Classical Music News of the Week, February 5, 2012

Music Institute of Chicago Student Musicians Triumph at 2011 Walgreens National Concerto Competition and 2012 DePaul Concerto Festival

The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the U.S.'s largest and most respected community music schools, is pleased to announce achievements by its students in the 2011 Walgreens National Concerto Competition, sponsored by Midwest Young Artists, and the 2012 DePaul Concerto Festival.

Overall winners in the Walgreens National Concerto Competition will perform with the Midwest Young Artists Symphony Orchestra February 25 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois, and receive a cash award of $500. The Senior Level Early Music winner, at the discretion of the director, will record with Ars Antigua, which performs music from the Renaissance through Classical eras on period instruments, and will be podcast from its website. Category winners, at the discretion of the director, will be selected to perform in the Winners Recital March 4 in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center. Music Institute students include:

MYA Junior Division
Strings Honorable Mentions:
Rowena Bakke, 10, cello, Buffalo Grove
Anastasia Dalianis, 12, cello, Park Ridge

Open Junior Division
Strings Winner/Overall Winner:
Hannah White, 12, violin, Germantown, Wisconsin

Strings Honorable Mentions:
Serena Harnack, 13, violin, Glen Ellyn
Nathan Mo, 13, cello, Palatine

Open Senior Division
String Division Winner/Overall Open Senior Division Winner:
Gallia Kastner, 14, violin, Arlington Heights

String Division Honorable Mentions:
Claire Bourg, 16, violin, Aurora
Joshua Burca, 17, violin, Round Lake
Kiyoshi Hayashi, 18, violin, Oak Park
Tabitha Oh, 15, violin, Chicago
Michaela Wellems, 17, violin, Lincolnshire
Ye Young Yoo, 18, cello, Kildeer

Piano Division Winner:
Kyle Jannak-Huang, 14, Palatine

Early Music Division Winner:
Hansuh Rhee, 14, violin, Glenview

Early Music Division Honorable Mention:
Mitchell Green, 17, guitar, Northbrook

Voice Winner:
Elisa Germond, 16, Delphi, Indiana

Voice Honorable Mention:
Joo Young (Kate) Lee, 12, Glenview

Each year, traditional and Suzuki students in piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, and clarinet may audition for the DePaul Concerto Festival. Winners of the 2012 Festival will perform a movement of a concerto with the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mina Zikri, Sunday, January 22 at the DePaul Concert Hall, 800 W. Belden, Chicago. Music Institute students include:

Garret Chou, 16, Northbrook
Nathan Walhout, 14, Wheaton

Sean Choi, 11, Wilmette
Honorable Mention: George Dalianis, 11, Park Ridge

Caitlin Adamson, 16, Evanston
Honorable Mention: Gloria Burca (with Distinction), 15, Round Lake

Serena Harnack, 13, Glen Ellyn
Jisun Lee, 17, Mount Prospect
Hanway Wang, 15, Naperville

Honorable Mentions:
Hansuh Rhee, 14, Glenview
Julian Rhee, 11, Brookfield, Wisconsin

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

The Seattle Symphony and Music Director Ludovic Morlot Announce 2012-2013 Season
Innovation, premieres, world-class artists and classic repertoire come together in Morlot's hallmark second season.  Alexander Velinzon appointed new Seattle Symphony concertmaster

Season highlights:
Ludovic Morlot to conduct ten Wyckoff masterworks season programs, including the first Seattle Symphony performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony and Britten's War Requiem.
Violin virtuoso Joshua Bell to join Morlot for opening night concert and gala with all-American program of Bernstein, Gershwin and Copland.

Seattle Symphony and Morlot to give world premiere of John Luther Adams' Become Ocean in June, 2013 and perform it again at Carnegie Hall in May, 2014.

Additional world premieres by Dai Fujikura, Alexandra Gardner, Ken Hesketh and Arlene Sierra.
U.S. premiere by Pascal Zavaro.

Four award-winning young pianists to perform the Rachmaninov Concertos with Ludovic Morlot
"Sonic Evolution" to include appearance by star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, plus world premieres inspired by Alice in Chains, Blue Scholars, and Yes.

 "Late-Night Series" [untitled] features informal contemporary music performances in the Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby

Friday Night Rush Hour Series recast as Symphony Untuxed:
Shorter performances with pre- and post-concert events welcome new audiences.

Morlot to conduct "Celebrate Asia" in January 2013.
Conductor Laureate Gerard Schwarz to lead four "Russian Spectacular" concerts featuring Vladimir Feltsman and Ignat Solzhenitsyn and music by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.

A magnificent array of guest conductors and guest artists, with debuts including David Afkham, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Andrey Boreyko, Matthew Halls and Thomas Søndergård; returning conductors are John Adams, Douglas Boyd, Michael Francis, HK Gruber, Jakub Hruša, Neeme Järvi, Christian Knapp, Jun Märkl, Steven Reineke, Stephen Stubbs, Jeff Tyzik, and Xian Zhang.

Soloists include violinists Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gil Shaham, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Gluzman, Alina Ibragimova, Sergey Khachatryan and Arabella Steinbacher; pianists Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, András Schiff, Vladimir Feltsman, Louis Lortie, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Cédric Tiberghien; violist Maxim Rysanov; cellists Gautier Capuçon and Julian Schwarz; harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini; and sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Christine Brewer.

Seattle Symphony musicians featured in solo appearance with the orchestra include Emma McGrath, Elisa Barston, Efe Balticigil, Demarre McGill, David Gordon, and Michael A. Werner.

--Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Seattle Symphony Will Perform at Carnegie Hall in May, 2014
Performance part of New York's Annual Spring Music Festival

The Seattle Symphony will perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2014 Spring for Music festival. Spring for Music is an annual festival at Carnegie Hall designed to showcase the quality and creativity of North American orchestras. The Seattle Symphony was one of six ensembles selected from a pool of more than 60 orchestras who submitted programs for consideration. The other participating orchestras in 2014 are the New York Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

"This is a wonderful validation of the great partnership between the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot," said Seattle Symphony Executive Director Simon Woods. "Nothing in the music world is more prized than an appearance at Carnegie Hall, and we are absolutely thrilled to be appearing there in 2014 with a fascinating program including a major new commission from Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams, that will be premiered in Seattle in June 2013."

About Spring for Music:
"Spring For Music" is a festival of six concerts in Carnegie Hall by North American orchestras performing creative, stimulating, and adventurous programs. In its inaugural season, Spring for Music was categorized by the press as "bold," "gripping," "vibrant," "inspired," "virtuosic," and "brilliant."  The New Yorker hailed it as "fresh at every turn," while The New York Times stated that Spring For Music gives "power to the listener." The festival is designed to reach broad music-loving audiences at affordable prices, sold through a unique marketing structure and with an artistic profile built around innovative and creative programs. The festival is designed to allow participating orchestras to showcase their artistic philosophies through distinctive programming in one of the world's most competitive musical environments. In pre-concert talks, each participating orchestra will describe how that night's program relates to its artistic philosophy. The festival becomes a musical laboratory with lively and attentive audiences that can foster greater innovation in each orchestra's home market.

About the Seattle Symphony:
The Seattle Symphony, now presenting its 109th season, has gained international prominence with more than 140 recordings, twelve GRAMMY nominations and two Emmys. The 2011–2012 season is the inaugural year for Music Director Ludovic Morlot, who was appointed to the position in 2010. The Seattle Symphony performs in one of the world's finest concert venues — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle — and is recognized for its innovative programming, devotion to the classics, and extensive recording catalog. From September through July, the Symphony is heard live by more than 315,000 people. For more information on the Seattle Symphony, visit

--Patrick Gullo, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Music Institute of Chicago Presents Violinist Cyrus Forough February 18
The Music Institute of Chicago presents acclaimed violinist Cyrus Forough in concert Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

Forough, joined by pianist Tatyana Stepanova, will perform Bach's Ciaccona from Partita No. 2 in D Minor for solo violin; Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1; and Franck's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major.

About Cyrus Forough:
Laureate of the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition and Music Institute artist faculty member Cyrus Forough has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout four continents including command performances for international dignitaries. A prominent representative of the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing, he is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music.

Cyrus Forough performs Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 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 or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications


  1. Excellent roundup, thanks for share. :)

  2. Just came across this, thanks for posting!
    (Serena Harnack's mom) :-)


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 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 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