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Great Scott N' The Wright Stuff
Poulenc n' Pipes
World Premiere Horn Concerto
Tale of Two Symphonies
The Planets
Prodigy & Pops
2009 Arabian Nights
From the New World

Super Successful Concert

  • Packed House!
  • Standing Room Only!
  • Standing Ovations!

“...what a Glorius night!!!”

“... Christine is the eight wonder...”

“What a great concert...!”

“...we were so impressed!”

“...joyful energy permeated the entire venue!”

“...Christine... charming, tallented, prodigy...”

“I never had so much fun at a symphony...”

“Thank you for the most memorable evening!”


Christine Chon and Michael Gibson immediately following the super successful March 8th performance

I attended "Soli &Sorcery" so I could hear the charming ,talented, prodigy Christine Chon's rendition of Sibelius and expected to leave feeling depressed (his music is heavy). I have never had so much fun at a symphony! To my surprise I came home elated. Every one was having so much fun, especially Maestro Gibson who had chosen a diversified program that also had the audience participating along with tenor Christopher Bengohea (whose serious side I have experienced at the opera)....he too was having a marvelous time. The joyful energy permeated the entire venue. Thank you for the most memorable evening. Every one had so much fun!” Miki Michlich

“Aloha Michael & thank you very very much for the wonderful program last Saturday nite. My daughter & 12 year old grandson came with me & we all enjoyed it tremendously.” Muriel (grandma.mack)

“What a great concert that was on Saturday night! I took 2 people and we were so impressed. You must have been thrilled with the audience.” Mardie D

Hi Michael,

I had such a fun time with this concert. Thank you again for inviting me to perform with the symphony.”

Christine Chon

Dear Michael, Congratulations!  This is the best concert you have ever put together &  preformed!  I must confess that when I saw the last concert the Silicon Valley  Symphony put on, I said it was the best one I ever attended. But, you did it again! You topped the last concert and you seem to always do that! I have a question, How do you do that? You are an amazing Man, Musician & Conductor! You always seem to know how to put a concert together that tops the one before! I am amazed (again & again) and Wowed (again & again)!

 My, how the Silicon Valley Symphony has grown too! I am totally impressed with such a wonderful increase in the number of musicians! They sounded like a huge, huge symphony orchestra! They were right on! What a wonderfully talented group!!! I can't say, "WOW" enough!

 Now, for the soloists! Christine is an eighth wonder! How lucky we were to be present when she played such a difficult piece! Yet, she played it with the ease and skill of a much more mature person! I don't think amazing or awesome is good enough, but I'm at a loss for words to better describe her performance. And as for Christopher, how does one describe Swoon adequately? He has a powerful & beautiful voice! He is so talented and sings with such an ease yet he brings forth the drama in each piece!  I love the way he plays to the audience! He is fantastic to say the least! Did I say fantastic with enough emphasis!

 I guess by now everyone now knows that you played to an audience of 570+. The Church and balcony were full and I sold many standing room only tickets plus there were, at least, 12 extra chairs put up!  What a Glorious Night!!!!” Sincerely, Loretta Faulkner

Soli & Sorcery

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Saturday, March 8, 2008; 7:30 PM at Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos - Donation: $20 general, $15 senior/student, children 12 years and younger with adult FREE · Tickets available at door at 7:00 PM or from orchestra members in advance - Tickets now available ONLINE.

FREE Champagne Reception with Food & live jazz music the soloists and orchestra performers

Michael Paul Gibson, Conductor
Thomas Alexander, Concertmaster
Christine Chon, Violin Soloist
Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist

clipart_tech_audio_028 Finlandia, Op. 26
           by Jean Sibelius

Written 1899, revised in 1900

Johan Julius Christian "Jean" December 8, 1865, Hämeenlinna, Finland – September 20, 1957, Järvenpää, Finland) was a Finnish composer of classical music and one of the most notable composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity.

Finlandia: In 1899 Sibelius contributed music to introduce and accompany a series of six tableaux vivants depicting notable events in Finnish history – the last of which was entitled Finland Awakes. Sibelius later separated this final piece from its companions and presented it as a symphonic poem, giving it the now familiar title, Finlandia. With its grand crescendo at the end symbolising the Finnish people’s ardent hope for freedom the work offered enormous potential for national identification, which before long led to it being banned by the Russian authorities who had been tightening their grip on Finland throughout the 1890s.


Jean Sibelius
1865 - 1957

GASP = Great Audio Sneak Preview

clipart_tech_audio_028* Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, op. 47 by Jean Sibelius

Written 1903, revised in 1905

Christine Chon, Violin Soloist

  1. Allegro moderato; Molto moderato e tranquillo; Allegro molto; Moderato assai; Allegro moderato; Allegro molto vivace
  2. Adagio di molto
  3. Allegro, ma non tanto

Like all his works, Sibelius's violin Concerto op. 47 written in 1903 was initially slow to find favor with performers and audiences alike, even in countries such as England and the United States that proved most responsive to the Finnish composer's music. Although much was expected of the piece at its first performance in Helsinki on 8 February 1904, those expectations were disappointed, not least as a result of the inadequacies of the performance. But even


Christine Chon - World Debut 1998 Video Clip

the piece itself was roundly condemned by the critics present, and Sibelius lost no time in subjecting it to a thoroughgoing overhaul. This revised version -- the version invariably performed today -- was first heard in public 18 months later at the Berlin Singakademie. The soloist was the Czech violinist Karel Halír, and the conductor none other than Richard Strauss, who guided the Berlin Hofkapelle through the piece after no fewer than three full orchestral rehearsals. Sibelius was deeply impressed. Yet the Concerto initially remained a peripheral piece, for all that it has subsequently come to be seen as a leading example of the national Romantic concerto repertory. Not even the fact that such legendary violinists as Jascha Heifetz and Ginette Neveu brought it to international attention with their exemplary readings in the early days of recording altered the situation appreciably.

Christine Chon 2007

Christine Chon
August 29, 1990 -

Christine Chon 1998

Christine Chon during rehearsal in 1998 at age 7 with Michael Gibson and the DeAnza Symphony

clipart_tech_audio_028* This audio clip is from the dress rehearsal. Concert clip coming soon.


Christine Chon photo in rehearsal with Deanza Symphony, June 1998 - Photo by Michael Rondou - SJ Mercury News. See story click here.


clipart_tech_audio_028 La donna è mobile
         by Giuseppe Verdi

“Woman is fickle” from Rigoletto
Written 1851

Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist

clipart_tech_audio_028 La Danza, Tarantelle
     by Gioacchino Rossini

Written 1835

Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist


Christopher Bengochea Tenor Soloist is currently staring in Opera San Jose’s production of Rigoletto. The production is running from February 9 - 24, 2008. Mr. Bengochea stars as the Duke of Mantua and sings performances on 2/9; 2/12; 2/21; 2/24. 

Christopher Bengochea
Staring in Opera San Jose’s performance of Rigoletto


Giuseppe Verdi
1813 - 1901


Gioacchino Rossini
1792 - 1868

clipart_tech_audio_028 Night on Bald Mountain
    by Modeste Mussorgsky

Written 1867, revised several times
arr. by Rimsky-Korsakov

"Night on the Bald Mountain" usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) 'musical picture' by Modest Mussorgsky, St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain, or a later (1886) and very popular 'fantasy for orchestra' by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the Bare Mountain, based almost entirely on Mussorgsky's themes.

Inspired by Russian literary works and legend, Mussorgsky made a witches' sabbath the theme of the original tone poem, completed on June 23rd, 1867 (St. John's Eve). St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain and Rimsky-Korsakov's 'musical picture' Sadko (also composed in 1867) share the distinction of being the first tone poems by Russian composers.

As with so much of Mussorgsky's music, the work had a tortuous compositional history and was arranged after his death in 1881 by his friend and fellow member of the The Mighty Handful Rimsky-Korsakov. It was never performed in any form during Mussorgsky's lifetime. The Rimsky-Korsakov edition premiered in 1886, and has become a concert favorite.

The first performance was at a concert of the Russian Symphony Société at St. Petersburg on October 27, 1886, with Rimsky-Korsakov at the conductor's desk. It was unusually well received, so much so that it was again perform during the same season. Here is the composer's program in his own words: "Subterranean sounds of supernatural voices. Appearance of spirits of darkness, followed by that of Satan himself. Glorification of Satan and celebration of the Black Mass. The sabbath reveals. At the height of the orgies the bell of the village church, sounding in the distance, disburses the spirits of darkness. Daybreak."


Modest Mussorgsky
1839 - 1881


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
1844 - 1908
Portrait of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov by Valentin Serov (1898)

clipart_tech_audio_028 Funiculì funiculà
          by Luigi Denza
          & Peppino Turco

Written 1880

Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist

Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano outside Naples, Italy, was a popular tourist destination in the mid 1800s. Enterprising Hungarian engineer Ernesto Emanuele Oblieght decided to capitalize on this demand by building a funicular cable car to carry people from the side of the mountain to the volcano's rim. In 1880, to market the new funicular, Mr. Oblieght commissioned Luigi Denza to pen a jingle, "Funiculì-Funiculà". The song was an instant success, as was the funicular.

Curiously composer Richard Strauss came along six years later and on a tour of Italy heard "Funiculi funicula". He assumed that this was a traditional Italian folk song. He incorporated the jingle into his symphony "Aus Italien". Strauss realized his mistake, with much horror and embarrassment, when an enraged Denza slapped him with a lawsuit. Denza won the lawsuit and Strauss was forced to pay Denza a royalty every time "Aus Italien" was performed in public.

While the funicular itself has not operated since a volcanic eruption in 1943, the song lives on as a standard in the modern tenor repertoire.


clipart_tech_audio_028 ‘O Sole mio
       by Eduardo di Capua

“My Sun”
Written 1898

Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist

clipart_tech_audio_028 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
            by Paul Dukas

Written 1897

Paul Abraham Dukas (October 1, 1865-May 17, 1935) was a Parisian-born French composer and teacher of classical music. A man of erudition and charm, Dukas as composer was so exacting that he published a mere handful of works. Everything else he burned, over the protests of knowledgeable friends.

Dukas was from a French-Jewish family. He studied under Théodore Dubois and Ernest Guiraud at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he became friends with the composer Claude Debussy. After completing his studies Dukas found work as a music critic and orchestrator; he was unusually gifted in orchestration and was one of the most sensitive and insightful critics of the era.

Despite its scintillating beauties, despite the cleverness of its program, The Sorcerer's Apprentice composed at the same time as his Symphony in C in 1897, is a small-scale work that Dukas himself intended to be a joke. It's plot drew upon a ballad by Goethe and was by no means new, Goethe having borrowed it from a second century dialogue entitled "The Lie-Fancier or the Skeptic," which itself drew on a tale more ancient. A magician's apprentice, during his master's absence, cannot resist trying his hand at incantation. Taking them from a corner an old broomstick that is in fact one of the magician's tools, he repeats over it the words of a spell he has heard his master pronounce. In a silence tensed with expectation, the youth awaits the results. Suddenly the broom stumbles to its wooden feet and begins to dance around the room. It dances round and round and then dances out the door, quickly returning and in obedience to the spell, bringing water to fill the bath. The bath is soon full, yet the broom still brings water. The terrified apprentice cannot remember the countermand words, and he watches in dismay as more and more water is brought, and more and more and more, till at last the house is flooded -- and still the process goes on. In desperation, the youth grabs a hatchet and chops the broomstick in two, only to watch in horror as both pieces bring water. At length the magician returns, utters the needed incantation, and the broomstick goes back into being a broomstick.


Luigi Denza
1846 - 1922


Christopher Bengochea
Staring in Opera San Jose’s performance of Rigoletto

Christopher Bengochea, Tenor Soloist appears in person at the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos, Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 10 AM.


Paul Dukas
1865 - 1935


Animated wizard by Mark Gibson
© 2008 by Mark Gibson ·

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