Classical Music News of the Week, April 19, 2015

Listen Magazine Features Olga Kern - Spring 2015

Listen: Life With Music & Culture releases its spring 2015 issue. Olga Kern, "The Worth of a Strad," "Orchestral Anarchy," "Great American Classical Music Moments," "Cooking Music," the "Village Vanguard at 80," and the "Pinball Wizard at 40."

Classical music collides with Billy Joel, Broadway and ballet rehearsals, not to mention Freud and the fuzz in the scintillating Spring 2015 issue of Listen: Life with Music & Culture. Awaken your senses with one of dozens of recordings or pieces recommended by our crackerjack critics, gorgeous illustrations and historic photos, and tantalizing interplay between music and haute cuisine.

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Getty Opera Premiere in May: The Canterville Ghost
A new opera by Gordon Getty, The Canterville Ghost, will receive its world premiere at the Leipzig Opera (Germany) on Saturday, May 9, 2015, with additional performances in May and June. The opera, part of a double bill, will be paired with Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. This marks the first premiere of a contemporary work at the Leipzig Opera House during Ulf Schirmer's tenure as general manager.

The Canterville Ghost, with libretto by the composer, is based on the 1887 short story of the same name by Oscar Wilde. In Wilde's story, an American family moves into an English castle inhabited by a centuries-old ghost who ultimately winds up terrorized by the very family he is trying to haunt.

Mr. Getty states: "The dos and don'ts of romantic comedy are pretty much eternal. In The Canterville Ghost Wilde has given us, in short story form, one such romantic comedy of unique beauty and genius, though with heartbreak and redemption along the way. We laugh and cry, and are enriched. I added music, and some words, with the same intention.

"All of its characters who actually sing are meant as endearing. The Otises and Sir Simon are sent up, but we must want to hug them all. Virginia sees most deeply, gets the ideas and makes things happen. Sir Simon would still be lugging his chains but for her. The girl in a romantic comedy must make the audience want to protect her, all the more so for her spunk and moxie.

For more information, visit

--Shear Arts Services

Five Works Commissioned by YPC for Radio Radiance Premiere April 25
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.

Tickets for the April 25 Radio Radiance concert/recording are $25 and are available on the SubCulture website at

--Angela Duryea, YPC

Gunther Schuller to Receive 2015 Edward MacDowell Medal
Former New England Conservatory President, composer, conductor, author, publisher, historian, record producer, virtuoso hornist, educator and polymath, Gunther Schuller has been selected to receive the 2015 Edward MacDowell Medal. Schuller will receive the medal on Sunday, August 9­ at The MacDowell Colony grounds in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

The MacDowell Colony has awarded the medal every year since 1960 "to an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field. He joins a notable list of past Medal recipients, including Aaron Copland (1961), Robert Frost (1962), Georgia O'Keeffe (1972), Leonard Bernstein (1987), Stephen Sondheim (2013), and Betye Saar (2014)." As Augusta Read Thomas, chair of the Edward MacDowell Medal Selection Committee notes in their press release: "It was easy for the selection committee to choose Gunther. He's a composer's composer with laser-sharp ears, a sensitive, fertile, creative mind, endless energy, and a generous, humane soul."

Schuller steered New England Conservatory through one of the most turbulent and formative decades of American and Conservatory history, beginning with NEC's centennial year. During his tenure as President from 1967-1977, as the Western world rocked to the rhythms of social upheaval and burgeoning youth culture, Schuller formalized NEC's commitment to jazz by establishing the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. Shortly thereafter, he instituted the Third Stream department (which lives on today as Contemporary Improvisation) to explore the regions where the two musical "streams" of classical and jazz meet and mingle, and hired the iconic Ran Blake to be its chair. Early jazz hires included the legendary Jaki Byard and George Russell.

For more information, visit

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

National Philharmonic Announces Its 2015-16 Season at the Music Center at Strathmore
Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski and the National Philharmonic announced its 2015-2016 season today, as it enters its second decade of performing at the Music Center at Strathmore. The National Philharmonic's  new season at Strathmore kicks off in mid-September with American 20th-century masterpieces: Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Gershwin's American in Paris and Concerto in F with pianist Thomas Pandolfi, a leading interpreter of the works of Gershwin. Tenor Issachah Savage, who this year made his Metropolitan Opera debut, sings the title role in the powerful concert opera Rienzi by Wagner. Pianist Brian Ganz, who is halfway through his journey to perform all of Chopin's works, will be joined by Polish soprano Iwona Sobtka in an evening dedicated to the rarely performed songs of Chopin.

Other soloists returning this season include violinist Chee-Yun, who performs Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4, cellist Zuill Bailey, who plays two Vivaldi concertos, and soprano Danielle Talamantes, who is showcased in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass. In addition, National Philharmonic concertmaster Colin Sorgi will play Bach's Violin Concerto No. 2, and Mr. Ganz will perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor.

The season also features such choral works as Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Gloria and Brahms's Nänie. In addition, the National Philharmonic will perform Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony and Serenade for Strings; Mozart's Haffner Symphony, and Grieg's Holberg Suite.

In its twelfth year of residency at the Music Center at Strathmore, the National Philharmonic is performing to nearly 50,000 people each year. The Philharmonic will continue its commitment to education and outreach by offering free concerts to every second grader in Montgomery County Public Schools, free pre-concert lectures, master classes with renowned guest soloists and high quality summer string and choral programs.

The success of the Philharmonic over the past 31 years is largely credited to its critically acclaimed performances that are filled with great, time-tested music and its family friendly approach. All young people age 7 to 17 attend National Philharmonic concerts free of charge through its unique ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program.

Single tickets go on sale in August 2015. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Are YOU the Next C&V Composer or Librettist?
Receive free training in the fundamentals of opera!

American Opera Projects (AOP) is now accepting applications for the 2015-17 season of its popular Composers & the Voice program. We will select 6 composers and up to 4 librettists for a two-year fellowship working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage.

The Composers & the Voice Workshop Series is a competitive biannual fellowship offered to composers, librettists, and composer/librettist teams. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, the two-year fellowship includes a year of working with the company's Resident Ensemble of Singers and Artistic Team followed by a year of continued promotion and development through AOP and its strategic partnerships. Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 44 composers & librettists.

With each new group of fellows, "Composer Chairs" make themselves available to our fellows for one-on-one discussions and feedback. Past "Composer Chairs" have included composers Mark Adamo, John Corigliano, Tan Dun, Daron Hagen, Lee Hoiby, John Musto, Richard Peaslee, Tobias Picker, Kaija Saariaho, and Stephen Schwartz.

Deadline for applications is May 15, 2015. Fellowships will be announced by July 1, 2015.

For more information, visit

--Matthew Gray, American Opera Projects

Gregg Kallor - Inaugural Composer-in-Residence at SubCulture
Downtown music venue and cultural center, SubCulture, announced their inaugural composer-in-residence earlier this season. The first of three concerts highlighting Gregg Kallor as a composer and pianist kicked off with much success.

Upcoming concerts feature new Songs on April 28 celebrating National Poetry Month and the150th anniversary of William Butler Yeats. On June 11, Gregg will be joined by acclaimed artists Joshua Roman, cellists and Miranda Cuckson, violin for a night of new ChamberMusic.

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

American Bach Soloists Present Bach, Vivaldi, & Leo
Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor
Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major
Bach: Gott soll allein, mein Herze haben Cantata 169
Vivaldi: Nisi Dominus
Leo: Concerto for Violoncello in A Major

Ian Howell countertenor
Gretchen Claassen violoncello - 2015 Jeffrey Thomas Award Recipient
Elizabeth Blumenstock & Cynthia Black violinists
Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Friday May 1 2015 8:00 p.m. - St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA
Saturday May 2 2015 8:00 p.m. - First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday May 3 2015 4:00 p.m. - St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Monday May 4 2015 7:00 p.m. - Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

NEC Marks Official Start of Construction with Celebratory Groundbreaking on May 5, 2015
Celebrating the start of construction on its Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC), New England Conservatory will host a joyful groundbreaking ceremony on May 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM. Open to the public, the event takes place on the construction site located at 241 St. Botolph Street, near the corner of Gainsborough St. The ceremony will include remarks by Conservatory and government leaders interspersed with music performed by NEC students.

The first new construction at NEC since 1959, the $85 million SLPC is scheduled to open in 2017, to coincide with the Conservatory's 150th anniversary. It will house a new residence hall with 250 beds, a two-level library for audio and print resources, a new dining commons, a black box opera studio, large orchestra rehearsal space with acoustics mimicking Jordan Hall, and a small ensemble room with recording studio suited to jazz and contemporary improvisation.

For students, the new building will have a powerful impact on their experience at NEC. "Having everything in one place will be a wonderful way to bring people together," said student violinist Robyn Bollinger '13, '15 M.M. "Being able to practice, rehearse, and relax will be so much easier. One can go back and forth quickly. You can take some down time and then jump back in. It will offer a great benefit for the health and happiness of the student body."

For more information, visit

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space Presents Bach's Mass in B Minor, May 6
Sacred Music in a Sacred presents Bach's Mass in B Minor at NYC's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on May 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Conductor K. Scott Warren, the acclaimed Choir and Orchestra of St. Ignatius Loyola and a lineup of exceptional vocal soloists perform one of classical music's most revered works.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2015, at 7 p.m., New York audiences are in for a delight as Sacred Music in a Sacred Space presents J.S. Bach's masterwork Mass in B Minor. Monumental, intricate and full of insight into the widest spectrum of human experience, Bach's B Minor Mass is widely considered the greatest composition in the Western classical canon. Although completed in 1749, the work was never performed in its entirety during the composer's lifetime, and did not receive its first full performance until over 100 years later in 1859.

Tickets range from $25-80 and may be purchased at or by calling 212.288.2520.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Dover Quartet Residency at Northwestern University's Bienen School
The Dover Quartet--the young American string ensemble that catapulted to international stardom after winning the grand prize plus all three special prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition--will be headed to Northwestern University this fall as "quartet-in-residence."

The University's Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music has announced that the Dover Quartet has been appointed to a three-year residency on the Evanston campus starting in October 2015. During those three years, the ensemble will coach chamber music ensembles and perform one concert each quarter.

The award-winning ensemble is comprised of violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and cellist Camden Shaw. Members of the Quartet have appeared as soloists with some of the world's finest orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic.

For more on the Bienen School, visit

--Liza Prijatel, Rebecca Davis PR

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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 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.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine 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 simple-minded, 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 Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. 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 LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. 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.

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