Classical Music News of the Week, August 18, 2013

Philip Lasser’s The Circle and the Child: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra to be premiered by Simone Dinnerstein

Premiere performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (October 2013), Boulder Philharmonic (March 2014) and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra (May 2014)

Composer Philip Lasser and pianist Simone Dinnerstein join forces once again in Lasser’s The Circle and the Child: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. The new concerto will be premiered by Dinnerstein with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya on October 17, 2013, at 8:00 pm and October 19 at 7:30pm in Atlanta Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center, followed by performances with the Boulder Philharmonic on March 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm in Macky Auditorium and March 24, 2014 at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra on May 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm in RiverView Theater, both led by conductor Michael Butterman.

Lasser and Dinnerstein have a history of successful collaboration, which began in 2008 when Dinnerstein performed and recorded Lasser’s Twelve Variations on a Bach Chorale (Telarc, The Berlin Concert).

The synergy between the two is best described in a review from The Washington Post of Lasser’s previous work for Dinnerstein: “Bach, for [Dinnerstein], is an entryway into other styles, as a reading of Philip Lasser's Twelve Variations on a Chorale by J.S. Bach highlights. Lasser, a Juilliard composition professor and longtime friend of the pianist, uses his command of harmony to build moments of steely percussion and misty impressionism far removed from Bach's generally courtly sound. Dinnerstein makes this evolution feel natural as the sound fabric expands and grows more diffuse, culminating in moments of grandeur and poetry.”

Philip Lasser’s The Circle and the Child: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is a journey through a kaleidoscope of musical landscapes. Cast in three movements, the concerto’s core thread is a Bach Chorale “Ihr Gestirn, ihr hohen Lüfte,” which weaves its meaning throughout the vast musical palette that is Lasser’s poetic voice.

Lasser’s ability to make the listener travel with the music is unique and The Circle and the Child tells a profound and simple story of traveling and discovery, of memory and of return. The work is 28 minutes in length and is scored for winds in pairs: two trumpets, four horns, two trombones, as well as harp, percussion, strings and solo piano.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 41st Season Sixth Week of Concerts
Beethoven String Quintet & More:
Sunday, August 18 at 6pm
The Lensic Performing Arts Center

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 2013 Artist-in-Residence, distinguished pianist Garrick Ohlsson, joins flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, oboist Robert Ingliss, clarinetist Patrick Messina, bassoonist Theodore Soluri, and horn player Julie Landsman for Ludwig Thuille’s Sextet for Piano & Winds. Mr. Ohlsson returns to the Festival for the first time since his debut ten years ago.

Mr. Messina, Principal Clarinet of the Orchestre National de France, opens the concert with contemporary German composer/clarinetist Jörg Widmann’s virtuosic Fantasie. The program closes with Beethoven’s bold and imaginative String Quintet in C major with violinists William Preucil and Benny Kim, violists Steven Tenenbom and Daniel Phillips, and cellist Eric Kim.

Sunday Series subscription: $390
Single tickets: $12-73; Ages 35 & Under $15; Ages 6-10 $10

“Years of Wonder” Mini-Festival:
Monday, August 19 at 6pm
The Lensic Performing Arts Center

This four-concert “festival within a festival” focuses on the masterpieces of Gesualdo, Mozart, and Schumann written in the years 1611, 1786, 1788, and 1842—each an exceptionally prolific year in the composers’ lives.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival welcomes back the Santa Fe Desert Chorale—one of the nation’s premier choral ensembles—for the final numbers of Gesualdo’s ethereal Book V madrigals programmed with Mozart’s last piano trio, with violinist Ida Kavafian, cellist Peter Wiley, and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott.  Schumann’s exuberant Piano Quintet with violinists William Preucil and Benny Kim, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellist Eric Kim, and Ms. McDermott closes the 2013 season of concerts.

Monday Series subscription: $390; Years of Wonder subscription (August 12, 14, 15 and 19): $252*
Single tickets: $12-73; Ages 35 & Under $15; Ages 6-10 $10

*Monday Series subscribers can attend all “Years of Wonder” concerts for an additional $126, and Thursday Series subscribers can attend all “Years of Wonder” concerts for an additional $189

For more information on Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's concerts and to order tickets, please call 505-982-1890 or visit The box office is located in the lobby of the New Mexico Museum of Art at 107 West Palace Avenue and is open daily from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Vocal Auditions One-Night Only for One World Symphony’s 2013-14 Season
2013–2014 Season Vocal Auditions--One Night Only:
Sunday, September 8, 2013, 3:30–6:00 p.m.
Holy Apostles Church
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street
Manhattan, NY

For works by Verdi, Wagner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Puccini, Hindemith, Korngold, Berlioz, Handel, Bach, Purcell, and others.

Details here:

For principal, section, and substitute positions, please email your cover letter and résumé to

--Adrienne Metzinger, One World Symphony

2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition Announces 2013 Winner of $50,000 Grand Prize
On August 10, Russian Stanislav Khristenko was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition. The distinguished jury selected Mr. Khristenko from a field of 28 candidates who performed over a ten-day period.

By the close of Friday and Saturday's final performances, the competition's jurors were faced with a difficult task, as all four finalists delivered exceptional performances of their respective concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra and Maestro Stefan Sanderling. While The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Zachary Lewis noted the outstanding musicality of all the finalists, he praised Mr. Khristenko's performance of Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 for its "shimmering filigree and phrases of exquisite tenderness, in which every note mattered."

In addition to a cash prize of $50,000 presented by Mr. and Mrs. A. Malachi Mixon III- one of the largest cash prizes of its kind- Mr. Khristenko receives more than 50 worldwide engagements, three years of management services, a recording by Steinway & Sons, New York, and a New York recital at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on May 19, 2014.

Additional awards included:
Second Prize: Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, Russia- award of $25,000 in honor of Karen Knowlton, presented with major support from Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Manuel, with additional support from Mrs. Marvin A. Evenchik, and The Park Foundation.

Third Prize: François Dumont, France- Cash award of $15,000, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Manuel.

Fourth Prize: Jiayan Sun, China- Cash award of $10,000, presented by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Kaufman.

Baroque Prize:Andrejs Osokins- $2,500 for the best performance of a Baroque composition, presented by Art of Beauty

Beethoven Prize: Stanislav Khristenko- $2,000 for the best performance of a work by Beethoven, presented by the Evenchik family in memory of Barbara and Marvin Evenchik.

Cairns Family American Prize: Oskar Jezior- $1,500 for the best performance of an American work composed after 1944, presented by the Cairns Family Foundation.

Chopin Prize: $2,000 each to François Dumont and Ruoyu Huang for the best performances of a Chopin composition. One prize is presented by the William O. and Gertrude Lewis Frohring Foundation in memory of Gertrude Lewis Frohring. The additional prize is presented as a result of a jury tie by the Szilagyi family in honor of Elaine Frohring Szilagyi.

Contemporary Prize: Ben Schoeman- $2,500 for the best performance of a contemporary work, presented by Art of Beauty.

French Prize: François Dumont- $2,500 for the best performance of a composition by a French composer, presented by Maison Française de Cleveland.

Mozart Prize: Miao Huang- $1,500 for the best performance of a Mozart composition, presented by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Kaufman.

Russian Prize: Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev- $2,500 for the best performance of a composition by a Russian composer, presented by Dr. Boris Vinogradsky and Irina Vinogradsky, Esq.

Audience Prize: Jiayan Sun- $1,500 presented to the finalist voted Audience Favorite during the final round on August 9 and 10, presented by Shirley Dawson.

Semi-Finalist Prizes
$2,000 to each of the four semi finalists who do not advance to the final round, presented by the William O. and Gertrude Lewis Frohring Foundation in memory of Gertrude Lewis Frohring.

Contestant Prizes
$1,000 to each contestant who completes the first two rounds without advancing, presented with major support by:
The Frank H. and Nancy L. Porter Fund of the Cleveland Foundation
Peg and George Milbourn
Sarah-Theresa Y. Murakami, in memory of Grant Johannesen and Martha Joseph
Bonnie and Dieter Myers
Astri Seidenfeld
Nancy W. McCann, in honor of Marie Strawbridge
Wayne Pearsall, in memory of Bernice Pearsall
Ninna and Gösta Pettersson

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

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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 Jon 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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