Classical Music News of the Week, February 1, 2015

Music Institute Welcomes Families for a Morning of Music

Music Institute invites to ride the "Little Train of the Caipira" March 14. Morning of M
usic begins with an Instrument Petting Zoo.

The Music Institute of Chicago presents a morning of music for families Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m., preceded by an open house at 9 a.m., at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinios.

The program:
The morning begins with an open house in the Nichols Concert Hall lobby. Kids can enjoy playing a variety of instruments at the Music Institute Instrument Petting Zoo, parents can talk with faculty and staff, and everyone can enjoy student performances. At 10 a.m., everyone takes a musical journey through the villages in the São Paolo province of Brazil, set to "Little Train of the Caipira" from Bachianas Brasilerias No. 2 by Hector Villa Lobos. James Setapen, conductor-in-residence director of the Music Institute's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, conducts an orchestra of Music Institute faculty members.

The Music Institute of Chicago's family open house (9 a.m.) and "Little Train of the Caipira" (10 a.m.) take place Saturday, March 14 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $5 general admission per person, available at brownpapertickets.com/event/852829 or 800-838-3006. For more information, call 847.905.1500 ext. 108 or visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Sir Andras Schiff Brings "The Last Sonatas" to North America
Sir András Schiff has distinguished himself throughout the course of an exceptional international career that has spanned over 40 years.  His latest musical odyssey, "The Last Sonatas," is a project of three recital programs, comprising the three final sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. The cycle spans the course of the next two seasons, with the complete series slated for New York's Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles's Disney Hall, San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, Chicago's Symphony Hall, Washington Performing Arts' Strathmore Hall, The Vancouver Recital Society and University Musical Society of The University of Michigan.  Additional recitals are scheduled in Napa, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Scottsdale and Kansas City.  Further plans include bringing "The Last Sonatas" to international venues such as the Salzburg Festival, as well as to Berlin, Lisbon and Barcelona.

Indisputably one of the most prominent proponents of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, his last U.S. appearances included a cycle of six programs heard in their entirety in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Alongside this unparalleled project he performed the cycle of 32 Beethoven Sonatas, a project he began in 2004, in 20 cities worldwide. This included a live recording of the complete cycle in the Zurich Tonhalle.

February 15 – Davies Symphony Hall – San Francisco, CA – Program I
February 16 – Copia Theater – Napa, CA – Program I
February 18 – Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA – Program I
February 20 – Stern Auditorium – La Jolla, CA – Program II
February 22 – Davies Symphony Hall – San Francisco, CA – Program II
February 24 – Lensic Theatre – Santa Fe, NM – Program I
February 26 – Virginia G. Piper Theatre – Scottsdale, AZ – Program I
March 1 – Chan Centre for the Performing Arts – Vancouver, BC – Program I
March 4 – Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA – Program II
March 6 – Folly Theater – Kansas City, MO – Program I
March 8 – Symphony Center – Chicago, IL – Program I
March 10 – Carnegie Hall – New York, NY – Program I
March 12 – Carnegie Hall – New York, NY – Program II
March 15 – Strathmore Hall – Washington, DC – Program I

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

The Kennedy Center Announces SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras
The Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts announce SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, a three-year festival celebrating North American orchestras which will begin in the spring of 2017. The project is a reimagining of the innovative Spring for Music festival in New York that concluded its four-year run in May 2014. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant for the collaboration, of which $700,000 will be leveraged as matching funds for new gifts to support the program. The festival will focus on three principal areas: performances, community events, and symposia and workshops. Additionally, there will be a community outreach component for each participating orchestra.

"We are pleased to collaborate with Washington Performing Arts and celebrate the vibrancy and potency of American orchestras in a festival setting, here in the nation's capital," said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. "We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous commitment to this exciting program."

The unique institutional collaboration between the two organizations reflects a common intent to showcase the vitality and innovative spirit of American orchestras, and the further goal of sharing the celebration with the Washington, D.C. community at large.

The annual six-day music festival will present four to five orchestras per year, bringing national attention to the exemplary work of these organizations, who will be selected not only for their artistic excellence but for their relationships with their communities. The residency program will incorporate full orchestral and smaller-ensemble performances, symposia, workshops, and other events at the Kennedy Center and in smaller venues and schools throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, reflecting each orchestra's unique identity and strengths on a national platform.

"The title of the festival, SHIFT, recognizes the dynamic, evolving work and role of orchestras in the 21st century and underscores our mission to play a role in shifting  pre-conceived notions about orchestras," said President and CEO of Washington Performing Arts Jenny Bilfield. "The Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts share an abiding belief that the nation's capital is the ideal place to showcase and honor the high-impact, imaginative work—on and off the stage—that our orchestras are developing for and with their audiences. How exciting for D.C. to showcase this creativity and leadership in spaces around the city!"

More information for orchestras interested in participating in SHIFT, including a Request for Proposals, will be available on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 on the Washington Performing Arts website: http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org/media/shiftrfp.aspx

Proposals are due Monday, March 2, 2015 by 5 p.m. Eastern time.

--Amanda Hunter, The Kennedy Center

Orion's "Jubilation" Program Showcases Stacy Garrop
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous  Programming, continues its 22nd season "A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance" with "Jubilation," featuring Chicago composer Stacy Garrop's work of the same name. Performances take place at the First Baptist Church of Geneva March 8; the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston March 15; and the PianoForte Studios in Chicago March 18.

The program:
Stacy Garrop's music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative, in programmatic pieces without text and more directly in pieces that draw upon poets and writers for source material. Within the realm of chamber music, she is particularly fond of writing for string quartets; Avalon, Biava, Cecilia, Chiara, Enso and Artaria Quartets have performed her work. She has a longstanding relationship with the Lincoln Trio, and her chamber works have also been performed by the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Fifth House Ensemble, Gaudete Brass Quintet, Indiana University's New Music Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), New EAR, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players and Voices of Change. She also has written orchestral and choral works and has received numerous awards and grants.

Orion's 2014-15 season:
Orion's 2014-15 season "A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance" features a Chicago composer on each of its four programs; the final program, "Celebration" in May 2015, features guest Stephen Boe and works by Chicagoan  Marc Mellits, Kókai and Brahms. Also during the season, Orion appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" March 23 and June 1, 2015.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Mezzo-Soprano Cecilia Bartoli Returns to Cal Performances For Two Recitals
Cal Performances presents Cecilia Bartoli, celebrated mezzo-soprano, in two recitals: Tuesday and Thursday, March 31 and April 2, in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA.

Ms. Bartoli's program, which she is singing for the first time in the United States, celebrates the art of the castrati during their golden age in the 18th century. Her longtime accompanist Sergio Ciomei will be at the piano. Fittingly, Bartoli, who made her West Coast debut at Cal Performances in 1991, will conclude this three-stop California tour in Berkeley, following appearances at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (March 21 and 26); and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County (March 23). This recital marks her tenth engagement with Cal Performances. Bartoli is a longtime audience favorite in Berkeley; she received the first Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts in 2009. The award is a University of California, Berkeley, honor given to an individual whose contributions demonstrate exceptional achievement in the performing arts, at Cal Performances and throughout the world.

Tickets for Cecilia Bartoli on Tuesday and Thursday, March 31 and April 2, at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall begin at $45.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on January 22, and 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.

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov Makes New York Debut
Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, Prize Laureate of the 2012 Honens International Piano Competition, will make his New York debut at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, NYC, Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., performing works by Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, and Scriabin.

The Telegraph (London), in a five-star review, called Mr. Kolesnikov's 2014 Wigmore Hall debut "one of the most memorable of such occasions London has witnessed in a while," and he was recently named a BBC New Generation Artist by BBC Radio 3.

Tickets: $35, $20 ($15 students, at Box Office only), available at carnegiehall.org; by calling CarnegieCharge (212) 247-7800; or by visiting the Carnegie Hall box office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

--Nancy Shear, Shear Arts Services

SMSS Mander Organ Recital Series Features Adam Brakel, 2/22 at 3pm
Adam J. Brakel to perform Six Études of Jeanne Demessieux, as well as music of J.S. Bach, Bossi, Rameau, Reger and others as part of Sacred Music in a Sacred Spaces' N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series.

February 22nd at 3pm at New York City's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, NYC.

New York City's breathtaking, majestic Church of St. Ignatius Loyola comes to life with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series featuring concert organist Adam J. Brakel on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at 3:00 pm. All tickets are $20 and St. Ignatius Loyola is located at 980 Park Avenue.

For tickets call 212-288-2520 or click http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/682293

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Feb 23 & 24: Taping of Lisa Bielawa's New Serial Opera Open to Public
On February 23 and 24, 2015, the pilot episode of composer Lisa Bielawa's serial opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser will be videotaped at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana (307 North Spurgeon St.). Two taping sessions, each of a different scene from the opera, will be open to the public, free of charge, at 7pm on February 23 and 5pm on February 24 (limited availability, online RSVPs are required at http://bit.ly/RSVPVireo). Vireo's 25-minute pilot episode will air on March 31, 2015, and will feature the Kronos Quartet, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Orange County School of the Arts Middle School Choir, mezzo-soprano Maria Lazarova, baritone Gregory Purnhagen, drummer Matthias Bossi, and in the title role of Vireo, 16-year-old soprano Rowen Sabala.

Vireo is a new opera composed by Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, which is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly for episodic release via broadcast and online media. Through a partnership with KCETLink, the national independent, non-profit digital and broadcast network, the unique multimedia initiative will include online articles and videos showcasing the production's creative process, as well as a television special presented by Artbound, KCETLink's Emmy award-winning arts and culture series. Vireo is an artist residency project of Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) in Santa Ana, an outgrowth of Cal State Fullerton, Director/Chief Curator John Spiak.

Online RSVPs required at http://bit.ly/RSVPVireo

--Christina Jensen PR

OrchKids and BSYO Performance
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is excited to announce a special collaborative concert with its flagship community education program, OrchKids and its Youth Orchestra, on the world renowned Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Friday, February 6th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Under leadership of OrchKids Artistic Director Dan Trahey, Bucket Band Director Brian Prechtl, BSYO Conductor  Mary Poling and OrchKids Conductor Eli Wirth, 65 children, spanning pre-kindergarten through ninth grade, will perform together for a special concert that will feature a mix of classical, jazz, pop and spiritual-inspired pieces. The ensemble will be accompanied by Chi-chi Nwanoku, Principal Double Bass and a founding member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Endymion Ensemble, on the orchestral version of Rihanna's "Stay."

As part of the Kennedy Center's "Performing Arts for Everyone" initiative, visitors can enjoy free local, national, and international artists on the Millennium Stage, which is located indoors in the Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer. No tickets are required, though seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, visit http://www.kennedy-center.org/index.cfm

--Teresa Eaton, BSO Music

Free Opera Concert in Harlem to Feature "Stop and Frisk"
American Opera Projects (AOP) and The Harlem School of the Arts present Independence Eve, a new chamber opera in three scenes that explores the troubled journey of race relations in America. The free concert performance will take place on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00pm at Harlem School of the Arts (The Herb Alpert Center, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10030). Composed by Sidney Marquez Boquiren with a libretto by Daniel Neer, the opera will include performances by baritone Jorell Williams and tenor Brandon Snook, while Mila Henry will provide music direction and piano. A talkback with the artists will follow the one hour concert moderated by composer Laura Kaminsky (As One) and HSA Voice Chair Yolanda Wyns.

Currently in development at AOP, Independence Eve is comprised of three unrelated scenes, each of which take place on July 3 on a park bench in an unspecified American city, in the years 1963, 2013, and 2063. Each story focuses on the relationship between two men, one white and one black, who struggle with identity and acceptance. Independence Eve is a study of black and white America, offering commentary on the intricacies of race relations and the insidious and persistent stain of racism that has remained consistent throughout American history.

The first scene, "Stop and Frisk," has already received numerous community performances throughout Brooklyn and garnered attention from the press, including a recent "Talk of the Town" profile in The New Yorker.

Independence Eve: The making of an opera about race relations in America
Thursday, February 5 - 7:00 PM
Harlem School of the Arts, The Herb Alpert Center, 645 Saint Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10030

AOP and The Harlem School of the Arts present a staged concert performance of Independence Eve, a new chamber opera in three scenes by composer Sidney Marquez Boquiren and librettist Daniel Neer that explores the troubled journey of race relations in America. Followed by a Q&A with the artists. Part of the 2014 Composers Now Festival.

Tickets: Free
Running time: Two hours, including Q&A

For more information, visit www.operaprojects.org

--Matthew Gray, American Opera Projects

Mark Bebbington to Premiere Lost Works of Harriet Cohen, 'the English Alma Mahler'
Leading English pianist will premiere the works of one of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century, at his Feb 4th Central Synagogue concert, London.

Mark Bebbington has a knack for finding and bringing to the spotlight either lost or forgotten pieces by important musical personalities - having already premiered (and recorded) the Vaughan Williams Fantasy For Piano and Orchestra, a complete John Ireland CD cycle, and the piano music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tadesco. Most recently he opened the American Symphony Orchestra's Carnegie Hall season with Richard Strauss's little-known left-had piano concerto, Parergon.  That's in addition to all the expected Rach 2's and Griegs and Schumanns. But his latest discovery should hold particular fascination, especially for Londoners.

At his Feb 4th concert in Central Synagogue's International Concerts Series, Bebbington will give the world premieres of four miniatures by Harriet Cohen. Largely forgotten now she was, says Bebbington, one of the most influential musical figures in the first half of the last century. A force of nature pianist, almost all of the British composers wrote or arranged for her - among them Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Walton, Ireland, Bliss, Bax (who regarded her as his muse and had a widely-known affair with her). Further afield, the likes of Pablo Casals and Wilhelm Furtwangler asked for her. Bartok dedicated works to her.

£20 tickets are available via www.centralsynagogue.org.uk, by emailing bookings@centralsynagogue.org.uk or by phone at 020-7580-1355. The concert starts at 7.30pm on Wednnesday 4th February, at Central Synagogue, 36-40 Hallam Street, London W1W 6NW.

For more information, visit http://www.centralsynagogue.org.uk/

--Inverne Price Music Consultancy

Upcomning Events at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
Emerson Strong Quartet
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, Feb 6 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
MasterCard Performance Series
Valentine's Day
Sat, Feb 14 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

Jordi Savall
MasterCard Performance Series
Sat, Feb 21 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

Igudesman and Joo
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Feb 22 at 7pm | Weill Hall

Trio Ariandne and Friends
Sundays at Schroeder
Sun, Mar 1 at 3pm | Schroeder Hall

Murray Perahia
MasterCard Performance Series
Sat, Mar 7 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall

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

For more information, visit http://gmc.sonoma.edu/

--Green Music Center

Baritone Lucas Meachem shines at LA Opera, the Met and Covent Garden before taking it on the road with Anna Netrebko
A perennial scene-stealer who is adored by critics and audiences for his lustrous baritone, impeccable technique and disarmingly natural stage presence, American singer Lucas Meachem picks up steam in the first half of 2015 with a number of exciting performances. Catch him at LA Opera's revival of The Ghosts of Versailles (Feb 7–Mar 1), in a new production of Pagliacci at the Met (Apr 14–May 8), in La Bohème at ROH (May 23–Jun 10) or during a four-stop European tour of Iolanta with Anna Netrebko (Jun 15–24).

A "superb artist" (The Guardian) with a "commanding and handsome presence on-stage […] that only increases as he sings with a stunningly beautiful lyric baritone," (Musical Criticism), American baritone Lucas Meachem will show off his versatility and charm in a number of highly anticipated productions in Los Angeles, New York, London and across Europe during the first half of 2015.

Complete Schedule:
Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles. February 7-March 1, 2015. LA Opera, Los Angeles. Role: Figaro.
Leoncavallo: Pagliacci. April 14-May 8, 2015. Metropolitan Opera, NYC. Role: Silvio.
Puccini: La Boheme. May 23-June 10, 2015. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Role: Marcello.
Tchaikovsky: Iolanta. Monday, June 15, 2015. Lucerne, Switzerland. Thursday, June 18, 2015; Copenhagen, Denmark. Sunday, June 21, 2015; Monte Carlo, Monaco. Wednesday, June 24, 2015. London. Role: Ibn-Hakia.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

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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.

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Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa