Classical Music News of the Week, June 1, 2014

Editor's Note
Loyal readers have no doubt noticed that I've taken the past week or so off. Be assured, however, that I will be back to a regular posting schedule within the next few days. Stay tuned.

Joyce DiDonato Delivers Juilliard Commencement Speech

American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato recently delivered an eloquent and heartfelt commencement speech at Juilliard, her speech a moving meditation on what it means to be an artist and what it takes to remain true to that ideal.

The video has just gone up and can be viewed here:
The full text is attached and viewable here:

--Andrew Ousley, Warner Classics

Music Institute of Chicago's Free Concerts in Downtown Evanston Conclude in June with a Performance of Schubert Impromptus
The Music Institute of Chicago is offering free lunchtime concerts and conversation one Wednesday per month. Lunch is available for purchase from the Pret A Manger Kiosk, and free coffee will be served. For its June program, Music Institute faculty member and international soloist Alexander Djordjevic, a Chicago native, performs a series of Impromptus by Franz Schubert.

Name of Presenter: Music Institute of Chicago
Performance: Free Faculty Lunchtime Concerts: Alexander Djordjevic, piano
Day/Date/Time: Wednesday, June 11, 12:15–1 p.m.
Location: Music Institute of Chicago Black Box Theater, 1702 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL
Admission: FREE
Information: or 847.905.1500

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Young People's Chorus in the News
YPC alumna sings for "The People's Diva," Renée Fleming, June 3 at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.

The next couple of weeks are pretty special for YPC alumna Nia Drummond, a YoungArts award-winner currently attending SUNY Fredonia on full music scholarship. Not only is she singing
on YPC's current Swiss tour, but on June 3, just one day after she and the chorus return from Switzerland, Nia has been invited to sing at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. for a ceremony honoring world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming.

Then, YPC is featured in American Ballet Theater's Midsummer Night Dream as part of ABT's "Shakespeare Celebration" at the Metropolitan Opera. The Dream with ABT June 30 to July 2, 2014,
Metropolitan Opera House, New York City.

For tickets click here:

--Katharine Gibson, YPC

Music Director Gerard Schwarz and the Eastern Music Festival Present More Than 100 Events as Part of the 53rd Season, Including World Premieres from John Corigliano and Bright Sheng 
Music Director Gerard Schwarz and the Eastern Music Festival present more than 100 musical events as part of the 2014 Festival, June 21 - July 26, 2014. Every year Greensboro welcomes 200 extraordinarily talented young artists from around the world and a respected EMF Faculty of 80 acclaimed professional musicians, all of whom come together for five weeks to study, share and celebrate classical music.

Festival highlights include Gerard Schwarz conducting two world premieres, John Coriglianos' Lullaby, featuring Eastern Music Festival's concertmaster, Jeffrey Multer, as well as Bright Sheng's Deep Red for marimba and ensemble. Mr. Multer performs Corigliano's concerto on his Vuillaume that was once the violin of the composer's father who served as concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years. Corigliano's Lullaby is part of the ten-season Bonnie McElveen-Hunter Commissioning Project launched in 2013 as Ambassador McElveen-Hunter's commissioning series for the Eastern Music Festival to celebrate American composers. The second world premiere comes from composer Bright Sheng, whose work is already known to EMF audience for the 2011 world premiere of  "The Nightingale and the Rose" and his work with the student orchestra.

A wide range of repertoire is performed at the Eastern Music Festival and, in addition to the world premieres, Schwarz also conducts a full Vivaldi program, an all-French program featuring the Faure Requiem, and an all-Beethoven concert using all three of EMF orchestras, the Festival orchestra and two student orchestras.

Exceptional guest artists joining EMF in 2014 include violinists Elmar Oliveira and James Ehnes, cellist Lynn Harrell, flutist Sir James Galway and pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Other season highlights include the Monday and Tuesday night Chamber Music Series featuring faculty and guest artists; Wednesday night Friends and Great Performers Series featuring collaborations with the Greensboro Ballet and Greensboro Opera; Thursday and Friday night Tannenbuam-Sternberger Young Artists Orchestra Series; the Fifth Annual Piano Competition and performance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts; EMFkids concert and the third year of EMFkids Discovery camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Held on the campus of Guilford College, nestled in North Carolina's Piedmont Region, the internationally recognized five-week Eastern Music Festival and Institute attracts extraordinarily talented musicians between the ages of 14 and 22 that come from all over the world—this year close to 15 countries will be represented. Guiding the young musicians are more than 80 gifted artists selected from top orchestras and music schools nationally and internationally who serve as the EMF faculty. In addition, the young musicians are offered the chance to work directly with some of the world's top performing artists who visit the Festival as guest soloists. the Eastern Music Festival presents an annual summer program offering more than 100 performances and music-related events.

For tickets and further information, visit or contact the Eastern Music Festival Box Office at Triad Stage (232 South Elm Street) by calling 866.579.TIXX or 336.274.0160.

--Karen Ames Communications

Weill Hall Summer 2014 - Tickets Now On Sale
Weill Hall at Sonoma State University, Green Music Center, Sonoma, California continues its summer presentations:

4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
with Judy Collins and the Santa Rosa Symphony
Matthew Garbutt, conductor
Friday, July 4, 7:30 p.m.

Festival del Sole
Pinchas Zukerman, Violin
James Valenti, Tenor
The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra
Alondra de la Parra, conductor
Tuesday, July 15, 6:30 p.m.

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
Sunday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.

San Francisco Symphony
Tchaikovsky's Greatest Hits
Edwin Outwater, conductor
Simon Trpceski, Piano
Post-Concert Fireworks
Saturday, July 26, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 27, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 3:00 p.m.

National Youth Orchestra of
The United States of America
David Robertson, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Saturday, August 2, 7:30 p.m.

Sarah Brightman in Concert
Dreamchaser World Tour
Tuesday, August 5, 7:30 p.m.

Tony Bennett in Concert, with guest Antonia Bennett
Friday, August 8, 7:30 p.m.

Amos Lee: Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song Tour
Sunday, August 10, 7:30 p.m.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Friday, August 15, 7:30 p.m.

Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me Live
Saturday, August 16, 7:30 p.m.

Gipsy Kings: 25th Anniversary Tour, with Special Guest Ole' Noys
Thursday, August 28, 7:30 p.m.

Bill Maher: Live Stand-Up Tour
Saturday, August 30, 7:30 p.m.

Elvis Costello and The Imposters
Wednesday, September 3, 7:30 p.m.

Gabriel Iglesias: Unity Through Laughter World Tour
Friday, September 5, 7:30 p.m.

Pepe Aguilar
Tuesday, September 9, 7:30 p.m.

An Acoustic Evening with Ben Harper
Saturday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.

Diana Ross: In the Name of Love Tour
Tuesday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.

For more information:

--Green Music Center, Sonoma State

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians
FAYM's 2-week Summer Day Camp will be held from June 9th through the 20th. Students in the tuition-free camp will attend classes in Violin, Art, Drumming & Movement, Music Reading and Theory, Mariachi, and Ensemble.

A faculty of eight top teachers will instruct students. Guest musicians will perform each day. Each Friday a recital will be held for friends, relatives, and public to attend.

You can sponsor a student for the entire 2-week camp for a donation to FAYM of $300. One-week sponsorships are available for a contribution of $150. FAYM depends on the generosity of individuals and businesses to provide underprivileged students with access to music training. Playing your part with any amount will make a difference!

The mission of FAYM is to encourage and support gifted young musicians in early training, advanced study, and professional career development, specifically those who are in need of financial and/or mentoring support up to the age of 26. In addition, an important part of the FAYM mission is to develop programs for the support of needy children in receiving music education.

For more information, click and

--Harold Weller, FAYM

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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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa