Classical Music News of the Week, October 6, 2013

Music Institute of Chicago Celebrates Chicago Jazz Legend Benny Goodman

Concerts, film highlight Music Institute’s Fourth Jazz Festival Nov. 1 and 2. The Music Institute of
Chicago’s fourth annual jazz festival celebrates the enduring legacy of Chicago’s own Benny Goodman, featuring two concerts and the film The Benny Goodman Story November 1 and 2 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL. This two-day event shines a spotlight on the King of Swing, who first learned to play the clarinet at Chicago’s famed Hull House. 

Friday, November 1, 7:30 p.m.
Guest clarinetist Victor Goines, director of the Jazz Studies Program at Northwestern University, joins an all-star ensemble of faculty and guest artists for an evening of high-energy swing music, the kind Goodman made famous.

Saturday, November 2, 3 p.m.
A panel of musical and cultural scholars discusses Goodman’s impact on jazz, classical music, the Jewish Diaspora, and race relations. Following the panel is a screening of the 1956 film The Benny Goodman Story, starring Steve Allen and Donna Reed and featuring cameo appearances by many of the greatest jazz musicians of the century, such as Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa, Stan Getz, and Harry James.

Saturday, November 2, 7:30 p.m.
The festival continues on Saturday evening with a concert of classical music Goodman performed, commissioned, or premiered. The program includes Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, featuring Music Institute faculty clarinetist Barbara Drapcho, and Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with renowned soloist Larry Combs and conductor James Setapen leading an orchestra of Music institute faculty, Academy students, and special guests. The concert concludes with a rocking rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs.

“Benny Goodman stood at the crossroads of cultural and musical history, rising from humble beginnings to become one of the most popular musicians of the 20th century,” commented Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. “Goodman was a cultural icon for Jewish Americans and an advocate for African-American jazz musicians. His musical impact transcended the trailblazing jazz performances of his early career. Goodman was also a classical musician, who commissioned and premiered landmark compositions from artists such as Aaron Copland and Bela Bartok.”

Other highlights of the 2013–14 season include internationally acclaimed cellist and MIC alumnus Peter Seidenberg November 16; a triple bill of Quintet Attacca, Axiom Brass, and Mark George on piano March 1; pianist Inna Faliks May 3; and organist Nathan Laube May 17.

The Music Institute of Chicago’s festival celebrating Benny Goodman takes place Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets for the performances are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students, available at 847.905.1500 ext. 108  or on-line: https://www.musicinst.org/news-events/event/2013/7/benny-goodman-festival-featuring-victor-goines

The screening of The Benny Goodman Story is Saturday, November 2 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall; admission is $10. Festival Passes are available for $55, $35 for seniors. All programming is subject to change.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Conductor Gerard Schwarz and His All-Star Orchestra of Top Classical Musicians from Acrosss the Country Star in a New Made-for-Television Series Premiered in Sepember Nationwide on Public Television
The new television series features conductor Gerard Schwarz leading "all-star" classical musicians from 22 states in eight one-hour episodes that pair major symphonic masterpieces with works by leading contemporary American composers.

The renowned conductor and his hand-picked team of top orchestral musicians--including prominent principal players from major U.S. orchestras--come together to form a made-for-television classical music concert series. The All-Star Orchestra premiered nationwide in September on public television (check local listings or visit  for updates on subsequent broadcast dates and times) and continues for seven consecutive weeks. The All-Star Orchestra, similar to Major League Baseball’s All-Star team, is composed of the finest orchestral “athletes” from leading orchestras across the country. Featuring exceptional performances of symphonic masterpieces and contemporary works, The All-Star Orchestra programs seek to expose broad audiences to classical music through a format that is both informative and accessible. Naxos of America, the #1 independent classical music distributor in the U.S. and Canada, will release this unique series on DVD in October 2013.

Naxos founder Klaus Heymann said, "Naxos is delighted to support this important venture through its distribution network. It is a tribute to Jerry Schwarz that this project has finally been realized. He is a longtime recording partner for Naxos, and shares the Naxos commitment to music education."  
Mr. Schwarz’s All-Star Orchestra is comprised of musicians from leading orchestras based in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York (the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, the Tampa Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and more.

Each of the eight one-hour episodes was filmed over four days in the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center in New York City in August 2012. Designed to appeal to the classical music neophyte and connoisseur alike, the programs were filmed with 19 high-definition cameras that were allowed unlimited access to each performance, roaming freely among the musicians to provide the audience with the best visuals and behind-the-scene glances. The Grand Ballroom, chosen for its acoustic integrity, has been the venue of choice for conductors such as Bernstein, Boulez, Mehta, and Toscanini for their own classical music recordings.

Under the leadership of Mr. Schwarz, who served for 26 seasons as music director of the Seattle Symphony, The All-Star Orchestra programs include musical excerpts, interviews, and educational commentary by Mr. Schwarz, the All-Star musicians, composers, and special guests. The website
 is being developed to offer additional interviews, footage, and educational resources aimed to bolster the classical music experience.

For more information, visit http://allstarorchestra.org/

--Shuman Associates PR

Cal Performances Presents Rising Stars of Chamber Music, Muscians from Marlboro, Saturday, October 26, at 8:00 P.M. in First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
A pre-performance talk will be given by one of the artists to be announced on Saturday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m.

Musicians from Marlboro, the touring extension of Vermont’s esteemed Marlboro Music Festival, returns to Cal Performances on Saturday, October 26, at 8:00 p.m. to perform in First Congregational Church in Berkeley. In keeping with the Marlboro tradition of master senior artists collaborating with exceptional young professionals, cellist Marcy Rosen and pianist Cynthia Raim are joined by violinists Robin Scott and Bella Hristova, and violists Dimitri Murrath and Vicki Powell.  The program includes performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s String Quintet in E-flat major, K. 614; Zoltán Kodály’s Serenade for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 12; and Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44.

A pre-performance talk will be given by an artist to be announced on Saturday, October 26, at 7:00 p.m. This event is free to ticket holders.

This season’s company of six musicians is led by Marcy Rosen, who has taken part in 21 tours of Musicians from Marlboro. Heralded by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the intimate art’s abiding treasures,” Rosen’s superb musicianship is enhanced by her many music activities. As a founding member of the world-renowned Mendelssohn String Quartet, she and the ensemble toured for 31 years throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Rosen, who has also performed in recital and given master classes in seven countries and all 50 United States, has served as music director for the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival in Maryland since 1986. Joining Rosen is Cynthia Raim, a unanimous First Prize winner of the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, as well as was the first recipient of the “Distinguished Artist Award” of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia—America’s oldest continuing musical organization. In summing up the performance that won Raim the Clara Haskil prize, La Suisse (Geneva) noted that “Raim showed a musical nature that has gone far beyond technical mastery.”

Rosen and Raim’s younger cohorts include violinist Robin Scott, a graduate of the New England Conservatory and Indiana University, who won first place in the California International Young Artists Competition and the WAMSO Young Artist Competition. Scott currently serves as concertmaster of the New York Classical Players. Violinist Bella Hristova has been described by The Washington Post as engaging the audience with “natural command, tenderness and fervent virtuosity.” She has performed with Pinchas Zukerman in the Bach Double Concerto at Lincoln Center, at Carnegie Hall, and as a soloist with the New York String Orchestra. Dimitri Murrath is a respected violist of the international scene, performing regularly in such venues as Jordan Hall (Boston), Kioi Hall (Tokyo), the National Auditorium (Madrid), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), and the Purcell Room, Wigmore, and Royal Festival halls in London. Violist Vicki Powell, who is praised by The New York Times for her “probing introspection,” is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School and has won top prizes at the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Johansen International Competition.

Celebrating its 49th season, Musicians from Marlboro was founded as an extension of the Marlboro Music Festival and has since shared the results of Marlboro’s intensive seven-week summer program with communities around the country. Distinguished musicians play together with their younger professional colleagues, exploring in depth some 250 different works with unlimited rehearsal time.

Ticket information:
Tickets for Musicians from Marlboro on Saturday, October 26, at 8:00 p.m. in First Congregational Church start at $42.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. For information about other discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call the Ticket Office.

--Christina Kellog, Cal Performances

Conductor Michael Christie Continues as Music Director of Minnesota Opera
2013-2014 Productions Led by Christie later this year:
Strauss’ Arabella – Nov. 9-17, 2013
Verdi’s Macbeth – Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2014
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
345 Washington St., St. Paul, MN

Conductor Michael Christie continues as Music Director of Minnesota Opera, a post he began in fall 2012, leading three productions during the 2013-2014 season. Christie conducted Puccini’s Manon Lescaut from September 21-20, 2013, Richard Strauss’s Arabella November 9-17, 2013, and Verdi’s Macbeth January 25-February 1, 2014 at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (345 Washington Street). Details are available at www.mnopera.org.

Of returning for Minnesota Opera’s 2013-2014 season, Christie says, “I am enthralled with the continuing evolution of Minnesota Opera. Each production we have coming this season and into the future is an exciting manifestation of a company that is growing and making its dreams come alive.”

Minnesota Opera’s production of Manon Lescaut stars Kelly Kaduce in the title role, with tenor Dinyar Vania as her star-crossed lover, Chevalier des Grieux. Richard Strauss’ Arabella features soprano Jacquelyn Wagner in a co-production with Santa Fe Opera and Canadian Opera Company by scenic and costume designer Tobias Hoheisel. Verdi’s adaptation of Shakespearian thriller Macbeth stars bass-baritone Greer Grimsley as the ambitious and sinister King of Scotland, with soprano Brenda Harris as Lady Macbeth.

This summer, Michael Christie completed his final season as Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival, a post he has held since 2000, and earlier this summer led the world premiere performances of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, commissioned and produced by San Francisco Opera. The San Francisco Chronicle praised his performance, stating, “In the pit, debuting conductor Michael Christie led a rapturous, long-breathed performance,” while The New York Times reported, “The conductor Michael Christie draws plush colorings and shimmering sounds from the orchestra.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Michael Christie conducts with conviction.” In June 2014, Christie will lead the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera Twenty-Seven, starring Stephanie Blythe as Gertrude Stein, at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

 --Christina Jensen PR

The Orion Ensemble Launches “Janet’s Stage” at Fox Valley Schools
The program aims to increase the accessibility of chamber music in Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, IL.

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, is stepping up its commitment to making chamber music more accessible through a new program: “Janet’s Stage,” an in-depth partnership debuting in September with high schools in Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.

Janet’s Stage is a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the orchestra departments at each partner school, with the Orion musicians—clarinetist and executive director Kathy Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu, pianist Diana Schmück and cellist Judy Stone—providing multifaceted, year-long student support. The program offers practical, individualized learning through master classes and chamber music coaching, performances for students and parents at each school, invitations to attend Orion concerts and the opportunity for student ensembles to perform on the Orion concert stage.

Music directors participating in Janet’s Stage shared: “These students would not otherwise have the chance to work side by side with such quality artists or view a world-class performance. …We are really excited and appreciative. …School budgets would never permit this opportunity, which will be life-changing to many.”

Orion has created Janet’s Stage to celebrate the life, special leadership and service of longtime former Board Chair Janet Safanda, who passed away in 2012. “Our wish is that the multi-year high-impact program will pay tribute to the ways Janet’s special signature has been written on the Ensemble’s development and vision,” said Pirtle. “We are grateful for the significant funding from individual donors in the Fox Valley and are hoping to secure more funding from the community at large to continue and expand this initiative.”

Orion’s 2013–14 season
Orion’s 21st season, “Musical Travels,” features four concert programs, each at three venues covering Geneva/St. Charles, downtown Chicago and Evanston. The season began earlier this month with “Celebrating Brahms” and continues with “Danube Destinations” in October and November, “Sounds of Russia” in March and “Czech and American Romance” in May and June. For information, visit orionensemble.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space opens 25th anniversary season with the incomparable Rachmaninoff Vespers
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City, 7pm.

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space embarks upon their 25th anniversary season with Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil, Op. 37, popularly known as the Vespers. Director K. Scott Warren leads the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola. This work is one of the most stunning for a cappella choir, and the voices of these 60 professional singers will soar amongst the high arches of Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York, on October 16 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $40-65 and can be purchased at www.smssconcerts.org or by calling 212-288-2520.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

First Performance:  Post-Holocaust Opera at Strathmore, Nov. 9 Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht
The National Philharmonic with Maestro Piotr Gajewski, 12 professional soloists and the National Philharmonic Chorale will present the first complete concert performance of the opera Lost Childhood by composer Janice Hamer and librettist Mary Azrael on Saturday, November 9 at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Premiering on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"), when a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms throughout Germany marked the unofficial start to the Holocaust, Lost Childhood is based on the memoir by Holocaust survivor Yehuda Nir. Tickets and more information can be obtained at www.nationalphilharmonic.org or by calling 301-581-5100.

Nir, a New York psychiatrist and Professor Emeritus at Cornell Medical School, was forced into hiding from the Nazis as a child. When his father was arrested in 1941, 11 year-old Nir, his mother and teenaged sister survived by moving from place to place disguised as Polish Catholics. The opera takes place in Poland and Germany during World War II and in Manhattan in 1993. “The story,” notes Azrael, “is often darkly humorous and ultimately triumphant as the family evades the monstrous power of the Third Reich.”

The central relationship in the opera—between a Jewish survivor and a German descendant of a Nazi sympathizer—is fictitious, but several real-life relationships have determined the production and plot.  One was the acquaintance of Hamer’s parents and Gajewski’s father at the retirement community of Ingleside at King Farm in Rockville, where they live. Hamer’s meeting the older Gajewski at Ingleside and discovering that he was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto encouraged her to contact his son the conductor.

A free pre-concert lecture on November 9 will be offered at 6:45 pm with Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, in the Concert Hall at the Music Center at Strathmore. An exhibit of nine monoprints based on the opera’s theme by Silver Spring painter Miriam Mörsel Nathan will be on show that evening in the corridor of the hall. 

To purchase tickets to the Lost Childhood concert opera performance, please visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Ticket prices start at $28, with children free through age 17. (Attendance for children younger than 12 is not encouraged on this occasion.) Complimentary parking is available.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Andras Schiff: The Bach Project Concludes October 6 – November 5, 2013
Indisputably one of the most prominent proponents of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, András Schiff has long proclaimed that Bach stands at the core of his music making.  Over the course of two seasons, András Schiff has been focusing on The Bach Project in North America, comprising six Bach recitals and an orchestral week of Bach, Schumann and Mendelssohn with Mr. Schiff at the piano and on the podium. The complete Project will visit Davies Symphony Hall supported by the San Francisco Symphony, Disney Hall supported by the LA Phil and New York City in partnership between the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, 92Y, and Great Performers at Lincoln Center. Individual recitals will be presented in Vancouver, Seattle, Washington DC, Chicago, Santa Barbara, Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, Boston and Toronto.

Repertoire for the final chapter of The Bach Project will include The Complete Partitas and The Goldberg Variations. Mr. Schiff’s final recitals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Ann Arbor, Toronto, and New York will feature a unique program with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations following the Goldberg Variations. Mr. Schiff also plays this monumental program in London’s Wigmore Hall to celebrate his 60th birthday.

Mr. Schiff has established a prolific discography, and since 1997 has been an exclusive artist for ECM New Series and its producer, Manfred Eicher. On September 24, 2013, ECM released Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations recorded on two instruments: The Bechstein from 1921 and an original fortepiano from Vienna 1820 – the place and time of the composition. A microsite created by ECM and devoted to The Bach Project and the recent release of the Diabelli Variations, can be accessed using the following link:  www.andrasschiff.com. On October 29, Mr. Schiff will lecture on Bach and Beethoven in New York at the 92nd Street Y. Additional albums for ECM include the complete solo piano music of Beethoven and Janácek, two solo albums of Schumann piano pieces, his second recordings of the Bach Partitas and Goldberg Variations and The Well Tempered Clavier, Books I and II.

Andras Schiff: The Bach Project Final Dates:
October 6, 2013 - Davies Symphony Hall - San Francisco, CA: The Complete Partitas
October 9, 2013 – Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA:  The English Suites
October 11, 2013 - Benaroya Hall - Seattle, WA: The Goldberg Variations
October 13, 2013 –Davies Symphony Hall – San Francisco, CA:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations
October 16, 2013 - Walt Disney Concert Hall - Los Angeles, CA: The Complete Partitas
October 20, 2013 - Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations
October 23, 2013 - University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, NC:  Goldberg Variations
October 25, 2013 – University Musical Society – Ann Arbor, MI:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations
October 27, 2013 - Symphony Center - Chicago, IL: The Complete Partitas
October 29, 2013 - 92Y:  András Schiff in conversation:  Bach and Beethoven
October 30, 2013 – Carnegie Hall – New York, NY:  The Complete Partitas at 8:00 PM
November 1, 2013 – Jordan Hall – Boston, MA:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations
November 3, 2013 – Koerner Hall – Toronto, CA:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations
November 5, 2013 – Carnegie Hall – New York, NY:  Goldberg & Diabelli Variations at 8:00 PM

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

American Opera Projects Alive and Well in NYC
For opera lovers, this has been a sad and troubling week. In addition to its consistent, positive contribution to the art form, New York City Opera was an outlet for several AOP-developed works over the years and we are sorry to lose a partner. However, the end of New York City Opera is not the end of opera in New York City. As Russell Platt mentions in The New Yorker, citing AOP specifically, "opera in New York is alive and well-especially the feisty, contemporary kind." AOP has some exciting announcements in the next few weeks and we hope you will join us on October 11 for a concert showcasing our C&V alumni - all part of an ongoing celebration of AOP's 25 years of creating the future of opera.

The Phoenix Concerts and AOP present “AOP25: Celebrating Composers & the Voice”:
To celebrate the 7th iteration of AOP's Composers & the Voice (C&V) and the 25th anniversary of AOP, Phoenix Concerts, Artistic Director and C&V alumna Gilda Lyons (2005-06) leads a concert of music from her fellow composers, Conrad Cummings, Sidney Boquiren, Daniel Felsenfeld, Vivian Fung, Hannah Lash, Ray Lustig, Daniel Sonenberg, Jack Perla, Rachel Peters, Stefan Weisman, and more!

Friday, October 11, 2013 - 8 PM
Church of Saint Matthew and Saint Timothy
26 West 84th Street, New York, NY

Tickets:
$10 donation at the door
Free with a student ID

Walt Whitman's Three New York Ladies: Margaret Fuller, Anne Gilchrist & Fanny Fern:
Friday, October 4, 2013 7:00 PM  
441 W. 26th street, Hudson Guild Gallery, between 9th and 10th Avenues, NY
FREE EVENT
Music by C&V alums Zach Redler, Rachel Peters and AOP's Mila Henry on piano
Hudson Guild Theatre Company and The Walt Whitman Project present a reading and musical event exploring the writer's relationships with three noted 19th-century feminists.

From the creators of AOP's recently commissioned opera-in-development The Leopard comes The Death of Webern:
October 10-12, 2013 8:00 PM
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York, NY
Tickets: $30 in advance, $35 on the day of show

--Matt Gray, AOP Producing Director

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

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

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa