Classical Music News of the Week, December 14, 2014

2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition Announces Orchestral Reading/Recording Prize

PARMA Recordings is pleased to announce its 2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition, the company's 4th annual call for scores designed to discover and present new, inspired, high-quality works by emerging composers to the listening public.

Submissions opened December 1, 2014 and end on January 31, 2015. Eligible entrants must be 30 years old or younger and currently studying composition either at an institution or through private instruction. There is no entry fee to submit.

Ten (10) winners will be selected to have their works published in the 2015 PARMA Anthology of Music. Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will receive readings and archival recordings of their pieces by a full symphony orchestra via PARMA's score workshop program, PrimaVista.

Submitted works should be no greater than ten (10) minutes in duration and orchestrated within a standard orchestral configuration of 2, 2, 2, 2 - 4, 3, 3, 1 - percussion - strings, with optional piano and harp. All costs will be fully subsidized by PARMA.

"It is difficult for any composer to hear their orchestral works played by a professional ensemble, and especially so for students. One of our goals with this year's Competition is to help talented students who might not have access to these resources at their schools get that valuable hands-on experience," says PARMA CEO Bob Lord. "We want the orchestral format to continue to be a viable one for composers of the future."

A full list of guidelines is available at
For more information about PrimaVista please visit
For all inquiries and questions please contact

Competition timeline:
December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015 - Submission period
February/March 2015 - Judging period
April 2015 - Winners announced
Summer 2015 - Reading sessions

--Rory Cooper, PARMA Recordings

92nd Street Y January Events
Jonathan Biss, piano:
Only New York solo recital this season.
Saturday, January 24, 8:00 PM
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Tickets $25 (age 35 & under), $35, $52, $57

Shai Wosner and the Parker Quartet: The Schubert Effect
Wednesday, January 28, 7:30 PM
Shai Wosner and the Parker Quartet
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC

Sunday, February 1, 3:00 PM
Shai Wosner, the Parker Quartet, Timothy Cobb
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Tickets $25 (age 35 & under), $35, $52, $57

Jennifer Koh, violin: Concludes Bach & Beyond Series
Saturday, January 31, 8:00 PM
Jennifer Koh, Violin
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Tickets $25 (age 35 & under), $35, $52, $57

Tickets are available at or 212-415-5500

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

The First HD Performance of Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg Broadcast to Cinemas
On Saturday, December 13, Met Music Director James Levine led the first HD performance of Wagner's grand comedy Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, broadcast live in HD to local movie theaters.

An encore presentation of this performance will be exhibited in select movie theaters on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in all time zones.

German baritone Michael Volle stars as Hans Sachs, with South African tenor Johan Botha as Walther, German soprano Annette Dasch as Eva, German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle in his Met debut as Beckmesser, German bass Hans-Peter König as Pogner, American tenor Paul Appleby as David, and Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Magdalene. This HD transmission, which was seen in more than 2,000 movie theaters in 69 countries around the world, was part of the final revival of Otto Schenk's acclaimed 1993 Met production. (Approximate running time: 6 hours)

Click here for a list of participating U.S. cinemas and ticketing links:

Ticket prices vary. More information is available at or

--Fathom Events

James Brawn in Rehearsal
Markson Pianos presents concert pianist James Brawn discussing his rehearsals and playing bits and pieces for us. Filmed by Lola Perrin at Markson Pianos, London, December 2014:

--Markson Pianos

Seattle Symphony Receives Six Grammy Nominations
It was announced recently that the Seattle Symphony has received six nominations in the classical category for the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Seattle Symphony Media's recording of works by Henri Dutilleux received nominations for:
Best Orchestral Performance
Best Classical Instrumental Solo by Xavier Phillips
Best Engineered Performance

Seattle Symphony Commission of Become Ocean by John Luther Adams received nominations for:
Best Contemporary Composition
Best Engineered Performance

Seattle Symphony Media Recording Engineer Dmitriy Lipay was nominated for Producer of the Year.

For more information and sound clips, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

The Violins for Kids Project Holiday Recital
The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians family cordially invites you to attend the Holiday Recital for the Violins for Kids project.

Saturday, December, 20th @ 3pm
The East Las Vegas Community Center
250 N Eastern Ave,
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101

Free Admission!

We've got a lot to be thankful for! At this recital we want to thank all those who have supported FAYM since its founding seven years ago and our "Violins for Kids" project for the past five years! Please come and be recognized! Give the gift of music. Contribute Today!

Donate here:

--Hal Weller, FAYM

Extremely Limited Reserved Seating for Handel's Messiah in S.F.'s Grace Cathedral
Mary Wilson soprano ~ Eric Jurenas countertenor
Kyle Stegall tenor ~ Jesse Blumberg baritone
Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Tuesday December 16 2014 7:30 p.m. < Limited Availability
Thursday December 18 2014 7:30 p.m. < BEST Availability
Friday December 19 2014 7:30 p.m. < Reserved Seating Sold Out

All performances in Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., San Francisco.

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Holiday Concerts at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
Mary Stalling
Sundays at Schroeder
Sun, Dec 14 at 3pm | Schroeder Hall

A Johnny Mathis Christmas: Greatest Hits and Holiday Classics
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, Dec 19 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall Generously Sponsored by Hansel Auto

Handel's Messiah with American Bach Soloists
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Dec 21 at 3pm | Weill Hall

Dave Koz & Friends
MasterCard Performance Series
Mon, Dec 22 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

David McCarroll and Roy Bogas
Sundays at Schroeder
Sun, Jan 18 at 3pm | Schroeder Hall

Emerson String Quartet
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, Feb 6 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

--Green Music Center

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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