Classical Music News of the Week, September 9, 2012

Spring for Music 2013 Tickets on sale at Carnegie Hall

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Monday, May 6, 2013
Marin Alsop, music director
JOHN ADAMS: Shaker Loops
JENNIFER HIGDON: Concerto 4-3, Time for Three, string trio
SERGEI PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 4 (1947 version)

Albany Symphony Orchestra
May 7, 2013
David Alan Miller, music director
JOHN HARBISON: Suite from The Great Gatsby
GEORGE GERSHWIN: Second Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, Kevin Cole, piano
MORTON GOULD: Symphony No. 3

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
May 8, 2013
JoAnna Falletta, music director
GIYA KANCHELI: "Morning Prayers" from Life Without Christmas
REINHOLD GLIÈRE: Symphony No. 3, "Ilya Muromets"

Oregon Symphony
May 9, 2013
Carlos Kalmar, music director
NARONG PRANGCHAROEN: Phenomenon
KURT WEILL: Seven Deadly Sins, Storm Large, vocalist
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG: Accompaniment to a Film Scene
FRANZ SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished"
MAURICE RAVEL: La Valse

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
May 10, 2013
Leonard Slatkin, music director
CHARLES IVES: Symphony No. 1
CHARLES IVES: Symphony No. 2
CHARLES IVES: Symphony No. 3
CHARLES IVES: Symphony No. 4

National Symphony Orchestra
May 11, 2013
Christoph Eschenbach, music director
ALFRED SCHNITTKE: Symphony No. 6
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 5

Single tickets are on sale for the 2013 Spring For Music Festival at www.carnegiehall.org. By pricing all single tickets at $25 dollars, selling seats on a first-come/first-serve basis, and accepting orchestras on the basis of adventurous programming, Spring For Music continues to redefine the classical music experience. The festival invites New York and hometown fans alike to come hear North America's most ambitious orchestras prove themselves at one of the world's most famous concert halls. This year's festival features the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Albany Symphony Orchestra (which also participated in the 2011 festival), the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony (also appeared in 2011), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra. The festival runs from May 6, 2013 to May 11, 2013.

--Amanda Ameer, First Chair Promotion

 Strathmore Music in the Mansion Presents Duo Amaral; Guido’s Ear; Dali Quartet
Trio of October concerts bring traditional repertoire to the Mansion.
Two concerts for Dalí Quartet – separate performances for children/families and general audiences

Three classical music ensembles will make their Strathmore debuts as the Mansion becomes a forum for their masterful playing in October. Building on the classical guitar theme it has cultivated over its last few seasons, Strathmore presents husband-and-wife classical guitarists Duo Amaral on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Early music ensemble Guido’s Ear performs on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. The month concludes with two performances from Dalí Quartet on Sunday, October 28, 2012 with a family-friendly show at 3 p.m. and an evening concert for general audiences at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

Music in the Mansion concerts are sponsored by Asbury Methodist Village.

Duo Amaral
Jerusalem-born Mia Pomerantz-Amaral and husband Jorge Amaral created Duo Amaral in 2008, and since releasing their debut album, Suplica, in 2011, have quickly built momentum internationally and in the U.S. for  performances of “masterful and poetic virtuosity, intensity of expression” (Il Messaggero Veneto). Mia Pomerantz-Amaral is a top prizewinner of several international guitar competitions, notably the Guitar Gems Competition in Netanya, Israel and The Fernando Sor Guitar Competition in Rome, Italy.  Jorge Amaral of Guadalajara, Mexico has been described by the eminent master Alirio Diaz as “a brilliant figure in the future of the classical guitar.” The couple was educated at the prominent Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, and has toured in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Panama, Mexico, Israel, Cyprus and throughout the U.S.

The duo will salute Hispanic culture with four pieces, beginning with España Op. 165 by Isaac Albéniz best known for his piano works based on folk music traditions and also for his many works that were transcribed for guitar. The performance will also include Joaquin Rodrigo’s three movement Tonadilla, as well as Tres Danzas del Ballet Estancia from Alberto Ginastera, an arrangement of the original Opus 8 ballet of one act and five scenes inspired by the rural life of his native Argentina. The concert will conclude with the heartfelt Saggio, a collection of three independent pieces composed by Jorge Amaral’s father, Victor Manuel Amaral Ramírez that his son transcribed as one work in three movements.

Guido’s Ear
This New York-based early music ensemble focuses on repertoire of the late Renaissance and early Baroque, a pivotal period in history when instrumental music emerged from the shadow of vocal music and came into its own. By exploring early forays into purely instrumental music and the vocal and dance tradition from which it emerged, Guido’s Ear celebrates the ingenuity of the period, when composers pushed boundaries to transform the aesthetic qualities of music. The ensemble is comprised of founding members and violinists Aaron Brown and Dongmyung Ahn, with harpsichordist Gabriel Shuford.

Guido’s Ear will perform 15 baroque and Renaissance works at Strathmore, including pieces by Claudio Monteverdi, Girolamo Frescobaldi and Salamone Rossi.

Dalí Quartet
In background and performance, the Dalí Quartet represents the best of two worlds, anchored in both Venezuela's El Sistema and in American classical conservatory traditions, blending an enticing mix of traditional string quartet repertoire with Latin American chamber music. In the spirit of famed Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, the Dalí Quartet embraces imagination and excellence as central to its art form. The quartet is comprised of award-winning solo and chamber artists violinists Simón Gollo and Carlos Rubio, violist Adriana Linares and cellist Jesus Morales.

The quartet’s family performance at 3 p.m. introduces young ears to the sounds of Latin music with an interactive hour-long program that takes participants on a journey of different rhythms and melodies including Argentinean Tangos, Cuban Boleros, Caribbean Rumbas and Venezuelan Joropos. Families will learn various rhythmic patterns, dance steps and the origin of many of these genres and how they relate to and influence Western classical music. 

The quartet’s 7:30 p.m. concert features works by Handel, Beethoven, Turina, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla. “Dalí has a big, lush sound. They captured the elegance and lightness of the Haydn quartet and did not have any difficulty in switching to the dissonant drama of one of Beethoven’s most stormy chamber music works. As expected, they handled the Latin American music with authoritative ease” (The Morning Call).

--Michael Fila, Strathmore

National Philharmonic Kicks Off 2012-13 Season with All-Beethoven Program, Featuring Pianist Orli Shaham
The National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, will kick off its 2012-2013 season with a program entitled Beethoven: The Power of Three on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 8 pm and on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 3 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert will showcase the elegant pianist Orli Shaham, who will join the Philharmonic in a performance of Beethoven’s  Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. The evening will also feature  Beethoven’s  Leonore Overture and Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major (“Eroica”).

The all-Beethoven concert opens with the Leonore Overture No. 3, written in 1806 for the composer’s opera Fidelio. This symphonic poem stands on its own as it manages to convey the drama and many moods of the opera. Also on the program is Ms. Shaham performing Beethoven’s dynamic and varied Piano Concerto No. 3, which clearly separates the composer from the classical era. The piece is complex and reflects turbulent emotions for which Beethoven was becoming known. The concert ends with the heroic Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), which was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Beethoven had admired until the leader proclaimed himself Emperor of France. The symphony marked the arrival of the composer’s middle period, featuring powerful large-scale works of emotional depth.

A consummate musician recognized for her grace and vitality, Ms. Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today's most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Ms. Shaham is in demand for her prodigious skills and admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently praised her "wit, passion, delicacy and humor," and London's Guardian has called Ms. Shaham's playing "perfection."

Ms. Shaham has performed with most major orchestras in the United States, as well as with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, among others. She is a frequent guest at numerous summer festivals from Mostly Mozart to Verbier, and has given recitals at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and many more around the world.

Ms. Shaham’s international performance schedule in 2012-2013 includes performances of a piano concerto written for her by Steven Mackey with the LA Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and New Jersey Symphony, as well as a performance of Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with the St. Louis Symphony. Ms. Shaham’s recordings released in 2012 include a CD of Hebrew Melodies (Canary Classics), recorded with her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham (to be released in late fall); a recording of the Brahms Horn Trio and Schubert’s lied Auf dem Strom (Albany) featuring Richard King; and Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the San Diego Symphony (San Diego Symphony).  Also in 2012, Ms. Shaham continues her role as host of the public radio series America’s Music Festivals, a two-hour weekly program broadcast on more than 100 stations.

Ms. Shaham’s highly acclaimed classical concert series for young children, Baby Got Bach, is now in its third season. This year, the program will be presented by the 92nd St. Y in New York, and continues in St. Louis and Aspen as well. For preschoolers, Baby Got Bach provides hands-on activities with musical instruments and concepts and concert performances that promote good listening skills.

Driven by a passion to bring classical music to new audiences, Orli Shaham maintains an active parallel career as a respected broadcaster, music writer and lecturer. She has taught music literature at Columbia University, and contributed articles to Piano Today, Symphony and Playbill magazines.  Ms. Shaham has served as artist in residence on National Public Radio’s Performance Today.  In addition to her musical education, Orli Shaham holds a degree in history from Columbia University.

Piotr Gajewski is widely credited with building the National Philharmonic to its present status as one of the most respected ensembles of its kind in the region. In addition to his appearances with the National Philharmonic, Maestro Gajewski is much in demand as a guest conductor. In recent years, he has appeared with most of the major orchestras in his native Poland, as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in England, the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, the Okanagan Symphony in Canada and numerous orchestras in the United States.

Gajewski attended Carleton College and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned a B.M. and M.M. in Orchestral Conducting. Upon completing his formal education, he continued refining his conducting skills at the 1983 Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, where he was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellowship. His teachers there included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier and Maurice Abravanel.

Gajewski is also a winner of many prizes and awards, among them a prize at New York's prestigious Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and, in 2006, Montgomery County's Comcast Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Achievement Award.

A free pre-concert lecture will be offered at 6:45 pm on Saturday, October 13 and at 1:45 pm on Sunday, October 14 in the Concert Hall at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to the Beethoven: The Power of Three concert, please visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $28-$81; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette).  ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Parking is complimentary. The attached photo of pianist Orli Shaham was taken by Christian Steiner.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Bang on a Can 2012-2013 Season Announced
Season Highlights:
Sept. 13 & 14: Asphalt Orchestra in West Coast Debut
Nov. 2-7: Bang on a Can All-Stars in Australia
Dec. 8: Bang on a Can All-Stars in Rimpa Re-imagined at Japan Society in NYC
March 14: People’s Commissioning Fund World Premieres at Merkin Hall in NYC
June: Bang on a Can Marathon in NYC
July 15 - August 4: Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA
And much more!
Plus: Bang on a Can All-Stars and Trio Mediaeval release Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer
Cantaloupe Music, Spring 2013

“Bang on a Can...is a free-wheeling parade of the strange, the raucous, and the beautiful”  --Vanity Fair, www.bangonacan.org

Bang on a Can’s 2012-2013 season takes the “relentlessly inventive” (New York Magazine) new music collective throughout the United States and around the world featuring an extensive selection of brand new musical adventures alongside a recommitment to acclaimed projects from past years. Bang on a Can performs regularly this season in its hometown of New York, and travels worldwide to cities including Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Krakow, Toronto, and in many other places throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Highlights for this season include the Bang on a Can All-Stars joining forces with Norwegian superstars Trio Mediaeval for a European tour of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer as well as for the world premiere recording of the work, to be released on Bang on a Can’s sister-label Cantaloupe Music; the All-Stars with New York’s jazz giant Vijay Iyer and Japanese icon Somei Satoh in a night of world premieres at the Japan Society; performances at the Sydney Opera House in celebration of luminary John Cage’s 100th birthday during the All-Stars’ tour of Australia; plus collaborations with an increasing and eclectic range of composers, visual, and sound artists in the continued creation of Bang on a Can’s newest multi-disciplinary evening-length project, Field Recordings.

On September 13 and 14, 2012 Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s polymorphic avant-marching band, will make its West Coast debut, bringing both its inventive indoor show and its guerilla outdoor performances to the stages and streets of the Los Angeles area. Asphalt Orchestra presents Unpack the Elephant onstage at California State University Northridge on September 13, bringing its iconoclastic spirit to the stage with a show featuring music by Frank Zappa, David Byrne and Annie Clark, Björk, and new music by members of the band. On September 14, Asphalt Orchestra morphs into an outdoor flash force, springing jazz, prog-rock, and world music on the transient masses of downtown Los Angeles featuring music written for the band by luminaries including David Byrne and Annie Clark, Goran Bregovic, Tatsuya Yoshida and more.

From November 2 through 7, 2012 the All-Stars tour to Australia performing for a weekend at the Sydney Opera House and making their first-ever visit to Melbourne with concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre. In Sydney, the Bang on a Can All-Stars celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday with four incredible concerts. As “descendants” of Cage, the All-Stars bring their unique visceral and sonic approach to the seminal works of this master composer, alongside and their own core repertoire of music by Louis Andriessen, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Kate Moore, Terry Riley, and Julia Wolfe, bringing the ghost of John Cage on a ride from past to present. The All-Stars performances in Melbourne feature the Australian premiere of Field Recordings paired with Brian Eno’s ambient classic, Music for Airports.

On December 8, 2012 the Bang on a Can All-Stars return to the Japan Society in New York for Rimpa Re-imagined, where they unveil recently commissioned world premieres by jazz giant Vijay Iyer and Japan’s post-minimal innovator Mamoru Fujieda. In addition, the All-Stars revive Japanese titan Somei Satoh's Shu ("Spells") for the first time since its world premiere at the Society in 2004. This time, the piece will be performed to a Rimpa-art-inspired visual landscape created for this concert by cutting-edge motionographer Nobuyuki Hanabusa. Rimpa is a school of Japanese painting that spanned the 17th-19th centuries the this concert is presented in conjunction with the Society's exhibition Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Ho-itsu (1761-1828), showcasing one of the master painters of the Rimpa School.

On March 14, 2013 Bang on a Can’s radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission new works from adventurous composers – the People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) – returns to New York City’s Merkin Hall with a program of ear-bending world premieres commissioned by the people. The performance will include new works by Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Paula Matthusen, Johann Johannsson, and more. (Details will be announced in the fall.)

From May 8 through 13, 2013 the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the mesmerizing Norwegian vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval reunite to bring Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer to Europe for premiere performances in Belgium, England, Sweden and more. Premiered in the U.S. to critical acclaim, Steel Hammer is Wolfe's evening length art ballad based on the John Henry legend. Culling from over 200 versions of the legend, Wolfe weaves the contradictory facts to tell the story of the story. The work was runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and stretches the standard instrumentation of Bang on a Can All-Stars with wooden bones, mountain dulcimer, banjo, and more, to evoke the rich instrumental colors of Appalachia. The world premiere recording of Steel Hammer will be released by Cantaloupe Music in spring 2013.

Summer 2013 brings Bang on a Can’s signature Bang on a Can Marathon to downtown New York City in partnership with the River to River Festival in June, and its three-week Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams in July.

About Bang on a Can
Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new.  Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found.  With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future.  Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders. Bang on a Can plays “a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn’t concern itself with boundaries.  If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come.” (The New York Times)

Bang on a Can celebrated 25 years during the 2011-2012 season, having grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities.  “When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, in an art gallery in SoHo, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it,” write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. “But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us – we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act—that people needed to hear this music and they needed to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and growing for the last 25 years, and we are not done yet.”

Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; The People's Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival - a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create Onebeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more.  Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today’s musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music.

Bang on a Can 2012-2013 Season Schedule (subject to change, updates at www.bangonacan.org/events/upcoming)

--Christina Jensen PR

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

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

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

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa