Classical Music News of the Week, January 4, 2015

Young People's Chorus of New York City January Event

Saturday, January 17, 8 p.m. at Alice Tully Hall, NYC, Young People's Chorus joins the University Glee Club of New York City in an Anniversary Celebration.

YPC will be the guests of the University Glee Club of New York City (UGC), the venerable, all-men's choir in a concert that celebrates two momentous occasions: the 120th anniversary year of UGC and the 20th anniversary of the first collaboration between UGC and YPC in 1995 at the very site of their initial association--Alice Tully Hall. Francisco Núñez, who in addition to being the artistic director and founder of YPC, has also led UGC since 2000, will lead both choirs in a program of classical and contemporary gems, with a special highlight that includes Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.

Tickets are available now at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, or online at

And more upcoming YPC concerts:

March 2, 2015
YPC Gala
Jazz at Lincoln Center

March 11, 2015
Japanese Benefit
Carnegie Hall

March 22, 2015
"Meredith Monk and Friends"
Zankel Hall

April 8, 2015
John Adams's Transmigrations of Souls with New York Choral Society
Carnegie Hall

April 25, 2015
Radio Radiance

May 21, 2015
YPC Satellite Schools Concert
92nd Street Y

June 6, 2015
YPC Spring Concert
92nd Street Y

June 23, 2015
YPC with Jerusalem Youth Chorus

--Katharine Gibson, YPC

Berkeley Symphony Presents Rare Performance of Asyla
Joana Careiro and Berkeley Symphony present Thomas Ades's Asyla and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 January 15, 2015.

Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony continue the 2014-2015 season on Thursday, January 15 at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall with a rare performance of Asyla by British composer Thomas Adès alongside Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathétique."

Maestra Carneiro returns to Berkeley Symphony following her highly successful London debut with the English National Opera where she conducted the first theatrical production of John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Andrew Clements of the Guardian (U.K.) called the work "immensely powerful" commenting that it was "superbly conducted." These performances garnered numerous positive reviews including The Arts Desk who stated that "under Joana Carneiro, the ENO has never sounded better."

Firmly established as one of the leading artists of his generation, Thomas Adès has forged a multi-faceted career as a composer, conductor and pianist. His longstanding history with Berkeley Symphony dates back to 1997 when the orchestra debuted the concert version of his provocative chamber opera Powder Her Face before it was fully staged in New York, London and Chicago. Asyla was commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and received its premiere in October 1997 under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, one of Adès's most committed supporters. With a large orchestral scoring including a vast array of percussion instruments, Asyla is a four-movement symphony that takes its name from the Latin plural of "asylum." The work has been met with critical acclaim and was described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as a work that "passes through violently contrasted symphonic episodes while pursuing a single potent figure." Following the premiere of Asyla, it was awarded the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society prize and has since been performed and recorded throughout the world.

Single tickets for the concert are $15-$74. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (510) 841-2800 x1 or visit

--Brenden Guy, Berkeley Symphony

Long Yu Awarded Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
France recognizes Maestro Long Yu's leadership in strengthening China's cultural connections with other nations around the world.

Maestro Long Yu received the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in a ceremony at the French Consulate General in Shanghai this week. As Chevalier, he joins the highest order of the Légion d'honneur, whose past recipients include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the Lumière brothers, Auguste Rodin, and Honoré de Balzac. The honor dates back to the early 19th century and is among the highest decorations of merit in France.

Maestro Long Yu is only the third Chinese National to receive the award. His notable collaborations with leading French orchestras include Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.

ChevalierThis award marks a highlight of an impressive season for Maestro Long Yu. In July, star-studded concerts in Shanghai and Beijing coincided with his 50th birthday, and colleagues including Lang Lang, Alison Balsom and Maxim Vengerov performed, with new works composed by Tan Dun, Qigang Chen and John Williams. At the same time, he led the Shanghai Symphony into their incredible new home, a state-of-the-art venue built mostly underground, acoustically designed by Yasuhisa Toyota (famously, the man behind the sound of Walt Disney Hall). Only weeks later, he conducted the China Philharmonic as the first Chinese orchestra to perform at the BBC Proms. The New York Philharmonic welcomes Maestro Long Yu for subscription concerts in January 2015, and he returns in February with Yo-Yo Ma for his now-traditional Chinese New Year concert with them.

--James Inverne, Inverne Price Music

More Between Heaven and Earth January 18
More Between Heaven and Earth, Salon/Sanctuary's original site-specific music theater piece based on the letters of Thomas Jefferson and Maria Cosway, returns to Fraunces Tavern on January 18th. Fraunces Tavern, built in 1719, sets the stage for the production, which features music prepared from the original 18th century manuscripts.

Melissa Errico reprises her role as the trailblazing 18th century Italian singer, composer, and painter Maria Cosway. Obie award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant returns to the role of Narrator, which she orginated in the premiere production, and Jonathan Cake of the Royal Shakespeare Company assumes the role of Thomas Jefferson.

Sparks flew between the widowed Jefferson and the married Maria when they met in Paris in 1786. Their passionate correspondence of almost 40 years included music Maria and Jefferson heard together in France, as well as works that Maria herself composed for him.

Jonathan, Melissa and Kathleen will be joined by soprano Jessica Gould, tenor Tony Boutté, and chamber orchestra for the environmentally staged performance.

The oldest surviving structure in Manhattan, Fraunces Tavern housed Washington's Cabinet when Jefferson was Secretary of State, and is the actual building where Jefferson wrote some of the letters used in the script.

Musical selections include works by Corelli, Cosway, Hewitt, and Sacchini, including arias and sinfonias from the 1786 Sacchini opera Dardanus. Never performed before in the United States, the editions used in this performance were prepared from the original 1786 score housed in the Weiner Music Library of Columbia University.

Sunday, January 18th 4:00pm
The Bissel Room of Fraunces Tavern
54 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10004

For more information, visit

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Susan Graham to Receive Opera Index Award Sunday, January 11, 2015
On Sunday, January 11, Opera Index will present its 36th Distinguished Achievement Award to Susan Graham, one today's foremost opera stars, at its winter gala in the Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex  House, 160 Central Park South, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception at the Petit Salon. Presenting Ms. Graham with this year's award will be the revered American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, a previous Distinguished Achievement Award-winner.

The gala evening, attended by guests, many of whom come from the worlds of opera and theater, not only celebrates the remarkable career of Ms. Graham but will also feature performances by seven winners of the 2014 Opera Index Vocal Competition. Since 1984 the competition has boosted the careers of 365 young singers with awards totaling more than $1 million. One of Opera Index's early recipients was Susan Graham in 1987.

Tickets for the Opera Index Winter Gala range from $350 to $1,000. More information and tickets are available by phone at 212-706-9550 or by emailing

This year 90 singers competed in the preliminary auditions on October 14 and 15 in Lang Hall at Hunter College, and from the 30 finalists, 15 singers won awards. The panel of judges comprised Laura Alley, Ken Benson, Jay Lesinger, Robert Lombardo, Mark Moorman, Lenore Rosenberg, Cesare Santeramo, and Jane Shaulis.

Major awards presented were: $10,000 to bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green; $7,500 to tenors Benjamin Bliss and Andrew Stenson and baritone Joo Won Kang; $3,500 to soprano Hyesang Park; and $3,000 to baritone John Brancy. The Judges Award of $2,500 was presented to soprano Marina Costa-Jackson.

Emerging Artist Awards of $2,000 were given to tenors Michael Brandenburg and César Delgado and to bass-baritone Daniel Noyola, and five Encouragement Awards of $1,000 were given to baritones Michael Adams and Joe Eletto, bass-baritones André Courville and Josh Quinn; and tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson.

More information about Opera Index is available at

--Angela Duryea

Jennifer Rivera performs Rossini in Paris
Jennifer Rivera, mezzo-soprano
Kenneth Merrill, fortepiano
"Rossini in Paris"

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.
The Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium
417 East 61st Street, between First and York, NYC

1 888 718 4253
$25 seniors/students/FIAF, $35 general, $50 prime, $100 front row series supporter

The fireworks continue long past New Year's with Opera Buffa's greatest genius, Gioachino Rossini. Having conquered the operatic world with glimmering masterworks of comedic invention, Rossini retired to the City of Lights, where he enjoyed the lavish lifestyle of a guiltless gourmand.

As his waistline expanded, he tossed fulsome opera for slender song, and left the world a feast of intimate treasures fit for decadent salonistes. A banquet shared by two masters of the bel canto repertoire, come hear why Stendhal called Rossini "the musical embodiment of Paris." Repertoire to include La Regata Veneziana, various settings of Mi lagnerò tacendo, and songs of Pauline Viardot. A wine and cheese reception will follow this performance.

--Salon/Sancturay Concerts

Denis Brott Appointed to the Order of Canada
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced that Denis Brott has been appointed Member of the Order of Canada, recognized for his achievements as a cellist and pedagogue, and for his role in establishing the Canada Council of the Arts' Musical Instrument Bank. Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Renowned internationally as one of Canada's finest performing musicians, Denis Brott is Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, founded in 1995, and has been Professor at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal since 1989.

Denis Brott, C.M. rose to international attention in 1973 when he won 2nd Prize in the Munich International Cello Competition. Mentored by some of the world's greatest cellists, such as Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School, Janos Starker at Indiana University, and Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California, Mr. Brott's concert tours have since taken him to prestigious venues and festivals on four continents. A devoted chamber musician, Brott spent eight years in the Orford String Quartet, during which time he made 25 recordings, earning two Juno Awards (1985, 1987) for Best Chamber Ensemble Classical Recording, and the Grand Prix du Disque (1988) for the complete Beethoven string quartets. He has also appeared as guest with ensembles including the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo and Fine Arts String Quartets. His numerous solo recordings include Brahms' Sonatas for cello and piano, and Homage to Piatigorsky, which received this accolade from Yo-Yo Ma: "His playing throughout is exemplary, full of the rich sound and technical wizardry the master exemplified.  I think Piatigorsky would be proud."

--Shira Gilbert PR

Young People's Chorus of NYC Is Guest of University Glee Club of NYC at Alice Tully Hall, January 17
Saturday, January 17, at 8 p.m.

The concert celebrates UGC's 120th anniversary season and a 20-year collaboration with YPC.

The award-winning Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) conducted by Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez will be the special guest of the venerable, all-male University Glee Club of New York City at Alice Tully Hall Saturday, January 17, at 8 p.m. Mr. Núñez, the UGC's fifth conductor since the chorus was founded in 1894, will lead both choirs in a program of classical and contemporary music, with highlights that include Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, and arrangements of songs of the sea. The concert marks a double anniversary: the 120th anniversary year of UGC and the 20th anniversary of the first collaboration between UGC and YPC at the very site of their initial association - Alice Tully Hall.

All tickets are $50 and are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge 212-721-6500, or online at

--Angela Duryea, Young People's Chorus of New York City

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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