Under the Baton of


By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: S.S.V

SAN JOSÉ, CA-- Symphony Silicon Valley (S.S.V) closed its 20l8-20l9 Season with a sold-out concert in which every singer in the choir and every musician in the orchestra performed masterly. Under the baton of  Conductor  TASUYA SHIMONO, the sound of the orchestra  was rich, the music's tempo well demarcated, the instruments' intonation correct and the voices of the choir in tune. For the audience, the concert was a marvelous experience.

Conductor  SHIMONO cemented his international reputation as a conductor by winning First Prize at the 47th Besançon international Competition in 2001,  (a competition for young artists who want to become professional conductors). Since then, he has conducted all the major orchestras in Japan and Europe, including the Czech Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre del''Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

In 2006 he was appointed Resident Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and in 2012 was appointed their Principal Guest Conductor. He was named Music Director of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra in 2017.

Among his many Awards are the Akeo Watana Music Foundation Award in 2002, The 17th Nippon Steel Music Award (New Artist Award) in 2006, the 6th Hideo Saito Memorial Fund Award in 2007, and the Tonen Music Award for Western Classical Music in 2014.  

This time, Conductor SHIMONO was Returning to San José, California  for his 6th and 7th program on our podium for the performance of two different orchestral/choir works. TE DEUM written by ANTONIO DVORAK (l841-l904) and the Classical SYMPHONY No  9 in D Minor, Op125 written by LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (l770-l827).

Music Director, ELENA SHARKOVA (Pictured left)
 Born and educated in St. Petersburg, Russia, (pictured left) received her Bachelor's degree in piano and music education and a graduate degree in conducting from the famed Rinsky-Korsakov Conservatory.

The multi-talented artist is in her twentieth year as the chorus master for Symphony Silicon Valley. As the Artistic Director of Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley since 2004, she has been instrumental in growing the organization in membership, artistic excellence and educational standards as well and national and international renown.

Czech Composer DVORAK is considered a composer of  Romantic music which employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia, in his native Bohemia. His TE DEUM is an orchestral  hymn of four parts: Te Deum laudaus, Tu Rex Gloriae, Aeterna Fac, and Dignare Domine, in praise of God, but also to ask God for his help in being able to exalt Him. Played by the orchestra, it is sung by Soprano AMANDA KINGSTON and Bass JEREMY GALYON (Pictured Below)

KINGSTON and GALYON also sang in the ODE OF JOY.

Sung in Latin, The Te Deum (A praise to God) was sung by KINGSTON, her voice leading the melody. When joined by the chorus, with the whole orchestra. playing in the background, the piece adquired a martial sound, becoming  uplifting during the short drums intervals with the flutes playing a five-note theme. The movement ended in a burst of  loud high notes created by the combined voices of the women in the choir.

Introduced by the brass, The Rex Gloria (Glory to the King) was sung by the Bass in a deep powerful voice and the male choir sort of answering his stanza. The volume of the piece increased when he was joined by the chorus and the full orchestra interrupted, at short intervals, of the brass instruments playing alone to add a regal sound. It was a rich-sounding piece in which the male and female voices of the chorus sort of have a question and answer in some parts.

Aeterna Fac was short and fast and sung in the combined voices of the whole choir with the Benedictus stanza sung as a dialogue between the male and female voices of the choir.

In the Dignare Domine The soprano returns to sing solo, accompanied by the strings instruments with the men's voices joining her in some stanzas. Close to the end, we hear the the men's choir in the background with their volume increasing The work ends in a loud cacophony of sound.


Composed by LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN ( l770-l827) between l822 and l824, Symphony Number 9 in D Minor Opus 125, better known as BEETHOVEN's 9th, is an orchestral work in four movements which includes a full chorus and four vocal soloists singing a setting of German poet FRIEDRICH SCHILLER's "An die Freude" ("Ode to Joy") in its fourth movement, which makes some musicians consider the work part symphony and part Oratorio.

BEETHOVEN had completely lost his hearing during this composition, so when it was first performed in Vienna on May 7, l824,  he was completely deaf. According to a BRITANNICA's  article written by BETSY SCHWARM, on that night,  BEETHOVEN appeared on stage as conductor, but it was Kapelmeister (An honorary title given to Church's music conductors) MICHAEL UMLAUF who directed the orchestra,  taking tempo's cues from the composer.  When at the end, the audience applauded thunderously, unable to hear it, BEETHOVEN continued standing facing the orchestra. It was not until one singer turned him around, that the composer realized the effect, on the audience. caused by  the work that he only had "heard" in his head.

The symphony has four movements. It starts with an Allegro man on Troppo un Poco Maestoso. The second movement is a Molto Vivace. The Third and Addagio Molto e Cantabile, Andante Moderato, and the fourth movement the ODE TO JOY, which is sung by four singers: a Soprano, a Mezzo soprano, a tenor and a Bass and the chorus. For his Ode's lyrics BEETHOVEN used a SCHILLER's poem. The piece is usually sung in German.

Mezzo Talin Nalbadian   Tenor   Mason Gates

The singers on that night were Soprano AMANDA KINGSTON, Mezzo TALIN NALBADIAN, Tenor MASON GATES, and Bass JEREMY GALYON.

Because of its popularity, BEETHOVEN's 9th Symphony in D minor, opus 125, is heard often its interpretation may easily be compared with other performances by music critics.

This version, Directed by Conductor  SHIMONO, with big arm movements, showed, on his part, a complete control of the orchestra. He managed to get a virtuose performance from each one of the musicians of  Symphony Silicon Valley, and the coloring of the  voices of the singers of  Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale sounded marvelous.  What we heard  on the night of June 1st,  at the California Theatre  was a  "unique- sounding"  rendition of  BEETHOVEN's 9th, with the changes in  Dynamics well demarcated,  and the shifts from the different instruments  so smooth that the sound came out as fluid as water. 

The only thing that could have made the performance even better that night, could have been slowing the Tempo in the Ode of Joy to allow the lyrics to be interpreted by the singers. As it was performed, the singing was so rushed at the end, that it left the words meaning zip out of the lyrics.

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