Classical Music News of the Week: July 31, 2011

Music Institute of Chicago Assumes Leadership Role in International Suzuki Education

Dr. Mark George, President and CEO of the Music Institute of Chicago, has been named chair of the board of directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), a not-for-profit organization officially licensed to support, guide, and promote Suzuki education in North, Central, and South America. The SAA aspires to improve the quality of life in the Americas through Suzuki education, seeking to create a music learning community that embraces excellence and nurtures the human spirit.

In addition, Gilda Barston, Music Institute cello faculty member and dean emeritus, has been appointed chief executive officer of the International Suzuki Association (ISA), which serves as a coalition of Suzuki Associations throughout the world. The ISA exists to encourage, promote, enlarge, and coordinate Suzuki education and maintain the highest standards of educational instruction.

"The SAA is celebrating its 40th anniversary," George noted, "and this is a great time to recognize the remarkable accomplishments of Suzuki education in the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of students and families have been touched by the teachings of Shinichi Suzuki, and instrumental music education has seen a radical shift in the United States. Forty years ago, music educators had low expectations for most children, with special attention reserved for the so-called gifted or talented students. Today, largely because of the influence of Suzuki teachers, it is widely recognized that, with excellent teaching and support, all children can play in tune, make a beautiful tone, and produce sophisticated music."

"There are more than 250,000 people worldwide engaged with Suzuki education," said Gilda Barston. "Suzuki students learn to play music while building strong character traits that will serve them in every walk of life."

"The Music Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most successful Suzuki programs in the world," added George. "We are proud and honored to take on these important international leadership roles."

About Suzuki at the Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most comprehensive Suzuki programs in the Midwest. The internationally recognized Suzuki method is based on the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, who believed that musical talent can be developed in every child. Students can begin Suzuki instruction as early as three years of age. Music Institute teachers are members of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and provide the highest quality private and group-class instruction. Additional Suzuki opportunities include a series of mid-winter weekend workshops and the summer Chicago Suzuki Institute, which offers a concentrated week of master classes, group instruction, concerts, and enrichment activities. More than 40 Music Institute faculty members offer Suzuki instruction for piano, violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar, harp, recorder, and flute.

In addition, Music Institute of Chicago Announces New Academy Scholarships

The Music Institute of Chicago has announced the establishment of six new Academy Fellowship positions. The prestigious Fellowships will be named for the generous benefactors who have provided full underwriting for the new program: Kathy and Gerhard Bette (Chicago), Susan and Richard Kiphart (Chicago), Betsey and John Puth (Winnetka) and the Sage Foundation of Brighton, Michigan.

Auditions for highly qualified pre-college string players and pianists ages nine and up take place Wednesday, August 31 at the Winnetka campus of the Music Institute of Chicago, 300 Green Bay Road. Each Academy Fellow will receive a full tuition scholarship for study in the Academy and have exclusive opportunities to perform and coach with an array of world-class guest artists. Fellowship recipients also will receive benefits such as free professional recording and piano accompanying services.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa