Classical Music News of the Week, March 31, 2013

Macedonian Pianist Simon Trpceski Makes His Cal Performances Debut in a Recital of Schubert and Liszt on Sunday, April 14, 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall, Berkeley, California

Pianist Simon Trpceski, a Macedonian musical treasure, will play a recital of Schubert and Liszt worksTelegraph, UK).
on Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall as part of the Koret Recital Series. In his Berkeley debut, Trpceski will reprise several works from his Carnegie Hall recital debut from March 2012 and will add a Liszt work inspired by Schubert, for an afternoon of ambitious and energetic piano music. “Anyone with a passion for piano-playing at its most spellbinding should hear Trpceski whenever they can” (The

The recital will open with Franz Schubert’s German Dances, a suite of light dances of varying character and style, performed as one long work. Following is Schubert’s epic Wanderer Fantasy, a technically demanding work written when the composer was just 25 years old, that uses dense textures to compress an entire orchestra into the piano keyboard. Franz Liszt’s transcription and arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A Minor (BWV 543) follows, demonstrating Liszt’s understanding of organ-playing and the ways in which the organ’s many voices can be replicated—or at least emulated—using the piano. The next Liszt composition on the program, inspired by a Schubert suite, is Soirees de Vienne, valse caprices. The transitions and enhancements Liszt made to these nine brief Schubert waltzes are as interesting and entertaining as the underlying works themselves. The final work on the program, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, is often known through its orchestral transcription. It showcases the composer’s rich knowledge of, and deep affection for, the folk music of his native Hungary—perhaps surprising given that Liszt’s family moved to Vienna when Franz was just 10 years old and the composer rarely returned as an adult.

Simon Trpceski was born in the Republic of Macedonia in 1979. He studied with Boris Romanov at the University of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia, and now resides and serves on the music faculty there. In addition to winning several international piano competitions over his career, Trpceski received the Young Artist Award by the Royal Philharmonic Society (UK), the Presidential Order of Merit from the president of Macedonia, and the title “National Artist of the Republic of Macedonia”—the first artist granted this title. In addition to solo recital and festival performances worldwide, Trpceski has played with leading orchestras including the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Russian National Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies. He has recorded music of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Debussy, and others for the EMI label. His official website, with content in English, is

Ticket information:
Tickets for Simon Trpceski, piano on Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are priced at $46.00, 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.

Sunday, April 14, at 3:00 p.m.                                  
Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Telegraph Ave., Berkeley
Simon Trpceski, piano

Schubert: German Dances, D. 783
Schubert: Fantasy in C major, D. 760 (Wanderer Fantasy)
Liszt: Prelude and Fugue in A minor (after J. S. Bach)
Liszt: Soirées de Vienne: Valses caprices d'après Schubert, S. 427, Nos. 5–7
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor

Tickets: $46.00, subject to change; available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at; and at the door.

--Joe Yang, Cal Performances

American Bach Soloists Celebrate 25th Season in 2013-2014
Subscription Concerts Focus on an Outstanding All-Bach Series: an ABS Christmas and Handel’s Messiah at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and the UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in December; and a 2014 the ABS Bach Festival titled “Bach’s Inspiration.”

The 2013-14 season marks the 25th annual series of concerts by the American Bach Soloists (ABS). To honor their illustrious accomplishments, and looking forward to the next twenty-five years, artistic and music director Jeffrey Thomas and ABS—“some of the greatest period-instrument players in the world” (San Francisco Classical Voice)—present a season celebrating the mastery of Johann Sebastian Bach. All of the 25th Season concerts will feature the celebrated American Bach Choir, which “sets the standard in choral singing” (SFCV). Rarely heard compositions of beauty and depth will be heard alongside more familiar masterworks, all performed to the highest standards by the best early music specialists, the credo of ABS since its founding in 1989. The celebratory season will also feature the return of several ABS traditions that audiences have come to love.

Music Director Jeffrey Thomas is particularly thrilled by the repertoire selected for the American Bach Soloists’ landmark 25th Season. “We have chosen works that show Bach at his most opulent and celebratory best. Some splendid secular orchestral works and the truly charming ‘Hercules’ cantata are matched up with cantatas, masses, and motets that are grand and glorious. Our audiences will enjoy superb soloists, the finest period-instrument specialists, and our superlative American Bach Choir. And the whole year of festivities will be crowned by our 2014 Festival that will feature some of my own personal favorites composed by Bach and his contemporaries. It’s going to be a sensational season!”

2013-14 opens in style with the annual ABS Gala at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, California, on September 21. This season’s Silver Soirée will be a festive kick-off event with an extraordinary concert program, fine wine and dining, and fundraising auction.

Following the greatest attendance marks in the history of this beloved tradition, ABS’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s awe-inspiring Grace Cathedral return on December 11 & 12. A third performance of the enduring masterpiece will be performed in the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis on December 15. ABS’s instantly sold-out 2012 Christmas concert at St. Stephen’s Church was such a tremendous success that another special program has been added to the schedule in the new season. On December 14, An ABS Christmas will feature holiday-themed works in the beautiful, candlelit space where ABS was born in 1989.

The heart and soul of the 2014 subscription season are three extraordinary concert programs featuring masterworks by ABS’s namesake—Johann Sebastian Bach. In January, Maestro Thomas and ABS will present an all-Bach program including Tönet, ihr Pauken, BWV 214 (a cantata featuring music that eventually became part of the “Christmas Oratorio”); Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067; the famous and always popular Magnificat, BWV 243; and Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, BWV 130, a fantastically extroverted cantata composed for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Three of the works call upon especially heraldic trumpet ensembles, and the Orchestral Suite will feature baroque flutist Sandra Miller, whose playing is noted for its “mellow, quietly penetrating tone” and whose performances are described as “models of confidence and unbroken steadiness” (The New York Times). For this program, the audience will be invited to sing along on the final chorale of Cantata 130, bringing back a hallmark of ABS’s cantata performances over the years.

In February, the Bach celebration continues with the composer’s Missa Brevis in G Major, BWV 236; Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major, BWV 1066; and Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen, BWV 213 (“Hercules at the Crossroads,” a cantata comprised of arias and duets that were later utilized in Parts II, III, & IV of the “Christmas Oratorio”).

The April concerts, titled Bach & His Legacies, will feature motets and choral works by J.S. Bach, along with choral masterpieces by Mendelssohn and Brahms, two composers who were profoundly influenced by the Cantor of Leipzig and sought to emulate his style.

The ABS Festival & Academy—known as San Francisco’s Summer Bach Festival—will bring the 25th Season celebrations to an exciting close as ABS musicians and members of the 5th annual ABS Academy present the 2014 Festival, titled “Bach’s Inspiration.” Bach was greatly influenced by the works of Vivaldi, Buxtehude, and members of his own highly esteemed family of composers. As a young boy, he would seek out scores of compositions by others and, simply through the act of making manuscript copies, he gleaned important insights into the techniques utilized by their composers. Later in life, he would transcribe concertos by the immensely successful Antonio Vivaldi, arranging them for keyboard alone, and through this process he studied Vivaldi’s methods of organizing a musical work into repeatable fragments of melodic and harmonic material. That “architectural” device would become the primary mechanism for Bach’s own language of musical rhetoric. He idolized the Danish composer Dietrich Buxtehude, so much so that he traveled more than 250 miles on foot to hear concerts given by Buxtehude in the North German city of Lübeck, extending a leave from his employer without permission for more than two months. Bach also greatly revered the compositions of his own family members who had already well established the family’s reputation as the most important musical dynasty in Germany.

By performing a broad array of works by those who influenced Bach the most—including concertos and vocal works by Vivaldi and Pergolesi, cantatas and chamber music by Buxtehude, liturgical works by Bach’s forebears, and even music by Frederick the Great, who inspired Bach’s Musical Offering—and presenting works by Bach that clearly show their derivations from those musical stimuli, the American Bach Soloists 2014 Festival & Academy will offer a unique position of discovery of the contexts and magnificent results of Bach’s egoless veneration of the artistic values of his world.

The 2014 Festival will open on Thursday, July 10, and continue through Sunday, July 20. Works to be performed include Bach’s Concerto for Three Harpsichords, Christ lag in Todesbanden (Cantata 4), and one of Bach’s earliest cantatas, Gott ist mein König (Cantata 71), an extravagant work scored for five “choruses” of instruments and voices. Distinctive features of the ABS Summer Festival are the annual performances of Bach’s towering Mass in B Minor and more than a dozen free events.

--American Bach Soloists

Woodstock Mozart Festival Announces 27th Season July 27-August 11: Bartók, Haydn, Mozart, Stravinsky and More on Three Programs
The Woodstock Mozart Festival presents its 27th season featuring three lively concert programs July 27–August 11, 2013 at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 W Van Buren St., Woodstock IL. Single tickets go on sale April 1.

The program lineup is as follows:
July 27 and 28: San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera and award-winning young pianist Vassily Primakov, touted by BBC Music Magazine as “a Mozartian to the manner born, fit to stand as a role model to a new generation,” join for a program including Bartók’s Rumanian Dances; Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453; Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat Dumbarton Oaks; and Haydn’s Symphony No. 85 La Reine.

August 3 and 4: The Festival’s principal cellist Nazar Dzhuryn and French saxophonist Daniel Gauthier, a two-time Echo Klassique Award (European Grammy) Winner, join conductor Igor Gruppman to perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 17, K. 129; Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb:1; Mascagni’s Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana; Ibert’s Concertino da Camera; Bizet’s Adagietto from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1; Schulhoff’s Hot-Sonate; and Itturalde’s Pequeña Czarda.

August 10 and 11: Violinist Igor Gruppman (who also conducts) and violist Vesna Gruppman return by popular demand after their 2012 Festival participation, performing Mozart’s Divertimento for Strings, K. 138 (125c); Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 Farewell; and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K. 364 (320d) for violin and viola.

The 2013 Woodstock Mozart Festival takes place July 27–August 11, Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock, Illinois. Pre-concert introductions take place one hour before each of the performances. Tickets are $30–52, $25 for students, per program. Single tickets go on sale April 1 through the Woodstock Opera House Box Office at 815-338-5300 or at For more information about the Festival, visit

About the Woodstock Mozart Festival:
The Woodstock Mozart Festival’s first performances took place in 1987 at the restored 1880s Woodstock Opera House in an environment reminiscent of Mozart’s day. From the beginning, the Festival showcased internationally recognized guest artists and conductors during its three weekends of concerts in late July and early August. The Festival’s goal is to maintain a superb orchestra that delivers extraordinary performances to inspire and educate audiences of all ages through a chamber orchestral program of an outstanding caliber, which is centered on Mozart. The Woodstock Mozart Festival is a member of the League of American Orchestras and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Funding is provided by the Illinois Arts Council, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture, the AptarGroup Charitable Foundation and private and corporate contributions.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

National Philharmonic Singers Present Free Spring Concert
The National Philharmonic Singers, under the direction of conductors Stan Engebretson and Victoria Gau, will present a free spring concert on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 8 pm at Christ Episcopal Church, 107 South Washington Street, Rockville, Maryland.

The concert will feature Benjamin Britten’s "Choral Dances" from Gloriana, which was composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June of 1953 and was performed at the Royal Opera House. The Singers will also perform the Coronation Anthem No. 1, "Zadok the Priest," George Frideric Handel's great anthem. It was performed during the coronation ceremony of King George II of Great Britain in 1727 and has been sung at every coronation service since, including that of Queen Elizabeth II in June of 1953.

Three modern settings of “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Duruflé, Ola Gjeilo, and Paul Mealor are also on the program. Music by Vaughan Williams and contemporary arranger/jazz pianist Larry Farrow round out the program with settings of English folksong and spirituals, including “Deep River” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”

The National Philharmonic Singers, led by Stan Engebretson and Victoria Gau, is a chamber choir and one of several performing ensembles of the National Philharmonic. The group promotes works suited for smaller ensembles, whether with accompaniment or a cappella. Its repertoire ranges from 15th to 21st centuries, and it often premieres new compositions by local composers.

The concert is free, but donations in support of the Community Ministries of Rockville will be gratefully accepted. Christ Episcopal Church is located at 107 South Washington Street in Rockville, MD. Directions to the church may be found at or by calling the church at 301-762-2191, ext. 3. For more information, please visit or call 301-493-9283, ext. 116.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Music Institute of Chicago Announces Auditions for the Academy
The Music Institute of Chicago announces auditions for the Academy, an elite training program for gifted pre-college string players and pianists seeking professional careers, for the 2013–14 academic year.

Who: Music Institute of Chicago
What: Auditions for the Academy
Days/Dates/Times/Locations: Thursday, April 25, 3–8 p.m., Thoresen Performance Center, 300 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, Ilinois; and Sunday, April 28, 12–4, Lake Forest Campus, 40 East Old Mill Road.
Information: or 847.905.1500 ext. 122

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

David H. Stull of Oberlin Named President of San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Timothy W. Foo, chair of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, announced today that David H. Stull has been appointed president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He will assume the position on July 1, 2013. David H. Stull is currently dean of the Conservatory and professor of brass studies at Oberlin College, where he has exhibited great vision with a passionate commitment to artistic excellence and the creation of academic programs that prepare musicians for successful careers in the ever-changing cultural and economic environment of the 21st century.

Stull comes to San Francisco with a demonstrated record of decisive leadership skills, financial acumen and academic creativity, together with a dedication to the highest artistic standards. At Oberlin, he helped secure over $40 million in donations, including $21 million for The Kohl Building, a project spearheaded to completion entirely under his leadership, an additional $14 million for dedicated professorships, program support, scholarships, gifts-in-kind, and pilot grants, while securing collections and instrument donations that exceed $8 million in value. During his tenure, the Conservatory launched a series of new programs, including an intensive entrepreneurship curriculum, a new record label, and fully sponsored orchestral tours to Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the People’s Republic of China. He also secured the resources for a world class recording studio and a series of artistic initiatives, including a Grammy-nominated recording. Most recently he launched Music in America, a critically acclaimed program to provide music education to underserved schools throughout the Nation. 

In addition to providing rigorous professional training, these added endeavors were created to furnish young artists with the intellectual capacity, career management skills and professional experience necessary to prepare them for thriving careers in the 21st century. In recognition of the success of its comprehensive and cutting-edge academic programming and contributions to American education, President Barack Obama presented the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with the National Medal of Arts, which Dean Stull accepted on behalf of the institution in February 2010.

David will move to San Francisco with his wife, Jessica Downs, and their two daughters Madeline and Emily. To learn more about the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and David H. Stull, please visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Handel and Haydn Society Perform The Four Seasons, Jephtha, and More, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, at First Congregations Church, Berkeley, CA
The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H), America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization, comes to Cal Performances for two nights of early classical music. On Friday, April 26 at 8:00 p.m., the Society performs a mixed bill of Baroque works, including Vivaldi’s ever-popular The Four Seasons. The following night, at 7:00 p.m., the Society performs Handel’s 1751 oratorio Jephtha. H&H premiered this work in the US in 1867, and it has not been performed since. With Berkeley as its first stop on its West Coast tour, Cal Performances concertgoers will be the first audience to hear this work performed in the U.S. in nearly 150 years.

The Handel and Haydn Society was founded in 1814 in Boston by a group of merchants who wanted to improve the quality of music in the city. Originally a chorus, the modern group features both an orchestra and choir that play both Baroque and Classical period pieces. The iconic group has a history of performing the American premieres of some of the most popular classical works including Handel’s Messiah in 1818, a cornerstone in their annual repertoire, Verdi’s Requiem in 1878 and Bach’s Mass in 1892. The ensemble has also commemorated some vital moments in history including the end of the Civil War and the Chicago fire. The Handel and Haydn Society has performed for many important dignitaries such as President James Monroe, Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, and Queen Elizabeth II.

The modern Handel and Haydn Society has strived to give historically informed performances of vocal and instrumental authenticity by using period instruments specific to the piece that is being played. The group started touring internationally in 1996 and traveled to many esteemed venues such as the Edinburgh Festival, The Proms, and the Haydn Festival in Austria. H&H won its first Grammy Award in 2003 for their recording of Sir Jon Tavener’s Lamentation and Praises with the San Francisco choral ensemble Chanticleer. The ensemble’s current Music Director, Harry Christopher, has been with the group since 2006 and will continue until 2015. Handel and Haydn will celebrate its bicentennial next year starting with their 161st performance of Handel’s Messiah in December 2014 and ending with Messiah in December 2015. The group has a subscription series in their Symphony and Jordan Halls and reaches an annual audience of over 35,000, the largest audience of such historically performed performance in North America.

The Handel and Haydn Society is committed to musical education and has provided outreach opportunities to children in eastern Massachusetts. In 1994, the Vocal Apprenticeship Program (VAP) was started to provide in-depth training for talented young vocalists whose family lack the financial resources to pursue private instruction. They also organize Collaborative Youth Concerts that bring singers from different high schools together in performance alongside the Handel and Haydn Society musicians. The Society also sponsors a financial award given to high school graduates of the VAP program who intend to continue onto a professional musical career.

Ticket Information:
Tickets for the Handel and Hayden Society on April 26 at 8:00 p.m. and April 27 at 7:00 p.m. in First Congregational Church are priced at $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.

Sightlines: Pre-concert talks with the artists will occur on April 26, 7-7:30. This event is free to ticket holders.

--Joe Yang, Cal Performances

PARMA Recordings Announces the 2013 PARMA Student Composer Competition
PARMA Recordings is pleased to announce the 2013 PARMA Student Composer Competition, the second in a series of annual competitions for student composers.

Ten winners will be selected to have their work published in the 2013 PARMA Anthology Of Music, and one Grand Prize Winner will be selected to have their piece performed at the PARMA Music Festival (August 15-17, 2013 in Portsmouth NH).  All ensemble, rehearsal, and publicity costs will be completely subsidized by PARMA, and the performance will be included in all promotional materials for the Festival.

There is no fee for entry. The call for scores and full submission details will be distributed on March 29th, and submissions will be accepted from April 1st until April 30th. More information will be included in the official Call For Scores and on the PARMA Web site.

Last year's competition produced an outstanding response, with hundreds of students submitting works for consideration. The ten winners are featured in the 2012 PARMA Anthology of Music, and Grand Prize Winner Quinn Dizon's Awakening was recorded by Clayton Hoener, Peter Sulski, Ron Lowry, and Hannah Shields in August 2012 and is featured on the upcoming album PERCEPTIONS (Navona Records).

Competition Timeline:
March 29, 2013 - Call for scores distributed
April 1, 2013 - Submission period opens
April 30, 2013 - Submission period closes
May 1 - June 15, 2013 - Judging period
June 28, 2013 - Winners announced

2012 PARMA Anthology of Music:
Quinn Dizon Recording Session:
PERCEPTIONS album page:
PARMA Music Festival:

PARMA Music Festival:
The 2013 PARMA Music Festival will be held on August 15-17, 2013 in Portsmouth NH and features Grammy-winning clarinet virtuoso Richard Stoltzman, marimba soloist Mika Stoltzman, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and the PARMA Orchestra with conductor John Page, and many more. The Festival will also serve as the official host for the 2013 Region 1 Conference of the Society of Composers Incorporated (SCI), one of the largest composer-service organizations in the country.

Daytime and evening performances, listening parties, and panels will be held at multiple venues in Portsmouth over the three days, highlighted by a closing concert event at The Music Hall on Saturday, August 17 featuring the world premieres of "Elegy For Clarinet & Orchestra" (1949) by Lukas Foss with Richard Stoltzman and the PSO, and "Streams" (2010) by Martin Schlumpf with David Taylor, Matthias Müller, and the PARMA Orchestra.  Both orchestras will be conducted by Mr. Page.

--Rory Cooper, PARMA Recordings

Alison Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble to Embark on First Major U.S. Tour
The eleven-city tour includes concerts in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and more, April 5-20.

Beginning April 5th, trumpeter Alison Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble will embark on an eleven-city tour of the U.S., including stops in Los Angeles (April 7), Chicago (April 19) and New York City (April 20).  The two-time Classical BRIT winner and the acclaimed ensemble will perform varying sets of repertoire ranging from the Italian Baroque (Vivaldi, Albinoni, and Gemianini – including works from their Italian Concertos album), the English Baroque (Purcell and Handel, in support of Balsom’s newest album Sound The Trumpet) the Romantic Era (Mendelssohn’s violin concerto) and even a piece of Modern music (James MacMillan’s Seraph concerto - commissioned by the Scottish Ensemble and dedicated to Alison, and recorded on her album of the same name)

Additional tour stops include: Santa Barbara, CA (April 5), La Jolla, CA (April 6), Kansas State University (April 9), Melbourne, FL (April 12), Gainesville, FL (April 13), Austin, TX (April 16), Urbana, IL (April 18), and Ann Arbor, MI (April 20).

The tour follows on the heels of Balsom’s Boston debut at the Summer Arts Weekend in July 2012, and her Hollywood Bowl debut in August. Alison is one of the few classical artists who has established a mainstream presence around the world – she has performed on Late Night with David Letterman and A Prairie Home Companion in the U.S., and in her native Britain she played for nearly 200 million viewers at the Last Night of the Proms and is a fixture of daytime TV and newspapers. Alison has had numerous successful collaborations with the Scottish Ensemble, and their Italian Concertos album was one of the bestselling classical albums of 2010.

Tour dates and presenters:
April 5: UCSB Arts & Lectures Program – The Granada Theater (Santa Barbara, CA)
April 6: La Jolla Music Society - Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (San Diego, CA)
April 7: Los Angeles Philharmonic - Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)
April 9: Kansas State University - McCain Auditorium (Manhattan, KS)
April 12: Melbourne Chamber Music Society - St. Mark's United Methodist Church (Melbourne, FL)
April 13: University of Florida Gainesville - University Auditorium (Gainesville, FL)
April 14: Peoples' Symphony Concerts - The Town Hall (New York, NY)
April 16: Texas Performing Arts - Bass Concert Hall (Austin, TX)
April 18: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts - Foellinger Great Hall (Urbana, IL)
April 19: University of Chicago Presents - Logan Center for the Arts (Chicago, IL)
April 20: University Musical Society - Hill Auditorium (Ann Arbor, MI)

--Andrew Ousley, EMI Music

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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