Classical Music News of the Week, January 18, 2015

UCLA Arts Announces Public Events Calendar for Winter 2015

Musical performances by UCLA's world-class student ensembles and guests:

Feb. 13, Feb. 15, Feb. 20, Feb. 22: Opera UCLA, together with the UCLA Department of Theater and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, presents the West Coast premiere of Saverio Mercadante's "The Two Figaros," directed by Peter Kazaras, director of UCLA Opera Studies.

Feb. 27: Performance featuring the work of three choreographers in their second year of graduate studies in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance: Dorothy Dubrule, Julio Medina and Luis Tentindo.

Mar. 2: UCLA Jazz Combos – directed by George Bohanon, Kenny Burrell, Clayton Cameron, Charley Harrison, Charles Owens and Michele Weir, with special guests from the Thelonious Monk Institute Ensemble.

Mar. 3: UCLA Big Bands – performances by the UCLA Jazz Orchestra, directed by Charley Harrison; UCLA LatinJazz Big Band, directed by Bobby Rodriguez; and the Ellingtonia Orchestra, directed by Kenny Burrell.

Mar. 6–7: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company & SITI Company – This dance-theater collaboration joins minds, bodies and voices for a riveting reflection on Stravinsky's groundbreaking "Rite of Spring."

Mar. 14: UCLA Choral Union and UCLA Philharmonia will perform Verdi's Requiem conducted by Neal Stulberg.

For ticketed events, contact the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-825-2101 or Campus parking is available for $12 (all-day); short-term parking is also available (payable at pay stations).

For more information, visit

--Anne Marie Burke, UCLA Arts Communications

Bluegrass Pioneer Jake Schepps and Stringband Play Subculture 2/4
Jake Schepps, inimitable banjoist and trailblazer in the contemporary bluegrass scene, brings an inspired project live for his North American tour of Entwined—his latest album set for Jan. 27 release. Entwined features bold new work by ingenious classical composers written for the quintessential bluegrass combo of banjo, mandolin, guitar, violin, and bass. The Jake Schepps Quintet continues its tour with an intimate evening show at Subculture (45 Bleecker Street, New York City), 8 PM Wednesday, February 4.

Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Subculture is located at 45 Bleecker Street, New York, 10012. For tickets, please call (212) 533-5470, email, or visit

--Susannah Luthi, BuckleSweet Media

American Bach Soloists Present Bach and Handel
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major
Handel: Acis and Galatea

Nola Richardson Galatea, soprano (debut) ~ Kyle Stegall Acis, tenor (debut)
Mischa Bouvier Polyphemus, bass ~ Zachary Wilder Damon, tenor (debut)
Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Friday January 23 2015 8:00 p.m. - St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA
Saturday January 24 2015 8:00 p.m. - First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday January 25 2015 4:00 p.m. - St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Monday January 26 2015 7:00 p.m. - Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Upcoming Events at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
David McCarroll and Roy Bogas
Sundays at Schroeder
Sun, Jan 18 at 3pm | Schroeder Hall

Tanggo Buenos Aires
MasterCard Performance Series
Thurs, Jan 22 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

Yo-Yo Ma: Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello
MasterCard Performance Series
Sat, Jan 24 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

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

Stewart Copeland and Jon Kimura Parker
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Mar 8 at 7pm | Weill Hall

Curtis Chamber Orchestra
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Mar 15 at 3pm | Weill Hall

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

A Majestic Choral Concert - Two Bachs and "Trauermusik"
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra greets 2015 with a concert featuring inspiring choral music by two accomplished cousins of Johann Sebastian Bach. Music Director Nicholas McGegan leads the Orchestra and Chorale in a performance of Johann Ludwig Bach's rarely-heard Trauermusik, complementing this monumental piece with a cantata by Johann Christoph Bach and the Sinfonia from Telemann's Schwanengesang.

Four performances take place around the Bay Area at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, CA (Wed, Feb 4), Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, CA (Fri, Feb 6), and First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA (Sat and Sun, Feb 7-8).

Tickets are priced $25 to $100 and may be purchased through City Box Office: or call (415) 392-4400.

For further information, visit

--Ben Casement Stoll, PBO

Choral Superstar to Guest Conduct St. Charles Singers March 7-8
Choral superstar Craig Hella Johnson to guest conduct St. Charles Singers March 7-8 in Wheaton and St. Charles, Illinois.

Acclaimed choral director Craig Hella Johnson, a multiple Grammy award nominee, will guest conduct the St. Charles Singers in a concert program titled "Inspired" at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton, Il; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles, Il.

Johnson, who will make his St. Charles Singers conducting debut, is founder and artistic director of Conspirare, the Austin, Texas, based professional choral ensemble that's earned six Grammy nominations over the years.

Jeffrey Hunt, founder and artistic director of the St. Charles Singers, says Johnson selected works for the program that he finds personally inspiring and which he's eager to share with the choir and its fans. Some songs are infused with American roots music. All of them are new to the St. Charles Singers, as are most of the composers, Hunt says.

Anchoring the "Inspired" program is Dominick Argento's Walden Pond (1996), a virtuosic and evocative five-movement work for mixed choir, three cellos, and harp. The text is from Henry David Thoreau's Walden, a meditation on nature and self-reliance.

The mixed-voice professional chamber choir, now in its 31st concert season, will also perform the following works:
"Lobe den Herrn" (Praise the Lord), by J. S. Bach
"Beautiful River," arranged by William Hawley
"At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners," by Williametta Spencer
"All My Trials," arranged by Norman Luboff
"Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Jake Runestad
"Hard Times," by Stephen Foster, arranged by Craig Hella Johnson
"I Dream a World," by Dan Welcher
"Bright Morning Stars" and "Unclouded Day," arranged by Shawn Kirchner

Single tickets for the March "Inspired" concerts are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at or by calling (630) 513-5272.

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Jennifer Koh, Violin, Concludes Bach & Beyond Series
Jennifer Koh finishes her multi-year exploration of the great Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin on Saturday, January 31, 8:00 PM at 92Y, NYC. Her series has created a relationship with brand new contemporary music that responds to Bach's legacy. Any consideration for a preview or listing would be most appreciated. I would be happy to arrange an interview with Jennifer Koh at your convenience.

In this final installment Bach's rich contrapuntal sonatas are paired with Berio's dramatic Sequenza VIII and the world premiere of For Violin Alone by the American composer John Harbison (The Great Gatsby). As Ms. Koh explains, "This final concert explores the idea of development by highlighting of the fugal form in both Bach's works and in our contemporaries."

Bach & Beyond, Part III:
Bach: Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
Berio: Sequenza VIII
Harbison: For Violin Alone (World premiere, 92Y co-commission)
Bach: Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Concerto Competition at 92nd Street Y
This new competition will focus on a different instrument family each year. For the first year, all string instrumentalists (violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar) are invited to apply.

First Prize: Performance with the 92Y School of Music Orchestra, $500 cash prize
Second Prize: $250 cash prize and solo recital with piano
Third Prize: $150 cash prize and solo recital with piano

Preliminary Round: Video submission due by Jan 30, 2015
Semifinal Round: Feb 21, 2015
Final Round: Feb 22, 2015
First-Prize Winner Concert: Apr 19, 2015
Second and Third-Prize Winners Recital: Jun 14, 2015

For specific details, visit

--Andrew Sherman, 92nd Street Y

Isabelle Faust Tour
Isabelle Faust Returns to Avery Fisher Hall January 18th Performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with Ivan Fisher and The Budapest Festival Orchestra.

A featured artist on Alexander Melnikov's new recording of Hindemith sonatas out January 13th, Faust tours with Melnikov in February starting with their Chicago recital debut at Mandel Hall on February 6.

A supreme musical partnership that has forged celebrated solo careers, violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov share a unique musical kinship that shines through in their playing. They have most notably brought their authoritative interpretations to the complete violin and piano works of Beethoven. "It's quite rare to find anybody else who's as inspiring over such a long period of time," Faust says of their longevity. "This regular duo work has been a very important part of our musical development over quite some years--we are both constantly being enriched by each other's ideas, questions and researches, criticism or experiences, while always deeply admiring the other's musicianship and mastery." Says Melnikov, "The first time I heard Isabelle's Bach I fell in love with her playing. It was exactly what I wanted to hear in this music and it's still the case." The duo kick off a run of dates in the U.S. with their Chicago recital debut on February 6, 2015.

Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov in concert February 2015:
Feb. 5 - Princeton, NJ - Richardson Auditorium Alexander Hall - Princeton University Concerts
Feb. 6 - Chicago, IL - Mandel Hall - Chicago Presents *Chicago Recital Debut*
Feb. 8 - Washington, DC - Music Room - Phillips Collection

--Sarah Folger, Harmonia Mundi USA

Games of Thrones, World Premiere
One World Symphony
Sung Jin Hong, Artistic Director and Conductor
One World Symphony Vocal Artists

Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
Monday, February 2, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.
Holy Apostles Church
296 Ninth Avenue at West 28th Street

Richard Wagner: from Die Walküre
Sergei Prokofiev: from Alexander Nevsky
Richard Strauss: from Salomé 
Giuseppe Verdi: from Rigoletto 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: from Idomeneo 
Anne Boleyn: "O death, rock me asleep" (NY Premiere)
Justin Lee: Hodor Suite (2015 World Premiere)

$30 Students/Seniors (available at door)
$40 General
Open seating. Handicap accessible

Siblings who are a little too close — okay, a lot too close. A bastard son who gets dragged into his family's mess. Hot sorceresses and ruthless politicians with appetites for power, seduction, deception, and ice battles. Sounds operatic to us!

--One World Symphony

Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Embark on Seven-City U.S. Tour
From February 12 to 21, 2015, the Geneva-based Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR), one of Switzerland's leading orchestras, tours to California, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC to perform its signature interpretations of early 20th-century French and Russian repertoire. Conductor Charles Dutoit, born in Lausanne in the Suisse romande, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, leads the OSR in Debussy's "Ibéria", Ravel's La valse and Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 in separate programs, and Stravinsky's The Song of the Nightingale. Russian pianist Nikolaï Lugansky joins the OSR in performances of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. With these programs, Mr. Dutoit pays tribute to the flagship repertoire and spirit of his mentor Ernest Ansermet, the founder and longstanding music director of the OSR.

Performances take place on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. at Soka University's Soka Performing Arts Center in Alisa Viejo, CA, Friday, February 13 at 8 p.m. at UC Davis's Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Saturday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center, Monday, February 16 at 7 p.m. at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA, Thursday, February 19 at 8:30 p.m. at Cornell University's Bailey Hall, Friday, February 20 at 8 p.m. at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)'s Prudential Hall in Newark, and Saturday, February 21 at 3 p.m. at The Kennedy Center's Concert Hall in Washington, DC.

For more information, visit

--Hanna Choi, Shuman Associates

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Features Mezzo-Soprano Sara Murphy
Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's Caritas Concert Series will feature Mezzo-Soprano Sara Murphy and Pianist Michael Sheetz at NYC's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on February 12 at 6:30pm. They will be performing an evening of song featuring Mahler's Rückert Lieder, as well as works by Brahms, Elgar, and Lili Boulanger. All proceeds benefit LifeWay Network.

Described by The New York Times as "a gorgeous, deep, dark mezzo-soprano" and by the Huffington Post as "... another force to be reckoned with ... Her grand, expansive voice, was like a rich Columbian coffee blend…" mezzo-soprano Sara Murphy is no stranger to New York audiences where she frequently appears as a soloist on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space [SMSS] concert series. Murphy and acclaimed pianist Michael Sheetz perform as part of SMSS's Caritas Concert Series in Wallace Hall at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, on February 12, 2015, at 6:30pm. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased here or by calling 212.288.2520.

For more information on Sacred Music in a Sacred Space visit:

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Dance Star Wendy Whelan Featured in Evening of Duets
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents dancer Wendy Whelan in Restless Creature on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Called "America's greatest contemporary ballerina" by The New York Times, Wendy Whelan captivated audiences as a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet with her elegant yet thrilling movement and her exacting, intelligent approach to performing. In her new project, Restless Creature, she collaborates with four of today's cutting-edge dancer-choreographers: Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo.

A suite of four duets, each performed by Whelan and the work's choreographer, Restless Creature premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in 2013 and has been presented in London and Vail, Colo.

Tickets start at $39 and are available through or 480-499-TKTS (8587).

For more information, visit

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

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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