Classical Music News of the Week, January 27, 2013

Opera Parallele Presents the San Francisco Bay Area Premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Riviting Ainadamar, February 15, 16, and 17 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

The acclaimed San Francisco opera company, Opera Parallèle, presents the Bay Area premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar February 15, 16 and 17 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Opera Parallèle’s community engagement activities include the tradition of a Sneak Preview and an Open Rehearsal offered to the public free of charge in addition to a free Student Preview Performance open to invited high school and college students in the Bay Area.

Osvaldo Golijov’s riveting opera, Ainadamar, is inspired by the confrontation between poet Federico García Lorca and the Fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War. Award-winning flamenco choreographer and dancer La Tania collaborates on Ainadamar which artfully combines singing, visual arts and flamenco. This poignant story, with a libretto by award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, is told in flashback through the eyes of Catalan actress Margarita Xirgu, Lorca’s muse and most fervent advocate. Writing in New York magazine, the respected critic Peter G. Davis called Ainadamar a “quiet spellbinder, an astonishing demonstration of how an opera can sound completely contemporary yet still convey its message in very potent lyrical song.”

Ainadamar’s cast is dominated by female voices. Acclaimed soprano Marnie Breckenridge, La Princesse in Opera Parallèle’s spring 2011 production of Philip Glass’ Orphée, heads the cast as Margarita Xirgu. Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez, who recently portrayed Maria in Frank Loesser’s widely successful The Most Happy Fella in New York City, is featured as the poet and playwright Federico. Soprano Maya Kherani, St. Settlement in Opera Parallèle’s summer 2011 production of Four Saints in Three Acts, portrays Nuria and members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus join singers from the SFCM New Music Ensemble to become the “chorus of girls,” or niñas. Rounding out the cast are bass John Bischoff, Compère in Opera Parallèle’s Four Saints in Three Acts, as Tripaldi; internationally acclaimed gypsy flamenco singer Jesus Montoya as Ruiz Alonso; Andres Ramirez as the bullfighter; and Ryan Bradford as the teacher.

Stage director Brian Staufenbiel’s innovative production concept for Ainadamar utilizes dramatically-integrated video mapping technology. In one scene, a video image of the lead soprano is projected onto a life size statue virtually bringing the statue to life through this layering technique. The set, a floating stage of perforated steel, evokes the parallel levels of heaven and earth and allow the team to explore new dimensions of lighting through projections. Staufenbiel will again be joined by a gifted artistic team including scenic and lighting designer Matthew Antaky, video artist Austin Forbord, costume designer Christine Crook, choreographer La Tania, wig and make-up artist Jeanna Parham and props artisan Valerie Niles.

Opera Parallèle continues the Opera on Display program where the public is invited to look behind the scenes at events that serve as introductions to works currently in progress. A Sneak Preview of Ainadamar – featuring an informal talk by Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel, live musical excerpts by cast members including Marnie Breckenridge, Lisa Chavez, Maya Kherani and John Bischoff, an introduction to flamenco dance with La Tania and a question and answer session with the audience – takes place 6 p.m. January 30 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A reception with the artists immediately follows. From 6:30 to 8 p.m. February 8 at Kanbar Performing Arts Center,Opera Parallèle presents its popular Open Rehearsal. Viewers are invited to watch the director, conductor and singers work together in an actual staging rehearsal in preparation for performances the following week. At the conclusion of the rehearsal, Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel will lead the cast and audience members in a lively question and answer session. The Sneak Preview and Open Rehearsal are free and open to the public. Both preview events are offered in intimate locations. Pre-reserved seating is available fordonors; the general public can attend on a first-come first-served basis.

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. As part of the company’s pilot program, Engage in Opera, soprano Maya Kherani, who also serves as an intern with Opera Parallèle, will visit both Lowell High School and San Francisco School of the Arts to present interactive experiences based on Golijov’s Ainadamar. As in the past, Opera Parallèle will present a Student Preview Performance on February 14 free of charge to an invited group of music, opera, drama, performing art and production students from Bay Area educational institutions. A wide range of young people attended similar events for the company’s productions of The Great Gatsby, Orphée, Wozzeck and Young Caesar including students from ACT, SFCM, San Jose State, University of California (Santa Cruz), San Francisco State, Mills College and SOTA. Interested educators can apply for an invitation to attend by emailing Opera Parallèle’s administrative assistant, Frank Weisberg, at

Opera Parallèle’s production of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar is on February 15, 16 and 17, 2013 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Lam Research Theater. Tickets priced from $35 to $85 are on sale now. They can be purchased in person at the YBCA’s box office located inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third, over the phone at (415) 978-ARTS (2787) or online at

Full biographies of the artists and production team can be found on Opera Parallèle’s Web site at

--Karen Ames Communications

Nicholas McGegan Leads Philharmonia Baroque in Essence of Classical Style, Featuring Works by Mozart, Haydn, and J.C. Bach, February 13 & 15-17, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Stanford
Music Director Nicholas McGegan, an acclaimed interpreter of Baroque and Classical composers, leads Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a concert featuring the music of Johann Christian Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, three composers who epitomize the evolution of musical style during the Classical period.

J.C. Bach, the eleventh and youngest son of J.S. Bach, became acquainted with Mozart while the younger composer was on tour as a child prodigy. Mozart’s works later showed signs of Bach’s influence, most notably his love of brilliant texture. This is exemplified by J.C. Bach’s Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe and Bassoon in F Major, featuring Philharmonia Baroque’s acclaimed players, Marc Schachman and Danny Bond, as soloists.

Haydn and Mozart became friends in Vienna when the elder composer was at the height of his fame and Mozart’s reputation as an opera composer was on the rise.  From Haydn’s Symphony No. 44 in E minor, Nicholas McGegan traces the evolution of Mozart’s singular style, showing how Mozart’s musical gifts matured under the influence of his great friend and mentor. “Haydn and McGegan were made for each other,” the Los Angeles Times noted earlier this year.

Furthermore, the February edition of Philharmonia Baroque’s regular radio program on KDFC will feature excerpts from Mozart’s Il Rè Pastore, as performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center – February 10th at 8 pm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm, Stanford: Bing Concert Hall (327 Lasuen Mall) in partnership with Stanford Live.
Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm, San Francisco: Herbst Theater (401 Van Ness Avenue).
Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm, Berkeley: First Congregational Church (2345 Channing Way).

Tickets are priced $25 to $95.
Please visit us online at to purchase tickets.

--Michael Costa, Philharmonia Baroque

Violin Virtuoso Christian Ttezlaff Performs on Tuesday, February 12, 8 p.m. at First Congregatonal Church, Berkeley, California
The “highly physical” (The Guardian) German violinist Christian Tetzlaff returns to perform a solo recital on Tuesday, February 12 at 8:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA. The program will feature violin works encompassing a broad swath of musical history, from Bach to Bartók to Kurtág. Though these composers span centuries, Tetzlaff is known for “his protean ability to take on the character of whatever work he is playing” (The Independent). In his most recent engagement with Cal Performances in 2010, the violinist performed the complete violin sonatas and partitas by Bach, a feat of musical endurance that lasted over two hours. This program, though shorter, will offer a much more in-depth look at Tetzlaff’s multitalented style. With dozens of solo and collaborative recordings and over 100 performances to his name, Tetzlaff is “a bold artist with an instinctive feeling for the wild side in music” (The New York Times).

Christian Tetzlaff started playing violin and piano at age six, but did not begin intensive study of the violin until age 14, when he made his concert debut playing Beethoven. He studied at the conservatory in Lübeck and in Berlin under Uwe-Martin Haiberg. In 1985, he came to United States to work with Walter Levine at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He also spent two summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.

His extensive repertoire includes concertos, solo and chamber works. He has performed pieces by many composers, including Hadyn, Bartók, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Beethoven. In North America, he has played with the orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has also performed with the major European orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Tetzlaff has also received several awards for his recordings for Virgin Classics and other labels, including the Diapason d’Or twice, the Edison Prize, the Midem Classical Award, the ECHO Klassik prize, and several Grammy Award nominations. In 2005, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America in honor of his artistic achievements. In Spring 2013, he will release a recording of the Schumann violin sonatas. For more information, please go to

Ticket information:
Tickets for Christian Tetzlaff on Tuesday, February 12 at 8:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church are $52.00, and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for 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. For more information about discounts, go to or call (510) 642-9988.

Ysaÿe/Sonata for Violin in G minor
Bach/Sonata for Violin in C Major
Kurtág/“a choice” from Signs, Games and Messages
Bartók/Sonata for Violin

Tickets: $52.00, available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988 to charge by phone; at; and at the door.

--Joe Yang, Cal Performances

Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony Present a World-Premiere by Andreia Pinto-Correia with Lynn Harrell Featured as Soloist in the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto, February 7 at Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California
Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony continue their 2012-2013 Season on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall with the world premiere of Alfama by Portuguese composer Andreia Pinto-Correia. Internationally renowned cellist Lynn Harrell joins the orchestra as soloist for the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto. Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 completes the program.

Alfama was co-commisioned by Berkeley Symphony and the Gulbenkian Foundation and will receive its European Premiere later this year led by Maestra Carneiro at the Gulbenkian Foundation Grande Auditório in Portugal. Distinguished by influences of Iberian folk and literary traditions, Ms. Pinto-Correia’s music has been described by The New York Times as an “aural fabric” and by New Music Box as “mysterious, elegant, magical.” She has received numerous prestigious commissions from such notable institutions as the European Union Presidency, Tanglewood Music Center, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra and the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. She is also the recipient of multiple awards and honors including the Toru Takemitsu Award by the Japan Society; fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center and Gulbenkian Foundation; and residencies with the MacDowell Colony, OrchestrUtopica (Portugal) and Valparaiso Foundation, (Spain).

Lynn Harrell is known throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher. Labeled by The Boston Globe as “the dean of American cellists” and praised for his “sensitive musical imagination and commanding technique,” Mr. Harrell is a champion of the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto. This work was commissioned in 1970 for Mstislav Rostropovich, the force behind many significant 20th Century concertos for the instrument. Rostropovich inspired Lutoslawski to adopt the old-fashioned, “anti-modernist” format of the concerto in a way that gave the composer’s imagination complete free reign. John Cage-inspired passages include chance methods to be played in an improvisational, ad lib fashion, though within a specified time frame. In addition to the Western avant-garde style, Lutoslawski’s music incorporates aspects of folk music as well as unique orchestral color and sonic texture.

Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 was Rachmaninoff’s last composition and one of only a handful that he composed during the final 25 years of his life. In the aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, he became an exile from his native Russia, eventually settling in the United States. This left him emotionally unmoored, homesick and financially burdened which contributed to a sense of creative paralysis and a dwindling compositional output. Written in 1940, the work includes numerous self-quotations from his earlier works, in addition to themes derived from Russian sacred chant, forming a nostalgic reflection of pre-Revolutionary Russia.

Berkeley Symphony
Concert III: The Illuminators
Thursday, February 7, 2013, 8 pm, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
Joana Carneiro, conductor
Lynn Harrell, cello
Andreia Pinto-Correia: Alfama (World Premiere Commission)
Lutoslawski: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

Single tickets for the concert are $15-$68. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (510) 841-2800 or visit

--Karen Ames Communications

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder to Perform with the New York Philharmonic, February 14-16
The “Viennese oracle” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) pianist Rudolf Buchbinder will be the featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic led by Music Director Alan Gilbert in three concerts from February 14-16, 2013 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Buchbinder will perform Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83; the concerts will also include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique. Buchbinder’s next performances in the U.S. are on March 8-10, 2013, as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Christoph von Dohnányi, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466.

“Rudolf Buchbinder is a deep artist. He is someone who is steeped in the Old World European tradition, and I think that’s just the sensibility that this piece requires,” Alan Gilbert said. “Of course, he is able to play a huge range of repertoire, but Brahms’s Concerto No. 2 is a wonderful piece to do with him, and I can’t wait.”

Rudolf Buchbinder recorded all of the Brahms piano concertos live with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, for Teldec in 2000. He has recently made another recording with Harnoncourt, this time of Mozart’s Piano Concertos No. 23 in A Major, K. 488 and No. 25 in C Major, K. 503 with Concentus Musicus Vienna, recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein in June 2012. The album will be released by Sony Classical in the U.S. on February 5, 2013.

This marks the first time that Rudolf Buchbinder has performed in public on a period instrument; for these concerts he played a fortepiano that is a reproduction of a 1792 Anton Walter instrument created by fortepiano maker Paul McNulty.

“I have always been fascinated by the variety, technique and sound of historical instruments, and even had a representative collection of them,” Buchbinder says. “Recording Mozart's piano concertos on a pianoforte was an exciting experience which I enjoyed very much. I was genuinely obsessed with this sound.”

In opposition to recent trends, Rudolf Buchbinder has been making live recordings instead of working in a studio for more than a dozen years. He explained why in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal: “In the studio, you can't be spontaneous. In a live concert (and thank God you don't hear a lot of wrong notes when I play), you get the kind of emotion you can't produce in an artificial setting. There is a chemistry that takes place, and I don't care if there is also coughing and rustling.”

In October 2012, Buchbinder was awarded an ECHO Klassik Award for Best Instrumentalist of the Year (Piano) for The Sonata Legacy, a 9-CD box set recording of all of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. The album, which was released in the US in August 2012, was featured as Album of the Week by New York’s classical music station, WQXR-FM, which raved, “one hears a degree of spontaneity doesn’t always come through in studio takes. It's there in his fiery rendition of the Presto Agitato from the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, his pulsating take on the ‘Hammerklavier’ and the brisk reading of the ‘Waldstein,’ to name just three examples.”

In January 2012, Buchbinder’s live performance (as pianist and conductor) of all five of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic was released in the U.S. as a 2-DVD set by C Major/Unitel Classica. The concerts were filmed live in May 2011 at the Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. In addition to the performances, the DVDs include a conversation between Buchbinder and music journalist Joachim Kaiser as bonus material.

Rudolf Buchbinder’s concert calendar in 2012-2013 takes him around the world. His signature offering – the complete cycle of all of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas (which he has performed in more than 40 cities worldwide since 1979) – began in Milan in January 2012, in Hannover in March, and in Berlin at the Philharmonie in December. In Beijing he became the first pianist ever to perform all of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas in eight days in October 2012.

Rudolf Buchbinder was admitted to the Vienna Musik Hochschule at age five, and remains the youngest student to gain entrance in the school’s history. He made his debut at the age of ten at Vienna’s Musikverein, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The music of Beethoven has been a focal point of his career ever since – not only does he continue to perform Beethoven’s works, but he constantly re-examines his approach to it, as well as Beethoven’s scores. He owns 35 different, complete editions of the scores for Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas, and has analyzed each, tirelessly finding and correcting editorial errors. He attaches considerable importance to the meticulous study of these musical sources, and has an extensive collection of autograph scores, first editions, and original documents – including the autograph scores and piano parts of both Brahms concertos as copies.

Buchbinder says, “The stricter and the more exacting I am in my approach, the more I learn about the freedom of making music. This merely seems to be a paradox. Anyone who reads what composers really wrote acquires the impetus for a freer kind of playing. Composers demand this freedom from their interpreters by including far more differentiated instructions than the regular printed notation can ever hope to reproduce.”

In spite of his heavy travel schedule, Buchbinder maintains that he spends many weeks of the year at his home in Vienna, which he shares with his wife. In addition to collecting musical scores, the pianist spends considerable time on other, non-musical hobbies – art and architecture, books, and movies. Buchbinder owns more than 4,000 DVDs of movies ranging from Abbot and Costello to Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, including all of the Oscar-winning films, and everything ever made by Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne.

--Christina Jensen PR

Music Institute Presents Acclaimed Pacifica Quartet February 16
Continuing its stellar 10th anniversary season at Nichols Concert Hall, the Music Institute of Chicago presents the internationally acclaimed Pacifica Quartet Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

The program features Smetana’s String Quartet No. 1 in E Minor “From My Life” and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132.

The Pacifica Quartet--violinist Simin Ganatra, violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson, violist Masume Per Rostad, and cellist Brandon Vamos--has a longstanding relationship with the Music Institute, having performed previously at Nichols, as well as leading numerous master classes at the Music Institute’s Academy for gifted pre-college musicians. This concert is sponsored by Gael and Robert Strong.

Pacifica Quartet:
Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertoire choices, the Pacifica Quartet has gained international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Named quartet-in-residence at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in March 2012 and Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, Pacifica received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

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.

Noteworthy concerts still to come during the Music Institute’s 10th anniversary season at Nichols include pianist Sergei Babayan in April 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.

Pacifica Quartet performs Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. For more information visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Cedille Records Founder to Host New Weekly Music Program on Chicago’s WFMT Radio
James Ginsburg, founder and president of Cedille Records, Chicago's Grammy award-winning independent classical music label, will host a new hour-long weekly program on Chicago radio station WFMT (98.7 FM) starting February 6, 2013.

"Cedille Chicago Presents" will air at 10 p.m. Central time Wednesdays on the city's flagship classical station. The pre-recorded show, scripted by Ginsburg and produced by WFMT staffer Matt DeStefano, will also stream live at

The program will draw on the label's CD catalog of over 140 albums, all devoted to classical performers and composers in or from Chicago. Ginsburg launched the label in November 1989 to showcase exceptional Chicago talent deserving worldwide stature. The internationally distributed, nonprofit label is supported by The Chicago Classical Recording Foundation.

Ginsburg, who has served as record producer for the majority of Cedille’s CDs, says, “In addition to presenting great music by Chicago’s top artists, I’m looking forward to giving listeners a behind-the-scenes view of the record industry and the recording process. I’ll also share backstage stories of artists and recording sessions.”

WFMT program director Peter van de Graaff says the station happened to be looking for a new program to fill the Wednesday time slot when Ginsburg proposed the idea.

“I jumped at it, first of all, because of the quality of Cedille’s productions,” van de Graaff says. “And I want to continue to make Chicago artists and performers a real hallmark of what we do at WFMT. I thought it was a perfect fit for us.”

Ginsburg is no stranger to WFMT listeners. He has hosted the station’s annual “Cedille Day” specials, 13-hour marathon broadcasts showcasing the label’s artists. Launched in 2010, “Cedille Day” was the brainchild of station manager Steve Robinson, a long-time champion of the label and board member of The Chicago Classical Recording Foundation.

"Jim Ginsburg brings a unique perspective to the airwaves," Robinson says.

Ginsburg says the February 6 debut broadcast of “Cedille Chicago Presents” will focus on keyboard recordings, including the label’s very first offerings. Featured artists will include pianists Dmitry Paperno, Easley Blackwood, Ramon Salvatore, Ursula Oppens, and Jorge Federico Osorio; organist, harpsichordist, and fortepianist David Schrader; and duo-pianists Georgia and Louise Mangos.

The second program, to air February 13, will showcase Cedille recordings by violinists Jennifer Koh and Rachel Barton Pine. Wind players and cellists will take center stage in the third and fourth installments of the ongoing series.

Among Cedille's most widely recognized artists, in addition to violinists Koh and Pine, are the Pacifica Quartet, multi-Grammy-winning new-music sextet eighth blackbird, period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento, the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Opera Theater, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The show’s playlists will be archived on the label’s Web site,, and programs will be made available as podcasts on WFMT’s site.

--Nat Silverman, Cedille Records

Young Artist Concerto and Aria Competition Finals Set for February 16
The Music Institute of Chicago, collaborating with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony, and Maestro Alan Heatherington, presents the final round of competition in the annual Young Artist Concerto and Aria Competition Wednesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. The event is free and open to the public.

Advancing to the final round of competition from an original field of 17 competitors are Rebecca Benjamin (18, Warsaw/Indiana, Sage Foundation Academy Fellow, violin student of Almita and Roland Vamos), performing Sibelius’s Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47; Gallia Kastner (15, Arlington Heights, Susan and Richard Kiphart Academy Fellow, violin student of Almita and Roland Vamos), performing Brahms’ Concerto in D, Op. 77; and Jackie Tso (16, Loveland/Ohio, Community School student of Almita and Roland Vamos), performing Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major. Receiving Honorable Mention is Nathan Walhout (15, Wheaton, Susan and Richard Kiphart Academy Fellow, cello student of Gilda Barston).

This year’s winner performs with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra Sunday, April 28 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Judges for the preliminary round included Elliott Golub, CSO Citizen Musician; Peter Szczepanek, assistant principal cello for the Grant Park Music Festival and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (acting); and Lawrence Rapchak, music director of the Northbrook Symphony.

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. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, 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 teachers and arts therapists reach more than 10,000 students and clients of all ages and experience levels at campuses in Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest and Downers Grove, as well as through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs in four distinct areas: the Community School, Academy, Institute for Therapy through the Arts, and Nichols Concert Hall.

The Young Artist Concerto and Aria Competition Finals take place Wednesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Il. Admission is free. For information, call 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

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

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

For more than 20 years I was the editor of The $ensible Sound magazine 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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa