Classical Music News of the Week, May 24, 2015

Oberlin Forms Partnership with International Piano Academy Lake Como

The International Piano Academy Lake Como, an exalted institution dedicated to advancing the education of elite student pianists, has formed a partnership with Oberlin Conservatory of Music that will yield an exclusive U.S. home for the Italy-based program.

Beginning in fall 2015, three students will be selected from applicants worldwide to take part in the Oberlin-Como Piano Academy, a two-year program of study toward an artist diploma.

"Lake Como is a true community of artists and so is a perfect match for Oberlin, where faculty and students come together with a shared commitment to artistic excellence and curiosity to create a vibrant musical world," says Andrea Kalyn, dean of Oberlin Conservatory.

Located in a 17th-century palazzo on the shores of idyllic Lake Como, the International Piano Academy Lake Como is considered one of the top piano academies in the world. Founded in 2002, Lake Como is the creation of William Naboré and pianist Martha Argerich. It is dedicated to nurturing the development of young pianists regardless of financial resources or country of origin.

Lake Como's relationship with Oberlin came about through the academy's interest in working with a major American conservatory. Impressed by the performances of pianists participating in Oberlin's annual Cooper International Competition and by the conservatory's piano faculty, Naboré sought out Oberlin to be that U.S. home. The partnership was cemented during a spring-semester visit to Oberlin by Naboré.

--Cathy Partlow Strauss, Director of Conservatory Communications

Soprano Deborah Voigt to Open 2015 Miami Summer Music Festival
The Festival's second season welcomes world-class classical teaching artists and exceptional students to Miami July 5 through August 2, 2015.

Celebrated American soprano Deborah Voigt opens the 2015 Miami Summer Music Festival in a robust program of traditional dramatic fare including Wagner, Strauss and musical theater alongside the MSMF Symphony Orchestra, a 95-piece orchestra comprised of top young talents from the world's elite music institutions including Juilliard, the Royal College of Music, the Cleveland Institute, Oberlin, and more. Voigt will follow up her concert conducting a master class with select young MSMF Opera Institute singers and a book signing of her recently released memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva.

After a groundbreaking inaugural year to critical acclaim, Miami Summer Music Festival's impressive sophomore season features four opera productions with orchestra including Mozart's Don Giovanni, Britten's Albert Herring, Massenet's Cendrillon, and a family production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

Orchestral programming includes Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Strauss's Ein Heldenleben, and culminates in a return to South Beach's acoustic and aesthetically stunning New World Center for a collaborative all-festival program of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, favorite opera highlights, the Piano Concerto Competition winner, and more.

--Miami Summer Music Festival

Richard Egarr Leads Philharmonia Baroque in Bach's Brandenburgs
Richard Egarr, called "eminently entertaining" by The New York Times, returns to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra this November to lead Bach's most beloved orchestral works: the Brandenburg Concertos.

Acclaimed as the music director of the Academy of Ancient Music, Egarr showcases Philharmonia's talented orchestra. Bach's enduring music illuminates the unique colors of Baroque harpsichord, oboes, flutes, and hunting horns.

The best seats are already selling out!
Subscribe today to reserve your seats:
Or call (415) 295-1900 to learn more about subscribing.

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Kenneth Woods Appointed Artistic Director of Colorado MahlerFest
Kenneth Woods has been appointed Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest. He is only the second Artistic Director in the festival's 28-year history and succeeds Founding Artistic Director Robert Olson. Woods will oversee his first festival, MahlerFest XXIX, in May 2016.

Of his appointment, Woods remarks, "I'm thrilled and humbled to be invited to steer Mahlerfest and the ongoing exploration of one of the greatest composers of all time. I've always been impressed by the sophistication of MahlerFest's programming and presentation, not to mention the musical standards attained by its participants. I must extend enormous congratulations to Bob Olson for everything he has achieved. The complexity and scale of some tasks can only be fully appreciated once you've done them yourself, and as someone who has put together a few crazy Mahler projects of my own over the years, I know something about the kind of heroic effort Bob has made to build and sustain this festival. I take very seriously my responsibility to keep the torch he has lit blazing brightly for many years to come."

Founded by conductor Robert Olson in 1988, the Boulder-based Colorado MahlerFest is an annual celebration of the life and music of Gustav Mahler. Throughout one week every May, the festival explores Mahler through symposia, exhibits, films and the performance of a major symphonic work by the composer. MahlerFest is currently in the midst of its third cycle of Mahler's symphonic compositions. In 2005, MahlerFest received the Gold Medal of the Vienna-based International Gustav Mahler Society, an honor so far bestowed on only one other American organization, the New York Philharmonic.

For more information about Kenneth Woods please visit
For more information about the Colorado MahlerFest please visit

--Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International

NE Chamber Festival Honors Russian founders and Supporters Bernstein, Sondheim
South Shore Conservatory's Duxbury Music Festival (DMF) presents its tenth anniversary season, with exciting DMF faculty and student performances, and family-friendly events, from July 17 through July 31.

The 10th anniversary season of Duxbury Music Festival features a captivating back story. Organizers are celebrating the return of renowned founding educators/musicians, pianist Oxana Yablonskaya and conductor/cellist Dmitry Yablonsky. When the two celebrated musicians tried to emigrate from the former Soviet Union to the United States in 1977, they were blocked from obtaining a visa. Thanks in part to an ambitious petition organized by famed American composers Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and a long 2-year wait, the two made their way to the U.S., finding considerable success, and becoming part of Duxbury Music Festival's rich foundation and history.  Their return to celebrate the Festival's first decade prompted a celebratory season in their honor, with repertoire consisting primarily of Russian compositions, as well as an opening concert featuring the music of Sondheim and Bernstein.

This celebrated program for solo and chamber instrumental performance unique to all of New England, a program of South Shore Conservatory. Over the years, more than 21,000 people have attended 128 Duxbury Music Festival performances, including 63 free concerts enabled by a army of more than 2000 volunteers dedicated to making the Festival a success. Students helm from the world-over, including gifted musicians from Israel, China, Japan, Korea, Azerbaijan, France, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, and Taiwan.

Tickets for all events are available beginning June 1. A variety of series subscriptions are available for purchase starting May 25.  DMF is a program of South Shore Conservatory (SSC), with  an office at SSC's Duxbury campus at the Ellison Center for the Arts, 64 St. George Street, Duxbury, 781-934-2731. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, call 781-934-2731, ext. 23, or follow Duxbury Music Festival on Facebook.

--Michelle McGrath PR

Kirshbaum Demler & Associates, Inc. Announces New Company Name: Kirshbaum Associates Inc.
Shirley Kirshbaum, Founder and Director of Kirshbaum Demler & Associates Inc., announced that the company has completed a process of change and restructuring. This new name, with accompanying redesigned logo and Web site, affords the company the opportunity to revitalize its mission and serve the arts moving forward.

Ms. Kirshbaum said, "We hope that these changes will enhance our effectiveness in supporting the creative ventures and remarkable artists we are privileged to represent, with increased passion and enthusiasm."

The new leadership team consists of Shirley Kirshbaum, Founder and President;  Peri Stedman, Vice President and Director of Artist Services, and Jason Belz, Vice President, Artist Manager and Director of Booking. Collectively they account for over 75 years of service to our industry.

Kirshbaum Associates Inc. looks forward to continuing to provide the best services to our artists, our projects and our respected colleagues.

The web domain will be

--Kirshbaum Associates Inc.

McGegan Newsletter Spring 2015
Nicolas McGegan's Philharmonia Baroque projects recently includes Rossini's first staged opera, La cambiale di matrimonio (The Marriage Contract). Nic and the orchestra also introduced music by Salamone Rossi in one of their popular SESSIONS concerts with insightful repartee and multimedia presentations. Then in January and March, Nic's two programs with the Pasadena Symphony included works of Peter Maxwell Davies, Poulenc, and Brahms, and a program of Rameau, Mozart, and Beethoven.

On the near horizon
Nic is conducting an all-Haydn program at the Virginia Arts Festival; Acis and Galatea in New Haven's International Festival of Arts & Ideas with the Mark Morris Dance Group; an all-Beethoven program and a program of Telemann, Boccherini, Bach, and Rameau at Aspen Music Festival; Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven at Caramoor International Music Festival with Orchestra of St. Luke's; Handel and J.C. Bach with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival; and Copland's Appalachian Spring, Poulenc's Organ Concerto, and many other exciting works at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Coming up later this year
Nic will lead the Adelaide Symphony's Mendelssohn Festival; visit the New Zealand Symphony for Messiah; conduct a program of Haydn, Mozart and Leclair at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; make his annual appearance with the St. Louis Symphony for a program of Gluck, Mozart, and Haydn; and conduct and record the American premiere of La Gloria di primavera, a Scarlatti opera that has not been heard for 300 years, with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

For more information, visit

-- Schwalbe and Partners

Save the Date, June 23, 2015, for the Young People's Chorus of New York City
Transmusica - "Resounding Hope Through Music"
YPC with YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus and Chicago Children's Choir
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)

6:30 p.m. - Pre-concert conversation with conductors
Francisco J. Núñez, Young People's Chorus of New York City
Josephine Lee, Chicago Children's Choir
Micah Hendler, YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus
In a dicussion of understanding among contrasting communities

7:00 p.m. - Concert
General Admission: $20
Seniors, Children: $10
available at the box office, by calling 212-864-5400 and online at
Premium Sponsor Seats: $150

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

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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