Review: Philadelphia Orchestra’s assistant conductor at Mann Center, with Saint-Saëns, Montgomery, Coleridge-Taylor, Mussorgsky

Posted on: July 26, 2021

“There was no star soloist, no splashy premiere of a newly commissioned work. Still, when the full force of the Philadelphia Orchestra rolled off the stage of the Mann Center on Friday night, it was like hearing our recent reality shift expressed in sound,” writes Peter Dobrin in Saturday’s (7/23) Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s not every day that an orchestra puts its principal second violinist in the concerto spotlight. And yet here we were with the showy Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor played by the orchestra’s own Kimberly Fisher.… She managed some sections of penetrating meaning and great sweetness. The orchestra’s assistant conductor, Erina Yashima, was on the podium…. Jessie Montgomery’s Strum is the most amiable of pieces, fresh and always moving…. Yashima found and polished the most balletic aspects of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s effervescent Petite Suite de Concert (1911). The conductor is clearly developing a rapport with the ensemble. [In] Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition … you had to admire [Yashima’s] confidence in the penultimate movement, ‘The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga).’ It was a bit of a risk to take the edgy tempo she chose, and it paid off in terror of the best kind.”