Classical Music News of the Week, May 10, 2015

2015 Interlochen Arts Festival to Honor Iconic American Composer Aaron Copland

The festival includes a celebration of Copland's Interlochen presence in the 1960's and 70's. Featured performers include the Emerson String Quartet, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Martha Graham Dance Company, among others.

Events related to "Aaron Copland – The World of an Uncommon Man" will occur throughout the Interlochen Arts Festival from July 5 – August 9, 2015.

The Interlochen Center for the Arts recently announced the line-up for their 2015 Arts Festival and at the centerpiece is a multi-disciplinary festival - AARON COPLAND: The World of an Uncommon Man – celebrating the life and prolific legacy of legendary composer Aaron Copland, who made two Interlochen appearances in the 1960's and 1970. This "festival-within-a-festival" will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the composer's death while celebrating his time at Interlochen. Acknowledged as one of America's most original artistic voices, Aaron Copland was largely responsible for creating the 'American sound'; capturing in music the spirit of a diverse and vibrant nation.

Over twenty-five guest artist, student, classical and theatrical performances will be presented connected to this beloved American composer. Events will include presentations of his opera ("The Tender Land"); orchestral, chamber and recital performances; film screenings; lectures; dance; and musical theatre presentations providing audiences a compelling and unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of one of America's quintessential artists.

Tickets for the Interlochen Arts Festival went on sale to the general public April 24 and may be ordered at

For complete information on the event, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Washington Performing Arts D.C. premiere of "Sila: The Breath of the World," 5/13-16
Washington Performing Arts presents D.C. premiere of Pulitzer Prize–winner John Luther Adams' Sila: The Breath of the World on May 13 (Meridian Hill Park), May 15 (Constitution Gardens) & May 16 (Jefferson Memorial).

Co-commissioned with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, this unprecedented musical experience for winds, percussion, strings, and voices disperses musicians from The United States Air Force Band throughout the outdoor settings, allowing listeners to roam freely and explore the work from multiple perspectives.

Washington Performing Arts, which co-commissioned Sila, presents its D.C. premiere on May 13, 15 and 16, 2015. The grandeur of D.C.'s public spaces will be represented by three distinct locations: Meridian Hill Park (May 13th at 6pm), Constitution Gardens (May 15th at 6pm), and the Jefferson Memorial (May 16th at 3pm). Sila will be performed by musicians from The United States Air Force Band, led by Colonel Larry Lang, who have partnered with Washington Performing Arts since the inception of the project. The brass and percussion sections will be featured on May 13th; the woodwinds, strings and voices on May 15th; and, in a culminating event, the full group performs on May 16th.

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

American Bach Soloists Release Documentary: Bach's Mass in B Minor: Anatomy of a Masterwork
The American Bach Soloists (ABS) announce the YouTube release of their documentary Bach's Mass in B Minor: Anatomy of a Masterwork. Using footage from the 2014 ABS Festival & Academy—San Francisco's Summer Bach Festival—this 30-minute film explores the work from the perspectives of ABS musicians who perform it each summer. Interviews with ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas, violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, bassist Steven Lehning, flutist Sandra Miller, oboist Debra Nagy, trumpeter John Thiessen, and others, illuminate the work's history, musical structure, and artistic challenges as well as the rewards of revisiting it annually in performance.

Admired for its colossal dimensions and encyclopedic stylistic variety, the Mass in B Minor is in many ways the pinnacle musical work of the Baroque Era. During the last years of his life, Bach handpicked pieces from more than 35 years of his compositions for inclusion in the Mass in B Minor compilation, a work left for posterity as the epitome of his ideals and inspiration. ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas stated, "Bach accepted his world, and found no need to dismiss or look beyond the methodologies for the creation of art, or the answers to life's most difficult questions, that were provided by his culture, by his religion, and by his ancestry. Rather, he sought to perfect all of those ideals and solutions in a way that further glorified what he saw as the ideal expression of life's meaning and purpose."

Drawing instrumental and vocal soloists from its annual Academy—the educational component of the Festival—the performances in Bach's Mass in B Minor: Anatomy of a Masterwork feature the ABS Academy Festival Orchestra and the American Bach Choir directed by Jeffrey Thomas.

Watch Bach's Mass in B Minor: Anatomy of a Masterwork here:

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Festival Williamsburg--McGegan, Cantus, and More
Virginia Arts Festival, the City of Williamsburg, and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation present an annual highlight, Festival Williamsburg, on May 20-24, 2015.

The "Festival-within-the-festival" will feature Baroque and early classical music performances by Cantus, André-Michel Schub and the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, Quicksilver Ensemble, The Handel and Haydn Society, Nicholas McGegan conducting the Virginia Symphony with soprano Amanda Forsythe, and fiddler Eileen Ivers.

Tickets for Festival Williamsburg performances may be purchased beginning February 17, online at, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Festival Box Office at 440 Bank St., Norfolk or at the City of Williamsburg Municipal Building at 401 Lafayette Street, Williamsburg. Groups of 15 or more may save on many performances; call 757-282-2819.

For more information, visit

--Susannah Luthi, BuckleSweet Media

Subscriptions to American Bach Soloist's 2015-16 Season Now Available
Subscriptions to American Bach Soloist's 27th season are now on sale. The 2015-16 season includes three outstanding subscription programs in four Northern California venues featuring cantatas, works for violin, and oratorios by J.S. Bach, Handel's Alexander's Feast, and luminous works by Kuhnau and Buxtehude.

Subscribers also enjoy first priority for tickets to special events during the season such as Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" in St. Ignacious Church (December 12) and Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral (December 16-18) before they go on sale to the general public on July 1.

To order a subscription to our series in Belvedere, Berkeley, San Francisco or Davis, CA, contact the ABS Office at (415) 621-7900 or visit the Web site at

--Jeff McMillan, ABS

Box Office Now Open for for Young People's Chorus of NYC "Spring Celebration Concert"
It's virtuoso and entertaining songfest that incorporates a range of music from innumerable periods and styles by the famed Young People's Chorus of New York City, the celebrated ensemble that Opera News calls "one of New York City's artistic treasures" and that the New York Times describes as "marvelous" and "irresistible."

Saturday, June 6, at 3:30 P.M.
92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, New York City
One concert only.
Tickets: $25 to $60

Purchase early for best seats:
92nd Street Y Box Office (at Lexington Avenue)
Online at or call 212-415-5500

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Philharmonia Baroque Live on KDFC:  Telemann's Les Nations
Today, Sunday, May 10 (Mother's Day!) hear concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock lead the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a program including Telemann's suite Les Nations alongside other Baroque instrumental works - recorded live at Berkeley's First Congregational Church in March 2014. Classical KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

And find out about future KDFC broadcasts at

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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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