Classical Music News of the Week, October 5, 2014

Cal Performances Presents the Only United States Appearance of Sasha Waltz & Guests in 2014, Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA

Residency activities are planned on campus and in the community, including a pre-performance talk on Saturday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

Sasha Waltz & Guests, the Berlin-based dance company known for its expansive works within the tradition of tanztheater (German expressionist dance), returns to Cal Performances for the first time since December 2010 with Impromptus (2004). As the first work Waltz choreographed to classical music, the work features seven dancers and is set to five pieces from Schubert's 1827 piano cycle and four lieders. Impromptus will be performed live by pianist Cristina Marton and mezzo-soprano Ruth Sandhoff on Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Waltz's choreography has been praised for its uncommon sensitivity to Schubert's music by creating "a telling parallel universe of motion and music … nearly all the movement is evocative and unselfconsciously original" (The New York Times). Impromptus, "never less than absorbing" (Financial Times), showcases the vulnerability and beauty of the human body through choreography that explores the emotional states between floating and being off balance. Waltz collaborated with set designer Thomas Schenk to construct a set, the scale of which "projects an unmistakable undercurrent of theatricality" (The New York Times), including a gold parallelogram that swings back and forth above the stage.

A pre-performance talk will be held on Saturday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. This event is free and open to event ticket holders. Other residency activities are planned on campus and in the community. Further details will be announced at calperformances.org.

Sasha Waltz & Guests was founded in Berlin by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig in 1993. To date, more than 250 artists and ensembles, including architects, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers, designers, musicians, singers, and dancers, have collaborated as "guests" on more than 80 productions. A "bracing, questing [and] imaginative talent" (San Francisco Examiner), Sasha Waltz has created a large body of dramatic dance works in her more than 20-year career, collaborating with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Mariinsky Ballet, Staatsoper, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and Opéra de Paris.

Ticket information:
Tickets for Sasha Waltz & Guests on Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $40.00-$96.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at www.calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.

Friday, October 24 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 25 at 8:00 p.m.
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Bancroft Way at Dana Street, Berkeley, CA

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Turtle Island Quartet Awarded Prestigious 2014 Chamber Music of America Classical Commissioning Grant
Award supports new full-length piece by co-founder, composer and violinist David Balakrishnan to complement the group's upcoming 30th season .

Two-time Grammy award-winning, world-renowned string ensemble the Turtle Island Quartet is the recipient of the highly prestigious 2014 Chamber Music of America Commissioning grant.  Turtle Island Quartet, formed in 1985 by violinist David Balakrishnan and cellist Mark Summer,  joins an elite group of 44 ensembles and presenting organizations awarded CMA funding in 2014. Grantees include 27 ensembles and 17 presenting organizations spanning 14 states. Taken as a whole, their work embodies the dynamic intersection of genres, styles, and cultures that defines contemporary chamber music. The funding provided by the CMA grant will support Balakrishnan's newest composition – a full length piece celebrating the string quartet's deep musical history and rounding out a stellar 30th season program (2015-2016).

To learn more about the Turtle Island Quartet and their current season visit http://turtleislandquartet.com/

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Community Orchestra and a Hollywood Composer!
On Tuesday, September 23 the People's Orchestra, a community orchestra based in West Bromwich near Birmingham in the UK, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for an original piece of music - a modern twist on Britten's A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, which will help introduce classical instruments and music to young children and their families. This new piece is to be composed by film composer and jazz saxophonist John Altman and will be performed for the first time at our "The Snowman Concert" in December 2014.

John Altman's name may not be instantly recognizable, but he has had a long career with many highlights. Altman is a frequent guest conductor for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, serves on the board of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), and as a member of the governing Council of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA).  He has won many prestigious film composer awards for his work in films such as RKO 281 –The Making of Citizen Kane, Shall We Dance, and Little Voice. Other notable film credits include Monty Python's Life of Brian, the tank chase sequence in GoldenEye and the period music in Titanic. Outside of the film industry, he is an accomplished jazz musician and has played saxophone with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison, in addition to producing hit singles for Bjork, Rod Stewart and George Michael to name a few.

You can view the crowdfunding campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/382508138/working-title?ref=email

The People's Orchestra have a range of rewards depending on how much one pledges to the project, including signed copies of the original score, a 1 hour webinar and a champagne reception with the composer that may be of interest to you and your followers. Their aim is to raise £14,500/$23,000.

For more information, visit www.thepeoplesorchestra.com

--The People's Orchestra

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and More at Weill Hall
All-Brahms program, Saturday, October 18, 7:30pm at Weill Hall in Sonoma State University's Green Music Center.

The famed Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center brings an all-Brahms program to Weill Hall featuring masterpieces from the fruitful final years of the composer's life. Based in the world's largest performing arts complex, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center draws more people to chamber music than any other organization of its kind. The famed ensemble, which performs repertoire from over three centuries, brings an all-Brahms program that features masterpieces from the fruitful final years of the composer's life, including the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor and the Clarinet Quintet in B minor.

For more information, visit http://gmc.sonoma.edu/event/2103088-chamber-music-society-of-lincoln-center

--Green Music Center

Berkeley Symphony 2014-2015 Season Continues with Family Concerts and Chamber Music Series
Berkeley Symphony continues its 2014-2015 season with two November performances beginning with the "Meet the Symphony" Family Concerts on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Malcolm X Elementary School and the second performance of the Berkeley Symphony & Friends Chamber Music Series on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. As part of Berkeley Symphony's award-winning Music in the Schools program, children of all ages and their families are invited to participate in the interactive "Meet the Symphony" concerts, led by Director of Education and Conductor Ming Luke. Showcasing the virtuosity of Berkeley Symphony musicians, the second Chamber Music program features concertmaster Franklyn D'Antonio, principal clarinetist Roman Fukshansky, cellist Eric Gaenslen and pianist Miles Graber in a program of chamber works including John Adams's Road Music for violin and piano, Bartók's Contrasts and Brahms's Piano Trio in C minor.

"Meet the Symphony" will be presented in two Family Concerts on November 1, 2014, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Audience members are invited to assist Maestro Ming Luke and Berkeley Symphony musicians by rearranging the orchestral instruments, then returning them to their proper places after finding the orchestra in disarray. Through this interactive lesson, audience members will learn how the instruments are organized within an orchestra and discover their unique characteristics. The second set of Family Concerts, "I'm a Performer," will be presented on April 11, 2015, also at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and offer the chance for music lovers, instrumentalists and singers of all ages to perform with Ming Luke and Berkeley Symphony musicians.

The 2014–2015 Family Concerts are part of Berkeley Symphony's award-winning Music in the Schools program. Under the leadership of Education Director and Conductor Ming Luke, the program provides a year-long introduction to music for every public elementary school student in the Berkeley School District. It is designed to offer students a lasting connection to music, from the point of first contact to personal involvement. In 2003, Music in the Schools earned national recognition when the program was selected by the League of American Orchestras for an inaugural Bank of America "Excellence in Music Education" Award. All Music in the Schools programs are offered 100% free of charge to children and are made possible through the generous support of numerous Music in the Schools sponsors. For more information, visit www.berkeleysymphony.org/mits/

--Karen Ames PR

Aeolus Quartet 2014-2015
A whirlwind concert season across the U.S. and a tour of South Korea and collaborations with the Juilliard and Miró String Quartets, Angel Romero, and others will culminate in a recital at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on May 4, 2015.

Named for the Greek god Aeolus, who governed the four winds, the Aeolus Quartet breezes into an exciting new season, with a busy schedule across the US, including several residencies, and a tour of South Korea. Their second and final season as Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School culminates in a concert called Death and Transfiguration featuring music by Schubert, Schoenberg, and a world premiere by Douglas Boyce at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on May 4, 2015.

Since it's inception, the all-American quartet, formed at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2008, has been a prizewinner at nearly every major competition in the United States and has performed across the globe with showings "worthy of a major-league quartet" (Dallas Morning News). "The Aeolus Quartet is a powerful and thoughtful group of young musicians who are plotting an ascending course," says the Austin-American Statesman, "this vibrant group shows great promise." Comprised of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson, these four young artists present masterworks and cutting-edge compositions with equal freshness, dedication, and fervor.

Back from Abu Dhabi where they completed a two week-long residency in affiliation with Khalifa University and Chamber Music Abu Dhabi, which was followed by concerts in New York, Washington, DC, and Denver, the Quartet continues their busy schedule here and abroad this season. In October, the Aeolus will undertake residencies in Detroit with the Juilliard Quartet and in Tulsa with the Miró Quartet – both of which they have studied with extensively. These concerts will feature Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20 as well as (in Tulsa) Dan Welcher's powerful 2012 work for double string quartet, Museon Polemos.

In their home base of New York City, the Aeolus Quartet will perform with AXIOM at Alice Tully Hall on November 24 for a concert including Conlon Nancarrow's String Quartet No. 1 (1987); at Music Mondays (Advent Lutheran Church) for a free concert on December 8 in collaboration with the Aizuri Quartet which features the New York premiere of Welcher's Octet; and at Merkin Hall for a concert with Robert Kapilow, part of his acclaimed "What Makes It Great?" series, featuring the Mendelssohn Octet.

The climax of the season and the culmination of the Quartet's two-year residency at the Juilliard School will be Death and Transfiguration, the Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 8:00pm. The program will feature Shubert's Death and the Maiden; Schoenberg's string sextet Verklärte Nacht, with Juilliard String Quartet cellist Joel Krosnick and violist Samuel Rhodes; and the world premiere of Alcyone by Douglas Boyce. The Quartet has commissioned the new work by Boyce, which will include recitations of poetry and movement about the stage. The piece is inspired by the mythical figure of Alcyone – daughter of Aeolus – who transforms into a kingfisher, as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Additional upcoming highlights this season include a concert with legendary guitarist Angel Romero in Scottsdale, more Schoenberg for the Austin Chamber Music Society, and Chausson's Concerto for Piano, Violin, and String Quartet with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond. In early 2015, the Quartet heads to South Korea for concerts at the Jeju Island Music Festival in Seoul and elsewhere in South Korea.

Widely recognized for their highly innovative and engaging outreach programs, the Aeolus Quartet was awarded the 2013 Educator Award by The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association. Their initiatives have resulted in large-scale community engagement work in Stanford, CA and various educational programs and performances throughout the state of Texas. This season they will be offering extensive outreach performances and masterclasses as part of residencies in Tulsa and Detroit – where they recently played for as many as 4,000 area children – and will offer a masterclass at Seattle University.

For more information and the complete concert schedule, visit http://aeolusquartet.com/schedule/#C4

--Shira Gilbert PR

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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