Classical Music News of the Week, April 12, 2015

42nd Annual Bach Week Festival Slated for Evanston April 10, Chicago May 1 & 3

The 42nd annual edition of the Chicago area's Bach Week Festival will feature all six of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, performed in the course of concerts April 10 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and May 1 and 3 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University on Chicago's North Side. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park's School of Music.

This will be the first Bach Week Festival to present the complete Brandenburg Concerto cycle. Two of the concertos will anchor each principal concert program, alongside other Bach compositions.

An intimate, late-evening Candlelight Concert in Evanston, Illinois on April 10 will offer music for recorder and theorbo, another festival first.

The festival opted not to program all six concertos in a single concert, as was recently done by other ensembles who gave Chicago performances of the complete set.

"Taking a marathon approach to these vigorous, inventive, and virtuosic works can test the stamina of concertgoers and musicians alike," says Richard Webster, who helped organize first Bach Week Festival in 1974 and has been music director since 1975.

"In true festival fashion, we always aim for a stimulating range of musical colors, textures, and ensemble forces in each program," Webster says. "Invigorating variety and high-octane artistry are what make the Bach Week Festival so festive."

The May 1 concert will have a 20th-century twist: it will include Igor Stravinsky's Bach-inspired "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto, which shares themes with the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, also part of the evening's program. This will be the festival's first pairing of those two works since the early 1990s.

Tickets and information:
Single tickets for each of the festival's three main concerts are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students with ID.  All tickets for the April 10 Candlelight Concert are $20. Festival subscriptions for the three main concerts are $80 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $20 for students. Tickets are available at www.bachweek.org or by calling 800-838-3006.

For complete information, visit http://www.bachweek.org/bwf/

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Bang on a Can All-Stars May 14
On May 13, 2015 at 7pm, Q2 Music will present a live performance of the complete Bang on a Can All-Stars' new album, featuring the All-Stars and several of the composers, hosted by Q2 Music's Helga Davis at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR in New York, which will be webcast live at www.q2music.org. This performance will mark the New York premieres of the works by Dessner, Reich, and Reynolds. In addition, the All-Stars perform at The Jewish Museum on May 14, 2015 at 7:30pm in "Revolution of the Eye."

Bang on a Can began commissioning new pieces for inclusion in its ongoing, multimedia Field Recordings project in 2012, as part of its 25th anniversary season. The first works were premiered at Lincoln Center in New York and the Barbican Centre in London that year. The New York Times wrote, "Though nodding to the past, the mellow, thoughtful Field Recordings was a telling anniversary choice for a collective that has always been focused squarely on the present and future."

Field Recordings asks composers to go into the field of recorded sound itself – to find something old or record something new, and to respond with their own music, in dialogue with what they found. Using archival audio, found sound and video, Field Recordings builds a bridge between the seen and the unseen, the present and absent, the present and the past.

For more information on the album and the concert, visit http://bangonacan.org/

--Christina Jensen PR

Royal Conservatory of Music Presents 21C Music Festival in Toronto, 5/20-24
After a successful launch in 2014, the 21C Music Festival returns with a new line-up of artists from May 20 to May 24, 2015. The festival will again run over five nights and consist of eight concerts, featuring music composed mostly during the 21st century, which once again crosses boundaries and genres: rock and hip hop musicians share billing with classical artists and the music of seminal electroacoustic pioneer Kaija Saariaho is celebrated.

"21C is unique among the world's leading music festivals in that we are very focused on works of living composers. While we all appreciate the amazing body of work that exists from great historical composers, we are thrilled to commission and partner with today's leading and emerging artists and to introduce our audiences to stellar works from contemporary artists. This is only the second installment of 21C, and we're proud to feature close to 60 works, 34 of which will be world, Canadian, or Ontario premieres," said Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of Performing Arts at The Royal Conservatory of Music.

Eight concerts in five nights feature thirty-four premieres and include Kaija Saariaho, Stewart Copeland and Jon Kimura Parker, Gryphon Trio and Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid, Jennifer Koh, Don Byron, The ARC Ensemble, and Soundstreams.

For full information, click here: https://www.rcmusic.ca/media/news-releases/21c-music-festival-announces-second-season

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Orion Ensemble Spotlights Chicago Composer Marc Mellits
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, concludes its 22nd season "A Taste of Chicago, A World of Romance" with "Celebration," acknowledging the celebration of National Chamber Music Month with a program showcasing Chicago composer Marc Mellits. Performances take place at the First Baptist Church of Geneva May 24; the PianoForte Studios in Chicago May 27; and the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston May 31.

The Orion Ensemble's National Chamber Music Month concert program "Celebration" takes place Sunday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, May 31 at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets.

For tickets and full information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

46th Annual Bach Festival to Feature Musical Stars
The Oregon Bach Festival rolled out its 2015 schedule on Thursday, with the inclusion of several musical stars in the lineup and the news that the contract of the festival's new conductor, Matthew Halls, has been extended through 2020.

This year's festival — the 46th annual — opens June 25 with a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's Creation and closes July 12 with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2.

In between, there will be a plethora of concerts, lectures and recitals. They include performances by Masaaki Suzuki, a world-renowned authority on Johann Sebastian Bach; and vocalist Storm Large, a regular with Pink Martini as well as a popular soloist on the national guest performance circuit.

Other headliners include the Canadian Brass, organist Paul Jacobs, violinist Monica Huggett, pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers, and local children's artist Cullen Vance.

In addition to Halls, notable conductors include Grammy Award winners Helmuth Rilling, the festival's director emeritus; and Craig Hella Johnson, a native Minnesotan and founder of the group Conspirare, which won the Grammy for best choral performance this year for its album "The Sacred Spirit of Russia."

Oregon Bach Festival, University of Oregon, Eugene
June 25 to July 12
Tickets sales to Friends of the Festival — people who also make a financial contribution to the organization — are now available; tickets to the general public go on sale May 5.
For more information, visit oregonbachfestival.com

--Randi Bjornstad, The Register-Guard
Schwalbe & Partners

ASO Performs Music U. - Works by Ivy League Composers
Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra are joined by the Cornell University Glee Club and Chorus at Carnegie Hall, on Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m., Conductor's Notes Q & A at 1 p.m.

Once it was monarchs of mighty empires and princes of religion in Europe who called the tunes. The United States never had a king, nor archbishops with wealth beyond measure, but its great universities appreciated and encouraged composers to enrich American society with their art. It is this enlightened tradition that Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra - along with the Cornell University Glee Club & Chorus - will celebrate at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m. (note early start time).

Tickets:
29 / $39 / $54 tickets and subscriptions are available at americansymphony.org and by phone at 212-868-9276. Tickets are also available at CarnegieHall.org, at the Carnegie box office, or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800. The Conductor's Notes Q&A at 1 p.m. in Stern Auditorium is free with concert ticket.

For more information, visit http://americansymphony.org/

--Inverne Price Music Consultancy

Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 at Strathmore
Prominent pianist Christopher Taylor will join the National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 on Saturday, May 2 at 8 pm and on Sunday, May 3 at 3 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore.  The all-Mozart concert will also feature the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro and the Symphony No. 41, known as the "Jupiter." A free lecture on the history and nuances of the program will be offered in the Concert Hall seventy five minutes before each performance. Ticket prices start at $28 and are free for children age 7 to 17 (please call or visit the Strathmore Box Office to reserve). Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.

The Overture to The Marriage of Figaro instantly sets an emotional tone with its distinctive whirlwind humor. The overture is following by Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21. The concert concludes with Mozart's last symphony, the powerful No. 41 ("Jupiter"), an optimistic, triumphant and deservedly popular work. No one knows who gave the symphony the name "Jupiter," but the music reflects its title with its lofty ideas and nobility of treatment.

To purchase tickets to the Mozart's Jupiter Symphony concerts, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $28-$84; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette).  ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Parking is complimentary.

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

YPC Records New Music for Radio Radiance / YPC Makes Stunning Festival Debut
On Saturday, April 25, at 7 p.m., SubCulture, New York City's intimate new downtown performing arts venue, will be transformed into a radio recording studio, when the Young People's Chorus of New York City conducted by Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez sings the world premieres of five compositions commissioned for its Radio Radiance broadcast/digital new music series. The music is being recorded that evening for later broadcast by WWFM, The Classical Network, other public radio stations, and digitally through podcasts.

The series was created by YPC in 2009 to excite and challenge the music perceptions of young people by reaching them through the kinds of audio technology they use every day: iPods, iPhones, sound pods, MP3's, laptops, as well as the time-honored medium of radio. In their compositions, each of the composers-Samuel Adler, Ryan Lott (aka Son Lux), Caroline Mallonée, Frank Oteri, and Aaron Siegel-have been challenged use new ideas and ways of thinking to write for today's young people and in the way they are most likely to enjoy music, not only in concert halls, but on the go.

The April 25 concert/recording session will be hosted by YPC's longtime radio colleague, Soundcheck's John Schaefer, and attended by all of the composers, who will meet audience members at a Meet-The-Artist reception afterwards.

Tickets are $25 and available:
Online: SubCulture website

In person: at SubCulture (45 Bleecker Street) an hour before doors open for any SubCulture performance.

For more information, call SubCulture at 212-533-5470.

--Angela Duryea, YPC

92Y May Concerts
Saturday, May 9, 8:00 PM
Assad Brothers - Celebrating the Assad Brothers' 50th Anniversary
92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall

Monday, May 11, 7:30 PM
CONTACT!: "New Music from Italy"
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street

Tickets $35 General Admission.

Tickets and information are available at www.92Y.org/concerts or 212-415-5500.
Ticket prices subject to change.

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Berkeley Symphony Concludes 2014-2015 Season with Mozart and Adams
Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony conclude the 2014-2015 season on April 30 at 8 pm, with a performance of two monumental works for chorus: Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor and John Adams' Choruses from The Death of Klinghoffer.

San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Jacqueline Piccolino (soprano), Zanda Šve-de (mezzo-soprano), Michael Dailey (tenor) and Anthony Reed (bass) are featured as soloists for the Mozart. The University and Chamber Choruses of the University of California, Berkeley, will join the orchestra for both works. Furthering its dedication to contemporary music, Berkeley Symphony's Under Construction New Music Program, run in partnership with EarShot, presents public readings of new symphonic works by four emerging composers on May 2 at 3 pm and May 3 at 7 pm. Chosen from a highly competitive national pool of applicants, this year's participants are Ryan Carter, Emily Cooley, Michael Laurello and Natalie Williams.

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

--Brenden Guy, Berkeley Symphony

Philharmonia Baroque April News
Nic McGegan leads Rossini, April 15-19: The Marriage Contract
Annual LGBT Reception, April 17, following The Marriage Contract
Scarlatti's Glory of Spring - the American premiere in 2015-16 season
Opera Parallèle presents Heart of Darkness, May 1-2

For complete information, visit http://www.philharmonia.org/subscribe

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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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