Classical Music News of the Week: September 4, 2011

Music Institute of Chicago Announces 2011-12 Concert Series
Paquito D'Rivera, Vamos family, Conrad Tao, CSO Musicians Among Highlights
The Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) presents a variety of extraordinary musicians, engaging repertoire, and international perspectives for its 2011-12 concert series at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, IL.

Highlights include the September 17 opening concert by jazz artist Paquito D'Rivera, Fischoff gold medalists the Calidore String Quartet in October, the multiple talents of the Vamos family in December, and acclaimed musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in May. Noteworthy annual events include the Four Score Festival of contemporary music in March; the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, in its 24th season, in July; Family Concerts in December and March; the second annual Emilio del Rosario Memorial Concert, this year featuring musical prodigy Conrad Tao in May; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert with the 100-voice Brotherhood Chorale in January.

Saturday, September 17, 7:30 p.m.: Paquito D'Rivera and MIC Jazz Faculty Combo
Saturday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.: James Baur, guitar
Sunday, October 9, 3 p.m.: Calidore String Quartet, Fischoff gold medalists
Sunday, November 13, 3 p.m.: Organ Invitational Recital
Saturday, December 10, 9 a.m.: Family Concert: Blair Thomas & Company
Saturday, December 17, 7:30 p.m.: Vamos Family Reunion Concert
Sunday, January 15, 5 p.m.: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Concert
Sunday, January 22, 3 p.m.: Cantare Chamber Players
Saturday, February 18, 7:30 p.m.: Cyrus Forough, violin with Tatyana Stepanova, piano
Sunday, March 4 and March 11, 3 p.m.: Four Score Festival
March 4: The Music of Charles Ives and Gunther Schuller
March 11: The Music of Aaron Copland and Mario Davidovsky
Friday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.: Generation Next/Composer's Lab Concert
Saturday, March 17, 9 a.m.: Family Concert: TBD
Sunday, March 18, 3 p.m.: Meng-Chieh Liu, piano
Sunday, April 29, 3 p.m.: The Lincoln Trio with Roberto Diaz, viola
Saturday, May 5, 7:30 p.m.: Quintet Attacca and Axiom Brass
Saturday, May 12, 7:30 p.m.: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians, the Civitas Ensemble Saturday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.: Second Annual Emilio del Rosario Memorial Concert: Conrad Tao, piano
July 13–22, times TBD: Chicago Duo Piano Festival

All concerts take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, a venue lauded by John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune as "a visual and sonic gem." Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students (except where noted), available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. All programming is subject to change.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Leads the New Century Chamber Orchestra in Performances with Former Music Director Stuart Canin, September 22-25
San Francisco, CA, August 30, 2011: Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra open their 2011-2012 Twentieth Anniversary Season September 22-25 with concerts featuring the music of Bloch, Mendelssohn and Shchedrin.

Founding Music Director Stuart Canin returns to celebrate this important milestone in the orchestra's history with performances of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in D Minor.  Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1, first performed by the orchestra during Stuart Canin's final season, replaces Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste. Shchedrin's Carmen Suite completes the program.

The program will be given on four evenings in four different locations around the Bay Area:  Thursday, September 22 at 8 p.m., First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Friday, September 23 at 8pm, First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, Saturday, September 24 at 8pm, Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, and Sunday, September 25 at 5pm, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael. New Century offers an Open Rehearsal at 10:00 am on Tuesday, September 20 in the Herbst Theater for a price of only $8.00.

Music Director Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Return from Successful Music Festivals Tour
San Francisco, CA, September 1, 2011-- Music Director Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, with soloists Dominique Labelle, Yulia Van Doren, Diana Moore, Clint van der Linde, and Wolf Mathias Friedrich, have successfully completed a tour of the most prestigious summer music festivals--earning standing ovations for performances of Handel's Orlando at the Ravinia Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival and the Tanglewood Music Festival and acclaim for a concert featuring works by Vivaldi, Corelli, and Handel at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut.

September promises to be a busy month for the Orchestra as well.  Philharmonia Baroque will return to the local radio airwaves on Sunday, September 11 at 9 p.m. with the first broadcast of a new series of monthly programs on KDFC. The first broadcast features the music of Mozart, with performances and interviews recorded last season with pianist Robert Levin and Music Director Nicholas McGegan.  And on September 13, Philharmonia Baroque Productions will release an all-Vivaldi disc featuring Philharmonia Baroque Concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock, the third disc in the new project marking the institution's return to commercial recording.

The Orchestra and Chorale's first performances in the Bay Area take place on September 16, 17, and 18 presented by Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall. Conducted by Mark Morris,  the Orchestra and Chorale perform Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group featuring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and baritone Philip Cutlip.

The Orchestra's own concert season gets under way September 22-25 with concerts titled "Mozart & Haydn: A Tale of Two Cities," featuring natural horn soloist R.J. Kelley performing a new "concerto pasticcio" assembled from newly discovered compositions for the instrument by Mozart.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra has a presence throughout the Bay Area with regular season performances at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, Berkeley's First Congregational Church, and at two venues on the Peninsula: The Menlo/Atherton Performing Arts Center in Atherton, and the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto. Single tickets to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra are now on sale through City Box Office:, (415) 392-4400.

To subscribe to Philharmonia Baroque or to request a season brochure, please call (415) 252-1288 or e-mail For more information, call Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra at (415) 252-1288.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Opens Subscription Season with "World Premiere" Mozart Horn Concerto, September 22-25
September 2, 2011, San Francisco, CA--Music Director Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque will open the upcoming season with a "world premiere" horn concerto, performed by the orchestra's principal horn R. J. Kelley. Initially written by Mozart in 1781, the Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E-flat Major was not published in its entirety until 1988, when sixty of the piece's missing measures were finally found. Kelley has constructed a "pasticcio" version of the concerto by assembling fragments of the first movement (K370b), and the recently-discovered manuscript of the second movement (K371), linked by the slow movement from Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat Major (K495). Kelley, one of North America's leading natural horn proponents, is a 29-year veteran of Philharmonia Baroque.

The program also includes Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K. 504 "Prague." Two compositions by Mozart's colleagues round out the program.

Tickets are priced at $25 to $90 and are available through City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or online at If available, Student Rush tickets are $10 and go on sale one hour before the start of the concerts.

To learn more about all of Philharmonia Baroque's concerts, visit the Orchestra's Web site at

--Karen Ames 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 Jon 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 of The $ensible Sound magazine 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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