Classical Music News of the Week, June 3, 2012

Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony Announce 2012-2013 Season Featuring Four Commissioned World Premieres

New Works from Steven Stucky, Dylan Mattingly, Andreia Pinto-Correia and Paul Dresher; Shai Wosner performing Ligeti’s Piano Concerto; Lynn Harrell in Lutosawski’s Cello Concerto; and masterworks from Beethoven, Bruckner, Rachmaninoff and Schumann highlight the 2012–2013 Season.  And Music Director Joana Carneiro extends her contract through the 2016–2017 season.

Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony today announced programming for the 2012-2013 season, including a world premiere commission on each of the four subscription concerts. Maestra Carneiro’s critically acclaimed partnership with Berkeley Symphony will continue for an additional five years with the announcement that her contract has been renewed through the 2016-2017 Season. Recognized for its exuberant spirit and steadfast commitment to presenting original and unique programs, including ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in eight of the past eleven seasons, Berkeley Symphony continues this commitment with a 2012–13 Season that combines new works from Steven Stucky, Dylan Mattingly, Andreia Pinto-Correia and Paul Dresher, along with masterworks such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2. Internationally renowned artists Shai Wosner and Lynn Harrell join the orchestra to perform György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto and Witold Lutosawski’s Cello Concerto.

Paul Dresher, a composer whose music is acclaimed for its exceptional individuality and beauty, will present a new work to open the season featuring two of his unique invented instruments: the Quadrachord, a stringed instrument resembling a guitar that can be plucked or bowed, and the Hurdy Grande, a larger version of the traditional stringed music instruments that produces sound by a crank-turned rosined wheel. Steven Stucky will participate in an extended residency throughout the season, which includes his participation on the adjudication panel to choose composers for the orchestra’s Under Construction New Music Series/Composers Program and the incorporation of his recorder concerto, Etudes, in Berkeley Symphony’s Music in the Schools program. The composer, a world-renowned expert on the music of Witold Lutosawski and a recipient of the Lutosawski Society’s medal, will be in residence during the February concert week, facilitating the pre-concert talk and participating in other artistic activities. Stucky will continue his residency in April, at the world premiere of his own work, The Stars and the Roses, a song cycle for tenor and orchestra set to the poetry of Nobel Prize–winning poet Czesaw Miosz, featuring former Adler Fellow Noah Stewart.

“I am thrilled that the incredible chemistry I feel with this orchestra is recognized by our audiences,” says Music Director Joana Carneiro. “I am humbled by how openly our musicians embrace adventures and I revel in their virtuosity. Nothing is too challenging, whether it is a complicated new work or a masterpiece like Bruckner 4. With this orchestra and audience, I feel free to express myself as an artist and musical leader and I’m deeply honored to continue my association here.”

Berkeley Symphony’s acclaimed initiative focusing on composers and new works continues in the 2012–13 Season. The Under Construction New Music Series/Composers Program is designed to foster an appreciation of modern symphonic music among a new generation of listeners and to serve as an artistic incubator for emerging Bay Area composers to experiment with symphonic music writing. It was this program that introduced Berkeley Symphony to young composer Dylan Mattingly in 2005.

The 2012–13 Season also brings an expansion of Berkeley Symphony’s already vigorous education program, which serves all eleven public elementary schools in Berkeley. The nationally recognized program consists of musician classroom visits, instrument lessons, and performance opportunities for students from kindergarten through the fifth grade. The students grow with the program year after year, building on their knowledge while learning with and performing alongside the orchestra. This season, the Music in the Schools program will incorporate composer Steven Stucky’s recorder concerto, Etudes, as part of the in-class curriculum to demonstrate the different musical elements. Suzanne McCulloch, Berkeley Unified School District’s Visual and Performing Arts Supervisor, called Berkeley Symphony’s music education programs “an invaluable asset.”

“The 2012–13 Season firmly establishes Berkeley Symphony’s ‘mission to commission’ under the artistic leadership of Joana Carneiro,” says Executive Director René Mandel, “and I’m extremely grateful that major funding institutions such as the Hewlett Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Creative Work Fund and New Music USA are taking note of our commitment to the music of our time. Each of our subscription concerts is programmed with a distinct flavor, offering our audiences unique insights into symphonic music by setting side by side the great masterpieces of the standard repertoire with brand-new or rarely performed works. We are fortunate to have passionate and committed audiences, and we strive, at each concert, to leave them challenged and delighted.”

Ticket information:
2012–13 season subscriptions to the Zellerbach Hall Concert Series (4 concerts) will go on sale on Tuesday, May 15. Prices range from $30 to $244. Half-priced packages are available for first-time subscribers and full-time students. Subscribers can save up to 50% off single ticket prices, and enjoy a 10% discount on additional single ticket purchases throughout the season, as well as 50% off Under Construction Series priority admission. The Under Construction New Music Series tickets are $20 for priority admission and $10 for regular admission. The Family Concerts tickets are $5 for children under 18 and $10 for adults. All single tickets will go on sale August 15, 2012. Orders for 2012–13 season subscriptions can be placed online at, over the phone at (510) 841-2800, faxed to Berkeley Symphony’s box office at (510) 841-5422, or mailed to 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704. Students with a valid student I.D. receive a 50% discount. Discounts are also available for groups of six or more. For more information or to request a brochure, call Berkeley Symphony at (510) 841-2800, e-mail, or visit

--Karen Ames Communications

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925–2012)
It was with profound sadness that Deutsche Grammophon learned of the great baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's passing on May 18, shortly before his 87th birthday. He was one of the outstanding musical figures of the last century, and his bounty of peerless recordings – song, opera and oratorio – has been a cornerstone of the Yellow Label catalogue for more than 60 years.

In particular, he achieved pre-eminence as an interpreter of German Lieder. “I have never heard Fischer-Dieskau sing without being able to learn something from it,” wrote the late J.B. Steane. “Intellect and emotion are fused; that is the distinctive mark of the civilised European culture which Fischer-Dieskau throughout his long career has represented so well.” His remark encapsulates the reasons why Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, to quote another astute English critic – Hilary Finch – “made a greater impression on the history of singing in the 20th century than any other performer,” and why, as the critic Ivan Nagel famously wrote, many of us have “spent half our lives with him,” would know less and have experienced a lot less without him, would have lived a lot less.

--Deutsche Grammophon

Listen Magazine's Summer Issue Takes Dance as Its Theme, Including a Cover Interview with the Most Musical of Contemporary Choreographers, Mark Morris
The summer issue, May 28, 2012, also features chanteuse Ute Lemper, composer Krzysztof Penderecki and broadcaster Fred Child of Performance Today, plus a guide to summer festivals.

Whether it's Baroque suites or Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, much of history's greatest music has been rooted in dance. The Summer 2012 issue of Listen magazine takes dance as its theme, ranging from the golden age of Ballets Russes impresario Sergei Diaghilev to the work of contemporary choreographer Matthew Bourne, from the delights of Prokofiev's magical, moving Cinderella to new dances for music by Steve Reich and David Lang at the Guggenheim Museum. Editor-in-chief Ben Finane conducts an entertaining and provocative cover interview with the most musical of today's choreographic masters: Mark Morris. And there are stories from a wide world of dance, whether it's the tale of a Toronto opera house founded by two dancers or a trip to Moscow's Bolshoi with a dancer from Texas.

Going beyond dance, the summer issue includes a visit with chanteuse Ute Lemper backstage at Carnegie Hall, plus the story of a Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist bringing music to the homeless and the mentally ill. The magazine also offers an inside look at composer Krzysztof Penderecki's collaboration with Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, as well as a rundown of the summer's top festivals. And, as always, Listen provides expert recommendations of the best new recordings, including young Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital's foray into Bach and a 50-CD boxed set celebrating the evergreen achievements of the Mercury Living Presence label.

Elsewhere in the issue, Listen details a fascinating day in the life of broadcaster Fred Child of NPR's Performance Today, and the magazine recommends mandolinist Avi Avital's new Bach album as well as a new collection of Arvo Pärt's music from conductor Paul Hillier, the latest in Naïve's complete Vivaldi edition, beautiful piano trios by Czech composer J.B. Foerster and haunting Gesualdo motets from the Hilliard Ensemble.

A print quarterly hailed by Library Journal as one of the best new magazines of 2009, Listen magazine is the American voice of classical music.

Now in its fourth year of publication, Listen delivers interviews with the world's top musicians, feature articles, think pieces, festival coverage, insight into the masterworks and unsung works of the classical canon, as well as recommendations for the best in classical music on record, on screen, in print and online. No one covers the breadth and depth of classical music with greater elegance and enthusiasm than Listen. The magazine is available at Barnes & Noble or by subscription. 

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet Media

Guitarist Jason Vieaux Launches Jason Vieaux Classical Guitar School from ArtistWorks
The First Interactive Online School for Classical Guitar is accepting Students: June 14, 2012.
Jason Vieaux:

Watch ArtistWorks in action:

On June 14, 2012, Jason Vieaux launches the Jason Vieaux Classical Guitar School from ArtistWorks. This revolutionary online school, the first of its kind for classical guitar, gives students of any age, ability, or location an unprecedented level of access to studies with Vieaux through ArtistWorks’ Video ExchangeTM accelerated learning platform.

The Jason Vieaux Guitar School includes lessons covering fundamentals through advanced techniques. Each video lesson is offered with multiple angles and in slow motion for optimal learning. In addition, students may submit videos of their own playing, which Vieaux responds to with personalized feedback via video. Other students benefit from viewing these interactions, creating an ever-evolving curriculum in a virtual master class environment. Subscriptions are $90 for three months, $150 for six months, or $240 for 12 months.

Founded in 2008 by former AOL executive David Butler, Napa California-based music and technology company ArtistWorks offers interactive music lessons from master musicians in a variety of different styles including rock guitar, jazz/gypsy guitar, finger style solo guitar, rock guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, acoustic bass, harmonica, jazz/fusion drums, rock drums, DJ scratching, classical piano and banjo. ArtistWorks partners only with top-tier, virtuoso performers and features instructors including Tony Trischka, Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger, Martin Taylor, Andreas Oberg, Luis Conte, and more.

Guitarist Jason Vieaux is expanding the definition of what it means to be a classical guitarist and changing the face of guitar repertoire, building a devoted audience and fan base along the way. Vieaux is a musician noted for virtuosic and stirring performances, imaginative programming, and uncommon communicative gifts. His collaborations with flutist Gary Schocker, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro continue to display Vieaux’s broad range of musical interests. Recent career highlights include solo performances at Lincoln Center, Spivey Hall, the Chautauqua Festival, and a return to Music@Menlo.

In the fall of 2011, Jason Vieaux inaugurated The Curtis Institute of Music Guitar Department with guitarist David Starobin, and he has been Head of the Guitar Department of the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2001, a position he continues to hold. He is also affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists, with which he gives annual outreach concerts.

During the 2011-2012 season, Vieaux made his debut at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performs at the Caramoor Festival, and has numerous return engagements, including appearances at the 92nd St. Y Guitar Marathon, the Peninsula Music Festival, the Maverick Series, Fontana Chamber Arts, the Elgin Symphony, and a Hartt School of Music residency. He toured the US extensively with The Curtis Institute of Music in spring 2012. This season, Vieaux performed concertos with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Richmond, Kitchener-Waterloo and Amarillo, featuring works by Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Roberto Sierra. He has to date played concertos with more than 50 orchestras, working with conductors David Robertson, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Michael Stern, Jahja Ling, Stefan Sanderling, David Lockington, Andrew Constantine, and Alasdair Neale. His triumphant programs for Music@Menlo, the Strings Music Festival, the Grand Teton Festival and the Jupiter Chamber Players have forged his reputation as a first-rate chamber musician. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Dan Visconti, David Ludwig, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin and Gary Schocker.

Jason Vieaux has eleven commercially successful albums to his credit, with more to come through his contract with Azica Records. His latest album, a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with bandoneonist Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, was released in 2011, and a new solo disc will arrive in 2013. His Bach: Works for Lute, Vol.1 hit No. 13 on Billboard’s Classical Chart a week after its release, and received rave reviews by Gramophone, The Absolute Sound, and Soundboard. Images of Metheny features music by American jazz legend Pat Metheny, who, after hearing this landmark recording, declared: "I am flattered to be included in Jason's musical world." Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz made several Top Ten lists the year of its release. Vieaux's recordings and live performances are regularly broadcast on radio and the internet, and he writes on various classical music topics for National Public Radio’s Deceptive Cadence blog series. His communicative gifts are the subject of feature articles in print and internet media outlets around the world every year, including magazines such as Acoustic Guitar, MUSO, and Gramophone.

Vieaux was the youngest First Prize winner in the history of the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Competition. He is a Naumburg Foundation Competition top prizewinner, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award recipient, a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant winner, and a former NPR Young-Artist-in-Residence. In 1995, Vieaux was an Artistic Ambassador of the US to Southeast Asia, touring seven countries, and he now regularly concertizes abroad to Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His primary teachers were Jeremy Sparks and John Holmquist.

--Christina Jensen PR

Cal Performances Presents the Second Annual Ojai North! with 2012 Music Director & Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, Monday-Thursday, June 11-14, at Hertz Hall
New artist Soprano Lucy Shelton makes her Cal Performances debut in the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Reinbert de Leeuw’s song cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai.  Bay Area premieres also include John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit and Bent Sørensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La Mattina,” and an exclusive video with Leif Ove Andsnes.

Cal Performances’ second annual Ojai North!, a multi-year partnership with the esteemed Ojai Music Festival, gets underway in Berkeley on Monday, June 11 with the Bay Area premiere of John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit (2009) conducted by percussionist Steven Schick for whom the work was written. This event, which features two dozen percussionists and piccolo players, will take place on the lawn outside Hertz Hall and is free and open to the public. Ojai North! continues Tuesday–Thursday,  June 12–14, with a series of daily concerts at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Hertz Hall.  Each summer the Ojai Music Festival explores the musical interests of its Music Director, an annual position that is held this year by Leif Ove Andsnes, “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power and insight” (The New York Times). Joining him will be a number of his favorite collaborators, including the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, conductor/composer Reinbert de Leeuw, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn and violinist Terje Tønneson. The festival includes three Bay Area premieres: composer Bent Sørensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La Mattina,” a reworking of De Leeuw’s song cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai and Adams’s percussion extravaganza. Other highlights of this diverse line-up include works by Charles Ives, William Bolcom, Leoš Janáèek, Edvard Grieg and Igor Stravinsky’s two piano version of Sacre du Printemps with Andsnes and Hamelin. 

“The Berkeley program is especially curated from the Ojai Music Festival,” said Cal Performances Director Matías Tarnopolsky. “The series gives us the essence of the brilliance and creativity of this celebrated group of artists gathered together by Leif Ove Andsnes.” Tarnopolsky will moderate a pre-performance series of talks with Andsnes, TuesdayThursday, June 1214 at 6:00 p.m. at Hertz Hall.

Andsnes and Cal Performances have created an exclusive  in which the pianist performs excerpts from Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata and talks about his philosophy for programming the Festival that features a mix of contemporary and classical works.

This season’s Ojai North! marks the second year of a residency partnership between Cal Performances and the Ojai Music Festival; the Festival will continue in Berkeley at the end of every annual music festival in Ojai Valley. The collaboration includes joint commissions and co-productions as it did in 2011 when then Music Director soprano Dawn Upshaw and theater director Peter Sellars created a new staged production of George Crumb’s The Winds of Destiny.

The Program:
Ojai North! kicks off on Monday, June 11 at 5:00 p.m. with John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit, an expansive spatial work for 9 to 99 percussion and piccolo players. Adams, a longtime resident of Alaska, takes inspiration from the Arctic landscape. In Berkeley, the work will be performed on the lawn near Hertz Hall; Steven Schick, founder and artistic director of the band red fish, blue fish, will stage and conduct the piece. Audience members will be able to move among the musicians to hear the composition from a variety of positions.  The New Yorker’s Alex Ross named the New York engagement of Inuksuit “one of the greatest performances of 2011.”  This is Schick’s second appearance at Ojai North! He performed in The Winds of Destiny.

The Tuesday, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. program will highlight the many talents of Leif Ove Andsnes. First he performs Alfred Schnittke’s Piano Quintet with members of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Andsnes will then accompany rising star mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn in Dmitri Shostakovich’s late song cycle Six Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, Op. 143. The concert concludes with longtime collaborator Marc-André Hamelin joining Andsnes for Igor Stravinsky’s own four hands arrangement of his prodigious Le Sacre du Printemps.

On Tuesday, June 12, at 9:30 p.m. the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra will perform Leoš Janáèek’s String Quartet No. 1, “The Kreutzer Sonata,” featuring actor Theodore Jansen in readings from Tolstoy arranged for string orchestra and narrator.

Reinbert de Leeuw’s cycle of 21 songs Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (“In the Merry Month of May”) was inspired by works by Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert and is the centerpiece of the concert on Wednesday, June 13, at 7:00 p.m. This Bay Area premiere was written for actress Barbara Sukowa who was to perform the work, but due to a family emergency, is unable to be part of Ojai Music Festival or Ojai North! Tony-nominated American soprano/actress Lucy Shelton will perform the role that calls for singing, screaming, whispering – a full range of vocal sounds. Her specialty is contemporary music and in a recent concert of Pierrot Lunaire with Eighth Blackbird, The Washington Post wrote that Shelton “played her full, fruity voice like an instrument, glissando-ing and cooing….” Andnes recently commented that the “instrumentation of Reinbert is very beautiful and the transitions between songs are often more modern and surrealistic and then you get into the familiarity of Schmann and Schubert.” At the piano, the composer joins 15 musicians from the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; the work will debut at the Ojai Music Festival. Opening Wednesday’s program is the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra’s arrangement of Janáèek’s Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters.”

On Wednesday, June 13, at 9:30 p.m., Marc-André Hamelin will perform Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata, a work Hamelin has loved and performed since he was 15 years old.  Hearing Hamelin play this composition, Andsnes stated that it was “one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. He owns the piece.”

Thursday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m., Norwegian composer Bent Sørensen’s Piano Concerto No. 2, “La Mattina,” will have its Bay Area premiere with Andsnes and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; the American premiere will take place at the Ojai Music Festival. The program also includes Icelandic composer Haflidi Hallgrímsson’s Poemi, Op. 7, with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and violinist Terje Tønneson, and Alban Berg’s early Four Songs, Op. 2, sung by Stotijn with Hamelin at the piano. Concluding the program, Andsnes will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, “Waldstein,” a work that he has included in the Ojai programming because of its many modern sounds that “point to the future.”
Selections from György Kurtag’s Játékok (“Games”) open the Thursday, June 14, at 9:30 p.m. concert. The work is inspired by children spontaneously playing the piano; The New York Times described the pieces as having “a hit-and-run funniness; they jolt, stab or sigh, then run away.” Claude Debussy’s Danses Sacre et Profane for strings and solo harp will follow. A selection of spirited cabaret songs by William Bolcom will be sung by Stotijn and accompanied by Hamelin on the piano. Capping off the concert and Ojai North! will be the Nowegian Chamber Orchestra’s interpretation of their countryman Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite.

Leif Ove Andsnes:
With his commanding technique and searching interpretations, the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has won worldwide acclaim, prompting The Wall Street Journal to call him “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” He gives recitals and plays concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the foremost orchestras. Andsnes is also an active recording artist, as well as an avid chamber musician who has joined select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music which he founded and was Music Director of from 1992 to 2010. For further information regarding the festival, go to

Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970, and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiøí Hlinka. Over the past decade, he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen and is a Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. For a full biography, go to

Ojai Music Festival:
The Ojai Music Festival is an annual four-day immersion experience of concerts, symposia and auxiliary events set in the picturesque Ojai Valley, just north of Los Angeles.  Founded in 1947 by John Bauer, the Festival receives a constant stream of innovative programming and fresh ideas as the Music Director changes each year.  Administratively, Thomas W. Morris celebrates his ninth year with the Festival that turns 66 this season.  Acclaimed conductors, composers and artists who have led the Festival in the past include Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Ingolf Dahl, Pierre Boulez, Robert Craft, Michael Tilson Thomas, Calvin Simmons, Kent Nagano and John Adams, among many others. The 2013 Festival will be headed up by Mark Morris; pianist Jeremy Denk assumes the leadership the following season. For further information go to

Ticket information:
The Ojai North! inaugural concert on Monday, June 11 at 5:00 p.m. is free and open to the public; no tickets are necessary. The event will be located on the lawn outside Hertz Hall. Tickets to the six remaining concerts on Tuesday–Thursday, June 12–14, at Hertz Hall at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. range from $10.00 to $20.00, and are subject to change. They are available through the Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for purchase by UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets.  Rush tickets are announced three hours prior to a performance on Cal Performances’ Facebook page and at 510-642-9988 and are available in person only at the Ticket Office beginning one hour before the performance; one ticket per person; all sales are cash only. For more information, call Cal Performances at (510) 642-9988, or visit

--Karen Ames 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