Classical Music News of the Week, June 22, 2014

Woodstock Mozart Festival Presents 28th Season July 24-August 10

Mozart, Rossini, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi and more at two Venues: Woodstock Opera House and Sanfilippo Foundation's Place de la Musique.

The Woodstock Mozart Festival expands to two venues for its 28th season July 24–August 10, 2014: the Woodstock Opera House and the Sanfilippo Foundation's Place de la Musique concert hall in Barrington Hills. Single tickets are on sale now.

Woodstock Opera House:
July 26 and 27: Conductor Istvan Jaray and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein: Rossini, Mozart, and Haydn.
August 2 and 3: Conductor Istvan Jaray and pianist Igor Lipinski: Mendelssohn and Mozart.
August 9: Violinist and conductor Igor Gruppman and violinist/violist Vesna Gruppman: Mozart, Vivaldi, Warlock, and Piazzolla.

Place de la Musique:
July 24: Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and pianist Igor Lipinski: Mozart.
August 10: Violinist and conductor Igor Gruppman and violinist/violist Vesna Gruppman: Mozart.

The Festival's events at the Sanfilippo Foundation's Place de la Musique, 789 Plum Tree Road, Barrington Hills include the chamber music concert and master class Thursday, July 24 at 3 p.m. and the final concert program Sunday, August 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $48 for the July 24 program, $33 for students, and $68 for all tickets to the August 10 program, each including the 90-minute pre-concert tour. General admission tickets are on sale at

The 2014 Woodstock Mozart Festival’s performances at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock, take place Saturday, July 26, August 2 and August 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 27 and August 3 at 3 p.m. Pre-concert introductions take place one hour before each performance. Single tickets are $33–58, $28 for students, and are available through the Woodstock Opera House Box Office at 815-338-5300 or at

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Holiday Favorites with the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Girls Chorus,  December 18-21, 2014
Open Rehearsal: Wednesday, December 17, 10 a.m., Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco
Thursday, December 18, 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Friday, December 19, 8 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Saturday, December 20, 8 p.m., Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco
Sunday, December 21, 5 p.m., Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael
*And a Special Performance: Friday, December 12, 2014, 7:30 p.m. in Joan and Stanford I. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

Handel: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon
Corelli: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8, "Christmas Concerto"
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto Number 3
Rutter: Nativity Carol
Mozart: Engel Gottes Künden
Handel: Messiah: "Unto us a child is born, Hallelujah" (arr. Assad)
Vaughan Williams: Folksongs of the Four Seasons: Winter
Cesar Antonovich Cui: Radiant Stars

--Karen Ames Communications

PianoSummer at New Paltz Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season: July 12 - August 1, 2014
From July 12 - August 1, 2014, PianoSummer celebrates 20 years as an international summer institute and festival dedicated solely to piano music. Hosted by the School of Fine & Performing Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz, this program features an integrated approach to learning and performance. Under the artistic direction of renowned pianist and pedagogue Vladimir Feltsman, gifted students from around the world join with devoted musicians and teachers to learn more about the art of the piano and, ultimately, more about themselves and their place in the world of music.

Members of the Institute's faculty bring many special qualities to the program in addition to their artistic excellence, including diverse cultural backgrounds, pedagogical traditions and varied ideologies. Daily instruction from this distinguished group of artists and teachers provide students with multiple perspectives, allows them to explore the piano repertoire and encourages deeper understanding and insight. Each student receives daily coachings from every professor on each work selected for study over the course of the festival. This unique teaching model encourages individual interpretation as well as artistic mastery. The faculty consists of (pictured here, standing left to right): Paul Ostrovsky (SUNY Purchase), Phillip Kawin (Manhattan School of Music), Vladimir Feltsman, Susan Starr, Robert Hamilton (University of Arizona), Alexander Korsantia (New England Conservatory) and Robert Roux (Rice University). Artistic Director Vladimir Feltsman remarked: "Teaching is one of my greatest passions, and it is a privilege to celebrate 20 years at an institute unlike any other."

For the full 2014 Schedule of Events, please click here:

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Soprano Jennifer Rowley Joins Prestigious Roster of IMG Artists
In March, Rowley joined Intermusica for European management.

Shortly after her sensational Metropolitan Opera debut as Musetta in Franco Zefirelli's production of La bohème, soprano Jennifer Rowley joins the roster of talented musicians represented by IMG Artists. The New York Times proclaimed last month that "the rich-voiced soprano made a splash in her [Metropolitan Opera] debut as Musetta … singing with a vibrant, agile voice," and Opera magazine said that she "sang with a creamy soprano that embraced the music firmly and comported herself with a large-scale flirtatiousness that accorded with her Zeffirelli-conceived surroundings."

Of her new management, Ms. Rowley said, "I am thrilled and honored to be in the company of the legendary artists represented by IMG."

Ms. Rowley's star will continue to rise under the guidance of her management team at IMG. In the 2014-2015 season, she will reprise the role of Musetta in her much-anticipated debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Further highlights include debuts in the title role of Madame Butterfly at the Teatro Petruzzelli; the title role in Tosca at the Semperoper Dresden; and as Leonora in Il Trovatore with West Australian Opera. The 2015-2016 season will include debuts at Opera de Lille, Opera de Luxembourg, and Théâtre de Caen.

For more information, visit Jennifer Rowley's pages on IMG Artists:

and Intermusica:

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy's "Bach's Inspiration" at San Francisco Conservatory of Music July 11-20, 2014
The American Bach Soloists return to San Francisco's Conservatory of Music July 11-20 for the 5th annual ABS Festival & Academy. Titled "Bach's Inspiration," the 2014 Festival—San Francisco's Summer Bach Festival—will trace the influences of Italian, French, and North German composers on J.S. Bach's life and music. From large-scaled masterworks for full orchestra, choir, and vocal soloists to intimate chamber works, musical delights and discoveries will fill the days and nights of the 2014 Festival.

Acclaimed for their "fine choral and instrumental ensembles and its magnificent vocal soloists" by San Francisco Classical Voice, ABS and Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas are pleased to present an extraordinary Festival line-up of concerts, recitals, and free educational events for 10 days this summer. Works by Dieterich Buxtehude, Johann Kuhnau, Frederick the Great, Alessandro Marcello, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Johann Adam Reincken, Nicolaus Bruhns, Georg Melchior Hoffmann, and Bach's uncle, Johann Christoph Bach will be performed alongside masterworks by ABS's namesake, Johann Sebastian Bach.

The 2014 Festival begins on July 11 with an opening night dinner at Dobbs Ferry Restaurant in San Francisco's arts district and "Part I" of a two-part program titled after the Festival itself, "Bach's Inspiration." Exploring works the young Bach would have known or which contributed to his developing musical identity, Thomas and ABS will perform "Es Erhub sich ein Streit" by Johann Christoph Bach, Buxtehude's cantata "Jesu, meines Lebens Leben," and "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" by Bach's immediate predecessor as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Johann Kuhnau. Flutist Sandra Miller will be the soloist on Frederick the Great's Concerto for Flute in C Major, a work by the King of Prussia who provided Bach with the subject on which his "Musical Offering" is based. Oboist Debra Nagy will be the soloist on Alessandro Marcello's Concerto for Oboe in D Minor, a piece that Bach later transcribed for harpsichord (BWV 974). "Part I" will close with Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, Bach's transcription and arrangement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

Festival-players"Bach's Inspiration" continues with "Part II" on Saturday, July 12. Showcasing further influences upon Bach, the concert will open with Reincken's Partita No. 1 in A Minor, "Mein Herz ist bereit" by Nicolaus Bruhns, "Mit Fried und Freud ich far dahin" and Klaglied by Buxtehude, and Georg Melchior Hoffmann's thrilling and emotionally charged solo cantata "Meine Seele rühmt und preist" with tenor Derek Chester as soloist. After intermission, ABS will perform three mature works Bach, composed after he had absorbed all he could from his forebears, peers, and colleagues. Baroque trumpet virtuoso John Thiessen will be the soloist on Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto, the heart-rending secular cantata "Amore traditore" will feature baritone William Sharp and harpsichord Corey Jamason as dual-soloists, and the fiendishly difficult trio sonata from the "Musical Offering" will be performed by the outstanding instrumentalists of ABS.

On Sunday, July 13, Thomas will direct the ABS Festival Orchestra and the American Bach Choir in the first of two performances of Bach's monumental Mass in B Minor. Considered by many to be the greatest composition in Western music, ABS's Festival performances of the Mass are a cherished feature each summer as they allow the musicians and audiences to encounter or, as for many Festivalgoers, revisit this incredible work each summer.

Another beloved tradition of the ABS Festival & Academy is the performance of a Baroque opera or oratorio to open the second weekend of performances. On Friday July 18, Thomas will direct the ABS Festival orchestra in a concert performance of Handel's "L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato." Verses by John Milton and Charles Jennens provide a libretto which inspired Handel to new heights of humanist expression in this utterly sublime work composed between the two sacred choral masterworks, Israel in Egypt and Messiah. Featuring instrumentalists and singers from the 2014 Academy playing alongside their mentors from the ABS Faculty, this lavish panoply of more than 30 arias and choruses will surely be a night to remember.

The 2014 Festival's Distinguished Artist concert on July 19 features the sensational coloratura soprano Mary Wilson. Echoing the theme of Bach's Inspiration, Ms. Wilson will perform a work that celebrates the "Italian side" of Bach, his charming secular cantata "Non sa che sia dolore." Vivaldi's music was a great source of inspiration for Bach's own compositions and Ms. Wilson will perform the Italian composer's virtuoso motet "In Furore iustissimae irae." Vivaldi's Concerto in B Minor for Four Violins and Bach's rearrangement of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D Major as bravura work for harpsichord will also be performed. Ms. Wilson has won the admiration of ABS audiences performing the music of one of Bach's peers, George Frideric Handel. On this program she will perform Handel's breathtaking thriller from his Italian sojourn, "Tra le fiamme."

Festival Passes (8 concerts): $127-$252.
Single tickets: $10-$64, discounts available for students (with current student ID).
For tickets or information, please visit or call 415-621-7900
All events at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Festival

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival 2014 Season July 20 – August 25
Artistic Director Marc Neikrug and Executive Director Steven Ovitsky eagerly anticipate the 42nd Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival running July 20 through August 25 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This summer's six-week event features the Festival's hallmark blend of contemporary music alongside masterworks of the chamber music repertoire performed by many of the world's top musicians.  Executive Director Steven Ovitsky comments, "Each season we are excited to welcome new artists and composers to the Festival as part of the family we have created in Santa Fe.  The setting provides a rare opportunity for artists to build relationships in a fast-paced and vibrant setting. Solo artists collaborate in ensembles while established ensembles have the opportunity to perform with other distinguished musicians."

This year's Festival highlights include a solo recital by 2014 Artist-in-Residence, pianist Yefim Bronfman, performing Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6 and Marc Neikrug's Passions, Reflected. Mr. Bronfman will be seen in performances including Beethoven's last piano trio, "Archduke", and Brahms's Piano Quintet in F Minor this season.

Also prominently featured this season are Festival-commissioned works by Julian Anderson, Wigmore Hall's Composer in Residence; a U.S. premiere by Brett Dean performed by soprano Tony Arnold and the Orion String Quartet; and Lowell Liebermann accompanies mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke in the New Mexico premiere of his song cycle, Four Seasons.

The Festival continues its Young Composers String Quartet Project for the second season, welcoming participants Ryan Chase and Tonia Ko for world premieres performed by the FLUX Quartet. The popular "Bach Plus" series includes all six Brandenburg concerti performed over two concerts and a solo recital by pianist Benjamin Hochman. Two all-Beethoven programs with Joseph Kalichstein, Yefim Bronfman, Benjamin Beilman and the Dover Quartet, featuring the composer's final chamber works, round out the season's major highlights.

Subscriptions & single tickets on sale now: or by phone (505) 982-1890.

--Katherine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

The National Philharmonic at Strathmore Announces Colin Sorgi as New Concert Master
The National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, is proud to announce that Colin Sorgi has joined the orchestra as concert master. As the orchestra's lead violinist, the concert master often performs violin solos found in many orchestral works. "We are thrilled that Colin Sorgi is joining the National Philharmonic as concert master. He is a wonderful violinist who will bring tremendous energy and insight into the orchestral repertoire," said Maestro Gajewski.

"I'm really excited to be joining the National Philharmonic," said Mr. Sorgi. "It is a fantastic group of musicians and the level of music making is so high because everybody is happy and deeply committed to making music!"

Hailed by the Baltimore Sun as "an extraordinary musical talent," violinist Colin Sorgi is embarking on an international career. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Colin holds degrees from both the Peabody Conservatory and Indiana University studying with renowned musicians Herbert Greenberg and Jaime Laredo. Colin made his professional solo debut in 2012 at the Aspen Music Festival and has since been heard as soloist and in recital on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Chicago Cultural Center, Canada's National Arts Centre, among others.

A strong advocate of community engagement and arts education, Colin spends much of his time working with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids program - a music outreach program in West Baltimore and the country's largest El Sistema program.  Colin has had the privilege of collaborating with some of the world's most influential musicians in both chamber music and orchestral settings including Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zuckerman, Steven Dann and Joshua Bell.

Colin is deeply devoted to the performance of contemporary music and is the founder, Artistic Director and violinist of Baltimore's SONAR new music ensemble which, now in its fourth year, has presented some of the most important music of our time as well as over 40 premieres of composers throughout the world. Colin was the violinist for the prestigious Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival and was also a participant at the Lucerne Festival Academy under Pierre Boulez. Colin's first commercial recording was released in October 2012 on the IUmusic label for the Latin American Music Center and featured premiere recordings of works by living Latin American composers. For more information, visit

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Bang on a Can Marathon Opening Weekend of the River to River Festival 2014
For the first time ever, the Bang on a Can Marathon will be webcast live in its entirety. The webcast will begin at 2pm ET on June 22 at A video player that can be shared and embedded will be available at the webcast link.

The even is co-presented by River To River Festival, Arts Brookfield, and Bang on a Can, with lead support provided by ASCAP in celebration of its 100 years of protecting, supporting, and fostering the work of composers worldwide.

Sunday, June 22, 2014 from 2pm-10pm
8 hours of free live music!
Brookfield Place, Winter Garden | 220 Vesey Street, NYC
Admission: Free

Bang on a Can Marathon information: 718.852.7755 or
Full Festival Line-Up:

--Christina Jensen PR

Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Weill Hall at Sonoma State University
On Friday, July 4 Weill Hall resonates with the pride of independence with Judy Collins and the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by guest conductor Matthew Garbutt.

Come early for live music, food, and a kids play zone (rock wall, bounce houses, carnival games, balloon artists, face painting, and more!) and stay late for a beautiful fireworks display over the Sonoma Mountains.  

Friday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m. (Gates open at 4:30 p.m.)
Half price lawn tickets for kids 12 and under!
Click Here for tickets and information:

--Weill Hall at Sonoma State University

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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