezuelan flag was unfurled from the balcony. My sister told me that she felt like she had been "under a spell" during the performance, and an audience member stopped me after the show and said to me: "I'm 78 years old, and I've been to a lot of concerts. I've never, in my life, seen a performance so well received!"

After the show, we migrated to the Bechtel International Center, where the Venezuelan International Student Association was throwing a reception. As I am learning, the Venezuelans on the tour never stop singing and dancing. :)

Special thanks to Osvaldo Golijov for making this all possible, and to Barry Shiffman for involving and coordinating the Stanford Chamber Strings! Also, if you are interested in purchasing a recording of the Stuttgart premiere, you can buy the cd from amazon.

October 19, 2002

This will be brief, as I must be downstairs in just 3.5 hours to catch a shuttle to the airport. The performance tonight was MUCH better than yesterday's concert was. The sound guys set up the stage like it had been at the premiere in Stuttgart, and because none of the strings were mic'ed, we play much louder than usual (it is hard on stage, because we have no idea what it will sound like in the far reaches of the hall). We played our hearts out, and Alberto broke so many bow hairs that it looked like he had been gnawing on his bow. :)

Ronda (whom I met shark diving in the Bahamas), her friend Cindy, and my old childhood friends Bonnie Foote (with friends Matt and Jeff), Andy Manson, and Jeff Padilla came to hear us play, and chorus member Pablo Morales came out with some of us afterwards to celebrate at our favorite place (yes, we went out again to Oki Doki :). Pablo asked me who would be taking pictures on the rest of the tour. I replied, "I have no idea." :(

I've finally started to meet some of the chorus. In fact, when I arrived downstairs to leave for dinner, I discovered a group of them in the "business center" looking at this very site! They were very excited to be photographed, and I promised them I'd put the photo up (and so it has been, below).