Classical Music News of the Week, April 7, 2013

Dublin International Piano Competition Presents 25th Anniversary Winner Nikolay Khozyainov at Carnegie Hall April 30, 2013

Selected from 60 participating contestants around the globe, Russian-born pianist Nikolay Khozyainov was named First Prize winner of the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition on May 15, 2012. As first-prize winner, 20-year-old Mr. Khozyainov -- the second youngest winner in the Competition’s history -- received a cash award of €15,000 and numerous international engagements, including his New York debut recital on April 30, 2013, 7:30 PM at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. John O’Conor, Artistic Director of the Competition since its inception, reflected on Mr. Khozyainov’s remarkable triumph: “I was reluctant to award First Prize of this prestigious competition to such a young performer, but when Nikolay Khozyainov played like a young God of the piano, how could we not give him the support that his immense talent so richly deserved?” The program will be Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7, Chopin’s Berceuse in D-flat Major, Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, and Mozart/Liszt/Busoni’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Referred to as a “precocious genius” by Tom Mooney of Ireland’s Wexford Echo, who “handles formidable technical challenges with ease,” Mr. Khozyainov’s recital at Wexford Opera House “brought a captive and attentive audience on a sojourn, at times light and at times dark.” Regarding his rendition of Chopin, the Echo commented: “Khozyainov, lauded as a fine interpreter of Chopin, seems to be drawn to any challenge that can define different degrees of separation for the musician… the tension and release of the Berceuse are all the more compelling for Khozyainov because of the contrasting style, a cue for the occasional glimpses of ecstatic pleasure that often dawns on his young face…”

Nikolay Khozyainov is the winner of a multitude of international piano competitions, including First Prize at the "Virtuosi per musica di pianoforte" International Piano Competition (Czech Republic, 2003), First Prize at the IX International Carl Filtsch Piano Competition (Romania, 2004), First Prize at the Alexander Scriabin International Competition in Paris (2008), Second Prize at the 6th International Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Moscow (2008) and Second Prize at the 2012 Sydney International Piano Competition. Nikolay Khozyainov was also the youngest finalist of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (2010). After the competition, he gave recitals in Zelazowa Wola (Chopin’s birthplace) and in Chopin’s Museum in Warsaw.

Mr. Khozyainov has performed numerous recitals and concerti in internationally renowned concert halls in Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, France, Japan and the USA. Orchestras include the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also participated in the Gdan'sk Autumn in the Baltic Philharmonic Festival and the Mozart and Tchaikovsky International Music Festival in Paris (2009). This season, Mr. Khozyainov performs in Japan, Europe, Mexico and the USA in recital and with orchestras. He will make his debut at Wigmore Hall in London in 2014.

In 2011, Mr. Khozyainov’s debut album was released on CD Accord (distributed worldwide by Naxos), featuring works by Chopin and Liszt and recorded at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. In 2012, the Chopin Institute in Warsaw issued his CD as part of their “Blue series”, which showcases Chopin performances recorded live during the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (October 2010). In October 2012, a recording for JVC was released in Japan, including works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Liszt.

Nikolay Khozyainov was born in 1992 in Blagoveschensk, Russia. He began playing piano of his own accord when he was just five years old. From 1999 to 2010 he attended the Central Musical School of the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Since 2005, he has studied with renowned pianist and teacher Mikhail Voskresensky at Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music.

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

A New Look at the Brahms Symphonies
John Axelrod will record unique Brahms symphonies + Clara Schumann Lieder cycle, exploring the symphonies as four sides of the woman with whom Brahms was obsessed. “I can do nothing but think of you…” wrote Johannes Brahms in a letter to Clara Schumann in 1855, the year he started composing his First Symphony in earnest.

In a fascinating new concept, John Axelrod (2012 ICMA Award winner and winner of the ResMusica “Best Classical CD of 2012”) is to spearhead a multi-year exploration of the relationship between Brahms and the woman he loved, Clara Schumann, as depicted in their music. “If you listen to the Brahms symphonies,” says Axelrod, “each of them seems to inhabit a completely different, though connected, character. Then, if you listen to the songs of Clara Schumann, they also fall clearly into a very similar four moods. I believe that Clara’s own personality is in those songs, and so if that is true, it is also possible to think of the four Brahms symphonies as portraits of Clara – four different aspects of her.”

To explore this idea, four CDs will – for the first time - each pair a Brahms symphony with its ‘matching’ set of five of Clara’s Lieder. And to illustrate it further, there will be four different world-class singers as Clara, each a different voice-type (including one man!) - a fitting project to start in 2013, the 180th anniversary year of Brahms’s birth. Says Axelrod, “Brahms loved, and he was beloved – and they shared what Clara once called in her diary, ‘the most beautiful mutual understanding of two souls’. That is there in his symphonies, it finds its image in her songs.”

In the symphonies, Axelrod will conduct the Grammy Award-winning Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi (who, says Axelrod “truly play Brahms con amore”), and in the songs he will accompany from the piano. For the first release, in September 2013, the second and fourth symphonies will be coupled with songs sung by, respectively, Ana Maria Martinez and Indra Thomas. The second set of two symphonies and Lieder will be issued in 2014. The producer for the recording is multiple Grammy Award-winner Michael Fine, and fellow Grammy-winner Wolf Dieter Karwatky is engineer.

“This is a major release for Telarc, and perhaps one of the most fascinating we’ve ever done,” says Telarc’s Vice President of Marketing Jason Linder. “John Axelrod has not only emerged as one of the finest conductors of today, he is also one of the music world’s great innovators, and both sides of him come together in this concept.”

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Music Institute of Chicago Honors Classical Music Visionary Lang Lang at 83rd Anniversary Gala May 13
The Music Institute of Chicago, now in its 83rd year, hosts its annual gala Monday, May 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 East Delaware Place, Chicago, Illinois. The oldest community music school in Illinois and one of the three largest community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute is planning a celebratory evening highlighted by the presentation of the Dushkin Award to internationally acclaimed pianist, cultural ambassador and educator Lang Lang.

Chaired by Susan B. Noyes and Catherine A. Daniels, the evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established 27 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s visionary founders Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. Past recipients include Stephen Sondheim, Riccardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleisher, Renée Fleming, Placido Domingo, William Warfield, Isaac Stern, Sir Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Samuel Ramey, and Bruno Bartoletti, among others.

This year’s recipient, Lang Lang, has been heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times and the “world’s ambassador of the keyboard” by the New Yorker. He appeared in the 2009 Time 100, Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and more than 4 billion people viewed his performance in Beijing’s opening ceremonies for the 29th Olympic Games. He has inspired more than 40 million Chinese children to learn classical piano—among others around the world.

The Music Institute of Chicago presents its fourth annual “Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago,” which recognizes individuals who have provided visionary philanthropic and civic leadership for the broad spectrum of arts in Chicago and Illinois, to Kay and Jim Mabie. Their decades-long volunteerism and generous philanthropy exemplify their extraordinary commitment to the arts, culture, and education. Their strong involvement and generous support of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, WBEZ Public Radio, WTTW Public Television, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Old Town School of Folk Music, the Ravinia Festival, the Music Institute of Chicago, and as founders of the Chicago High School for the Arts continue to enrich and advance Chicago’s cultural legacy.

Honorary Chairs for the event are Alexandra and John Nichols, who served as chairs of the 80th, 81st and 82nd Anniversary Galas. Musical performances throughout the evening include some of the Music Institute’s 750 talented piano students, award-winning students from the Music Institute’s Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, and students from the Music Institute’s Jazz Studies program with artist-in-residence Tammy McCann.

The generosity of individuals and companies who support the Music Institute’s annual gala provide the primary source of scholarship and financial aid programs that benefit more than 5,000 students annually at the Music Institute’s seven primary campuses, as well as through its extensive outreach programs in Chicago Public Schools and with community-based nonprofit organizations.

Individual tickets to the Music Institute of Chicago’s 83rd Anniversary Gala are $550; table sponsorships are available for $5,500–50,000. For information, please call 847.448.8327.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

New Concert Series Debuts in San Francisco
“Curious Flights” Inaugural 2013 season highlighted by West Coast premiere of Britten’s Movements for a Clarinet Concerto; weeklong residency by British composer Edwin Roxburgh; and Dylan Mattingly’s Six Night Sunrise performed by violinist Rene Mandel.

“Curious Flights,” a new concert series dedicated to presenting new and rarely performed works from the solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire, announced today the lineup for its inaugural 2013 season. Highlights of the inaugural three-concert series are the West Coast Premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Movements for a Clarinet Concerto led by conductor Alasdair Neale with British clarinetist Brenden Guy as soloist; a weeklong residency by renowned British composer, oboe virtuoso and contemporary conductor Edwin Roxburgh; and a performance of Bay Area composer Dylan Mattingly's Six Night Sunrise by acclaimed violinist René Mandel. “Curious Flights” is the brainchild of Brenden Guy. A native of the U.K., Brenden Guy is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Mr. Guy has designated that proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to a San Francisco Conservatory of Music fund created specifically for assisting international students studying music in the United States.

Cultural Fusion:
Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco

A Britten Celebration
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 8 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco

Transatlantic Crossings
Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco

San Francisco-based Valinor Winds will perform a world premiere commission by Bay Area composer Joseph Stillwell entitled Fantasy Pieces on the opening concert of “Curious Flights’” inaugural season Friday, April 26, 2013. Writing in San Francisco Classical Voice, Janos Gereben called the March 2012 world premiere of Stillwell’s Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano “instantly appealing, gorgeously tonal…simply beautiful.” The program also showcases some of the Bay Area’s foremost contemporary music ensembles and performers including Lithuanian-Canadian soprano Indre Viskontas, a member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music faculty and Co-founder and Director of Vocallective, performing Updike’s Science by Brian Holmes with Nonsemble 6 pianist and Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival Founder Ian Scarfe. Violinist Kevin Rogers, also of Nonsemble 6 and Friction Quartet, joins Mr. Guy and Miles Graber for Aram Khachaturian’s Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano. Aleron Trio will present Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music for violin, cello and piano. Completing the program is a rare performance of Arnold Bax’s Nonet with the “Curious Flights” Chamber Ensemble conducted by Brenden Guy.

“Curious Flights” celebrates Benjamin Britten’s centennial on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 with a program showcasing some of the composer’s rarely performed works. Sun Valley Summer Symphony and Marin Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale will lead the West Coast Premiere of Britten’s Movements for a Clarinet Concerto, with Brenden Guy as soloist. The early sketches for this concerto, written in 1941 and intended for American clarinetist Benny Goodman, were impounded by U.S. Customs and as a result, the concerto was never completed. In 1990, eminent British composer Colin Matthews revived and orchestrated the complete sketch of the first movement, before creating a three-movement representational concerto in 2007 based on sketches from two separate incomplete works written by Britten during the same time. New Zealand tenor and former Merola Opera Program participant James Rogers returns to the Bay Area to perform Winter Words with Jillian Zack on piano. San Francisco Chronicle critic Joshua Kosman called Mr. Rogers’ 2008 performance in Britten’s Albert Herring “detailed and vocally resplendent” adding that his “limpid tone and impeccable diction matched his frail, slightly ethereal stage presence.” The program will also feature Movement for Wind Sextet performed by Valinor Winds and Phantasy in f minor for String Quintet by Friction Quartet with Jason Pyszkowski as guest violist.

“Curious Flights” concludes the 2013 inaugural season on Friday, October 18, 2013 with a program featuring a selection of contemporary works by U.K. and U.S. composers. Renowned British composer Edwin Roxburgh will join “Curious Flights” for a week residency offering master classes to the Bay Area, presenting a pre-concert lecture and conducting his own chamber work How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear, a work commissioned in 1971 by American violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Acclaimed violinist and Berkley Symphony Executive Director René Mandel is featured as soloist for Six Night Sunrise by Bay Area composer Dylan Mattingly, whose work Invisible Skyline was recently given a successful world premiere by Berkeley Symphony. British percussionist Nicholas Reed, a longtime collaborator of Roxburgh and Co-Artistic Director for this concert, also features as guest soloist and will perform Roxburgh’s Aube, a work written for him by the composer. Both graduates of the Royal College of Music, Mr. Reed and Mr. Guy join forces to perform Roxburgh’s Dithyramb I and Scenes From Dobashi by Bay Area composer Larry London, also featuring violinist Tess Varley.

“In the field of classical music, there are so many remarkable works that have been forgotten or neglected,” said “Curious Flights” founder and Artistic Director Brenden Guy. “The famous works with which we are all familiar are well taken care of. It is the works that have slipped through the cracks, and indeed those being written by composers today, that deserve to be found and given new life. I’ve always felt very blessed to be a classical musician and I believe that it is both an honor and a duty to continually seek out these works and give them their deserved chance to flourish.”

Single tickets are $15 and go on sale April 1, 2013 through “Curious Flights”: Discounted $10 student tickets are available to patrons under 35 with a valid I.D. Tickets can also be purchased on the door.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to a San Francisco Conservatory of Music fund created specifically for assisting international students studying music in the United States.

For further information on “Curious Flights,” please visit or email

--Karen Ames Communications

Announcing Airfield Broadcasts in Berlin & San Francisco
Parallel Large-Scale Spatial-Musical Celebrations Featuring Hundreds of Musicians: Tempelhof Broadcast, May 10-12, 2013, Tempelhof Field, Berlin; and Crissy Broadcast, October 26 & 27, 2013,
Crissy Field, San Francisco. Free and open to the public.

In 2013, two legendary urban airfields – Tempelhof Field in Berlin and Crissy Field in San Francisco – will be turned into vast musical canvases as part of renowned composer and San Francisco native Lisa Bielawa’s expansive new project, Airfield Broadcasts. Tempelhof Broadcast will take place on Friday, May 10 at 7pm; Saturday, May 11 at 3pm; and Sunday, May 12 at 2pm on the historic airfield-turned-public-park Tempelhof Field in Berlin in partnership with the Berlin Parks Department (Grün Berlin GmbH) and under the patronage of the U.S. Embassy. Crissy Broadcast will take place on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 (performance times to be announced) at Crissy Field in San Francisco, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Each Broadcast is 60-minutes long, and all performances are free and open to the public.

Bielawa’s Airfield Broadcasts are massive, spatialized symphonies involving approximately 1000 professional, student, and amateur musicians, including orchestras, bands, choruses, and experimental new music groups from Germany and the United States. On the selected days in May and October, hundreds of musicians will perform on the grounds of the former Tempelhof Airfield and Crissy Airfield for thousands of music lovers (and unwitting park goers).

The goal of the pieces is to interpret and celebrate these public spaces, allowing listeners to draw their own meaning and experience from them. Bielawa hopes that the projects will have a palpable and sustainable impact on the cities involved. She says, “I would like to see Airfield Broadcasts bring about new partnerships, new vitality, and new relationships between arts and civic institutions, between different generations and economic strata, between arts or music lovers and totally non-arts-identified park-goers enjoying a surprise encounter with music as a ‘happening’ in the middle of their familiar and beloved city.”

Marc Kasky, Director of Civic Engagement for Airfield Broadcasts, explains further, “As these two events unfold in parks that have complex histories, one purpose of the project is to interpret these sites – to help people get a sense of the unique attributes of their own urban environment, and the breadth and inclusivity of the culture of these places.”

The nature of Bielawa’s new work is in keeping with the definition of the word broadcast, “cast or scattered in all directions.” In each city, musicians will begin in the center of the field and disperse outwards according to instructions given to them in Bielawa’s musical score, coordinated only by synchronized watches and long-distance musical cues. Some players will move in clusters, and others will spread out in long chains. Groups may be instructed to stay close to each other for a certain duration, then peel away. Listeners in the parks will be able to choose how to hear the pieces, deciding where to move as the musicians disperse. Traveling on foot or bicycle or, in Berlin, on rollerblades, they will be able to take in several different points of view from throughout the fields over the course of the performances.

Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. Dedicated to integrating music with modern urban life outside the concert hall, she has previously composed music that celebrates public spaces – most notably Chance Encounter – a piece comprising songs and arias of overheard speech co-conceived with soprano Susan Narucki which was premiered in New York by Narucki and The Knights. A project of Creative Capital, the 35-minute work for roving soprano and chamber ensemble has since been performed in Venice, Vancouver, and in Rome on the banks of the Tiber River in partnership with urban placemaker Robert Hammond, a founder of The High Line park in New York.

More Information:
Official website: 
Lisa Bielawa’s Airfield Broadcasts blog:
Twitter: @AirfieldBcasts
Crowdfunding Campaign for Tempelhof Broadcast:

--Christina Jensen PR

Music Institute of Chicago Presents Acclaimed Violinist Rachel Barton Pine and Pianist Matthew Hagle May 18 at Nichols Concert Hall
The Music Institute of Chicago, celebrating its 10th anniversary season at Nichols Concert Hall, presents acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine, hailed as “an exciting, boundary-defying performer” by The Washington Post, and pianist and Music Institute faculty member Matthew Hagle. The performance takes place Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

The program includes:
Beethoven’s Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3
A set of lullabies, including Brahms’ “Wiegenlied” (Cradle Song), No. 4 from Fünf Lieder, Op. 49, arranged by Albert Spaulding; Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’Enfant (Child’s Dream), Op. 14; Clarke’s Lullaby (1918); and Still’s Mother and Child, No. 2 from Suite (1943)
Liszt’s Grand Duo concertant sur la romance de M. Lafont Le Marin
Rebikov’s Berceuse
Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, arranged by Frolov
Strauss’s Wiegenlied (Cradle Song)
Strauss’s Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18

Barton Pine and Hagle are alumni of the Music Institute of Chicago, beginning their studies with the school’s most famous pedagogues: Roland and Almita Vamos and Emilio del Rosario, respectively.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

PARMA Recordings Announces the 2013 PARMA Music Festival August 15-17, 2013 in Portsmouth, NH
PARMA Recordings is pleased to announce the 2013 PARMA Music Festival on August 15-17, 2013 in Portsmouth NH featuring 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.

"If you've got a tux, leave it at home - and if you don't, well that's perfect, because you'll be all set," says PARMA Recordings CEO Bob Lord. "This isn't about a scene, or a 'seen-and-be-seen' for that matter, this is all about the music itself. PARMA's work encompasses an extraordinarily wide cross-section of styles and presentations, and you'll hear and see this diversity and eclecticism throughout the Festival."

A full list of events featuring local, national, and international artists spanning the genres of classical, jazz, rock, and more will be announced in the spring. 

--Rory Cooper, PARMA Recordings

The Bach Sinfonia Presents “Most Beloved Bach” for April Concert
For Bach’s 328th Birthday Concert, we gather some of our favorite pieces and some of our favorite soloists.

Johann Sebastian Bach:
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043
Kathie Stewart, baroque flute
Dongsok Shin, harpsichord
Risa Browder & June Huang, baroque violins

The Bach Sinfonia
Daniel Abraham, Conductor and Artistic Director

Date and Time:
Sunday, April 7, 2013 AT 3 p.m.
Free Pre-Concert Discussion at 2:25 p.m.

Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
7995 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910

$30 adult
$27 seniors (60 and up)
$15 (ages 15 – University)
Free (ages 14 and under)

Order on-line at or call (301) 362-6525

While the Bach Sinfonia is dedicated to performance and education of music from all of the baroque and early classical periods, conductor/artistic director Daniel Abraham and the ensemble members hold a special place in their musical hearts for music from our namesake, J.S. Bach. Therefore, on Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center at Silver Spring, Sinfonia performs “Most Beloved Bach.”

In selecting only four great instrumental works by Bach, Abraham decided that this program should offer not only four outstanding masterpieces, but that the performance should reflect some of the variety of instrumental genres in which Bach composed. Here, he offers this brief look at the history of each of the works he chose for the program, as well as his personal interest and history with the pieces.

--Jennifer Buzzell

The Attacca Quartet Presents the Eleventh Haydn Concert of "The 68" Series at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on April 11th, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Continuing their valiant quest to play all 68 Haydn quartets over several years, the Attacca Quartet will perform at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (3 West 65th Street, NYC) on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.  The event is free, with a suggested donation of $10. For more information, click here:

Now in its tenth season, the Attacca Quartet has tackled enormous projects—their new debut album of John Adams works for string quartets entitled Fellow Traveler, hit stores on March 26th, they currently serve as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet, and they are in their third year of performing every string quartet that Haydn ever wrote—that would be 68 quartets, in case you were wondering.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Violinist Augustin Hadelich Debuts with San Francisco Symphony
Augustin Hadelich will make his debut with the San Francisco Symphony on April 17, 19 and 20, 2013, performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Conducted by SFS Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, the concerts will take place at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, with an additional run out to UC Davis's Mondavi Center on April 18.

The Beethoven Concerto occupies a cherished place in Mr. Hadelich's repertory. It has figured into a number of his debut performances, most recently in the UK with the BBC Philharmonic in February of 2013, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in October of 2012, and with the Seattle Symphony in September of 2010. The latter performance was critically hailed for its power by the Seattle Times: "The audience leapt to its collective feet in vociferous applause... Hadelich deserved the cheers. He plays with imagination and taste. His technique is secure, his tone ample and lustrous, especially at the top of the instrument's range, and he brought infectious rhythmic zest to the finale."

--Melanne Mueller, Music Company International

Vassily Primakov Makes His Carnegie Hall Solo Recital Debut with an All-Chopin Program Friday, April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Primakov brings Yamaha’s flagship CFX to Zankel for the instrument’s solo debut in that hall, in a performance presented by Yamaha.

“An idiosyncratic player with plenty of original ideas and the technique to carry them out.” --The New York Times

“Primakov’s empathy with Chopin’s spirit could hardly be more complete.” --Gramophone

On April 19th, Yamaha presents Pianist Vassily Primakov at Carnegie Hall, as the first artist to perform a solo recital on their CFX piano on the Zankel Hall stage. This all-Chopin recital lands on the heels of the release of Primakov’s new recording, Chopin, Three Sonatas, Four Ballades and Four Scherzos, released on his LP Classics label on March 12, 2013. The program at Zankel will be drawn from the repertoire on that release.

The American Record Guide praised Primakov, a lauded Chopin interpreter by saying “Since Gilels, how many pianists have the right touch? In Chopin, no one currently playing sounds as good as this! This is a great Chopin pianist.”

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

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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

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to

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

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa