Classical Music News of the Week, May 5, 2013

Cal Performances Presents Ojai North!

The World Premiere of Mark Morris’s The Rite of Spring, along with eight other concerts, including two free outdoor events, film screenings, and pre-concert talks are offered.

Works by Lou Harrison, John Cage, Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, and John Luther Adams with the Bad Plus, Colin Fowler, red fish blue fish, and the American String Quartet on Wednesday-Saturday, June 12-15, at Hertz Hall, Berkeley, California.

Cal Performances’ third annual Ojai North!, a multi-year partnership with the esteemed Ojai Music Festival, opens with a double bill on Wednesday, June 12, at 6:00 p.m. John Luther Adams’s Strange and Sacred Noise with red fish blue fish will be performed at the Faculty Glade in a free and open to the public concert. The festival then moves indoors to Hertz Hall where the world premiere of new choreography to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by the 2013 Ojai Music Director and choreographer Mark Morris will be given at 8:00 p.m. Set to The Bad Plus’s re-scoring of the explosive masterpiece for piano, bass, and drums, The Rite of Spring will be performed by the jazz trio and the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG). Highlighted by works that Morris champions, the festival programming also includes compositions by Lou Harrison, John Cage, Henry Cowell, and Charles Ives. In addition to The Bad Plus, recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as “about as badass as highbrow can get,” joining Morris will be his MMDG Music Ensemble, pianist/organist Colin Fowler, the American String Quartet, percussion ensemble red fish blue fish, and Gamelan Sari Raras from the University of California, Berkeley. All performances will be at Hertz Hall unless otherwise noted.

A series of Discover, Engage! education and community events to compliment Ojai North! Programming has been planned. Two free and open to the public concerts of works by John Luther Adams and performed by percussion ensemble red fish blue fish will be held at the Faculty Glade. In addition to Strange and Sacred Noise kicking off Ojai North!, Adams’s Songbirdsongs will be performed on Friday, June 14, at 10:00 p.m. Cultural critic Wendy Lesser leads a series of pre-concert conversations with Mark Morris and composer John Luther Adams. On Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday, June 15, at 6:00 p.m., Lesser speaks with Morris; on Friday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. she interviews Adams. Two films will be offered at Wheeler Auditorium. Salomé (1923; Director Charles Bryant), a silent film starring Russian actress Alla Nazimove, will be screened on Thursday, June 13, at 10:00 p.m. The film is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play and will be accompanied live by The Bad Plus. On Saturday, June 16, at 4:00 p.m., film director Eva Solte will introduce her 2012 documentary Lou Harrison: A World of Music.

Each summer the Ojai Music Festival (June 6-9, 2013), explores the musical interests of its Music Director, a position that is held for the first time this year by a choreographer. “The Bay Area understands the genius of Mark Morris and his talents as a dancer, choreographer and musician, perhaps better than anywhere else in the world,” said Cal Performances’ Director Matías Tarnopolsky. “We are proud to support Mark as Music Director of Ojai North! and introduce his fans here to this new endeavor.” Morris, who considers Cal Performances his West Coast home, has partnered with the institution since 1987, presenting numerous World, United States, and West Coast premieres.

The Ojai Music Festival continue in Berkeley at the end of every annual music festival in Ojai Valley. This collaborative effort makes possible annual reprises of Ojai concerts in Berkeley, as well as co-commissions and co-productions. More than just a sharing of resources, Ojai North! represents a joining of artistic ideals and aspirations. The combined efforts of Ojai’s legacy of artistic innovation and Cal Performances’ tradition of groundbreaking productions create a joint force that allows artists to achieve more than would be possible by each organization separately.

Tickets range from $20.00-$110.00, are subject to change, and are 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

Music Accord Announces Launch of First Web Site
Also, they have announced upcoming premieres of five commissioned works by Mark Adamo, Brad Mehldau, Sebastian Currier, Shulamit Ran, and Lowell Liebermann.

Music Accord, a consortium of ten presenting organizations across the United States dedicated to supporting the cultivation of American chamber music, announces the upcoming premieres of five commissioned works by Mark Adamo, Shulamit Ran, Sebastian Currier, Lowell Liebermann and Brad Mehldau. Launched in 1998 with world premiere compositions from Jake Heggie and Elliott Carter, Music Accord has quietly been commissioning chamber and recital works from leading composers for nearly fifteen years, with the primary goal of both perpetuating the creation of new American works as well as presenting them in leading concert halls across the United States and abroad.

At this time, Music Accord is proud to announce the inauguration of their Web site:, which will gather and provide a comprehensive list of commissions, composers, performing artists, presenting organizations, video and audio samples, and publication information.

Ed Yim, who serves as consultant and administrator for the consortium, says of the group, "It is truly a remarkable and enlightened group of presenters who have banded together with the sole motivation to encourage American composers and American artists to create chamber music. The most recent commissions represent support for five of the finest musicians working today, adding to the already rich body of work this partnership has supported."

Music Accord was founded by Zarin Mehta, working with administrator Frederick Noonan. As Mr. Mehta explains, “The original idea in creating Music Accord was to add rich new works to the chamber music and recital genres, as well as provide numerous performances of those works by major presenters throughout the United States.”

Music Accord is currently comprised of ten performing arts organizations throughout the country:
Celebrity Series of Boston
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City
Concerts from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
UMS at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa
Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at University of California, Davis
San Francisco Performances

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Bang on a Can Beyond Borders in May
The Bang on a Can All-Stars perform in Brugge, Belgium; London & Norwich, England; Uppsala, Sweden; and Reykjavik, Iceland from May 7-17, 2013. The tour features European premieres of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer with Trio Medieval and the All-Stars’ Icelandic debut performing Field Recordings; plus Bang on a Can Performs in China at the Beijing Modern Music Festival on May 18 & 20, 2013.

Bang on a Can goes beyond borders in May, with the Bang on a Can All-Stars on tour performing in Brugge, Belgium (Concertgebouw, May 7 and 9); London, England (Barbican Centre, May 11); Uppsala, Sweden (Uppsala Konsert and Kongress, May 13); Norwich, England (Norfolk-Norwich Festival, May 15); and in their Icelandic debut in Reykjavik (Reykjavik Arts Festival, May 17). In addition, Bang on a Can brings its polyrhythmic virtuosity and versatility to the Beijing Modern Music Festival in China, celebrating the breadth of the genre-busting Bang on a Can sound with two concerts of music by Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe: May 18 (China National Center for the Performing Arts) and May 20 (Central Conservatory of Music), performed by the Bang on a Can Festival Ensemble - cutting-edge performers on the New York new music scene from the annual Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA.

This May, Bang on a Can is producing three simultaneous international touring programs: in Europe featuring the renowned Bang on a Can All-Stars; in Beijing, China featuring the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra combined with a Festival Ensemble of musicians culled from its annual Summer Festival at Mass MoCA, and in Mexico featuring its renegade mobile ensemble Asphalt Orchestra.

Over the last 25 years, Bang on a Can has been a leading international producer of American contemporary music. Since shortly after its inception in 1987 Bang on a Can has been producing international events annually, bringing the spirit of its renowned Marathon programs abroad to festivals and venues worldwide. The Bang on a Can All-Stars, formed in 1992, were designed in part as a way of delivering Bang on a Can’s curatorial vision to audiences far from its New York shores. Over the last 20 years, the All-Stars have appeared annually throughout Europe’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals, as well as in Australia and Asia, and have toured three times to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The extent of Bang on a Can’s international activities is not only rooted in Bang on a Can All-Stars’ performances. Bang on a Can’s acclaimed staged productions also have international roots. Highlights include the Gordon/Lang/Wolfe collaboration The Carbon Copy Building, which was commissioned by and premiered at the Settembre Musica Festival in Turin, Italy in 1999; Lost Objects which was commissioned by and premiered at the Dresden Music Festival in 2001; and Field Recordings which was co-commissioned by and premiered at the Barbican Centre, London in 2012.

For more information:

--Christina Jensen PR

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Announces 2013/14 Birmingham Concert Season
Sixth season with acclaimed music director Andris Nelsons
Mendelssohn symphony cycle in Birmingham’s Town Hall with principal guest conductor Edward Gardner
Three complete concert operas: Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury
Five premieres from Charlotte Bray, Brett Dean, Gerald Barry, Francisco Coll and Hans Abrahamsen

Strauss and Britten anniversaries, plus CBSO 20:20--continuing the countdown to the CBSO’s centenary with a focus on 1913 and 1914

Guest appearances by Anne-Sophie Mutter, Håkan Hardenberger and Thomas Adès, plus debuts by Benjamin Grosvenor and Rafael Payare
Broadest-ever programme, featuring music for audiences of all ages and musical tastes

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announced its 2013-14 Birmingham concert season, with an ambitious and wide ranging series, and a host of internationally acclaimed performers and artists taking centre stage. For more information, click here:

--Ruth Green, CBSO

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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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa