Classical Music News of the Week, November 27, 2011

Strathmore Music in the Mansion Presents Jenny Lin, Wendy Richman, Dan Tepfer, Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: A Bohemian Christmas

Highlights include five world premiere pieces and fresh rendition of Goldberg Variations by Tepfer.

North Bethesda, MD -- In December, Strathmore gives the gifts of rare classical interpretations of the Great American Songbook by pianist Jenny Lin, five world premieres from violist Wendy Richman, new music from prolific jazz pianist and composer Dan Tepfer and holiday favorites reimagined with a jazz bent during the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: A Bohemian Christmas. Jenny Lin will perform on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.; Wendy Richman can be heard on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.; Dan Tepfer will perform on Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.; and Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra can be heard on Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Calendar information for each of the December Music in the Mansion concert is located at the end of this document. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit

Strathmore's December concerts complement its Celebrating American Composers series, a sweeping year-long exploration of the dynamic talents and innovations that have shaped American music and its diverse genres.  Music in the Mansion concerts are sponsored by Asbury Methodist Village. Additionally, the concerts with Jenny Lin and Wendy Richman are also sponsored by the Randy Hostetler Living Room Music Fund.

Jenny Lin
Acclaimed classical pianist Jenny Lin will bring her "remarkable technical command" and "gift for melodic flow" (The New York Times) to memorable excerpts from the Great American Songbook, interpreting the music of seminal composers such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fats Waller, Stephen Sondheim and George Gershwin, among others. Her mastery of classical piano will be reflected in music theater mainstays such as The King and I, The Sound of Music, Sweeney Todd and Lady Be Good, inviting audiences to hear classic American song in new ways.

The "exceptionally sensitive pianist" (Gramophone Magazine) has been heard at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Miller Theatre, MoMA, the Whitney Museum, San Francisco Performances, Freer Gallery of Art, Wordless Music Series, (Le) Poisson Rouge, National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery and Spivey Hall; as well as Festivals worldwide at Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart, BAM's Next Wave, MATA and Spoleto in the U.S., Chopin Festival in Austria, Flanders and Ars Musica Festivals in Belgium, Shanghai New Music Festival in China and Divonne Festival in France.

She has performed with conductors such as Lothar Zagrosek, James Bagwell, Jiri Starek, Urs Schneider, Alexander Mickelthwate, Peter Bay, Jac van Steen, Ovidiu Balan, Wen-Pin Chien, Kek-Tjiang Lim, John Kennedy, Oliver Diaz and Celso Antunes.

Wendy Richman
The premiere pieces are part of her Vox/Viola project, an ongoing collaborative effort inviting young composers to write new works loosely inspired by Giacinto Scelsi's Manto III, tailored to Richman's training as a singer and violist.

Dan Tepfer
Jazz pianist and Yamaha artist Dan Tepfer will also premiere new works in the Mansion with his performance of Goldberg Variations / Variations, his kaleidoscopic solo album which uses Johann Sebastian Bach's totemic masterpiece, the Goldberg Variations, as an inspiring font for creativity. Interspersed with Tepfer's affectionate interpretation of the complete "Goldbergs" are his own improvised variations on Bach's variations. Goldberg Variations / Variations was released on November 8, 2011. Bach's Goldberg Variations are beloved now as an entrancing, virtually sacred work of art, and were published by Bach as of an "aria" and a set of 30 variations in 1741.

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra
Classic carols and holiday music will get new spin from Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, presenting Duke Ellington's adaptation of the Nutcracker Suite, new arrangements from the Stan Kenton and Claude Thornhill songbooks, as well as fresh arrangements of holiday classics by BCJO members.

The new Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece big band founded by baritone saxophonist Brad Linde and co-directed by Linde and Joe Herrera. Debuted on April 19, 2010, the BCJO now presents a variety of music from big band literature and feature some of the District's best musicians on Monday nights at the historic Bohemian Caverns. Music from Ellington, Basie, Strayhorn, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson, Maria Schneider and originals by band members embrace and challenge the tradition of big band repertoire.

--Michael Filia, Strathmore

Washington Symphonic Brass to Present Holiday Concert at the Music Center at Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD, November 15, 2011 - Maestro Piotr Gajewski will conduct the
Washington Symphonic Brass in a holiday celebration at The Music Center at
Strathmore on December 22 at 8 p.m. The critically-acclaimed 17-member brass and
percussion ensemble will ring in the holidays with arrangements of holiday favorites,
including Greensleeves, Twelve Days of Christmas, selections from Bach's Christmas
Oratorio and a Hanukkah Medley.

The Washington Symphonic Brass is composed of professional musicians in the
Washington/Baltimore area who have assembled to play some of the great literature
written for large brass ensemble and percussion. Members of the WSB have performed
with many of the nation's best orchestras, such as the National Symphony, the Baltimore
Symphony, among others. The group performs throughout the Washington and
Baltimore metropolitan area and its repertoire covers five centuries.

Maestro Gajewski, an "immensely talented and insightful conductor" (The Washington
Post), is widely credited with building the National Philharmonic to its present status as
the most respected ensemble of its kind in the region. In recent years, he has also
appeared with most major orchestras in his native Poland, as well as the Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic in England, the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, the
Okanagan Symphony in Canada and numerous orchestras in the United States. His
teachers have included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, and Gunther
Schuller. Maestro Gajewski also holds a law degree and occasionally makes time for
select legal projects. He and his family reside in Montgomery County.

To purchase tickets to the Washington Symphonic Brass concert on December 22, 2011
at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore, please visit
or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are available starting from
$35; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program
(sponsored by The Gazette). ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Music Institute of Chicago Offers December Concerts
The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the U.S.'s largest and most respected community music schools, offers a variety of events to entertain music lovers this December. Events are free unless otherwise noted and take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Academy Chamber Music Concert
Founded in 2006, the Music Institute of Chicago Academy has quickly established itself as an elite training center for highly gifted pre-collegiate musicians. The selective program is focused on providing a comprehensive musical education including a rigorous chamber music component.

Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.
MIC Community Symphony
Led by conductor Larry Eckerling, the MIC Community Symphony features amateur adult musicians with prior orchestral experience. Hosted by John Piepgras and featuring Music Institute faculty pianist Matthew Hagle, the program includes Humperdinck's Prelude to Hansel and Gretel; Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16; and Haydn's Symphony No. 100 in G Major ("Military").

Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.
New Horizons Band Concert
Led by conductor Carolyn Merva Robblee, the New Horizons Band features amateur adult musicians, age 50 and older, with prior experience. Program TBA.

Sunday, Dec 18 at 3 p.m.
Music Institute of Chicago Chorale presents: A celebration of the music of Benjamin Britten
Led by conductor Daniel Wallenberg, the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is a community chorus that offers adult singers with prior experience the opportunity to study and perform the best in sacred and secular choral music. Special guests include Jamie Dahman, tenor; Ben Melsky, harp; Rob Horton, organ; and the The Rogers Park and Humboldt Park Neighborhood Choirs of the Chicago Children's Choir. The program includes Ceremony of Carols, Hymn to Saint Cecilia, Te Deum in C, Flower Songs, A Boy was Born, Festival Te Deum, and Two-Part Songs for High Voices.

Tickets: $15 adults | $10 seniors | $7 students; available at or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

--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 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