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Reviews

“Sunday’s…program…was a delight from start to finish.”
–The Morning Advocate

“Thank you for your wonderful presentation here at the Centroplex Branch Library…the children and staff really enjoyed the exquisite pieces performed under your direction.”
–Dorothy Thomas, Children’s Services, Centroplex Branch Library

“The Chamber orchestra was the star attraction.”
–The Times Picayune

“Thank you, Dinos, for this great chance to compose music and to have a wonderful performance by the Louisiana Sinfonietta.”
–Vernon Taranto, Jr.

“We at St. James look forward to these concerts and hope you will be able to continue them into the New Year.”
–Marguerite LeBlanc, St. James Place

“The Louisiana Sinfonietta and Conductor Dinos Constanitinides presented an unsually fine afternoon of music Sunday at the LSU Recital Hall… Mardirossian and the Sinfonietta performed with respect and affection. Preceding the Bach Concerto, the Sinfonietta performed Schumann’s “Day Dream” from the composer’s “Children’s Scenes.” Condutor and players applied apt lyricism and heart to this gorgeously soulful piece…. Singleton sang with round, pure tone and sure intonation. She shapes her notes with deceptively simple beauty and elegance… Cadeu flawlessly executed a number of the guitar’s more impressive techniques, including tremelo, arpeggio and, most flashy of all, rasqueado (the strumming of several strings with the fingernails).”
–John Wirt, The Advocate. January 16, 2007

“Most people don’t think of classical music as fun, but if they’d heard Gurt and the Sinfonietta romp through the Mendelssohn concerto’s flashy final movement, they might have a different outlook. A big hit with the audience, the finale boasted even swifter piano work than what came before plus percussive explosions from the piano and orchestra.”
–John Wirt, The Advocate. September 12, 2006

Rare solo instruments highlight concert 
By JOHN WIRT
Advocate music critic

Published: Nov 11, 2008 – Page: 2E – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m. 

The Louisiana Sinfonietta played mostly Mozart Sunday afternoon at First Baptist Church. Mozart, that master of classical form and melody, was represented by his sacred choral-orchestral piece, “Litaniae Lauretanae” (“The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary”) and the Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra. 

The concerto marked the return of Sarah Beth Hanson, the former principal flutist for the Sinfonietta and Baton Rouge Symphony, now based in Memphis. 

Brian Kittredge, a doctoral candidate in LSU’s music program, led the Sinfonietta, LSU Schola Cantorum and a quartet of talented young soloists in Mozart’s “Litaniae Lauretanae.” Avoiding the sort of self-indulgence that brings attention to a conductor at the expense of the music, Kittredge shaped Mozart’s music with clarity, stoic cheerfulness and effective dynamics. 

The combined ensembles blended smoothly in the opening “Kyrie,” a warm and confident expression of Christian faith. The “Kyrie’s” liveliness gave way to the serenity of “Sancta Maria,” an especially tuneful movement that showcased Jennifer Juilfs, the soprano soloist who ably dominated “Litaniae Lauretanae.” Juilfs’ singing, including that natural ornamentation, rolling Rs, was solid throughout, including an a cappella highlight during the fifth movement that easily bounced off the church walls. 

While Juilfs’ soprano role gets the lion’s share of the composer’s attention, solos and duets by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Crippen, tenor Jin Hin Yap and bass Brandon Hendrickson contributed to the music’s overall beauty as well. 

Sunday’s second Mozart piece starred the rare combination of solo flute and harp in a concerto setting. Led by Sinfonietta Music Director Dinos Constantinides, Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra spotlighted two seasoned pros, Hanson and Kimberly Houser, harpist and LSU professional-in-residence.

Although flute is the more obvious choice for a solo instrument, the harp lives up to its equal billing in the Mozart concerto. 

The two instruments share Mozart’s melodies, engage in call and response, accompany each other and play flute-harp duets sans orchestral accompaniment. And Mozart’s scoring for harp, an instrument that wasn’t yet standardized in the composer’s time, fully exploits the plucked string instrument’s melodic and multivoiced potential. 

Hanson’s lyrical touch and tone and Houser’s grace and precision mixed seamlessly with the Sinfonietta, a small ensemble that, in an example of less being more, sounded bigger than it actually was. 

Sinfonietta concerts typically feature a variety of players and music. Sunday’s program was no exception, its non-Mozart offering being Constantinides’ Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. 

Gabriel Beavers, assistant professor of bassoon at LSU, soloed, playing brisk, agitated lines and patterns in the dark opening movement, “Spirals,” and the related third movement, “Pendulums.” Crowd-pleasing though flash may be, the soloist’s lyricism in the nicely contrasting, slower second movement, “Plain (Song),” provided some of the afternoon’s most alluring music making.