Classical Music News of the Week, July 7, 2013

2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition

Thirty contestants from sixteen countries will compete July 30 - August 11, 2013; Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium to be the new site for first three rounds.

The Cleveland International Piano Competition proudly welcomes thirty of the world’s finest pianists to compete for fifteen prizes from July 30 - August 11, 2013. Since 1975, this outstanding organization has maintained its longstanding commitment to create a welcoming competition environment with a fair and balanced panel of multi-national jurors. The Competition’s esteemed partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra provides the opportunity for four finalists to perform with one of the world’s top orchestras– representing the highest level of collaboration for any piano competition.  

New for 2013:
In partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum’s Gartner Auditorium will house the first, second, and third rounds of the competition. The hall’s exquisite acoustics and beautiful design create the perfect atmosphere for the nearly 70 performances to take place.

Given the opportunity to utilize the additional spaces and amenities at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Competition announces the CIPC Festival, a diverse series of educational and entertaining events running concurrently with the Competition and designed to enhance audience experience. Professors from both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin College and Conservatory will present several symposia focusing on performance technique and the history and literature of the piano, entitled Competition Conversations. Patrons may expand their knowledge of the repertoire performed during the competition through a series of master classes and learn what jurors listen for from the candidates in a Jury Roundtable Discussion moderated by CIPC Executive Director Pierre van der Westhuizen. 

In addition to the $50,000 cash prize presented by Mr. and Mrs. Malachi Mixon III, the 2013 First Prize Winner also receives a New York recital debut and two years of management services valued at $160,000, as well as a compact disc recording on the Steinway & Sons record label. With a value of $40,000, this new award in partnership with Steinway & Sons, is further testament to CIPC’s unwavering commitment to advance the careers of its winners beyond the competition.

Selection Process:
Contestants selected to participate in the twentieth Cleveland International Piano Competition were chosen from nearly 300 worldwide applicants through a rigorous online screening process. By utilizing new technology offered by DecisionDesk, the exclusive auditions manager for the World Federation of International Music Competitions, the selection jury managed application materials and reviewed performance auditions through a secure website without traveling to on-site auditions. The selection jury was comprised of Paul Schenly, CIPC Artistic Director and Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Pierre van der Westhuizen, CIPC Executive Director, and Competition jury member Frank Weinstock.

Tickets for performances range $15 - $65 and CIPC Festival events range $0 - $10. Bravo Piano Gala Tickets range $350 - $1,000 and can be purchased by calling 216-707-5397. To purchase tickets for the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition & Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, please visit

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Bach's Mass in B Minor ~ Two Performances Only from American Bach Choir
Sunday, July 14, 7:00 p.m.  &  Sunday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music ~ 50 Oak Street at Van Ness

The composition that many call the greatest musical work of all time will be performed by the ABS Academy Orchestra, the American Bach Choir, and soloists from the Academy, conducted by ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas. Fanfare Magazine wrote that "Thomas' direction seems just right, capturing the humanity of the music…there is no higher praise for Bach performance."

--American Bach Soloists

National Dance Dance Celebrates on July 27, 2013
The Dizzy Feet Foundation (DFF) and two of the nation’s most renowned performing arts centers, The Music Center in Los Angeles and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., will celebrate National Dance Day (NDD) on Saturday, July 27, 2013.

Launched in 2010 by “So You Think You Can Dance” (SYTYCD) co-creator and DFF co-president Nigel Lythgoe, NDD is an annual celebration that takes place on the last Saturday in July.  This grassroots campaign encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity.

“My goal is to get people on their feet, as much for health reasons as for artistic reasons,” said Lythgoe. “National Dance Day is for everyone — individuals, families and communities — to come together, be physically active and celebrate the art of dance.”

NDD achieved national recognition when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a long-time proponent of healthy lifestyles, announced at a press conference on July 31, 2010, in Washington, D.C., that she was introducing a congressional resolution declaring the last Saturday in July to be the country’s official National Dance Day.

As its official contribution to NDD, each year DFF produces and distributes instructional videos featuring dance routines for the public to learn.  DFF encourages anyone and everyone to learn the routines and perform them on NDD.  This year, film director, producer and SYTYCD judge Adam Shankman choreographed an “Everybody Dance” routine for people of all levels of ability; this routine features the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell. Additionally, SYTYCD choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo have created a “Hip-Hop Master Class” routine for those who want to challenge themselves; this routine features the song “Live It Up” by Jennifer Lopez. The “Everybody Dance” routine will be available Tuesday, June 25; the “Hip-Hop Master Class” routine will be available Tuesday, July 2. Both routines can be found on DFF’s YouTube channel; both tracks can be purchased on iTunes.

Since National Dance Day is for everyone, those who want to celebrate are encouraged to create their own events to share with their families and communities, from flash mobs, dance-a-thons and charitable dance events to parents and children sharing a fun moment of dance at home.

DFF also encourages the public to submit videos of themselves performing the routines. Select videos may be included on SYTYCD and can be submitted via DFF’s Facebook page

--Bonnie Goodman, Goodman Communications Group

Jamie Barton Welcomed “Home” with Aspen Music Festival Special Concert
New Cardiff Singer of the World and Aspen school alumna is invited for special congratulatory concert.

It’s not every day that a school alumna wins one of the world’s most prestigious music competitions. Mind you, when the school has so storied a history as the Aspen Music Festival and School, it’s far from unheard of either – a quick browse of their list of distinguished alumni turns up such palmtaking names as Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Philip Glass, James Levine, Itzhak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw and Sarah Chang. But there’s always a reason to celebrate great achievements, and upon hearing of mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton’s victory in Cardiff (the double - she won both the song prize and the main award, a very rare achievement), they immediately tore up the festival schedule to invite her “home” for this year’s festival, in her first major US appearance after her win.

Jamie Barton will sing Elgar’s Sea Pictures, one of the works with which she competed, with the Aspen Chamber Symphony Orchestra on Friday, August 9. Fellow Aspen alumnus James Feddeck (himself this year’s winner of the Georg Solti Foundation’s prize) will conduct. This replaces the previously-announced work, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances. Sarah Chang will also appear with Barber’s violin concerto, and the concert will conclude with Schumann’s Symphony No 3.

Aspen-watchers will note as well that another of the pieces which she sang in Cardiff, the witch’s aria from Hansel and Gretel, is from a role she has previously sung complete at the Festival. Alan Fletcher, President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, says, “We are absolutely thrilled for Jamie’s success and delighted to be able to mark it with this special invitation. It felt absolutely right that she should in a sense be invited home so that we can show her how proud we all are. At the same time it’s a testament to the continuing high standards of our wonderful faculty members and staff here at Aspen, and a celebration of the work done and great things achieved by all of our students here. Jamie’s honour is also in some ways theirs too and we’re delighted that she will share her talents with us once more, that we can share in her joy.”

--Inverne Price Music

One World Symphony Presents Alive!
Sung Jin Hong, Artistic Director and Conductor

Gustav Mahler: From Symphony No. 3, "Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In" (1896)
Sung Jin Hong: Rite of the Cicada (2013 World Premiere)
Andrew Struck-Marcell: Summer Cloud (2013 World Premiere)
Béla Bartók: From the Diary of a Fly (circa 1935, World premiere arrangement for orchestra by Sung Jin Hong)
John Dowland: A time when silly bees could speak (1603)
Josquin des Prez: El grillo (“The cricket”) (1505)

One Performance:
Thursday, July 25, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Holy Apostles Church (air-conditioned!)
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street, Manhattan

Tickets $20 - includes a post-concert wine reception with live jazz by the Robert Page Jazz Trio

Awaken to endless summer days and nights - through the lush sounds of Mahler, charming chirping from Josquin's cricket, sublimly buzzing bees in Dowland, and the chanting cicadas in Sung Jin Hong's world premiere. One World Symphony's distinct summer program Alive! unveils composers (from five different centuries including two world premieres) who have found inspiration in Earth's first musicians: nature, birds, insects, trees, and water.

Light and dark contend in the first movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Pan awakes in stormy brass with a dark trombone solo over brooding drumbeats. Strings and woodwinds march with cheerful swagger. Despairing cries pitted against bright trumpets and horn flourishes hail the summer's light brilliantly victorious. Mahler may have written the Symphony of a Thousand,but this year - after 17 years of solitude and serenity - the cicadas have ascended in the the Northeast to compose the living chorus of billions. Sung Jin Hong's world premiere of Rite of the Cicada celebrates the journey of self-discovery they inspire from their precious cycle: meditative slumber, transfiguration, and, after having waited for nearly two decades for a few weeks of social networking, their unique liebestod of procreation and death. Andrew Struck-Marcell derives nostalgic inspiration from the childhood image of a persistent swarming gnats hovering at dusk under a sunset-stained sky for Summer Cloud. It is as though nature is a wonderful symphony that people and science continue to be touched, awed and inspired.

For more information:

--One World Symphony

Placido Domingo Comes to the Greek Theatre at UC, Berkeley
Saturday, Sept. 7, 8:00 P.M., with Guest Sopranos Angel Joy Blue and Micäela Oeste and and Guest Conductor Eugene Kohn.

Presale tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 9 at 10:00 a.m.
Tickets go on sale to the general public Sunday, July 14 at 10:00 a.m.

Plácido Domingo will perform a very special evening of music at UC Berkeley’s historic Greek Theatre on Saturday, September 7, at 8:00 p.m. Joined by guest sopranos Angel Joy Blue and Micäela Oeste and guest conductor Eugene Kohn, this will be Plácido Domingo’s first appearance at the Greek Theatre and his first evening-length solo performance in the Bay Area since 1995. This concert is presented by Another Planet Entertainment in association with Cal Performances.

Plácido Domingo is a world-renowned, multifaceted artist, recognized not only as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera but also as a respected conductor. Domingo’s vocal repertoire encompasses 140 stage roles, a number unmatched by any other celebrated tenor in history. His more than 100 recordings of complete operas, compilations of arias and duets, and crossover discs have earned him eleven Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards, as well as two Emmy Awards for the television film Homage to Seville and for the Met’s “Silver Gala” program. He was the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year in 2010. He celebrated his 70th birthday in January 2011, but his gifts and energy remain undiminished. Newsweek and other international publications have fittingly described Plácido Domingo as “the King of Opera,” “a true renaissance man in music,” and “the greatest operatic artist of modern times.”

Ticket information:
Tickets for Plácido Domingo on Saturday, September 7, at 8:00 p.m. at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley range from $79.50-$495.00. Presale tickets are available Tuesday, July 9, at 10:00 a.m. until Saturday, July 13, at 11:59 p.m. online only through and Presale password = GREEK.

Tickets are available to the general public on Sunday, July 14, at 10:00 a.m. via and Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

--Christina Kellogg, Cal Performances

Cellist Tanya Tomkins at American Bach Soloists Summer Bach Festival, July 20, 8 P.M.
Distinguished Artist Series ~ Tanya Tomkins, violoncello
Saturday, July 20, 8:00 p.m.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street at Van Ness, San Francisco, CA

This season’s Distinguished Artist recital will feature violoncellist Tanya Tomkins on July 20. Hailed as an artist "with a very special and unusual intensity" by NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands), Ms. Tomkins is the first cellist ever to win the international Bodky Competition for Early Music Soloists.  As an active soloist and chamber recitalist Tomkins has performed to critical acclaim at prestigious concert venues around the world including Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, among many others. Ms. Tomkins will join members of ABS in chamber works by Vivaldi and Barrière and will be the soloist in C.P.E. Bach’s Concerto in A Major and Bach’s Suite for Unaccompanied Solo in C minor. Following the performance Ms. Tomkins will sign copies of her critically acclaimed CD, J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello (Avie AV2212).

--Christopher Lewis, American Bach Soloists

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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