Editors Choice

norman lebrecht

March 21, 2023

American conductor Joseph Young makes his Oakland Symphony debut this Friday (March 24) at The Paramount.

Mentored by no less than Marin Alsop and Robert Spano, Joseph Young has quickly ascended to the front rank of conductors of the younger generation. By the end of this season, he will have led the Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic, as well as
ensembles in Europe. Of his San Francisco Symphony debut, the San Francisco Chronicle found his conducting “stirring, robust and fluid.”

For this Oakland Symphony debut, Joseph Young has programmed highlights from Prokofiev’s intoxicating, impassioned Romeo and Juliet, a production including scenes from Shakespeare’s tragedy performed by Cal Shakes.

Also on the program, 2018 Sphinx Competition winner Rubén Rengel plays Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto.   The concert begins with music by Soviet-born Lera Auerbach. She would defect to the west in 1991 to master piano and composition at Juilliard.  That mastery will be heard in “Icarus,” a work
both strong and serene.

Tickets start at just $25. Slipped Disc readers can enjoy a 25% discount on all other priced tickets with this discount code: DISC0324.

Joseph Young, conductor
Ruben Rengel, violin
Cal Shakes Theater Company
SERGEI PROKOFIEV: Music from Romeo and Juliet

Romeo & Juliet


  • Anonymous says:

    By “no less than Marin Alsop and Robert Spano”? Yes, indeed it’s hard to find less than that. Sad what a farce classical music has become in the US. Good luck, Joseph.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      I just don’t get the vitriol toward Marin Alsop. I saw her numerous times at the Cabrillo Music Festival, which brings in good players from all over the U.S. Not only was she a very good conductor (and having to learn various new works), but was generous with her time and energy. I only saw her once with the Baltimore Symphony, but it was a very solid performance of the Prokofiev 5th Symphony. I can’t comment on Robert Spano, except to say that the recordings he made in Atlanta seem quite good to me.

  • Americans only like explosions says:

    Can’t say anything about the man, but to be called a ‘robust, fluid’ conductor is probably some of the worst praise I’ve ever heard for a conductor!

    Also, Prokofiev is my favourite composer, and I can tell you for a fact that Romeo and Juliet is outrageously overrated. Cinderella is much superior in every single way. For me his magnum opus.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      I don’t see it that way. I do think “Cinderella” is, generally speaking, the better orchestrated work. But “R. & J.” benefits from getting far more memorable melodies. Yes, I’m American, and I do like explosions as long as nobody got hurt. I hardly see what that has to do with Prokofiev ballets.

  • Rose says:

    All best wishes to Maestro Young.

  • Ka says:

    What kind of News is that? 3rd ligue conductor debuts with 3rd league orchestra. How exciting!!!