Classical Music News of the Week, October 7, 2012

In Lincoln Center Debut, Cameron Carpenter Shines Under the White Light October 28th

Described as having the dazzling technique and “wild passion” of Vladimir Horowitz, the footwork of Fred Astaire, and the glam sensibility of David Bowie, renegade organist Cameron Carpenter returns to New York City this fall for his highly anticipated Lincoln Center debut. The iconoclastic performer’s concert at Alice Tully Hall on October 28 at 5pm takes place in the context of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, an annual exploration of the meditative and transformative powers of music. Tickets are $35–$65 and can be purchased at here.

Indeed there is no better organist than Cameron to unshackle his instrument from its ascetic image as a pious workhorse. The program, never announced in advance, will likely include some Bach, original compositions and clever takes on today’s popular music. Self-identified as religion-free, Cameron nevertheless finds bottomless inspiration in Bach’s works. “Bach’s music can not only be a final statement but also a starting place,” says Cameron. As in most of Cameron’s performances, there’s no telling where his boundless creativity will lead.  And indeed there is no better organist than Cameron to unshackle his instrument from its ascetic image as a pious workhorse. The program, titled Immortal Bach, spirals outward from unalloyed Bach fantasias, preludes and fugues into Cameron’s richly imaginative arrangements, transcriptions and improvisations. Self-identified as “God-free”, Cameron nevertheless finds bottomless inspiration in Bach’s works. “Bach’s music can not only be a final statement but also a starting place,” says Cameron. As in most of Cameron’s performances, there’s no telling where his boundless creativity will lead.

The Lincoln Center concert comes on the heels of another high-profile debut at the BBC Proms, where he serenaded enthusiastic British crowds with a pair of Bach recitals. The Telegraph’s Ivan Hewett called the matinee performance “dazzling, deafening, swoon-inducing…It was Bach re-coloured and reworked so profoundly that the music seemed to be emanating from distant planet and some future time.” Although the Juilliard-trained virtuoso has made a name for himself as the preeminent ambassador of the digital organ, he switches off for this recital, taking on Alice Tully Hall’s newly refurbished Kuhn organ.

Cameron’s flawless technique and intrinsic musicality have won over critics and audiences alike, while his inborn knack for showmanship has galvanized the famously staid organ world. The first organist ever nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for a solo album (for his 2008 Telarc disc Revolutionary), he was recently awarded the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Prize at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in northern Germany.

From his current home base in Berlin, he has filled concert halls across the globe from Moscow to Munich, Sydney to San Francisco. His custom-made shoes, eye-catching designer attire and theatrical staging provide a visual reflection of his ear-bending takes on everything from Bach and Franck to Rufus Wainwright and George Gershwin. While Mozart revered the organ as “the king of instruments,” Carpenter’s view of it is decidedly more whimsical: a “glittering emotion machine.”

His recent appearances in New York have been typically eclectic. For a 2010 gig at downtown hotspot Le Poisson Rouge, he ditched his portable digital organ at the last minute and rented a Hammond B3. He recruited jazz drummer Marion Felder and the duo served up a critically acclaimed genre-buster, trading in Shostakovich and Liszt for charts by Coltrane and Mancini. At last spring’s sold-out Greene Space performance, he chatted with WQXR host Terrance McKnight demonstrating his completely unique blend of erudition and rebelliousness on topics ranging from standard rep to composing to fashion, while delivering some fiery performances of his favorite pieces.

Highlights of the upcoming season include a return to San Francisco’s Davies Hall to spin a new soundtrack to the silent horror classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a recital at Moscow’s International Performing Arts Center, and a solo recital and performance of Aaron Copland’s Organ Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of the orchestra’s Brooklyn Fest.

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet Media

Las Vegas Philharmonic’s 2012-13 Season-Opening Concert, Saturday, October 20, to be Conducted by Andrew Grams with Guest Artists Navah Perlman, Philippe Quint, and Zuill Bailey
The opening night concert will be preceded by a celebratory Champagne Dinner Reception at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets available from The Smith Center Box Office,
Phone (702) 749-2000, or visit

The Las Vegas Philharmonic will launch its 2012-13 season on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m. with a concert conducted by one of America’s most promising and talented young conductors, Andrew Grams, and three internationally acclaimed guest soloists, pianist Navah Perlman, violinist Philippe Quint and cellist Zuill Bailey. The concert will mark the start of the orchestra’s first full season in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Andrew Grams is an American conductor who, at 35, has already appeared with many of the world’s great orchestras both throughout the U.S. and internationally. A former assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst, he made his subscription series debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2006 and has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey and others in the United States. Following his debut with Chicago’s esteemed Grant Park Orchestra last year, The Classical Review described him as “…displaying natural authority, a graceful podium presence and an impressive musicality…”. In demand around the world as a guest conductor who garners numerous repeat engagements, Mr. Grams is also an accomplished violinist. He was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra at the Lincoln Center from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004.

Mr. Grams will lead the Las Vegas Philharmonic in two works, opening the season with a performance of Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major, Op. 56 (known as the ‘Triple’ concerto) that will showcase the talents of the three internationally renowned soloists, Navah Perlman, Philippe Quint and Zuill Bailey, the latter familiar to Las Vegas audiences following his much-lauded performance of the Dvorák Cello Concert last season. All three guest artists enjoy successful solo careers and having all three on stage with the orchestra at once is a rare occasion, adding to the celebratory nature of the opening night.

This season the Las Vegas Philharmonic has created concert programs based around the theme ‘A Year in Pictures’. This theme is introduced in the second half of the opening night program with a performance of Mussorgsky’s colorful Pictures at an Exhibition, arranged for orchestra by Ravel. Composed as a heartfelt homage to Mussorgsky’s friend, the artist Viktor Hartmann, the work takes the listener on an aural journey through 10 of Hartmann’s artworks. The Las Vegas Philharmonic performance will feature a visual presentation of Hartmann’s work, the first of numerous multi-media elements that will be employed by the orchestra throughout the season. A pre-concert discussion will be held in Reynolds Hall at 7:15 p.m. and is open to all ticket holders.

To further mark the beginning of its first full season in Reynolds Hall, the Las Vegas Philharmonic is holding a celebratory pre-concert Champagne Dinner Reception from 5:30 p.m. in the Upper Lobby Mezzanine Lounge. Tickets for the reception and three-course dinner, including live entertainment by pianist Corbin Beisner, are $250 per person and available from the LV Philharmonic, (702) 258-5438, ext. 221. (Note: the price for the dinner does not include a concert ticket which should be purchased separately.)

Guest Conductors 2012-13:
The 2012-13 season features five Masterworks Series concerts and four Pops Series concerts. In addition to Mr. Grams, the conductors engaged for the Masterworks Series performances are: Case Scaglione, November 17, ‘An American Portrait’; Alastair Willis, January 12, ‘Rising Star’; Daniel Meyer, April 6, ‘A Touch of Brass’; and David Lockington, May 4, ‘Celestial Bodies’.

The conductors engaged for the Pops Series concerts are: Taras Krysa, November 3, ‘Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights’; Robert Bernhardt, December 8, ‘A Very Vegas Holiday’; Steven Jarvi, February 16, ‘Mardi Gras in Las Vegas’; and Randall Craig Fleischer, March 9, ‘Lights, Camera, The Oscars!’

The Las Vegas Philharmonic is currently searching for a new music director and President & Chief Executive Officer, Jeri Crawford, says the stellar line-up of new talent and established masters engaged to lead the 2012-13 season concerts reflects the interest that the classical music community has in the post.

Tickets to the opening night concert are priced from $46 to $96 and are available from The Smith Center Box Office, Phone (702) 749-2000. Details of all of the 2012-13 ‘A Year in Pictures’ concerts are available online at Season subscriptions are still available. Subscribers can purchase a 9 concert package (of both the Masterworks & Pops Series), or individual Masterwork Series (5 concerts) or Pop Series (4 concerts) packages.

--Jennifer Scott, Siren’s Call Communications

New Philharmonic Presents “Brahms - Blissful and Bold” at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, Saturday, October 13
Van Cliburn and Tchaikovsky Competition Silver Medalist Yeol eum Son to be Showcased in Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83.

The New Philharmonic (NP) and Music Director/conductor Kirk Muspratt begin NP's 2012-2013 season by reuniting with pianist Yeol eum Son, silver medalist of the Van Cliburn and Tchaikovsky competitions, for "Brahms - Blissful and Bold," Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m. Because of upcoming renovation of the McAninch Arts Center, this concert will take place in the Lund Auditorium at Dominican University Performing Arts Center at 7900 West Division Street, River Forest, Il.

Yeol eum Son made her debut with NP this past spring performing one of the most famous piano concertos of the Romantic period, Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54. For the Oct. 13 concert, Son will be showcased in Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, a composition for solo piano with orchestral accompaniment.

Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, was composed 22 years after his Piano Concerto No. 1. Brahms began work on the Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1878 and completed it in 1881. The work premiered in Budapest on Nov. 9, 1881, with Brahms as soloist, and was an immediate success.

The concert will also feature Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 in E-minor, Op. 98, the last of his symphonies. Brahms began working on the piece in 1884, just a year after completing his Symphony No. 3, and completed it in 1885.

New Philharmonic presents "Brahms - Blissful and Bold" In the Lund Auditorium at Dominican University Performing Arts Center, 7900 West Division Street, River Forest, Il. Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $38 adult/$36 senior/$28 youth. For advance ticket purchases, contact the MAC box office: (630) 942-4000, or visit: Tickets are also available the day of the performance at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center box office. For more information call 708-488-5000 or visit

New Philharmonic is a fully-professional, 80-member orchestra that has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for three decades. Under the direction of conductor and Music Director Kirk Muspratt, named a 2006 Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, the group gives innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works and strives to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts. New Philharmonic is the resident orchestra of the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Il, and performs a complete season annually.

--Ann Fink, Carol Fox and Associates

Weill Hall at Sonama State University’s Green Music Center Officially Launches Its Inaugural Season with a Grand Opening Weekend of Festivities September 29 and 30, Sponsored by Bank of America
Mastercard performance series officially begins with Lang Lang in a recital concert September 29, followed on September 30 with a sunrise choral concert, Santa Rosa Symphony with Music Director Bruno Ferrandis and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.

Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall officially opens Saturday, September 29 with a celebratory Opening Night concert featuring Lang Lang in recital, the inaugural concert of the season-long MasterCard Performance Series. Opening Weekend festivities continue on Sunday with a Sunrise Choral Concert, a concert with Bruno Ferrandis and the Santa Rosa Symphony, and an evening performance with Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. Bank of America serves as the overall sponsor for the Grand Opening Weekend.

Lang Lang, Santa Rosa Symphony, and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, will all perform to indoor and outdoor crowds, utilizing the unique modular rear wall feature of Weill Hall which opens to seating accommodating up to 4,500 patrons outdoors at tables or on the lawn. Large video screens will bring the concert experience outdoors to patrons at tables and lawn seating, where guests can enjoy food and wine during the concert experiences. 

Internationally acclaimed Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang’s Opening Night concert kicks off the festivities with a program of Mozart Piano Sonatas and Chopin Ballades at 7:00 p.m. on September 29. Following his concert, all guests are invited outside to enjoy a twenty-minute fireworks display under a beautiful Harvest Moon in the Sonoma County skies -- complete with a choreographed musical soundtrack.

On Sunday, September 30, the celebration continues with a 7:30 a.m. Sunrise Choral Concert featuring music composed by Jeff Langley, Director of SSU’s School of Performing Arts, and words written by librettist Amanda McTigue.  A tribute to the community of Sonoma and supporters of Weill Hall and the Green Music Center, the concert features Sonoma County-based vocal/choral ensembles, guest soloists including Ruth Ann Swenson and university musical ensembles and singers.

At 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, the Santa Rosa Symphony takes the stage for the first official concert in its new home.  Led by Music Director Bruno Ferrandis and featuring former music directors Jeffrey Kahane and Corrick Brown for the first time on one program, this celebratory concert includes Ravel’s Boléro, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Copland’s Canticle of Freedom and a world premiere from Sonoma County composer Nolan Gasser.

Bluegrass sensation Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas concludes the Grand Opening Weekend celebration with a concert at 7:00 p.m. A bluegrass-themed barbecue precedes the concert with performances by local groups The Brothers Comatose and The Pat Jordan Band, and country cuisine prepared by Cochon Volant, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Mike “The Bejkr” Zakowski, and Three Twins Ice Cream.

Programming support is also provided by the Edward and Carolyn Stolman Fund, inaugural season lead underwriter; and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, vocal series underwriters.

A focal point for music in the region, the MasterCard Performance Series features an array of internationally acclaimed performers including vocalists Stephanie Blythe, Eli-na Garanc(a, Joyce DiDonato and Barbara Cook; celebrated classical soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Vadim Repin, Wynton Marsalis and Anne-Sophie Mutter; acclaimed early music ensembles Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Tallis Scholars and Il Complesso Barocco; and Latin jazz greats Chucho Valdés and Buika. The Santa Rosa Symphony, Resident Orchestra, offers a full season of programming and the San Francisco Symphony will perform four concerts, two of which are led by renowned music director Michael Tilson Thomas. And beginning in June 2013, Sonoma State University and New York’s Carnegie Hall will launch a new partnership to include a year-long residency at SSU by young professional musicians, all alumni of The Academy, the prestigious program created by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. As Visiting Artists in Residence, a small number of specially-selected Academy alumni will reside on the SSU campus for a year, fully engaging musically with the SSU community: presenting performances, offering lessons, chamber music coachings, and workshops; participating in community outreach to K-12 schools and other community partners; mentoring students; and coordinating audience development and concert preparation activities in residence halls for on-campus performances, among many other duties. This marks the first time that Academy alumni will create such an extended residency, working in a university setting. 

Tickets for Opening Weekend events are priced differently and, for many events, are extremely limited. For further information, or to purchase tickets, please visit or call 1-866-955-6040. For tickets or information on the Santa Rosa Symphony performance in particular, please visit or at 707-546-7097.

--Karen Ames

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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