San Ramon Valley Chorale to team up with Diablo Symphony for 'Song of Love'

Special concert set Sunday at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek

The San Ramon Valley Chorale will be joining forces with the Diablo Symphony Orchestra on Sunday for a special performance of “Song of Love” featuring the music of one of the 19th century’s most talented pianists, Clara Schumann.

Set to be held Sunday at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, the performance will be held in honor or Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday and also feature the works her husband Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms -- three composers symphony staff say had their lives forever intertwined through music.

The San Ramon Valley Chorale, in combination with the Diablo Symphony Orchestra, will open the evening with a rendition of “Schicksalslied” (“Song of Fate”) by Brahms.

The Chorale is directed by Alamo resident Bruce Koliha, who orchestra staff say served as choral director of award-winning choirs at Monte Vista High School for 32 years. He also currently serves as as music and choir director at San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church in Alamo.

The evening will then feature pianist Nadia Blank-Koliha, another resident of Alamo, who will bring to life Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto -- first performed by Clara herself in November 1835 -- during her solo performance. Blank-Koliha regularly performs as a soloist and a duo-pianis and has made appearances with the orchestra of the San Francisco Opera and Ballet Company, the Pro-Art Symphony Orchestra and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, according to Diablo Symphony Orchestra staff.

She is also a member of the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church choral, having played as an organist and pianist there since 1997.

To close out the evening in style, under the direction of Matilda Hofman -- Diablo Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor -- the symphony will perform Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish”, conducted at its 1851 premiere by the composer himself.

Orchestra staff say Symphony No. 3 marked a high point in the composer's life, and in his own words “perhaps mirrors here and there something of Rhenish life.” It is the fourth movement of his five movement romantic works and was inspired by ceremonial services he attended with Clara at the Cologne Cathedral.

The concert will be held on Sunday, 2 p.m. at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $10 for youth aged 13-17 and free for kids 12 and under -- but kids still require a ticket for entry. Advanced tickets can be picked up at the Lesher Center box office, by calling 943-7469, or online at

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