Classical Music News of the Week, October 28, 2012

Emerson String Quartet to Perform at Carnegie Hall with Pianist Yefim Bronfman.  Concert Also Includes Violinist Paul Neubauer and Cellist Colin Carr

The Emerson String Quartet will perform at Carnegie Hall Tuesday, November 6 with internationally acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman in an all-Brahms program. The Quartet will perform select Brahms works for three different instrumentations: string quartet, string sextet and piano quintet. This performance marks the first of two Carnegie Hall appearances the Emerson String Quartet makes in the 2012-2013 season—the second being part of Renée Fleming's Perspectives series in May.

Johannes Brahms reportedly destroyed as many as 20 string quartets before the Op. 51 quartets were published in 1873. Even with only three surviving string quartets, Brahms's contribution to chamber music was substantial. The second quartet (in A minor) from Op. 51 appears on the program, along with the composer's String Sextet No. 2, composed in 1864–1865. Longtime Emerson collaborators Paul Neubauer and Colin Carr fill out the instrumentation (viola and cello, respectively) for this work. The final work on the program, Brahms's Piano Quintet, Op. 34, saw a varied instrumentation throughout its development: it began as a string quintet with two cellos in 1862 and was later recast as a two-piano sonata—the piano quintet form was published in 1865. Celebrated pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the Quartet for this final piece.

About the Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet stands alone in the history of string quartets with an unparalleled list of achievements over three decades: over thirty acclaimed recordings since 1987, nine Grammy® Awards (including two for Best Classical Album, an unprecedented honor for a chamber music group), three Gramophone Awards, the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and cycles of the complete Beethoven, Bartók, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich string quartets in the world’s musical capitals.

In March 2011, Sony Classical announced an exclusive agreement with the Emerson String Quartet. The Quartet's debut album for the label was released in October 2011 to coincide with a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall in London and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. In June 2012, the Emerson embarked on its first tour of China which included performances in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Beijing. In 2012-2013, its 36th season as an ensemble, the Emerson performs extensively throughout North America and Europe with appearances in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium and Paris's Musée du Louvre.

Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet took its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Emerson continues its residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and is Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. The ensemble recently announced what will be its first member change in 34 years, when cellist Paul Watkins replaces David Finckel at the end of the 2012-2013 concert season.

Emerson String Quartet:
Eugene Drucker, violin
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
David Finckel, cello

with Yefim Bronfman, piano
Paul Neubauer, viola
Colin Carr, cello

Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2
Brahms: String Sextet in G major, Op. 36
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

Single tickets starting at $16: http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2012/11/6/0800/PM/Emerson-String-Quartet-Yefim-Bronfman

Carnegie Hall
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
881 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019

--Patrick Gullo, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Music Institute Welcomes Families for Nutcracker Musical Battle December 8; Instrument Petting Zoo, Jazz and Classical Nutcrackers “Duke” It Out
The Music Institute of Chicago welcomes families for a musical open house followed by a concert of dueling Nutcracker performances Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

Families begin this morning of music with an open house featuring Musikgarten early childhood demos and an Instrument Petting Zoo, where kids can try out playing a variety of instruments. At 10 a.m., a performance of “The Nutcracker SWEET” pits the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by Music Institute Ensembles-in-Residence Axiom Brass and Quintet Attacca and choreographed by Ronn Stewart, artistic director of Foster Dance Studios. The Ellington/Strayhorn transcription is by James Stephenson.

Nichols Concert Hall:
The 2012–13 season marks the 10th anniversary of Nichols Concert Hall, originally designed by noted architect Solon S. Beman as the architecturally and acoustically magnificent First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, in 1912 (celebrating its centennial). Restored in 2003, the building has become Nichols Concert Hall, a state-of-the-art, 550-seat performance space and music education destination, which annually reaches approximately 15,000 people and hosts a world-class chamber music series, workshops and master classes, student recitals, and special events.

Other highlights of the Music Institute’s 10th anniversary season at Nichols include the internationally acclaimed Pacifica Quartet in February and pianist Sergei Babayan in April. Noteworthy annual events include Family Concerts in December and March; the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert with the Brotherhood Chorale in January; the Four Score Festival of contemporary music in March; and the third annual Emilio del Rosario Distinguished Alumni Concert, this year featuring violinist Rachel Barton Pine and pianist Matthew Hagle in May.

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.

The Music Institute of Chicago’s family open house and “Nutcracker SWEET” concert takes place Saturday, December 8 at 9 a.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $10 per family (up to six family members), available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. For more information visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Jeff Tyzik Named Principal Pop Conductor of the Seattle Symphony
Esteemed U.S. conductor-arranger assumes role for the orchestra’s 2013–2014 season. Tyzik will conduct two Pops concerts during the current 2012–2013 season, including Holiday Pops, stepping in for the late Marvin Hamlisch.

At a special event for Seattle Pops subscribers and Seattle Symphony donors, Executive Director Simon Woods announced that Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik has been named the Seattle Symphony’s Principal Pops Conductor. Tyzik’s contract will be for three years, for the 2013–2014, 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 seasons. Tyzik, who has earned a reputation as one of America's most innovative pops conductors, is recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. He has served as Principal Pops Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for 19 years; he also serves as Principal Pops Conductor of the Oregon and Vancouver symphonies and The Florida Orchestra. His appointment will begin September 1, 2013.

Tyzik has guest conducted numerous Seattle Pops programs since 1999, and is scheduled to guest conduct two Pops programs during the Orchestra’s current 2012–2013 season, including December’s Holiday Pops concerts that were originally scheduled to be conducted by the late Marvin Hamlisch. Hamlisch, who was the Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor since 2008, passed away suddenly on August 6, 2012. Next June, Tyzik will conduct A Night at the Cotton Club. (See below for more information on the remaining 2012–2013 Seattle Pops programs.)

Woods commented, “In Jeff Tyzik we have found the consummate musician to continue the tradition of great Seattle Pops performances following the sad loss of Marvin Hamlisch. We welcome Jeff into our Symphony family of conductors. He is an incredible musician and a great entertainer. But what makes him unique is that he has a real love of music of all styles and genres, and an infectious ability to share his enthusiasm. I know that Seattle audiences are going to take him instantly to their hearts!”

In response to his appointment, Tyzik stated “I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to make magnificent music with the Seattle Symphony, and to follow in the footsteps of the late Marvin Hamlisch. I have admired the Seattle Symphony for many years and have thoroughly enjoyed every time we have performed together during the past decade. I love the city of Seattle and I look forward to creating wonderful programs that will not only excite current Pops concertgoers, but will also interest new audiences to come and experience this great Orchestra. I'm also excited about the opportunity to work with Music Director Ludovic Morlot. His ideas of how to connect the musicians and the community are extraordinary, and I'm so glad to be a part of it all.”

Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot also shared his enthusiasm for the appointment: “I know that our musicians are really excited to work with Jeff, and our dedicated Seattle Pops audiences are going to be terrific partners for him as he brings his magic and the great canon of American popular music to our wonderful Hall. I look forward to welcoming him to Seattle.”

Jeff Tyzik:
Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is recognized as one of America's most innovative pops conductors. Described by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle as “among the best pops conductors in America,” Tyzik is known for his brilliant arrangements, original programming and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. Now in his 19th season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Tyzik also currently serves as Principal Pops Conductor of the Oregon Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, he became the Principal Pops Conductor of the Florida Orchestra.

In his nineteen years with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), Tyzik has developed an incredible relationship with devoted Rochester audiences who appreciate his creative pops programming. Over the course of his tenure, he has written over 180 works for the orchestra. A consummate musician, Tyzik is so appreciated in Rochester that the RPO has taken the unusual step of inviting him to appear as a guest conductor in the orchestra’s classical subscription series calendar on a regular basis. On his classical series concerts, Tyzik has performed works by some of the greatest American composers to critical acclaim. He has also been commissioned to compose original works for orchestra, including his Trombone Concerto, which was funded by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and subsequently performed at Carnegie Hall. His Timpani Concerto, commissioned by the RPO, was premiered in January 2010. Tyzik led the world premiere of his original work New York Cityscapes with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in June 2010. In May 2007, the Harmonia Mundi label released his recording of works by Gershwin with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and the RPO; the recording stayed in the Top 10 on the Billboard Classical chart for over 3 months. Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, called it “one of the snappiest Gershwin discs in years.”  In the 2012–2013 season, Tyzik will conduct the RPO on the subscription series in the world premiere of his new suite: Images: Musical Impressions of an Art Gallery.

Highly sought after as a guest conductor, Tyzik has recently appeared with orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the New York Pops, The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Dallas Symphony at the Vail Valley Music Festival. In addition to his commitments in Rochester, Oregon, Florida and Vancouver, during the 2012–2013 season he performs with orchestras across North America including the Detroit, Milwaukee and Toronto symphony orchestras. In June 2010, Tyzik made his UK debut in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a three-week series of four popular programs. 

A native of Hyde Park, New York, Tyzik began his life in music at nine years of age, when he first picked up a cornet. He studied both classical and jazz throughout high school, and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition and arranging with Radio City Music Hall’s Ray Wright and jazz studies with the great band leader Chuck Mangione, both of whom profoundly influenced him as a musician. He also studied composition with American composer Samuel Adler who has greatly influenced his broad musical perspective. Tyzik spent the 1970s working with Mangione, soaking in every part of the music business. He became a skilled record producer and key member of Mangione's musical dynasty. He also wrote arrangements for the Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman orchestras; and, later met and became an arranger and producer for the legendary Doc Severinsen.

Tyzik worked closely with Severinsen on many projects including orchestrating many of the great bandleader’s symphony orchestra programs. Tyzik produced a Grammy Award–winning album, The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. 1, as well as four other recordings for Severinsen, which were honored with three additional Grammy nominations.

As an accomplished composer and arranger, Tyzik has had his compositions recorded by ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Summit Brass, and his arrangements have been recorded by groups including Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the RPO, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Doc Severinsen with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. He has also produced and composed theme music for many of the major television networks, including ABC, NBC, HBO and Cinemax, and released six of his own albums on Capitol, Polygram and Amherst Records.

Committed to performing music of all genres, Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, Wynonna Judd, The Chieftains, Mark O'Connor, Doc Severinsen, John Pizzarelli, Billy Taylor and Lou Rawls, and has created original programs that include the greatest music from jazz and classical to Motown and swing. He has recently conducted several orchestra programs for jazz superstar Chris Botti.

Actively sharing his passion for music with others, Tyzik has been recognized for his community service and educational work by Rotary International, the Monroe County Music Educators and the Rochester Philharmonic League. He is also the recipient of the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester 2002 Performing Artist Award. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Eastman School of Music and was elected to the first ever class of the Rochester Musicians Hall of Fame in 2012.

Tyzik currently serves on the Board of Managers of the Eastman School of Music. He lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife Jill.

--Patrick Gullo, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Violinist Chad Hoopes to Perform for Crohn's Benefit, November 1, 2012, 7:30 pm,
Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Chad Hoopes, the 18-year old violinist who plays far beyond his years, is using his talent for good. On November 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, UT, he will be lighting up the stage with an incredible repertoire all in the name of raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis Disease. Tickets are $20-50 and can be purchased by calling 355-ARTS.

This event will benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), which is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to research and curing Crohn’s and Colitis disease. Founded in 1967, this volunteer-driven organization has contributed to the growing body of research and information used to help cure those suffering from Crohn’s. CCFA hosts fundraising events all around America, but this is a rare and exciting opportunity to help the cause and hear an incredible young musician share his gift to raise awareness for CCFA.

This event is close to home for Hoopes, whose family friend suffers from the disease. Says the violinist, “Blair Bowen, an 11 year old family acquaintance, has been fighting Crohn's disease her whole life. I am playing at this particular fundraiser for her and also to put more emphasis on this under recognized disease. I try to take every opportunity possible to help and serve others. I feel the need to do this because I am blessed to be healthy and I want to reach out to those who are suffering from this disease.”

Chad Hoopes will wow the audience with his generosity and his musical prowess. He will be performing his virtuosic interpretation of Ravel’s “Tzigane,” the captivating Sonata in A Major by Cesar Franck and Tchaikovsky’s “Mélodie”. He is bound to impress with these two works that he has mastered under the spotlight. His stunning musicality and rich sound have caught the attention of critics everywhere. As the Charlotte Observer noted, he plays “…with a young person’s enthusiasm combined with a veteran’s confidence” (Charlotte Observer, February 2012). 

He gained fame at just 13 when he won the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in Wales. It has been a whirlwind ever since, with a performance on PBS’s From the Top at Carnegie Hall, a concert with Robert Redford, and a solo for an Emmy-winning commercial under his belt. He is a violinist possessing vibrant virtuosity "with an inspiring blend of emotional expression and technical ease" (Press Democrat), and his mastery is described as "way beyond his years" (Press Democrat).

Chad was born in Naples, Florida, in 1994 and at the age of four began his violin studies in Minneapolis. He later studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music under David Cerone and Joel Smirnoff and has additionally studied at Ottawa's NAC Young Artists Program. Chad is living in Cleveland where he is in his final year of high school.

Come see this phenomenal young musician and support this important cause.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Opera Parallele and Drew School Present Ronald Perera’s The Araboolies of Liberty Street November 2 and 3 at Drew School, San Francisco
As part of Opera Parallèle’s season of expanded community engagement activities and support for Opera America’s National Opera Week, the opera company joins efforts with Drew School to present a collaborative production of the children's opera The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Ronald Pererato at selected elementary schools November 1 and 2 and for family members and the general public 7:30 PM November 2 and 3 at Drew School's Samuel M. Cuddeback Theater, San Francisco.

“We are thrilled to work with the young students from Drew School,” said Artistic Director Nicole Paiement, “and it is a wonderful opportunity for Opera Parallèle and the young professionals to step off the stage and into the community. We hope the Hands-on Opera Program will expand knowledge and appreciation of this art form in younger audiences.”

Artistic direction will be handled by staging intern Brendan Hartnett, Drew School's Music Director James Garrison and music teacher Lara Greene, under the guidance of Opera Parallele's resident Stage Director Brian Staufenbiel and Artistic Director/Conductor Nicole Paiement. Harnett is joined by soprano Maya Kherani, Opera Parallele's intern in education; pianist Ian Scarfe and percussionist McKenzie Camp to lead Drew School students in the preparation and performance of The Araboolies of Liberty Street.

Perera’s children’s opera, with libretto by Constance Congdon, is based on the popular book by Sam Swope. The opera unfolds as the mean General Pinch keeps strict order on Liberty Street by threatening the residents with the possibility of an army invasion because they look different. The people live under a shadow of fear and gloom until the colorful Araboolies move in and shake things up. The children join forces to help the Araboolies and hatch a plan of revolution to bring liberty to Liberty Street.

One of Opera Parallèle’s primary ambitions is to attract new and younger audiences for opera through intimate performances of contemporary masterworks given in settings appropriate to the music and staging.

Opera Parallèle is a professional opera company-in-residence at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the only organization in the Bay Area that presents contemporary opera exclusively. Most recently, Opera Parallèle presented the world premiere of Jacques Desjardins’s re-orchestration of John Harbison's The Great Gatsby. In collaboration with SFMOMA, the company presented the critically acclaimed production of the rarely performed Four Saints in Three Acts by composer Virgil Thompson and librettist Gertrude Stein and the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s A Heavenly Act. In spring 2011 the group produced the Bay Area premiere of Philip Glass’ Orphée and in 2010, the chamber version of Alban Berg’s 20th century masterpiece Wozzeck. In February 2007, Opera Parallèle presented the world premiere of Lou Harrison’s opera Young Caesar in conjunction with what would have been the late composer’s 90th birthday. In prior years, with its mission more broadly focused on contemporary music, Opera Parallèle presented 125 performances including 28 world premieres, released 12 recordings and commissioned 19 new works.

As a non-profit 501(c)(3) arts institution, Opera Parallèle must raise support and funds throughout the year to be able to present contemporary opera to a wide audience at affordable prices. This year, for the second time, Opera Parallèle is among the rank of noteworthy arts organizations that receive funding from San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts. Other foundational support comes from the Columbia Foundation, Zellerbach, and Fleishhacker. Additional information is available at operaparallele.org.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Opera Parallèle’s, Ronald Perera’s The Araboolies of Liberty Street 7:30 PM on November 2 and 3 at Drew School, San Francisco. Tickets to the performances are free but must be reserved in advance. Please visit drewarts.ticketleap.com  to reserve your tickets now.

Hands-on Opera Program: The Araboolies of Liberty Street
Music by Ronald Perera, libretto by Constance Congdon, based on the popular book by Sam Swope.
Drew School's Samuel M. Cuddeback Theater, 2901 California Street, San Francisco.
November 2 and 3 at 7:30 PM.
Tickets: Free and open to the public.

--Karen Ames Communications

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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