Classical Music News of the Week, May 4, 2014

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival Announces First Annual Music & Wine Gala July 22

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is proud to announce an event where you can hear your favorite chamber musicians, enjoy an exquisite four-course dinner under the stars, and drink fine wines in the company of renowned vintners: the first annual Music & Wine Gala on July 22, 2014.

This special evening begins at 6:00PM with a private performance by violinist William Preucil, cellist Mark Kosower and pianist Jon Nakamatsu, at St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art. After the concert, guests will move on to La Posada Resort and Spa for an elegant cocktail reception and gourmet four-course dinner held "al fresco" in La Posada's beautifully landscaped, tented Lawn Court.

Each course will be sensitively paired with exceptional wines, including two wines from Arietta. Arietta's label features the manuscript of Beethoven's Arietta movement from his last Piano Sonata, Opus 111, written long after the composer had lost his hearing. Opus 111 is one of the most transporting and revolutionary pieces of music ever composed. Serene yet complex, rich yet ethereal, Beethoven's Arietta provides an inspirational model for great winemaking.

The cornerstone of the Music & Wine Gala will be a silent auction of wines donated by private collectors and high-end wineries, located in La Posada's beautiful Montaña Ballroom. The silent auction also includes one-of-a-kind experiences, such as exclusive getaways and special offers from some of Santa Fe's finest restaurants.

The evening concludes with an exciting live auction led by Fritz Hatton, one of the nation's leading wine auctioneers and owner of Arietta Wines.

Tickets are $600 per person and include a $375 tax-deductible donation to the Festival. All proceeds from the event benefit the Festival's year-round musical education programs for children in the Santa Fe community. For more information, please call Allison Hooper at 505.983.2075, ext. 111.

Subscription packages and single tickets for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival are on sale now. Ticket information is available through the Festival website at, and tickets can be purchased by calling 888-221-9836 or 505-982-1890.

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

American Opera Projects Presents "Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse"
Composer Daron Hagen hosts world premiere songs from the 2013-14 season of "Composers & the Voice."

Compositions by Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz, Joseph Rubinstein and Jason Kim.
Music direction by Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, Charity Wicks.
Performances by Deborah Lifton, Kristin Sampson, Rachel Calloway, Dominic Armstrong, Jorell Williams, Matthew Burns.
Hosted by Daron Hagen

"Composers & the Voice" Artistic Director: Steven Osgood

Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.
South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Tickets: $15 General Admission, $10 Students/Seniors
Tickets available at

Complete information about "Composers & the Voice" and this year's artists can be found at

--Matthew Gray, AOP

The Orion Ensemble Celebrates National Chamber Music Month
Dvorak, Amon, Gershwin, Beethoven in St. Charles (May 25), Chicago (May 28), Evanston (June 1)
The Orion Ensemble's final performances of its season of "Musical Travels" will be part of the celebration of National Chamber Music Month, a nationwide initiative to draw attention to small ensemble performance.

Orion's performances are among hundreds taking place across the country this May as part of this second annual series. Last year, participants in all 50 states took part in events showcasing ensemble music of all styles, including classical, jazz, world and early music, as well as contemporary and experimental works informed by emerging technologies and innovative performance techniques.

Chamber Music America, the national network of ensemble music professionals and the organization behind National Chamber Music Month, has encouraged ensembles and presenters, both well-known and emerging, to use this month to increase public awareness of chamber music performance and to attract new audiences within their own communities.

For this final concert program of its 2013–14 season, Orion showcases music from three countries: Germany, with the third in its season-long series of Beethoven String Trios with Stephen Boe on viola, this one in C Minor for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9, No. 3, as well as Amon's Clarinet Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 106, No. 2; the United States, with Gershwin's Three Preludes; and Czechoslovakia, with Dvorak's Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 87.

Chamber Music America defines chamber music as works for small ensembles of two to 10 members, playing one to a part and generally performing without a conductor.

"Chamber music is a vibrant and diverse field," said Margaret M. Lioi, CEO of Chamber Music America. "It includes contemporary music, jazz, world music, Western classical and styles that draw from all of these. National Chamber Music Month will showcase the richness of chamber music through performances in urban and rural areas across the country, and we are thrilled that so many presenters and ensembles are participating."

Performance and ticket information:
The Orion Ensemble's concluding concert program of its "Musical Travels" season takes place Sunday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Avenue in St. Charles; Wednesday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

For information on other performances taking place across the country during National Chamber Music Month, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Cal Performances Announces 2014/15 Season
Season highlights include Yo-Yo MA performing solo Bach at the greeK theatre; Three-Concert Residency with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Netia jones's acclaimed Curlew River from the Barbican Centre; Dvorak's Stabat Mater with conductor Jiri Belohlavek; premiere run of Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake with the Australian Ballet; Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe in Robert Wilson's The Old Woman; Sasha Waltz & Guests in Schubert's Impromptus; and Pandit Chitresh Das's Shiva.

Major projects exploring the intersections of music, dance, and theater within society iclude South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company; the Nile Project; "Music and Poetry of the Great War" with Ian Bostridge and Cantus; Steven Schick with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; and the Paul Dresher acoustic band.

Internationally acclaimed artists returning include The Tallis Scholars in two concerts; Christian Tetzlaff; Gidon Kremer; Audra McDonald; Kronos Quartet with Wu Man; Takács Quartet; Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble; and Théâtre de la Ville; plus Cal Performances debut appearances by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Olli Mustonen, Tamara Stefanovich, and Jorge Federico Osorio; jazz greats Mavis Staples, Cassandra Wilson, and the Donal Fox Trio.

Subscription tickets, priced from $63.00 to $353.00, went on sale for the 2014/15 Season at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 2014. Making arts and culture accessible to the broadest possible audience is a cornerstone of Cal Performances' mission. To that end, there are a number of ways to purchase tickets at lower price points. Subscription series subscribers save up to 25% off single ticket prices, and a 10% discount on additional single tickets purchased throughout the season. Patrons may also select Choose-Your-Own subscription packages of four or more events on a single order, receiving up to 20% off single ticket prices. Orders may be placed online at, mailed, faxed to Cal Performances' Ticket Office at 510.643.2359, or phoned in to 510.642.9988. Single tickets go on sale to Email Club members on August 5 and to the general public on August 13 and range from $18.00 to $175.00. UCB students receive a 50% discount on single tickets. For more information, call the Ticket Office at 510.642.9988, email, or visit the web site at

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Announcing the First English Concert American Fellows First-of-Its-Kind Grant for Gifted Early Music Performers
The English Concert in America (TECA), the US-based non-profit organization supporting the Stateside activities of the pre-eminent London-based orchestra, yesterday announced the inaugural TECA Fellowship, an annual grant and opportunity for professional training and experience, that will be awarded to a select number of graduates in the field of historical performance who have demonstrated exceptional talent and musical growth.

The TECA Fellowship was conceived by TECA's board members together with TEC Artistic Director Harry Bicket, who comments, "There is a dearth of opportunities for conservatory graduates of period performance to grow and develop artistically while at the same time starting their careers in the outside world. The opportunity to play alongside, and be mentored by, members of The English Concert is one which is mutually beneficial, as well as highlighting the orchestra's commitment to help nurture the next generation of talented players."

The first Fellowships have been granted in conjunction with The Juilliard School. The selection of Fellows was based on recommendations from Juilliard's Historical Performance faculty in consultation with Harry Bicket and representatives of The English Concert. Benjamin D. Sosland, Assistant Dean of Juilliard's Historical Performance department, remarked,"This new partnership with The English Concert is especially exciting because it extends our students' educational experience beyond their time at Juilliard. It's a fantastic bridge to the professional world and we are enormously grateful to Maestro Bicket and the TECA board for realizing such a valuable program."

Special consideration has been given to students who are likely to make a significant contribution to the field of early music and who would benefit from hands-on professional experience as they embark on their performing careers. As many as five students may be chosen to receive the Fellowship each year.

The first TECA Fellows were presented by Harry Bicket on April 28 at a reception in New York City attended by TECA board members, Friends and supporters, members of the Juilliard faculty and leading figures from the music industry. The 2014 TECA Fellows are harpsichordist Ignacio Prego, cellist Beiliang Zhu, and violinists Adriane Post and Jude Ziliak. Following the announcement, the Fellows gave a performance that included music by Bach, Corelli, Telemann and Antonio de Cabezón.

The main elements of the TECA Fellowship are:
Professional development and career guidance, including lessons with members of The English Concert.
Acting as ambassadors for TECA and participating in TECA-sponsored events.
The opportunity to perform with The English Concert during the orchestra's appearances in the U.S.
A cash award.

--Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International

Cleveland International Piano Competition and Canton Symphony Partner for Young Artists Competition May 13-22
The Cleveland International Piano Competition (CIPC) and the Canton Symphony Orchestra announced today that they will partner for the CIPC Young Artists Competition next year. Four finalists of the competition, two in the Junior Division and two in the Senior Division, will perform with the Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann to determine the final rankings. It is the first time the Canton Symphony will perform in Cleveland's University Circle area.

"This partnership presents an opportunity for young pianists to play with an outstanding orchestra made up of top tier musicians," said CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen.  "It is not only a tremendous incentive to do well in the competition, it is an amazing learning opportunity for the pianists with the skills and confidence to make it to the final round."

"The Canton Symphony is very much looking forward to our collaboration with the Cleveland International Piano Competition for the Young Artists Competition," stated Gerhardt Zimmermann, Music Director of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. "It is always a joy to work with upcoming young artists, those musicians who will be the bright stars of the next generation."

CIPC Young Artists is an international competition for pianists ages 12 through 18. The event will be held May 13-22, 2015 at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, with the final round taking place in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Friday, May 22, 2015.  Contestants will participate in two age groups: Juniors (age 12 to 15) and Seniors (age 16 to 18). Students in each age group will perform three solo rounds and one final round with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in front of audiences and an international jury.  All candidates will perform two rounds before the first jury vote.  Six candidates from each age group will advance to the semi-final round and two candidates from each age group will advance to the final round.

For more information, click

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Young People's Chorus of New York City Presents Free Transmusica Concert with Kingswood Oxford School at Church of the Holy Trinity, Saturday, May 17, at 7 P.M.
The Young People's Chorus of New York City and Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez continue their Transmusica series of concerts of cross-cultural music designed to build bridges to other world cultures in a free concert on Saturday, May 17 at 7 p.m., at the Church of the Holy Trinity 316 East 88th St. on New York City's Upper East Side. In a program that circles the world with a rich array of musical flavors, YPC, conducted by Elizabeth Núñez and Sheldon Ogbourne, will be joined by three award-winning choruses--the Octopipers, F2B, and Cantabile--from the Kingswood Oxford School from West Hartford, Connecticut, conducted by Marcos Carreras.

The multicultural program sung by YPC and the Kingswood Oxford Choruses intermingles voices and world cultures and takes listeners on a musical journey from Russia to the Torres Strait Islands and continuing across the Pacific to the woodlands of the USA and onto Greece, Israel, and Serbia. They will make stops in between for world premieres of Quatro Colores by Jim Papoulis in Spanish, English, and Yiddish and Bobobo by Douglas J. Cuomo, based on a traditional folk song from Ghana.
The concert is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 at the door of the Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street. For more information, please visit

--Angela Duryea, Young People's Chorus of NYC

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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