Classical Music News of the Week, May 13, 2012

Music Institute of Chicago Chorale Concludes 25th Anniversary Season with “25 Great Years” Concert June 10, Summer Sing-Alongs June-July

The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, conducted by Daniel Wallenberg, concludes its 25th Anniversary Season with “25 Great Years,” presented by the Music Institute of Chicago Sunday, June 10 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. In addition, the Chorale invites music lovers to join them in song at two Summer Sing-alongs June 27 and July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Institute’s Evanston East Campus, also 1490 Chicago Avenue.

“25 Great Years”:
Highlighting audience favorites from the Chorale’s history, the program features madrigals by Monteverdi, Morley, and Gines de Morata; part songs by Haydn, Rossini, Schumann, Lauridsen, and Whitacre; selections from The Liebeslieder Waltzes by Brahms; Verano PorteƱo by Piazzolla; folk songs from Bulgaria, Canada, South Africa, and England; and show tunes by Ellington and Loesser.

Special guests at the concert are the Kotlyar-Shifrin Piano Duo—Irina Kotlyar and Gregory Shifrin. The duo has won several international competitions and has performed with orchestras around the world, including in Israel, Europe, and the U.S.

Daniel Wallenberg, conductor of the Chorale since 1987, noted, “Although our Chorale is Evanston-based, participants come from as far south as Chicago and far north as Zion and everything in between. Several members have been in the Chorale for more than 15 years, and a few have been members since its inception in 1986.”

Summer Sing-alongs:
The Chorale welcomes those who love choral singing to join them at two Summer Sing-alongs. On Wednesday, June 27, the group will sing Mozart’s Regina Coeli and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, conducted by Frank Winkler. On Wednesday, July 25, the sing-along participants will perform Mozart’s Requiem, conducted by Daniel Wallenberg. Each sing-along has an optional free rehearsal the day before—June 26 and July 24, respectively—at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Institute’s Evanston East Campus, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Room 9.

Music Institute of Chicago Chorale:
The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale is a community chorus that provides an opportunity for adult singers with prior experience to study and perform the best in sacred and secular choral music. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Chorale has one continuing goal: to perform the finest sacred and secular choral music with the highest of standards in a community setting. Under the leadership of Conductor Daniel Wallenberg, the Chorale has developed a wide range of repertoire, including motets, madrigals, part-songs, folk songs, and larger choral-orchestral works by Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Durufle, and many others. Throughout the years, the Chorale has collaborated with local choirs and symphony orchestras and has produced two fully costumed Elizabethan madrigal dinners. In addition, the Chorale has collaborated several times with the Music Institute’s voice faculty for concerts of opera and Broadway music.

Chorale conductor Daniel Wallenberg is also on the staff of the Chicago Children’s Choir, working with the In-School Chorus and After-School Programs for the Rogers Park and Humboldt Park Neighborhood Choirs, as well as its world-renowned Concert Choir with whom he toured Ukraine and the United States. He is the director of the junior and adult choirs at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and the founder and artistic director of “Zemer Am,” the Chicago Jewish Choral Festival. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Wallenberg founded several adult and children’s choirs while living in Israel.

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 its 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, the Music Institute’s world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education, reaching more than 10,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 102 years of age, at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove and through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. 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. 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.

“25 Great Years,” celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, takes place Sunday, June 10 at 3 p.m. at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $7 for students and are available at 847.905.1500 ext. 108 or at

The Chorale’s Summer Sing-alongs take place Wednesday, June 27 and Wednesday, July 25, both at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Institute’s Evanston East Campus, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Room 9. The cost to participate is $10 per person; call 847.905.1500 ext. 127. Optional free rehearsals take place June 26 and July 24 at the same location.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to Tour Japan this May/June with Violinist Ryu Goto
ROSSINI - L'Italiana in Algeri Overture
BEETHOVEN - Concerto for Violin in D, Op. 61
MENDELSSOHN - Symphony No 4, Op. 90 Italian

Wednesday, May 30 - Sakura Hall, Kitakami
Thursday, May 31 - Centennial Hall, Tohoku University
Friday, June 1 - Suntory Hall, Toyko
Saturday, June 2 - Fujisawa Shimin Kaikan Hall, Fujisawa - Mozart's Concerto for Violin No. 5  with Eriko Iso
Sun, June 3 - Osaka Symphony Hall, Osaka
Official Tour Sponsor: MetLife Foundation

Orpheus opens the Naumberg Orchestral Concerts in Central Park on June 19

This spring, Orpheus is thrilled to embark on their 12th tour of Japan. Since their first trip to the country 24 years ago, Orpheus has enjoyed a fruitful and invigorating relationship with Japan's passionate music lovers. As artistic director Ronnie Bauch notes, "Since 1988, Orpheus has presented more performances in Japan than in any country outside the United States. Our Japanese audiences and supporters have played a major role in almost every facet of the Orpheus career and legacy. It's fitting that we celebrate the beginning of our 40th Anniversary with this important tour and we look forward to renewing and deepening friendships."

"MetLife Foundation recognizes Orpheus' achievements over the years and its commitment to serving diverse audiences," said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation.  "During this 40th anniversary season, we are proud to support the Orchestra's Japan Tour, along with extensive touring throughout the United States."

While on tour, Orpheus will perform programs of Rossini, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn in six venues in a week and will be joined by frequent collaborator Ryu Goto.  In addition, Orpheus will participate in the ongoing revitalization efforts of communities in the Tohoku region.  Through multiple community programs built into this tour, Orpheus will seek to engage Japanese audiences in an intimate dialogue with musicians about the unique Orpheus Process (TM) of music-making and to continue ongoing cultural exchange efforts.  During their stay in Japan, the musicians will meet with students at the Shukoh Middle School (Tagajo campus) and engage in some music-making activities with them before visiting the areas near Sendai that were affected by the devastating earthquakes and tsunami.  Orpheus members will also interact with children being assisted by The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi prior to their attending the performance at Centennial Hall in Tohoku University.  There are also plans being finalized for members of Orpheus to take part in a community forum with Japanese composers in Tokyo.

Orpheus' 2012 tour to Japan is made possible by Official Tour Sponsor MetLife Foundation, Gold Level Sponsor KPMG AZSA & Co., and Tour Supporters the Bank of Tokyo-Misubishi UFJ, and Asian Cultural Council.

23-year-old Ryu Goto made his debut at Sapporo, Japan's Pacific Music Festival, where he played Paganini's Violin Concerto No.1 in 1995. Today, he is an internationally renowned performer having been featured with the National Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, Symphonica Toscanini, and Wiener Symphoniker. His self-titled debut CD, released in 2005, quickly became the best-selling classical album in Japan that year. In addition, Goto was featured in his own Fuji TV Show Ryu Goto's Odyssey, a chronicle of his career and personal life from 1996 to 2006.

Orpheus began its relationship with Ryu Goto in 2008 with a sold-out tour of Japan that concluded with a dazzling concert in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. The concert was such a success that Orpheus invited him to make his Carnegie Hall debut with them in 2010. After the performance the New York Times said of Goto's rendition of Bruch's Violin Concerto in G minor: "The ensemble’s full-blooded and unsentimental approach complemented Mr. Goto’s expressive playing, with his sweet tone particularly lovely in the Adagio. Mr. Goto further demonstrated his impressive technique and musicality in the encore, a fiery rendition of Nathan Milstein's 'Paganiniana.' He blazed through the innumerable hurdles with finesse." Goto would later play at Orpheus' 2011 gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Ryu's youthful energy is a perfect match for Orpheus' unorthodox approach, and Orpheus is proud to continue their fruitful collaboration.

A self-governing organization, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1972 by a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform diverse orchestral repertoire using chamber music ensemble techniques. Today, Orpheus continues to uphold this philosophy, performing without a conductor and rotating musical leadership roles for each work. Striving to empower its musicians by integrating them into virtually every facet of the organization, Orpheus is changing the way the world thinks about musicians, conductors, and orchestras. The organization WorldBlu has named them one of the most democratic workplaces in America for five straight years. The musical results of this method are extraordinary: The Chicago Tribune gushes, "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra shattered the mold, becoming in the process one of the more memorable events in this festival's 13- year history." And the New York Times raves, "Orpheus, whose string players perform with the physical verve of members of a string quartet, produced a convincingly fullblooded sound." The Los Angeles Times agrees: "A virtuosic whole...they’re fast. They’re together. They’re aggressive. They can be electrifying."

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotions

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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 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