Classical Music News of the Week, December 29, 2013

DCINY Proudly Announces Its 2014 Season

Distinguished Concerts International New York proudly unveils its 2014 season of joyful, inspiring and moving music, featuring numerous world and US premieres, world-class musicians at New York’s most prestigious venues, and singers from across America and the globe. A unique success story in a challenging arts and economic environment, DCINY, now entering its 7th season, is commissioning new works, mentoring young conductors, and breaking new ground—including a tour to Turkey this past spring—and giving talented artists the opportunity to realize their dreams. Founded by Iris Derke (General Director) and Jonathan Griffith (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor), DCINY continues to be driven by passion and unwavering commitment to create unforgettable audience and performer experiences.

Since its inception, DCINY has had a special relationship with Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, the most performed living composer in the world today. Having already presented several U.S. premieres of Jenkins’ works—including The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace, most recently on the 10th anniversary of September 11th and with several hundred musicians—DCINY honors Jenkins on the occasion of his 70th birthday with an all-Jenkins program on Monday, January 20th at 7:00 PM at Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, conducted by Jonathan Griffith. The concert, which takes place on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, will feature the U.S. premiere of The Bards of Wales and stars eminent Welsh tenor Rhys Meirion in his Carnegie Hall debut. Also on the program are Jenkins’ Stabat Mater and “Benedictus” from The Armed Man, with the composer in attendance.

The season will officially open one day earlier on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 PM with Of Life and Liberty, also at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, featuring a world premiere by Mark Hayes, commissioned by DCINY’s Premiere Project initiative. Initiated in 2009, DCINY’s Premiere Project encourages debuts, premieres, and other firsts by composers, conductors, soloists, instrumental, and choral ensembles. The concert also features the New York premiere of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, conducted by James Meaders.

DCINY continues its hugely popular annual collaboration with Eric Whitacre, known to millions worldwide through his Grammy-winning, best-selling recordings and groundbreaking Virtual Choir. This year DCINY is thrilled to present a special collaboration with multi Grammy and Oscar-winning Broadway and film composer Stephen Schwartz. Whitacre conducts over 250 voices in Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz and Eric Whitacre at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on Sunday, March 30 at 2:00 PM.

Also in March, DCINY welcomes eminent conductor Vance George for the earth-shaking choral masterpiece, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, reprising his Grammy-award winning recording of the dramatic work. The concert on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 PM at Avery Fisher Hall will also feature music for women's voices, in celebration of International Women’s Day, led by conductor Hilary Apfelstadt.

Another certain highlight of the season is the return of vibrant young composer and video game music rock star Christopher Tin for The Drop of Dawn, a fusion of orchestral and world music by Tin featuring over 200 voices on Sunday, April 13 at 8:30 PM at Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall. The concert will include a reprise of last season’s thrilling performance of Tin’s Grammy-winning world music song cycle, Calling All Dawns, and the world premiere of The Drop That Contained the Sea.

Celebration and Reflection will be a two-concert series at Lincoln Center, featuring the New York premiere of Brad Ellingboe’s Star Song, with Mozart’s Coronation Mass on Sunday, May 25 at 7:00 PM at Avery Fisher Hall, followed by the world premiere (commissioned through the DCINY Premiere Project) of Festival Te Deum by Grammy-award winning composer René Clausen at Alice Tully Hall.

The season will close on a high note with the return of the popular Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett, which combines the solemnity of a classical choir-based Mass with the sparkling down home sound of banjo, mandolin and fiddle. This year’s guest artists, who will also perform their own music on Sunday, June 8 at 2:00 PM at Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, are the multi-award winning bluegrass band Dailey & Vincent.

--Shira Gilbert, DCINY

Cleveland International Piano Competition Increases First Prize Winnings
The winner of the next Cleveland International Piano Competition, which will be held in 2016, will be presented with a cash award of $75,000, up from $50,000, thanks to the generosity of prize donors Mal and Barbara Mixon.  The Mixons, who have donated the First Prize cash award of $50,000 since 2003, felt the time was right to up the ante.

“The CIPC attracts the highest caliber contestants, and is in the very top echelon of piano competitions worldwide,” Mr. Mixon said. “It is entirely appropriate that the First Prize cash award reflects the winner’s level of skill, as well as the international stature of this competition.”

The commitment extends through the 2022 Cleveland International Piano Competition.

The 2016 winner also will receive three years of professional concert management services and engagements, a New York recital debut, and a CD recording.

About the CIPC
The triennial Cleveland International Piano Competition is held over nearly two weeks at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall.  By attracting the world’s best young concert pianists, presenting a diversely-programmed festival, and showcasing the skills of the finalists with the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra, it has become recognized worldwide as one of the most innovative and rewarding competition experiences for both pianists and audiences.

--Ashlyn Damm, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Parker Monroe to Step Down as Executive Director of New Century Chamber Orchestra
After 18 years as executive director of New Century Chamber Orchestra, Parker Monroe announced to the orchestra and board leadership that he will step down from his position effective March 31, 2014 at the conclusion of the ensemble’s 2013-2014 subscription season.

“For the past 18 years, Parker Monroe has been an outstanding leader for the New Century Chamber Orchestra succeeding in his work under three music directors and both presidents,” said President Mark Salkind. “Whether through touring, recording, new partnerships, innovative education programs or commissioning programs, Parker Monroe’s stalwart leadership put New Century on the musical map, first here in the Bay Area and then beyond into the national musical community. He will be greatly missed. At the start of the new year, we will come together and begin the search process for a new leader.”

“It has been an enormous honor to work with the incredible musicians and board of directors of the New Century Chamber Orchestra and, of course, with the inspiring Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg,” said Mr. Monroe. “After nearly two decades with this wonderful organization, I’m ready for some new challenges and the Master’s Program at Stanford that I began in September will surely provide them. I am also looking forward to travelling with my wife, Teresa Darragh,  and to being more available to help care for my parents on the East Coast. I will never be far from this amazing ensemble and can now spend more time in the audience instead of the office.”

Mr. Monroe joined New Century Chamber Orchestra in 1996, the ensemble’s fourth season. Under his leadership, New Century Chamber Orchestra has embarked on six national tours under the leadership of all three music directors; commissioned and premiered fourteen new works; released five recordings with an additional sixth planned for May of 2014; developed a strong national radio presence with more than thirty-five broadcasts on 260 radio stations across the country; and developed “String Quartet Encounters,” a unique education program offered at no cost to more than 1,500 third through fifth grade students in Marin County.

“As I’ve said many times, the incredible vitality, energy and enthusiasm of the New Century musicians just took my breath away and made my decision to come to San Francisco an easy one,” said Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.  “But I also found great confidence in Parker Monroe’s calm executive presence and his vast knowledge of music. These days it is harder and harder to find people who are willing to go the distance and I do think a great deal of New Century’s phenomenal success must be attributed to the stability of Parker’s long term leadership. We will miss him and we wish him the best.”

--Karen Ames Communications

The Dallas Opera Presents Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers
The Dallas Opera launches an unparalleled new initiative combining opera and technology with the first-ever global interactive simulcast of an opera. Death and the Powers, written by acclaimed American composer, inventor and professor at the MIT Media Lab, Tod Machover, receives its Dallas Opera premiere performances in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on February 12, 14, 15 and 16. On Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 pm Central Time, the opera will be simulcast to ten locations in the U.S. and abroad.

Death and the Powers received its world premiere September 24, 2010 at L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo – Salle Garnier; its United States premiere March 18, 2011 with Harvard’s American Repertory Theater and Opera Boston; and its Midwest premiere April 2, 2011 at Chicago Opera Theater. The work was named a 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Music for both its score and the innovative technology created by Machover and his Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Described by The Wall Street Journal as having “Passionate intensity, full-bodied arias in a post-organic world,” Death and the Powers blends Machover’s artistic and technological expertise to create an inventive score filled with arching melodic lines, richly nuanced textures and propulsive rhythms. Characterized by Opera magazine as, “A grand, rich, deeply serious new opera,” Death and the Powers tells the story of Simon Powers, a successful and powerful business man, who wishes to perpetuate his existence beyond the decay of his natural being. Nearing the end of his life, Powers seizes his one chance for immortality by downloading his consciousness into his environment, creating a living version of his mind and spirit, called “The System.” His family, friends and associates must decide what this means, whether or not Simon is actually alive, how it affects them and—most importantly—whether they, too, should follow.

Single tickets and subscriptions for The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 Season are available by visiting www.dallasopera.org or by calling 214-443-1000.

--Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Young People’s Chorus of New York City Presents January 6 Gala
Monday, January 6 LIVE at 4 p.m. ET, YPC begins the countdown to its March Gala at New York Stock Exchange.

YPC begins the 55-day countdown to YPC's March 3 gala benefit at Jazz at Lincoln Center by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Many thanks to Duncan Niederauer, the chief executive officer of NYSE Euronext and a vice-chair of YPC's gala, who invited YPC to take part on this grand occasion.

Watch YPC ring the closing bell live on Monday, January 6, by clicking here: https://nyse.nyx.com/the-bell/todays-bells-live

--Katherine Gibson, YPC

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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