Classical Music News of the Week, December 11, 2011

Listen Magazine Founding Editor in Chief Ben Finane to Serve Full-time as Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher

NEW YORK, NY - Nov. 21, 2011: Ben Finane, founding Editor in Chief of the quarterly print magazine Listen: Life with Classical Music, is leaving his post as Managing Editor of Playbill magazine's classic-arts division to serve full-time as Listen's Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher.

"In 2009, we launched Listen to fill a significant void in the North American market and offer a publication that could engage those with an interest in classical music and turn that interest into a passion," says publisher Eric Feidner. "After four years, Ben remains the embodiment of that passion and we are very happy to have him as a full-time driving force to engage an even wider audience."

Finane has been an intricate part of developing the voice of Listen. The magazine was honored by the Library Journal as one of the best new magazines of 2009. Hailed as "expertly edited" and "tastefully designed," Listen has recently expanded its page count from 80 to 96.

"Listen's continued success," says Finane, "reflects the fervor of America's classical music community. Just as Mark Twain took a bold American stance on Europe in his travelogue The Innocents Abroad, Listen stands as the American voice of a European tradition."

Finane is an amateur pianist and baritone and holds a degree in music and comparative literature from Haverford College. He is the author of Handel's Messiah and His English Oratorios (Continuum), writes program notes for Carnegie Hall, liner notes for various classical labels, and has written on the arts for the Newark Star-Ledger, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, Stereophile, The New Criterion, Strings, The Strad, and other publications.

The Winter 2011 issue of Listen (Vol. 3, No. 4), available December 5 at newsstands, features a cover interview with the great storyteller Yo-Yo Ma; a series of rare and revealing composer portraits offering a lens back in time; epiphany and revelation at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals; and the answer to the question: "Does music make you smarter?"

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet Media

Music Institute of Chicago Presents Cantare Chamber Players
Music Institute Faculty Collaborate January 22 at Nichols Concert Hall

Celebrating the multiple talents of the accomplished musicians on its faculty, the Music Institute of Chicago presents a performance by the Cantare Chamber Players Sunday, January 22 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

Music Institute members Sang Mee Lee, violin; Clark Carruth, viola; Sophie Webber, cello; John Tuck, bass; and Elaine Felder, piano perform Schubert's Trout Quintet and Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 60.

About the Music Institute of Chicago:
The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. As one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute offers musical excellence built on the strength of our distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services. Founded in 1931 and one of the oldest community music schools in Illinois, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, our world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education to more than 5,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 101 years of age at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove. The Music Institute also offers lessons and programs at the Steinway of Chicago store in Northbrook and early childhood and community engagement programs throughout the Chicago area and the North Shore. Nichols Concert Hall, our education and performance center located in downtown Evanston, reaches approximately 14,000 people each year. Our community engagement and partnership programs reach an additional 6,500 Chicago Public School students annually. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs through four distinct areas: Community School, The Academy, Creative Arts Therapy (Institute for Therapy through the Arts), and Nichols Concert Hall.

The Cantare Chamber Players perform Sunday, January 22 at 3 p.m. at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available at musicinst.org or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa