Classical Music News of the Week, May 20, 2012

LVMH & American Composers Orchestra Announce the Continuation of Partnership to Support the Work of Emerging American Composers

Milica Paranosic wins 2012 ACO / LVMH commission
World Premiere Concert – October 26, 2012 at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall
Marks the Fourth Commission and Premiere to Come from Partnership Between LVMH and ACO

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading high quality products group, and acclaimed new music orchestra American Composers Orchestra (ACO) are pleased to announce that Milica Paranosic has been selected to receive the fourth ACO / LVMH-sponsored artistic commission. ACO’s Orchestra Underground will perform the world premiere of the work featuring electronics, projections and orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall.

Renaud Dutreil, Chairman of LVMH Inc. in North America, said of Milica’s work, “As an organization with a strong living cultural heritage, we are very excited to promote Milica’s piece. The way Milica brings a story to life giving you a pallet of visuals through all aspects of sound is truly inspiring. The creativity and authenticity that emanates from her work reflects LVMH’s Art de Vivre values.”

Robert Beaser, Artistic Director of American Composers Orchestra, said, “American Composers Orchestra is delighted to be working with LVMH on this fourth commission and premiere. It is enormously exciting that our partnership will provide an opportunity and exposure for as creative a composer as Milica. LVMH’s exceptional belief in the power of great new music by young composers makes our partnership one of energy, commitment and synergy.”

About Milica Paranosic:
Born in Belgrade, Paranosic lives in New York City. As a composer/sound designer/conceptual and multimedia artist/educator and producer, she has provoked audiences from opera-goers to soccer fans.
Classically trained, Paranosic prefers calling herself “classically challenged” as her influences are just as much the ones from the street and pop culture as the ones from her formal education. Paranosic writes music, concepts, sounds, computer patches, theatrical scripts, short stories, and uses human voice, found objects, technological tools and musical instruments as her music carriers, giving them equal “rights.” Paranosic first came to the attention of ACO through its annual new music readings, a nationwide professional development program providing career-building experience and exposure to aspiring orchestral composers.

About LVMH:
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is represented in Wines and Spirits by a portfolio of brands that includes Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Krug, Ruinart, Mercier, Château d’Yquem, Hennessy, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Vodka  Belvedere, 10 Cane, Chandon, Cloudy Bay, Terrazas de los Andes, Cheval des Andes, Green Point, Cape Mentelle, Newton, Wen Jun. Its Fashion and Leather Goods division includes Louis Vuitton, the world's leading luxury brand, as well as Céline, Loewe, Kenzo, Givenchy, Thomas Pink, Fendi, Emilio Pucci, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and Berluti. LVMH is present in the Perfumes and Cosmetics sector with Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy, Parfums Kenzo, Perfumes Loewe as well as other promising cosmetic companies (BeneFit Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Acqua di Parma and Fresh). LVMH is also active in selective retailing as well as in other activities through DFS, Sephora, Le Bon Marché, Samaritaine and Royal Van Lent. LVMH's Watches and Jewelry division comprises Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Chaumet, Dior Watches, Zenith, Fred, Hublot and De Beers Jewellery, a joint venture created with the world’s leading diamond group.

About ACO:
Now entering its 36th year, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. ACO makes the creation of opportunities for American composers its central purpose. It serves as an incubator of ideas and talent; as a catalyst for growth among orchestras; and as an advocate for American composers and their music. ACO has performed music by more than 750 American composers, including 250 world premieres and commissioned works. Through its concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues, recordings, broadcasts, educational programs, New Music Readings and commissions, ACO identifies today’s brightest emerging composers, champions established composers and increases awareness of the variety of American orchestral music. Among the honors ACO has received are awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and BMI recognizing the orchestra’s outstanding contribution to American music. ASCAP has awarded its annual prize for adventurous programming to ACO 34 times, singling it out as “the orchestra that has done the most for new American music in the United States.” ACO received the inaugural MetLife Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, and a proclamation from the New York City Council. ACO recordings are available on ARGO, CRI, ECM, Point, Phoenix USA, MusicMasters, Nonesuch, Tzadik, and New World Records, and live concert recordings are available at iTunes, and

--Christina Jensen PR

National Philharmonic Presents DC Premiere of Debussy’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastian
The DC premiere of  Claude Debussy’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastian will be presented by the National Philharmonic, conducted by National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson, on Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert will conclude the May National Philharmonic and Strathmore celebration of the music of Claude Debussy, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important French composers. The concert will feature the National Philharmonic’s nearly 200 voice all-volunteer Chorale, as well as soloists Audrey Luna (soprano); Rosa Lamoreaux (soprano); Linda Maguire (mezzo-soprano);  and narrator Eliot Pfanstiehl, founder and CEO of Strathmore.

The martyr St. Sebastian's life, death, and miracles have inspired painters and sculptors throughout history and in 1911, it captured the imagination of Debussy in the form of a text by Gabriele d’Annunzio. The work they created together retells the soldier-saint’s story as a medieval mystery play in five tableaux or movements - The Court of Lilies, The Magic Chamber, The Council of False Gods, The Wounded Laurel and Paradise. Reviewers have praised the sheer beauty of the music, with its evocation of ecstasy and mysticism. Describing his intentions with this piece, Debussy wrote, “. . . when in the last act, the Saint mounts to paradise, I think I set down what I felt at the thought of soaring to the heavens!” Audiences agreed. The piece debuted in Paris in 1912 to great critical acclaim and packed houses – one audience member, Arturo Toscanini, made immediate arrangements to take it to La Scala for its Italian premiere, where it also triumphed.

About the Soloists:
Soprano Audrey Luna, whom Opera News says “has power and a blazing coloratura facility that most lyric sopranos can only dream of,” is fast emerging as one of the country’s brightest young artists.  Ms. Luna’s 2012-13 season includes her return to the Metropolitan Opera as Ariel in The Tempest by Thomas Adès, Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Ariel in The Tempest with Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, soloist in George Crumb’s Star Child with American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Fort Worth Opera.  In summer 2012, she joins L’Opéra Festival de Québec to sing Ariel in The Tempest.

Ms. Luna is the 2009 winner of the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition and received the top prize awarded in the 2009 Renata Tebaldi International Voice Competition. She has also been awarded first place in the Terzo Concorso Lirico Internazionale “Alfredo Giacomotti,” the Caruso International Voice Competition and Eleanor Lieber Awards, and has garnered prizes from the George London Foundation, the José Iturbi International Voice Competition, Elardo International Opera Competition, the Liederkranz Foundation, the Licia Albanese – Puccini Foundation, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Soprano Rosa Lamoreaux, acclaimed for her "scrupulous musicianship ... gorgeous sound and stylistic acuity" (The Washington Post), is engaged in an international career of broad scope, including solo recitals, chamber music, opera, and orchestral performances at major concert venues:  Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Strathmore Hall and the Washington National Cathedral, among others. Her concert tours abroad have included performances in Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Peru and Japan.

Ms. Lamoreaux is Artistic Director of the National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble.  Her art museum performance venues also include the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters and the Phillips Collection. She has recently received her seventh Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE award as Best Classical Vocalist.

Mezzo-soprano Linda Maguire is an internationally renowned vocal artist with an extensive resume in concert, recital and opera, as well as live broadcasts and recordings. She has sung regularly with many of the major orchestras of North America, including Calgary, Dallas and Vancouver. Appearances abroad include Les Musiciens du Louvre, I Virtuosi di Praja, and Les Violons du Roi.

Ms. Maguire attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio before launching her twenty-three year international career as a vocal artist. During this time, she has sung more than thirty "zwischen" (essentially soprano) leading roles in the opera houses of Glyndebourne, Montreal, Dallas and Toronto, among others.

Ms. Maguire has sung with City Choir of Washington, in performances of Durufle’s Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem. She also appeared as guest soloist with the U.S. Army Chorus and select members of US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in a concert featuring music by Schubert and Gershwin.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Philharmonia Baroque Opens 2012 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition on June 3 and Napa Valley’s Festival Del Sole on July 13
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s 2011-12 season officially ended on April 22, but the music goes on through the summer as Philharmonia Baroque performs on the opening nights of both the 2012 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition and Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole.

The 2012 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition opens June 3 with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Music Director Nicholas McGegan at the fortepiano in recital with soprano Dominique Labelle, violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, and cellist Phoebe Carrai, for a concert of “Beethoven Songs & Haydn Trios.” The concert features songs, trios, and solo piano works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Kotzwara, Monsigny, Boieldieu, and Pleyel. Since its inauguration in 1990, the biennial Festival has been recognized worldwide as one of the premier events of its kind, bringing together early music performers, scholars, instrument makers, publishers, and enthusiasts for a week of concerts, lectures, conferences, and master classes on and around the University of California, Berkeley campus.

On Friday, July 13, Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra open the seventh season of Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole in a concert featuring soprano Susan Graham at the majestic Castello di Amorosa, a medieval-style Tuscan castle. The program for this concert features several Handel arias; concertos by Vivaldi, Corelli and Durante; and Handel’s beloved Water Music Suite No. 3. The luxurious evening begins with a wine reception atop the castle tower, overlooking breathtaking vineyard views. Guests will then enter the Castello’s beautiful and acoustically-inspired central courtyard for a concert and following the concert, Gala VIPs enter Castello’s Grand Barrel Room, where Festival Founding Benefactors Tatiana and Gerret Copeland will host a lavish dinner complemented by fine wines from Castello di Amorosa and Bouchaine Vineyards.

For more information, visit or call (415) 252-1288. You may also visit the Web sites of the 2012 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition at or Festival del Sole at

--Karen Ames Communications

PARMA Recordings Announces Winners of 2012 PARMA Student Composer Competition
The ten winners and the Grand Prize Winner of the inaugural PARMA Student Composer Competition have been announced on the PARMA Recordings Web site,

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner QUINN DIZON of the University of Louisville, whose piece Awakening for piano quartet will be recorded, produced, released, and promoted by PARMA Recordings and distributed through Naxos on a compilation album on one of our labels.

Mr. Dizon and the other nine finalists will have their works published in the 2012 PARMA Anthology of Music: Student Edition, which will be provided to educators and performers free of charge. Visit to view the full list of winners.

About the Competition Judges:
John Page studied at King's College London, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Harvard University and began his career with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in 2000. In Ireland, his 2002 performances of Viktor Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis with Opera Theatre Company garnered the prestigious Irish Times Opera of the Year award and he was subsequently invited to give a Lyric FM broadcast concert with the NSOI.  Throughout the next decade, Page worked with the NEC Symphony, Boston Ballet, the Irish Film Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Modern Band, Mimesis Ensemble, the BBC Ulster Orchestra, and many others with roles ranging from Conductor to Music Director.

Richard Brooks is a native of upstate New York and holds a B.S. degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam College, an M.A. in Composition from Binghamton University, and a Ph. D. in Composition from New York University. From 1975 to 2004 he was on the music faculty of Nassau Community College where he was Professor and, for 22 years, Department Chair. In addition to his services in education, he has composed nearly ninety works for various media and ensembles.

Timothy A. Davis is a Massachusett native who brings a variety of administrative, corporate, and new music experience to his role as CEO of the Boston New Music Initiative.  Recognizing the need for a strong network across musical disciplines, Tim's motivation in founding BNMI reflects his long-standing commitment to furthering the careers of composers and musicians.  He has served as a judge for composition competitions with the National Federation of Music Clubs and on judging panels for BNMI's Calls for Scores.  As an educator, Tim provides private composition instruction, and he worked as an instructor of theory and aural skills at the University of Iowa, where he earned Pi Kappa Lambda honors in graduating with a doctorate in composition in 2009.  He also holds degrees from Boston College and the University of Massachusetts.

About the Editor:
Chris Brubaker is the founder and Manager of and  In 2011, PARMA acquired ThatNewMusic, and Chris continues to work as one of PARMA's Musical Advisors. Chris was instrumental in the development and release of the 2011 Anthology Of Contemporary Concert Music, a collection of modern works distributed on ThatNewMusicWebsite, and serves as editor for this Student Edition.

About PARMA Recordings:
PARMA Recordings LLC is the parent organization of the Navona, Big Round, Ravello, and Capstone label imprints. The company's work spans classical, jazz, rock, blues, family, and film, and includes programs and divisions for custom audio, licensing, publishing and more.

PARMA's labels feature work by artists such as Grammy-winner Richard Stoltzman, Pulitzer Prize winner Lewis Spratlan, renowned percussionist Steve Gadd, Pixar/Randy Newman orchestrator Jonathan Sacks, New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, and The Who's Pete Townshend, among others.

PARMA emphasizes new and engaging sounds, innovative presentation, and an interactive experience from all of our physical and digital products.  PARMA has pioneered the use of Enhanced Content in our releases to bundle and incorporate digital study scores, recording session photos and videos, composer interviews, applications for mobile devices, and other contextual information to facilitate a greater understanding of new music.

--Rory Cooper, PARMA Recordings

Music Institute of Chicago Academy alumnus Kai Talim Hosts the Second Annual Walk with Children Concert Benefiting ASHINAGA, Supporting Japanese Orphans Following the 2011 Earthquake
When: Friday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Tickets: $15 adults, $10 students at the door (cash or check only)

Kai Talim, an alumnus of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, hosts the second annual “Walk with Children” benefit concert featuring other Academy alumni, current students, and friends. The program includes works by Handel, Schubert, Prokofiev, Ravel, Villa-Lobos, Smetana, Piazzolla and more.

Says Talim, “On March 11, 2011, Japan was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. The damage was tremendous; every aspect of the lives of the Japanese has been significantly altered. One of the most striking videos of the disaster was of a girl standing amongst piles of debris, crying out for her mother. As a Japanese-American son of two supportive and loving parents, the stories of the children of Japan have had a tremendous impact on me. My family is everything to me, and I cannot imagine what children who lose their parents go through. I decided I wanted to help these children by raising funds for an organization called ASHINAGA, a group dedicated to improving the lives of Japanese orphans. We cannot provide them with their lost parents. But we can give them the feeling and knowledge that a group of people cares for them.
“The Music Institute is one of the best organizations that supports children. My family and I moved from Portland, Oregon to be a part of the Academy program. The experiences and support I received at the Academy will always be a part of me. As a community, we can make a difference in the lives of the orphans of Japan.”

--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 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 ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine 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