Classical Music News of the Week, April 5, 2015

Woodstock Mozart Festival Announces 29th Season

After a successful expansion to two venues in 2014, the Woodstock Mozart Festival announces its 29th season July 25–August 9, 2015, with opening and closing weekends at the Woodstock Opera House and a middle weekend at the Sanfilippo Foundation's Place de la Musique concert hall in Barrington Hills. Single tickets go on sale April 6; subscriptions are currently on sale.

The concert lineup is as follows:
July 25 and 26 at the Woodstock Opera House: Pianist Mykola Suk opens the season with concertmaster Kevin Case and principal cellist Nazar Dzhuryn in Beethoven's Triple Concerto. Conductor Brian Groner conducts the orchestra with the lively overture from Mozart's opera Cosi fan Tutti and his profound 38th Symphony, Prague.

August 1 and 2 at Place de la Musique: Violinists Igor and Vesna Gruppman (also violist) return to the Festival for their fourth visit by popular demand. Once again they grace the chandeliered concert hall of the Sanfilippo mansion with a program of works by Bach, Vivaldi, Holst, Piazzolla and Jerome Kern. Patrons arriving 90 minutes before either performance may tour the world's largest museum of restored antique music machines displayed within the opulent décor of the magnificent Sanfilippo estate.

August 8 and 9 at the Woodstock Opera House: Igor Gruppman again mounts the podium to conduct the orchestra in Mozart's Divertimento in D Major and his popular Symphony No. 40. Pianist Mykola Suk also returns with his interpretation of Beethoven's majestic Emperor Concerto.

The 2015 Woodstock Mozart Festival runs July 25–August 9. Performances at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock take place Saturdays, July 25 and August 8 at 8 p.m. and Sundays, July 26 and August 9 at 3 p.m. Pre-concert introductions take place one hour before each performance. Single tickets are $33–58, $28 for students, and go on sale April 6 through the Woodstock Opera House Box Office at 815-338-5300 or at

Performances at the Sanfilippo Foundation's Place de la Musique, 789 Plum Tree Road, Barrington Hills take place Saturday, August 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $65 per concert, each including the pre-concert tour. General admission tickets, which will not be available at the door, are on sale now at

For more information, visit For information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Stage Director and Cast Announced for Cubanacán premiering in Havana
Cubanacán premieres in Havana and kicking off the 2015 Havana Bienal on May 21st with performances on May 23rd & 25th.

Multi-talented French actor, dancer, artistic collaborator and director Charles Chemin helms this exciting production of the first Cuban opera in nearly 50 years. With a libretto by celebrated American filmmaker Charles Koppelman, music by Cuban composer Roberto Valera, who will also conduct, and featuring a stellar cast of Cuban singers, Cubanacán tells the story of Cuba's art schools, built in the 1960s on the site of the Havana Country Club in the suburbs west of Havana.
Combining myth, allegory and history into a seamless, powerful narrative, Cubanacán tells the story of Cuba's famous art schools, a set of five institutions dreamed up by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during a golf match in the early 1960s. Some 12 years in the making, Charles Koppelman's libretto explores the passion and heartbreak of architect Ricardo Porro (1925-2014), whose spiritual and artistic mission was ultimately tangled up in the complex politics of post-revolutionary Cuba.

The producer announced today that Charles Chemin will join the production as Stage Director. Born in Paris in 1983, Chemin is no stranger to the international stage, having performed extensively as an actor and dancer, and serving as an artistic collaborator and director in productions throughout Europe and North America.

The Cubanacán production team is also pleased to announce the cast for the Havana premiere:
Elegguá - Marcos Lima (bass)
Ricardo Porro - Bryan López (tenor)
Ochún - Yilam Sartorio (soprano)
Selma Diaz - Laura Ulloa (soprano)
Fidel Castro - Saeed Mohamed (tenor)
Che Guevara - José Rafael Verdera (bass)
Roberto Gottardi - Ian Sánchez (baritone)
Vittorio Garatti - Ernesto Alejandro Leyva (baritone)
Activist - Julio Herrera (tenor)
Intellectual - Franco García (bass)
Artist - Héctor Rodríguez (tenor)

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Sonatas from the Soviet Era at 92Y
Monday, April 27, 7:30 PM
SubCulture - 45 Bleecker Street (downstairs), NYC

As the final concert in the 2014/15 92Y at SubCulture series, violist Hsin-Yun Huang and pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn perform "Sonatas from the Soviet Era," an exploration of the music of Soviet Russia in tandem with its harsh political climate. The realms of politics and art were rarely separate in Soviet Russia: composers could be hailed as heroes one day and condemned as traitors the next. Both Prokofiev and Shostakovich created some of the century's most meaningful masterpieces. This program is co-curated by Ms. Huang (as were the last two concerts in the 92Y at SubCulture series), and she has invited her friend Mr. Solzhenitsyn (son of the Nobel Prize-winning dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), who brings his personal understanding of the Soviet experience to these masterpieces of the artistic spirit.

Prokofiev's Eighth Piano Sonata was written towards the end of World War II, with the composer in exile from Moscow to escape the Nazi invasion. In Shostakovich's Viola Sonata—his final work, from 1975—we hear the thoughts of a man who reportedly slept next to a packed suitcase, in case he would be arrested overnight.

"Sonatas from the Soviet Era"
Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
Ignat Solzhenitsyn, piano

Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat major, Op. 84
Shostakovich: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147

Tickets $15 (35 & Under), $35. Tickets and further information are available at or 212-415-5500.

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Music Institute Celebrates 85 Years at Gala
The Music Institute of Chicago, now in its 85th year, hosts its annual gala Monday, May 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 East Delaware Place. The oldest community music school in Illinois and one of the three largest community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute is planning a celebratory evening highlighted by the presentation of the Dushkin Award to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President and former Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association President Deborah F. Rutter.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances throughout the evening include some of the Music Institute's talented Community School students and award-winning students from the Music Institute's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established 29 years ago and named for the Music Institute's visionary founders Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. Past recipients include André Previn, Lang Lang, Stephen Sondheim, Riccardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleisher, Renée Fleming, Placido Domingo, William Warfield, Isaac Stern, Sir Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Samuel Ramey, and Bruno Bartoletti, among others.

This year's recipient, Deborah F. Rutter, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is the artistic and administrative director of the world's busiest performing arts center, managing all facets of the facility, including expansive theatre, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, and jazz seasons as well as its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera.

Individual tickets to the Music Institute of Chicago's 84th Anniversary Gala are $550; table sponsorships are available for $5,500–50,000. For information, please call 847.448.8327.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 2016
In honor of the legendary cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky, the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, presented by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, brings together masters of the cello and young cellists from around the world for an unparalleled celebration of the cello, its music and its musicians. The Festival takes place in Los Angeles, California from May 13-22, 2016 showcasing 26 international artists representing 15 countries and 4 continents, and unveiling several premieres during the course of this outstanding 10-day event.

The Festival opens with five exciting concerts - an LA Phil subscription series conducted by Leonard Slatkin, featuring renowned soloists Ralph Kirshbaum, Truls Mørk and Sol Gabetta performing Bloch, Elgar and Martinu. The Gala Opening Concert at USC will present its own unique program including an improvisation by cellist/composer/improvisor Giovanni Sollima, cello duos performed by Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt and Jens Peter Maintz, as well as a multidisciplinary work of Antonio Lysy, Te Amo, Argentina, featuring music and dance that draws on the fascinating and diverse culture of Argentina. That evening Festival attendees have the opportunity to hear Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott in recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Piatigorsky Festival also partners with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the final concert of LACO's 2015-16 "Baroque Conversations" series, a program of Baroque and Early Classical cello concertos led by Festival soloists Colin Carr, Thomas Demenga, Jean-Guihen Queryas and Giovanni Sollima. The grand finale of the 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival comprises the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven - five sonatas and three sets of variations, each performed by a different renowned cellist.

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Announcing American Symphony Orchestra's 15/16 Season
Leon Botstein announces the 2015/16 American Symphony Orchestra season, from Nico Muhly's star-gazing to Delius's epic celebration of life, ideas, and ambition at Carnegie Hall.

Sometimes music can be sheer escapism. For the human intellect, however, for the human soul, this is not enough. We search for ways to relate our art forms to the world around us, we seek to expand our knowledge and understand our own feelings; we even look to the arts to explain or interpret why human beings act as they do. Such is the mission of Maestro Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, who today unveil the Carnegie Hall concerts of their 2015/16 season.

The themes – aspects of life represented by music, the Russianness of four Russian-Jewish composers, the forgotten influence of Max Reger, and Delius's epic embrace of life itself. In each, music and ideas combine to create the ASO experience. It is this that has led the New York Times to say, "When it comes to fearless, ambitious orchestral programming, there is Leon Botstein, the music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, and then there is everyone else."

Packages of 3 or 4 concerts are available at and by phone at 212-868-9276. All seats in all locations are just $25 for subscribers.

Mimesis: Musical Representations - An opening night benefit for the American Symphony Orchestra - Friday, October 16, 2015 8 pm
Russia's Jewish Composers - Thursday, December 17, 2015 8 pm
Giant in the Shadows - Thursday, March 17, 2016 8pm
A Mass of Life - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 8pm

For more information, visit

--Inverne Price Music

Gregg Kallor - Inaugural Composer-in-Residence at SubCulture
Downtown music venue and cultural center, SubCulture, NYC, 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. The season yet holds two more concerts, one in April and June, with five world premiere performances.

Upcoming concerts feature new Songs on April 28 celebrating National Poetry Month and the 150th anniversary of William Butler Yeats. On June 11, Gregg will be joined by acclaimed artists Joshua Roman, cellists and MirandaCuckson, violin for a night of new ChamberMusic.

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

CIPC Young Artists Winner to Perform at Cleveland Indians' Home Opener
Arianna Korting, first prize winner in the Senior Division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition's 2012 Young Artists Competition, will perform the national anthem at the Cleveland Indians Opening Day game against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, April 10. First pitch is at 4:10 pm.

Ms. Korting will perform in celebration of this year's CIPC Young Artists Competition and Institute, which will be held May 12-21, 2015 at Baldwin Wallace University and the Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium. The event will feature 26 extraordinarily talented piano prodigies from around the world competing in front of audiences and an international jury for cash awards and special prizes.  All of the contestants will be between the ages of 12 and 18.

"Celebrating this year's competition by having one of our young 'alumni' play for a sold-out, opening day crowd at Progressive Field is tremendously exciting," said CIPC President and CEO Pierre van der Westhuizen. "We are grateful to the Indians for their generous invitation, and are entirely confident that Arianna's performance will be a definite crowd-pleaser."

A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ms. Korting currently is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School.  In addition to first prize at the 2012 CIPC Young Artists, she received first prizes in the Fifth Julia Crane International Piano Competition, the 2007 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, the David D. Dubois Piano Competition, and the Duquesne Young Artist National Piano Competition. She has performed in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in NYC, and in broadcasts of NPR's From the Top in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory in Boston and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Tickets and info for CIPC Young Artists, May 12-21, at

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

Watch Lisa Bielawa's New Opera Vireo Online Now - Featuring Kronos Quartet, Laurie Rubin, SFGC, More
KCETLink Media Group, the national independent, non-profit digital and broadcast network, has launched Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser, a new multimedia serial opera by composer Lisa Bielawa, directed by Charles Otte with a libretto by Erik Ehn, created for episodic broadcast on air and online. Produced through a partnership with California State University, Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), the unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing various facets of the theatrical production, as well as a television special of the opera presented by ARTBOUND, KCETLink's Emmy award-winning arts and culture series.

Filmed before live audiences, the television series will be rolled out over two years. The 30-minute pilot (consisting of Episode One "The Blow" and Episode Two "Mercury") premiered on March 31 at 8 p.m. PT on KCET (Southern California) and will premiere nationally April 6 on Link TV at 8 p.m. PT/ET(DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410). The full episode is now available for online streaming at

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen PR

Entertainment Aplenty This April at Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
SFJazz Collective
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, April 17 | 7:30pm | Weill Hall

Lila Downs
MasterCard Performance Series
Sat, April 18 | 7:30pm | Weill Hall

The Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, April 19 | 7pm | Weill Hall

Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan
MasterCard Performance Series
Sun, Apr 26 | 3pm | Weill Hall

Nobuyuki Tsujii
MasterCard Performance Series
Fri, May 1 | 7:30pm | Weill Hall

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

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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