Classical Music News of the Week, June 7, 2015

AOP World Premiere at BAM Next Wave 2015

AOP returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music this November with the world premiere of a dance-chamber opera inspired by one of the masterpieces of Japanese Noh drama.

Hagoromo, a world premiere
BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival

An angel's garment, possessed of mysterious powers, falls to a remote island on Earth, where it is found by a poor fisherman. To get it back, the angel offers up her greatest celestial gift: a dance of incomparable beauty.

Dance icons and former New York City Ballet principals Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, contralto Katalin Károlyi and tenor Peter Tantsits, and puppets by Chris M. Green come together in this inspired reimagining of a Japanese Noh theater classic. With choreography by David Neumann, costumes by Belgian fashion icon Dries Van Noten, and an original score by Nathan Davis - performed live by the International Contemporary Ensemble and Brooklyn Youth Chorus - Hagoromo merges genres to send a stranded spirit back to heaven.

Hagoromo
Featuring Wendy Whelan, Jock Soto, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Music by Nathan Davis
Libretto by Brendan Pelsue
Choreography by David Neumann
Puppetry by Chris M. Green
Conceived and directed by David Michalek

Presented in association with the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St.)
Nov 5-7 at 7:30pm, Nov 8 at 3pm
Tickets: $25, 35, 45 (weekday); $30, 40, 50 (weekend) (subject to change after Aug 2)

Visit http://www.bam.org/dance/2015/hagoromo

--Matthew Gray, American Opera Projects

Plácido Domingo's 2015 Operalia at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Competition Final: Sunday 19 July, 6 p.m.

"My purpose in Operalia is to help identify not only the best voices, but also to discover those singers whose personalities, characters and powers of interpretation show that they have the potential to become complete artists. Individuals such as these become tomorrow's stars." --Plácido Domingo

For the first time in its 22 year history, Operalia, Plácido Domingo's international singing competition, will be held in London, hosted by the Royal Opera House.  Starting on Monday 13 July, with closed rounds taking place throughout the week, the public final will be held at Covent Garden at 6pm on Sunday 19 July.  This year's 40 competitors are drawn from 20 countries including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea. Thailand, across Europe and throughout North America.  In addition to a strong contingent of sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors and baritones, there is one representative each for bass, bass-baritone and countertenor.

Founded in 1993 with the aim of discovering and helping launch the careers of today's most promising young opera singers, Operalia is open to singers of all voice types between the ages of 18 and 32. Amongst the winners from the last 22 years are artists of the calibre of Joseph Calleja, José Cura, Carmen Giannattasio, Ana María Martínez, Erwin Schrott, Nina Stemme, Rolando Villazón and Sonya Yoncheva.  This year, the USA is represented by sopranos Andrea Carroll, Meghan Picerno and Elisabeth Rosenberg; mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier; tenor Kevin Ray; and baritones Tobias Greenhalgh, Theo Hoffman, Edward Parks and Samuel Schultz.  36 American singers have previously won awards including mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 1998, soprano Ailyn Pérez in 2006 and soprano Angel Blue in 2009.

Every year Operalia receives hundreds of applications from which only 40 are chosen to compete in front of a jury of leading industry professionals including general managers and casting directors from the world's most prestigious international opera houses. Although Plácido Domingo does not vote himself, he is actively present throughout the competition offering guidance on artistic and career development to all of the participants. The competition, which has previously been held in the USA four times, is hosted by a different city every year. This year's Gala Concert, during which the 10 finalists compete, will be held on Covent Garden's main stage accompanied by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Plácido Domingo.

For further information, visit www.roh.org.uk

--Macbeth Media Relations

YPC Presents Concert of Hope Through Music
On Tuesday, June 23, the Young People's Chorus of New York City and Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez welcome two extraordinary youth choirs to Symphony Space for a very special concert in its Transmusica series, created to build bridges to other world cultures.

Joining YPC on Tuesday, June 23, at 7 p.m. are the New York debut of YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus, comprising Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, and the Chicago Children's Choir, known as "ambassadors of peace" in their community, for a concert that will be a powerful demonstration of how music and young people can be compelling forces for peace and reconciliation within world communities.

The 7 p.m. concert will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a discussion of understanding among contrasting communities with the conductors: Mr. Núñez, Micah Hendler, the founder of the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus, and Josephine Lee, the president and artistic director of the Chicago Children's Choir.

General admission is $20, and tickets for seniors and children are $10. Premium tickets at $150, which help support YPC, are $130 tax deductible. All tickets are available now at the Symphony Space box office, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, by calling 212-864-5400, or online at www.symphonyspace.org.

These three, high-level youth choruses, all models of their founding missions of inclusion, will each sing several pieces individually, exhibiting both the differences and commonalities among them. The singers will then come together in a moving and inspirational finale, revealing one voice, which goes beyond religious or political differences directly to the human heart.

--Angela Duryea, Young People's Chorus of NYC

92Y 2015-16 New Concert Series - Soundspace
92nd Street Y has announced a new concert series, Soundspace, for the 2015-16 season to be presented in the relaxed atmosphere of 92Y's Buttenwieser Hall. Soundspace presents 11 concerts featuring distinguished artists, new works and 92Y commissions.

The artists – soloists, duos, quartets – bring programs that reflect their personal vision to Soundspace, whether it's a new take on "variations on a theme" or chatting directly with the audience. This series brings artists and audiences closer together as 92Y re-imagines the classical music experience for the 21st century in the inviting atmosphere of 92Y's Buttenwieser Hall. The series features hand-picked artists and adventurous repertoire in a friendly, informal environment where artists, composers and audience can discover new music and new interpretations of familiar repertoire on a more personal and immediate level.

This season, Soundspace will showcase unique programs of Jewish folk-inspired and Czech music with the Daedalus Quartet and members of SPEAKmusic, and will present acclaimed pianist-composer Matan Porat in his 92Y debut performing a visionary program of 24 works succession spanning 300 years that all use the same motif. The St. Lawrence String Quartet illuminates Haydn's "The Joke" Quartet with live commentary by the quartet's violinist Geoff Nuttall. Additionally, 92Y has commissioned a new work by Derek Bermel to be performed in its NYC premiere by the  exceptionally talented JACK Quartet.

Soundspace also welcomes violinist Jennifer Koh, a longtime 92Y collaborator and one of today's most innovative musicians. She illustrates Beethoven's lasting influence with her four-concert residency "Bridge to Beethoven." She and pianist Shai Wosner perform all of the composer's violin sonatas - along with new works by contemporary composers - from a variety of cultural backgrounds that respond to these specific sonatas.

Now in its second season, "Sir András Schiff Selects: Young Pianists" reflects both 92Y's and Schiff's dedication to championing the next generation of performers by inviting promising young pianists, who have already garnered critical acclaim overseas, to make their US debuts at 92Y in programs of their choosing. For Soundspace this season, Sir András Schiff has hand-selected three pianists to perform in this intimate series, which has been part of an international initiative on Schiff's part to nurture and introduce young artists.

Single Subscription tickets for 92Y's 2015/16 season are now on sale. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/Concerts or call the 92Y Box Office at 212-415-5500.

--Ely Moskowitz, Kirshbaum Associates Inc.

Young People's Chorus of New York City Holds Ribbon-Cutting
It's Official. YPC has a new home.

On May 11, the Young People's Chorus of New York City inaugurated its new home on West 65th Street with an official ribbon-cutting celebration. Attending were dozens of supporters, well-wishers, and many individuals who have grown with the organization over the past 27 years and were now moved, some to tears, at the fulfillment of the longtime dream of a real home.

Balloon-toting chorus members escorted guests onto the red carpet and led them to the sun-filled YPC space made even brighter by so many happy and welcoming faces, among them YPC Artistic Director and Founder Francisco J. Núñez and the entire Building Committee, notably the chairman of the committee, Phil Lovett, who spearheaded the effort, and vice chair Adam Chinn, along with Deborah McManus, Nancy Bloom, Howell Núñez, Elizabeth Núñez, Shirley Delgado, and Dena Tasse-Winter.

For more information, visit http://www.ypc.org/

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

Robert M. Carnochan Joins Frost School of Music as Director of Wind Ensemble Activities
The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami announces the selection of Dr. Robert M. Carnochan as professor of music, director of wind ensemble activities and conductor of the Frost Wind Ensemble, beginning August 15, 2015.

Carnochan (pronounced "Car-na-han") was previously professor of instrumental conducting at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin for 13 years, where he was director of the Longhorn Band, and associate director of bands. He holds degrees from Towson University (B.S. Music Education), the University of Colorado at Boulder (M.M. conducting) and The University of Texas at Austin (D.M.A. conducting). A Maryland native, Carnochan's career began as director of bands at Dundalk High School in the Baltimore area. He then held appointments at Stephen F. Austin State University, Northeastern Oklahoma State University, and University of Colorado at Boulder, before joining the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

Carnochan was selected from a pool of top candidates who are renowned in the world of instrumental conducting as outstanding musicians and pedagogues. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Carnochan has collaborated with leading composers and commissioned significant new works, which he will continue to pursue in his new role as conductor of the Frost Wind Ensemble.

Carnochan is also active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States, and has conducted concerts in London, Spain, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Singapore.  His recording of Donald Grantham's Tuba Concerto, with soloist Charles Villarrubia, was recently released and is available for download from iTunes.

Carnochan replaces former director and professor Gary Green, who retired on May 15 after 22 years on the UM Frost School of Music faculty.

--Megan Ondrizek, University Communications

Cal Performances Presents Updates to Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival
Hailed by The New York Times as a "versatile, charismatic soprano endowed with brilliant technique and superlative stage instincts,"  Mellissa Hughes will replace mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, who has withdrawn from her Ojai Music Festival and Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival appearances due to illness. On Thursday, June 18 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Hughes will reprise her role in Beyond the Score's A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, which she performed in November with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Hughes will also fill in for Southwell on Saturday, June 20 at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall for performances featuring contemporary composers, including Messiaen, Ravel, Boulez, Wolfe, Harrison, Chavez, and Ginastera.

On Friday, June 19 at 5:00 p.m. on the patio of Hertz Hall, Ojai at Berkeley music director Steven Schick and flutist Claire Chase will lead an interactive audience participation event featuring Pulitzer Prize finalist Lei Lang's "transcendent" (San Diego Union-Tribune) percussion work Trans. On Saturday, June 20 at 5:00 p.m. on the Hertz Hall patio, composer Jimmy Lopez, UC Berkeley musicologist William Quillen, Pacific Edge music director Lynne Morrow, and new music pioneer Amy X Neuberg will participate in a conversation, moderated by Cal Performances Associate Director Rob Bailis. This all-star panel of local artists will attend all of the Ojai at Berkeley performances and will offer their remarks on the arc of the whole festival, including the curation, impact, and cohesiveness.

The fifth annual Ojai at Berkeley Music Festival with Music Director Steven Schick will focus on music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Highlights include John Luther Adams' Sila: The Breath of the World, the celebration of Pierre Boulez's 90th birthday; and concerts throughout the festival devoted to Boulez's music and influences. Watch an exclusive Cal Performances video series of Schick talking about the programming of Ojai at Berkeley.

Ticket information:
A Festival Pass for Ojai at Berkeley, Thursday–Saturday, June 18–20 is priced at $170.00. A Choose-Your-Own subscription is also available. Patrons can save 10% off single ticket prices by purchasing a minimum of three events. Tickets range from $20.00 to $62.00 and are subject to change. Single tickets go on sale February 2015. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at www.calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php. Children 18 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Food is available for on-site or advance purchase for performances on Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit calperformances.org.

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Carla Dirlikov First Opera Singer Named to The President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities' Turnaround Arts
On June 3, 2015, The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) announced an expansion of its successful Turnaround Arts initiative into five additional school districts. The program, funded through a public-private partnership, will receive over $5 million over the next three years from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Ford Foundation and other private foundations and companies to bring arts education into low-performing schools. Turnaround Arts now reaches over 24,000 of the country's highest-needs students in 50 schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Newly appointed Turnaround Artists Carla Dirlikov, Cameron Diaz, Mike McCready will "adopt" three Broward County Turnaround Arts schools and work directly with students and teachers to support their arts education. These schools will receive arts education training and resources to address their individual needs including teacher training, arts supplies, music instruments, and funding for partnerships with community arts education and cultural organizations. The Turnaround Artists will support the schools for the length of the program, working with students, schools and communities to highlight their success.

For more information, please visit http://www.pcah.gov/

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

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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