Classical Music News of the Week, February 15, 2015

Festival Mozaic And Bach Collegium San Diego Announce Collaboration

Festival Mozaic and Bach Collegium San Diego will collaborate for the 45th Anniversary Celebration. Renowned classical musicians will team up in a first-time intra-state collaboration featuring Sacred Music in Sacred Spaces.

Each summer since its beginnings in 1971, Festival Mozaic has transformed the Central Coast of California into a hotbed of classical music culture. This July, Festival Mozaic Conductor and violinist Scott Yoo will lead a group of more than 50 artists gathered from top orchestras and chamber ensembles from around the world in performances in scenic places all over San Luis Obispo County. 2015 marks the Festival's 45th Anniversary Season and the celebration will be marked by a special, first-time-ever collaboration with Bach Collegium San Diego.

In late July, the Festival Mozaic Orchestra will be joined by the Bach Collegium San Diego Chorus for two joyous performances of J.S. Bach's masterpiece Mass in B minor. This collaboration reflects a unique blend of California history and arts, as this timeless, sacred music will be presented in two sacred spaces: Old Mission San Luis Obispo and Mission San Miguel.  Both historical settings were built in the late 18th century – just 50 years after the Mass was compiled - and the acoustics and spirit of both venues will serve as a picturesque background for the passionate, lush music.

Festival Mozaic and San Luis Obispo frequently draw visitors from around the state of California, so this intra-state collaboration between the two nonprofit organizations will serve a wide array of Californians, as well as residents in San Luis Obispo County and visitors from around the country and the world.

Performances of the Bach Mass in B Minor will take place on:
Friday, July 24, 2015 – Mission San Miguel
Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Old Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

The full schedule for the two-week Festival Mozaic, which will take place July 16-26, 2015, will be announced in March. Subscription tickets will go on sale March 1.

Festival Mozaic (founded in 1971 as the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival) is a celebration of five centuries of music that takes place year-round in varied venues across San Luis Obispo County. The Festival presents an orchestra gathered from professionals across the world, chamber music concerts, guest artists and ensembles,  concerts of classical crossover artists and educational programs.

For more information, please visit www.FestivalMozaic.com

--Bettina Swigger, Festival Mozaic

Aldo Ciccolini Dies at 89
Aldo Ciccolini, an Italian-born pianist who specialized in the music of French composers and was known in particular as a champion of Erik Satie, has died at his home outside Paris. He was 89.

His manager, Paul Blacher, told Agence France-Presse that Mr. Ciccolini died either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Mr. Ciccolini began his international career in the late 1940s and continued performing until he was well into his 80s. His work, which can be heard on more than 50 recordings, took in renowned French composers like Saint-Saëns, Debussy and Ravel as well as less familiar ones like Déodat de Séverac and Alexis de Castillon. His repertoire also spanned a wide array of non-Frenchmen, including Bach, Scarlatti, Salieri, Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt.

Throughout Mr. Ciccolini's career, critics praised his playing for its technical virtuosity, airy lyricism and cool, assiduous elegance.

For more information, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/arts/music/aldo-ciccolini-dies-at-89-pianist-interpreted-satie.html

--Margalit Fox, NY Times

Drummer Stewart Copeland and Pianist Jon Kimura Parker Team Up This Spring
Chamber music rockets "Off the Score" with drummer and composer Stewart Copeland and pianist Jon Kimura Parker's all-star quintet.

"Off the Score" is a sizzling performance collaboration between drum legend Stewart Copeland (The Police), visionary pianist Jon Kimura Parker, Met Opera violinist Yoon Kwon, rising star bassist Marlon Martinez and champion of the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI) Judd Miller. New works by Copeland and Parker collide with renditions of Stravinsky, Ravel, Piazzolla and Aphex Twin for an inspiring look at a musical universe that shines beyond genre. The North American tour kicks off on March 6, 2015 in Austin, TX.

Most famous as the founder and drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland is a rock legend who has established himself as a major symphonic composer, earning commissions from Covent Garden, the Cleveland Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, the San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh and Dallas Symphonies, among others.

On this program called "Off the Score," commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin, Copeland teams up with another musical iconoclast, the concert pianist Jon Kimura "Jackie" Parker. Together they perform original chamber works and amp up some of the great pieces from the classical canon including Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Ravel's Piano Concerto in G and Piazzolla's Oblivion. Add in jazz pianist Mike Garson's Paganini Variations and a wild arrangement of an Aphex Twin tune and the annihilation of genre is complete.

"Off the Score" Tour Dates:
March 6, 2015:    Austin, TX (University of Texas at Austin)
March 8, 2015:    Rohnert Park, CA (Sonoma State University)
March 25, 2015:  Lawrence, KS (University of Kansas)
March 27, 2015:  Indianapolis, IN (Butler University)
March 28, 2015:  Sewanee, TN (Sewanee: The University of the South)

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Announcing Philharmonia Baroque's 2015-16 Season - Nic McGegan's 30th!
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra 2015-16 season celebrates 30 years with Nicholas McGegan,
the Orchestra's 35th season, and the Philharmonia Chorale's 20th.

Season highlights will include
Six concert programs showcase the virtuosity of the Orchestra and Chorale around the Bay Area
Nicholas McGegan's 30th season gala concert with Susan Graham.
Tour of major North American concert halls in Spring 2016, including guest artists Anne-Sofie von Otter and Andreas Scholl.
American premiere and new recording of Alessandro Scarlatti's La gloria di primavera on its 300th anniversary.
Collaboration with singers from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, UC Berkeley, and Stanford for Mendelssohn's monumental Symphony No. 2, Lobgesang ("Hymn of Praise").
Special performance of Handel's Messiah in Berkeley
The Orchestra returns to San Francisco's Herbst Theatre

For complete details, visit http://www.philharmonia.org/

--Ben Casement-Stoll, PBO

Two World-Renowned Dance Companies Take the Stage in Scottsdale
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present two celebrated European dance companies: Nederlands Dans Theater 2 on Saturday, Feb. 28, and Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contemporaneo on Friday, March 6, in the Virginia G. Piper Theater.

Tickets for each performance start at $39 and are available through www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org or by calling 480-499-TKTS (8587).

Based in The Hague, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT2) is the acclaimed dance company's launching pad for young dancers, who are carefully selected through auditions to perform works by the new generation of dance makers. The troupe performs around the world, offering the opportunity for talented, up-and-coming dancers and choreographers to grow and develop their art.

NDT2's program will include Johan Inger's I New Then (2012), a swinging, fresh and optimistic dance set to songs by Van Morrison; Sol Leon's and Paul Lightfoot's Shutters Shut (2003), a remarkable piece during which the dancers visualize the words of Gertrude Stein reciting her 1923 poem "If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso"; and Sharon Eyal's and Gai Behar's Sara (2013), created simultaneously with a new composition of electronic sounds by Ori Lichtik and exploring themes of memories, dreams, emotions and more. The program will conclude with Alexander Ekman's Cacti (2010), a gleeful and knowing parody of contemporary dance's greater excesses, performed to classical masterpieces by Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert.

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

92Y March Concerts
Monday, March 2, 7:30 PM
Sir Andras Schiff Selects: Young Pianists
Roman Rabinovich, piano
92Y Concerts at SubCulture, NYC

Monday, March 9, 8:30 PM
Meitar Ensemble
92Y Buttenwieser Hall, NYC

Monday, March 16, 7:30 PM
Sir Andras Schiff Selects: Young Pianists
Adam Golka, piano
NY Debut
92Y Concerts at SubCulture, NYC

Sunday, March 22, 11:00 AM
(Rescheduled from Feb 8)
Leon Fleisher with Julian Fleisher
Living Through Music - On Seeing Through Schubert
92Y Warburg Lounge, NYC

Tuesday, March 24, 7:30 PM
Nikolai Lugansky, piano
92Y Debut
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC

Saturday, March 28, 8:00 PM
American Guitarist-Composers
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC

Tickets available at www.92Y.org/concerts or 212-415-5500.
For more detailed information, visit www.92Y.org

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Two Knights of the Keyboard in Scottsdale
As part of its Virginia G. Piper Concert Series, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present piano recitals by two legendary musicians: Sir Andras Schiff on Thursday, Feb. 26, and Murray Perahia on Thursday, March 12.

"It is a privilege to present two of the greatest pianists in the world at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in back-to-back months," remarked Neale Perl, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Cultural Council. "If you love classical music and the piano, you won't want to miss hearing Sir Andras Schiff and Murray Perahia, who are both at the height of their careers and interpretive powers, performing masterpieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart and more."

Tickets for each concert start at $29 and are available through www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org or 480-499-TKTS (8587).

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

New Century Welcome Guest Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow
New Century Chamber Orchestra continues its 2014-2015 season March 5-8 with a debut performance by legendary New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow. Making his first San Francisco appearance since ending his 34 year tenure with the New York Philharmonic, Dicterow joins New Century as guest concertmaster in a program that features classics from the string chamber repertoire including Brahms's Sextet for Strings No. 1, Mozart's Divertimento in D Major, Grieg's Two Nordic Melodies, and Holst's St. Paul's Suite.

"Dicterow Leads Brahms and Mozart" will be given on four evenings in different locations around the San Francisco Bay Area:
Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Friday, March 6 at 8 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, March 7 at 8 p.m., Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, March 8 at 5 p.m., Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael, CA

New Century offers an Open Rehearsal Wednesday, March 4 at 10 a.m., Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco for a price of only $8. The Open Rehearsal will offer a sneak preview of the concert repertoire while allowing audiences to experience the musical democracy of a rehearsal without a conductor.

Single tickets range in price from $29 to $61 and can be purchased through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for patrons under 35.

Open Rehearsal tickets are $8 general admission and can be purchased through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400.

--Brenden Guy, New Century Chamber Orchestra

AME Performs BLUE at SubCulture
American Modern Ensemble performs BLUE at SubCulture, NYC, featuring "powerhouse pianists" Stephen Gosling and Blair McMillen, March 3 at 8pm.

AME celebrates the release of its groundbreaking new album of all-American piano duos, Powerhouse Pianists II. Gosling and McMillen perform tracks from the album including works by Amanda Harberg, Robert Paterson and Frederic Rzewski. Their AME compatriots step in for the rest of the program that includes works by Margaret Brouwer, George Crumb, and Laura Kaminsky.

Now in its 10th season, American Modern Ensemble continues to spotlight American music via lively thematic programming, performing the widest possible repertoire, particularly by living composers. Says Seen and Heard International on the groundbreaking American Modern Ensemble, "Listening to and watching the musicians for the American Modern Ensemble is like experiencing a 'perfect ten' dance team."

Tickets:  $20 Advance/$30 Day of Show.  Available at www.subculturenewyork.com or (212) 533-5470.

For more information, visit www.americanmodernensemble.org.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Music Institute Students Place 1st at Sphinx, Win Big at Other Competitions
Music Institute of Chicago students, including those studying through its Community School and those enrolled in its Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, continue to demonstrate the results of the organization's high-quality instruction by excelling at annual competitions. These students live in the city of Chicago and suburbs throughout the Chicago area, as well as in nearby towns in Wisconsin.

Sphinx Competition, January 28–February 1, 2015
At the 18th Annual Sphinx Competition, Hannah White became the fifth Music Institute student to win the Junior Division during the past 10 years. Hannah, 15, lives in Germantown, Wisconsin; she studies with Almita and Roland Vamos and Hye-Sun Lee and is the Betsey and John Puth Academy Fellow. Placing second was Mira Williams, 17, from Chicago, a former student in the Music Institute's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians who studies viola with Roland Vamos.

The Sphinx competition is open to all junior high, high school, and college-age black and Latino string players residing in the U.S. The Sphinx Competition offers young black and Latino classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and perform with established professional musicians in a competition setting.

As the Junior Division winner, Hannah receives a cash prize, solo appearances with major orchestras, performances with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra and at the Finals Concert, and a nationally broadcast radio appearance on From the Top. She was Junior Division 3rd place Laureate in 2014 and Junior Division Semi-Finalist in 2013.

Walgreens National Concerto Competition, December 28 and 29, 2014
The 19th annual Walgreens National Concerto Competition was hosted by Midwest Young Artists (MYA) on December 28 and 29, 2014 at the MYA Center at Fort Sheridan and at Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia. Prizes for this solo competition included an opportunity to perform with the MYA Symphony Orchestra and on the prestigious "From the Top" radio program.

DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, January 10, 2015
The DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers was founded in 2003 to provide an opportunity for intermediate level pianists in the Community Music Division to perform with an orchestra. Since then, the Festival has expanded to include students outside the Community Music Division and those who play violin, cello, flute, viola, clarinet, oboe and bassoon. A partnership was formed in 2007 with the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mina Zikri. Winning soloists will perform with members of the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 14, 2015, as part of the Winter Youth Orchestra Concert.

West Suburban Symphony Society, January 17, 2015
Each year since its founding, the West Suburban Symphony Society has provided an opportunity for high school instrumentalists and vocalists to compete to perform a solo work with orchestra as a way to inspire, educate, and foster the musical talent of young adults. Karisa Chiu, 16, Palatine, violin student of Almita Vamos, is the winner of the 2014–15 competition and will perform a selection from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major on the May 17 concert at Hinsdale Central High School.

For more information, visit http://www.musicinst.org/

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

"Voigt Lessons" at 92Y, NYC Premiere
Internationally beloved opera star Deborah Voigt shares memories and music from her celebrated career at 92Y, Thursday, Feb 26, 2015, 8 pm, in an intimate account of her life beyond the velvet curtains in the New York City premiere of her confessional one-woman show, "Voigt Lessons." She performs arias, pop songs, standards and spirituals that have special meaning for her, including Strauss's "Zueignung," Mancini's " Moon River," The Carpenters' hit, "A Song for You," and much more.

For more information, visit http://www.92y.org/Event/Voigt-Lessons.aspx

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Seattle Symphony Announces 2015-2016 Season
Music Director Ludovic Morlot and President & CEO Simon Woods today announced an ambitious and wide-ranging 2015–2016 season, continuing the theme of innovation and exploration for which the Symphony has been celebrated for in recent years, and including a number of firsts for the Orchestra. In Morlot's fifth season as Music Director, the Orchestra will continue to explore diverse repertoire and engage with Seattle's creative community, while opening the season with the first-ever Seattle Symphony International Piano Competition in September and closing the season with the first-ever Asia Tour in June.

"Next season I'm thrilled to again explore French and American repertoire, and this time I'll be joined by Jean-Yves Thibaudet as our Artist in Residence for many programs on our season, and our competition and tour," Morlot said. "In the last few years, our programming of contemporary and less-familiar music alongside more traditional repertoire has helped us to create a unique and inspiring musical journey with our audiences, and I look forward to continuing down that path in 2015–2016."

Woods added, "Seattle is one of America's most forward-looking and creative cities, and our programming is intended to reflect and celebrate that spirit. Next season will be one for the record books, as we embark on our first-ever Asia Tour, expand Sonic Evolution, launch a piano competition, release three new recordings on our own label, and continue our exciting creative journey under Ludovic Morlot's leadership. We're also very proud to unveil our new Web site today at www.seattlesymphony.org."

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

ABS Announces Tatiana Chulochnikova as Recipient of 2016 Jeffrey Thomas Award
The American Bach Soloists (ABS) are pleased to announce violinist Tatiana Chulochnikova as the winner of the 2016 Jeffrey Thomas Award. Splitting her time between Washington, DC, New York City, and San Francisco, Chulochnikova is a talented and enterprising artist who has performed with many of the nation's leading Baroque ensembles. Her thrilling technique and bravura style have dazzled audiences around the country and across continents.

Born in Ukraine, Chulochnikova began playing violin at the age of 7 and made her professional debut at 14 playing Bruch's violin concerto with the Kharkov Philharmonic. Around the same time, her own Trio for violin, flute, and cello was awarded Second Prize at the International Young Composers Competition in Kiev. Chulochnikova received her professional training at the Tchaikovsky College of Music and Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. She was first introduced to historically informed performance practice at the Conservatory where she quickly developed a passion for the early music repertory. Her interest in the Baroque brought her to the United States where she continued her studies under the direction of Marilyn McDonald at the Oberlin Conservatory.

For more information, visit americanbach.org

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Foundation Works to Ensure Every Child Can Play Music
The young violinists stand in a semicircle around instructor Linda Rodgers, who announces that the next piece they'll be rehearsing is the "William Tell Overture."

A few kids respond with cheers of "Yay!" — it's obviously a favorite — and one particularly exuberant player looses a quiet whoop and leaps into the air in the beginnings of a sort of not-fully-thought-out jig.

It's certainly cute. Better than that, it's impressive, considering that there's no way the young violinists' enthusiasm could possibly be connected to the piece's double life as the theme to "The Lone Ranger."

But, truth be told, there's plenty of enthusiasm to be seen in the practice rooms of the East Las Vegas Community/Senior Center when Violins for Kids, a program of The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians, takes up residence there several days each week.

The program is one facet of the foundation's three-pronged mission: to provide scholarships and financial assistance to music students studying at colleges and universities, to establish and promote performance and career opportunities — through funding special training, symposia, workshops and the like — for promising musicians, and to offer early music education to elementary school-age children who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

FAYM — note that the acronym reads as "fame" — was founded in 2007 by Hal Weller, founding music director and conductor laureate of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, who had happened to catch a YouTube video of a performance by Krzysztof Rucinski, a then-16-year-old violinist from Poznan, Poland.

"I wrote him, (saying,) 'Nice job' and he wrote back in perfect English," Weller recalls. "I asked him, 'Have you ever thought of studying in the United States?' and he wrote back and said, 'That's impossible, my parents are very poor.'?"

"It was the word 'impossible' that started me to think," says Weller, who contacted friends and others in the music community. FAYM, a nonprofit organization, was created as a vehicle to provide higher-education financial support not only for Rucinski, but for other young, promising music students who need financial support to further their studies.

For more information, visit http://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/arts-culture/foundation-works-ensure-every-child-can-play-music

--John Przybys, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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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