Recent Press

ON "ANGELS AND SHEPHERDS"-DEC. 1, 2012

“If Pacific MusicWorks ever does a concert at St. James Cathedral, just go. Don't even stop to look at what's on the program. Actually, see them anywhere. And actually, do look at the program, because it's bound to be brilliant.”

John Sutherland, The Seattle Times, Dec.2, 2012

 

it emphasizes just how wonderful a concert Stephen Stubbs must have conducted to provide me with an absolutely delightful evening—yet another one, to set beside the many outstanding achievements this brilliantly gifted musician has given Seattle audiences over the past few years.

Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International, Dec 11, 2012

 

ON THE MONTEVERDI VESPERS-OCT. 20, 2012

it was thoroughly enthralling, easily one of the top performances of any kind in Portland this year.

Conductor, lutenist and PMW artistic director Stephen Stubbs has three decades' experience with the piece with forces both large and small, and for this performance he assembled about the smallest possible ensemble of unquestionably first-rate personnel….The singing was superb, with nine distinctive, well-trained voices that blended beautifully. Daniels was a standout, with the expressiveness of a lieder singer, but there wasn't a weak voice among them, and their musicality shone both alone and in ensemble. Bruce Dickey and Kiri Tollaksen deserve special mention for their contributions on cornetto, an instrument that vaguely resembles a recorder in shape and a trumpet in sound, but as with the singers, there wasn't a weak link in the orchestra.

Stubbs led with a light touch and unflagging pacing, deftly negotiating the many transitions of harmony, rhythm and configuration. To listeners accustomed to the Vespers in more monumental dress, PMW's unassailable performance may have seemed unorthodox, but anyone who first encountered the piece Sunday afternoon may rightly have a hard time imagining it done any other way.”
 

James McQuillen, The Oregonian, Oct 22, 2012

 

This group, headed by lutenist/conductor/Baroque opera director Stephen Stubbs, has connections all over the world, and such is Stubb’s reputation that he can bring in stellar performers from almost anywhere.

Right from the start, the performance’s high caliber became obvious,with Daniels’ clarion tenor ringing out, the high cornettos sounding like velvet and the pure sound of the two sopranos hanging in the air. With the chorus (all nine soloists singing together) and all the musicians, the rich sound of the whole filled the cathedral, and having a small group performing this big work made complete sense. “

Pippa Kiraly, The Sunbreak, Oct 23, 2012

 

“Early church music made dramatic"

the focus was no longer just beautiful sounds - it was drama. Words were no longer mere carriers of lovely tones - they had taken over, a kind of musical coup, if you will, making their own dramatic meaning the center of attention. We had moved from smooth sensual seduction to opera….Seattle native Stephen Stubbs showed his attention to the emotional intensity of Monteverdi's setting, drawing great contrasts in dynamics as well as expressive force behind the delivery of words. The excellent singers were animated and emotionally involved with every syllable…This Vespers whipped up a lot of excitement. Since this was the second time in two years that Stubbs and his forces have presented this work at St. James, one wonders if it is to become a Messiah-like tradition. We can hope so

Rod Parke, Seattle Gay News, Oct 26, 2012

 

ON HANDEL'S "IL TRIONFO DEL TEMPO"- MARCH 2012

“A Triumph for Handel and Everybody Else”

This was quite possibly the greatest performance not just of a Handel masterpiece but of anything that I have heard since moving to the Seattle area more than six years ago.

Bernard Jacobson, April 2, 2012, Seenandheard-international.com

 

“A 'triumph' of Handel”

“one of the most moving and satisfying concerts this listener has heard in a long time…Stubbs conducted and played in an orchestra that was superbly "on" for this thrilling evening of music making.But the real stars of the evening are four marvelous singers, so well cast and so alive as performers that they ought to head right into the recording studio…there were moments of such limpid beauty that half the hall was dabbing away tears.”

David Brewster, Crosscut, March 31, 2012

 

“Pacific MusicWorks gives a Triumphal “Il Trionfo del Tempo”

“all four (singers) were a joy to hear for their timbral qualities and technical artistry. Not only could they sing Handel’s exciting, demanding arias with dazzling aplomb and embroider the even more demanding repeats, their expressiveness embodied the words...It’s worth taking notice of Pacific MusicWorks announcements and making sure to get to its performances, including those now being hosted by Cornish College of the Arts. Each time it performs, the result is something rare, in the music itself, in performers, in style.”

Pippa Kiraly, The Sunbreak, March 31, 2012

 

General Acclaim

“…this was an utterly thrilling Vespers, of a quality you are unlikely ever to encounter anywhere else in the world" ~The Seattle Times

"Pacific Musicworks has established itself as a national level producer" ~Opera News

"The sorcery of “The Return of Ulysses” owes much to the musical excellence of Seattle’s Pacific Musicworks led by musical director Stephen Stubbs" ~The San Francisco Chronicle

"Stubbs paced the performance with a sure sense of flow and contrast"- Crosscut

"Visionaries have always done what they want to do when the moment is ripe for them…such is Stephen Stubbs" ~Seattle Post Intelligencer

"…among the finest performers of early baroque music" ~International Music Web

"…the performance was an unalloyed delight"- The Seattle Times