Classical Music News of the Week, July 5, 2015

2015 PARMA Music Festival

Friday, August 14 – Sunday, August 16, 2015 - Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Contemporary music, local and international acts, seven concerts, six venues, three days.
Breaking barriers. Bridging genres.

The third annual nonprofit PARMA Music Festival sponsored by Kennebunk Savings Bank is coming this summer! The multiple venue/multi-genre, three-day Festival will feature acts varying from classical and jazz to electronic and rock to indie and folk. With a wide and diverse range of events from live music and visual arts to a children's event, this year's Festival will bring together a wonderfully eclectic crowd to perform, collaborate, and listen.

New acts announced: The Chris Klaxton Group, Qwill, Miss Fairchild, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, the Great Bay Academy of Dance.

Venues include the Buoy Gallery, The Dance Hall, Prescott Park, and The Music Hall.

About the PARMA Music Festival:
The PARMA Music Festival has featured performances by GRAMMY Award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, singer/songwriter Will Dailey, cellist Ovidiu Marinescu, electronic clarinetist Matthias Mueller, Sarah Borrello, and many more. For more information about the PARMA Music Festival, including pictures and press from prior years, visit

Tickets Entrance to all events except the final concert at The Music Hall is free. Tickets for the Sunday, August 16 afternoon concert are available for purchase at The Music Hall Box Office at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth NH; by phone at 603-436-2400; or online:

For more information, visit

--Janet Giovanniello, PARMA Festival

Versatile Cellist Malcolm Parson to Join Turtle Island Quartet in January 2016
Grammy award-winning Turtle Island Quartet announces versatile cellist Malcolm Parson will join the ensemble in January 2016.

Multi-Grammy award-winning and groundbreaking chamber ensemble the Turtle Island Quartet (TIQ) is pleased to announce that the sensational cello wunderkind Malcolm Parson, currently of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, will join the group in January 2016 upon the departure of original member Mark Summer, who leaves the group to pursue a solo career.

"Every group, particularly one that has been together for 30 years, reaches transition points along their journey," said TIQ founder David Balakrishnan. "We are so happy for Mark as he moves into this new phase in his career, and honor the wonderful years of camaraderie and stirring performances he has given us.  At the same time, one of our group's core strengths is discovering new and exciting talent, allowing us to grow, evolve and keep the quartet alive and vibrant.  Malcolm Parson's ability to transition effortlessly between classical music, jazz, and contemporary styles, and to meld them together in his own unique sound, is a perfect fit for TIQ.  We are thrilled to unleash his formidable talent and know our audiences will love this latest evolution of our ensemble."

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Listen Magazine Features Itzhak Perlman, Jason Moran & More - Summer 2015
Listen: Life With Music & Culture releases its Summer 2015 issue. Itzhak Perlman, the Blurred Lines of copyright law, the two sides of Kurt Weill, the elusive role of the dramaturg, overcoming stage fright, Riccardo Chailly's extensive discography, and the renaissance of Detroit are among some of the things the issue covers.

In its Summer 2015 issue, Listen: Life With Music and Culture doesn't shy away from asking challenging questions: namely, can art and music play a role in healing centuries of social strife? Regular readers of Listen won't be surprised that this issue answers that question with a resounding "yes." From the Venice Biennale to the streets of Detroit, art is a gateway to compassion and understanding — in the words of Jason Moran, profiled in this issue, "The community is part of the problem — but it can also be part of the solution."

A multi- award winning print quarterly hailed by Library Journal as one of the best new magazines of 2009, Listen magazine is the American voice of music and culture. Now in its seventh year of publication, Listen delivers exclusive interviews with the world's top musicians, feature articles and think pieces, and embraces cultural connection in music, visual and performing arts, the written word, film and television, architecture and design, craftsmanship and artistry, fashion and travel.

The magazine is available at Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores throughout the U.S. and Canada or by subscription to anywhere in the world:

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

National Philharmonic Summer Programs
This summer, the National Philharmonic will teach and coach some of the area's most promising young musicians at its String Institutes. The institutes, for middle/high school string players, nurture young talent and teach musical skills and techniques while preparing the participants for a performance. In addition, the Philharmonic offers the Adult Summer Chorale Institute, whose participants work with Stan Engebretson, National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director, and Victoria Gau, Philharmonic Associate Conductor.

The Adult Summer Choral Institute (July 7-16 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9:30 pm, Music Building of Montgomery College's Rockville Campus) offers adult singers (college age and older) from around the area an opportunity to sing with members of the National Philharmonic Chorale under Dr. Engebretson and Associate Conductor Victoria Gau in four intensive rehearsals over two weeks. The Adult Summer Choral Institute is produced through a partnership between the National Philharmonic and Montgomery College, and features distinguished faculty from area universities and choral groups. The week culminates in a free public concert at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm.

The Summer String Institutes (High School String Institute August 3-7, 2015; Middle School String Institute August 10-14, 2015, Trinity Lutheran Church, 11200 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD) immerse talented middle school and high school string musicians in an intensive week of mentoring, chamber music coaching, individual lessons and rehearsals led by National Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski; Philharmonic Associate Conductor and String Institutes Director Victoria Gau; musicians of the Philharmonic and other well-known music pedagogues. The High School String Institute will study and perform Grieg's Holberg Suite; Mozart's Divertimento, K. 138; Britten's Simple Symphony, and Vivaldi's Cello Concerto in A minor. The Middle School Institute will study and perform Mozart's Serenade, K. 525 ("Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"); Mendelssohn's String Symphony No. 2 in D Major; and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances.

This year marks the 17th anniversary of the High School String Institute and the 16th year of the Middle School String Institute. The High School String Institute will culminate in a free public performance at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 11200 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD, 20852 on Friday, August 7 at 7:30 pm and on Friday, August 14 at 7:30 pm for the middle school session. For more information on the Summer String and Choral Institutes, please visit

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

American Bach Soloists Festival Presents John Thiessen Baroque Trumpet
Distinguished Artist Series: John Thiessen, Baroque trumpet.

Performing a diverse program of Italian chamber music and cantatas, English music for the theater, and oratorio, trumpeter John Thiessen will demonstrate his instrumental mastery in an astonishing variety of styles and settings in music by Corelli, Jeremiah Clarke, Handel, and Alessandro Scarlatti. For this special recital, members of ABS and guest soprano Kathryn Mueller, will join Thiessen.

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, ABS

Slavyanka Performs Rachmaninoff's Vespers 100th Anniversary Concerts in Bay Area 8/21-23
The San Francisco Bay Area Russian choral group Slavyanka performs Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (Vespers) August 21-23 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, marking the 100th anniversary of its premiere. Russian music scholar and conductor Irina Shachneva leads the performances.

The 100th anniversary of the premiere of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (Vespers) will be celebrated with three performances of the choral work by Bay Area Russian choral ensemble Slavyanka on Friday, August 21 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, Saturday, August 22 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and Sunday, August 23 at First Congregational Church in Berkeley. Russian conductor and Slavyanka Artistic Director Irina Shachneva, an authority on Russian choral music, will lead the concerts.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door the day of the performances. Tickets are free for those 18 years of age and younger. Tickets are on sale now and available at

--Jean Shirk Media

Warner Classics Signs One-Handed Pianist Nicholas McCarthy
Debut album Solo to be released September 18, with New York launch at (le) Poisson Rouge September 28. with another performance at London's Royal Albert Hall on October 11th. More dates to be announced soon.

Nicholas McCarthy, who at one point was told he would never have a career, is not your average artist. Born in 1989 without his right hand he only began to play the piano at the late age of 14 after seeing a friend play Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata but was determined to fulfil his dream of becoming a concert pianist. He has now signed a record deal with Warner Classics and will release his debut album in September. "I'm absolutely delighted to have been signed by Warner" says Nicholas  "and it's so exciting to be recording my first professional album with a label that shares my vision and passion for sharing my repertoire with a wide audience"

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Smokey Robinson Just Added to Summer Season at Green Music Center
Fri, September 4 at 7:30pm | Weill Hall + Lawn.

Smokey Robinson, the "King of Motown," has been leaving his mark on music for more than fifty years, credited with an astounding 4,000 songs and 37 hits in the Top 40 charts. A Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, awarded a National Medal of Arts in 1993 and was a prestigious Kennedy Center honoree in 2006.

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

News from FAYM
The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians' tuition-free Summer Camps were a big success thanks to the generosity of ALL who have contributed to FAYM. Thank you.

High School String Camp:
FAYM's first tuition-free High School String Orchestra Camp (June 8-20)  under the direction of Tim Thomas and Yunior Lopez. A total of $2000 dollars in Scholarship Awards was presented by FAYM at the end of camp to students whose attendance and performance were exemplary.

Violins for Kids Camp:
FAYM's "Violins for Kids" project was instituted in 2009 for undeserved youngsters.  It has grown from 15 to over 140 students currently enrolled in two community center locations in Las Vegas.  At no cost, each student receives an instrument, materials, and two class lessons each week.  A string orchestra experience is offered for advanced students.  With your help FAYM has exciting plans for further expansion!

The Mariachi Studies Camp
Many thanks to the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Mariachi Studies for sharing its facilities with FAYM at J.D. Smith MS. Our FAYM kids who took part in the Mariachi camp had a wonderful time!

Congratulations to our Scholarship Recipients:
Arturo Ochoa, Brenda Ramos, Alan Sanchez and Juan Soto.

FAYM Scholarship Awards were presented to seven members of the HS Camp: Yestyn Griffith, Joshua Tayag, Angel Scotch, Drake Manzanares, John Dillard, Gabriel Carreon, and Briscia Vasquez.

You can keep the kids playing by making a donation.

FAYM's Mission is to encourage and support young musicians in (1) early training, (2) advanced study, and (3) professional career development. FAYM is an 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit organization. (EIN #26-1472871) All proceeds go directly to assisting young musicians. Your support is vital to continue and  advance the work of this worthy activity. Your contribution to the FOUNDATION TO ASSIST YOUNG MUSICIANS will help turn musical dreams into reality.

For more information, visit

--Harold Weller, FAYM

Napa Valley Festival del Sole Getty Tribute: July 18, 2015
Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of America's premier summer destination events, honors composer Gordon Getty during its tenth season which runs from July 17-26, 2015. Events include the world premiere of five new Getty choral works, a preview of Peter Rosen's forthcoming documentary on the composer, a performance of Getty's chamber music, and Angel Heart, which includes compositions and arrangements by Mr. Getty.

The ten-day Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends the world's finest classical, jazz, opera, theater and dance artists with curated culinary, wine and fitness pursuits, staged in Napa Valley's most iconic settings.

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 5 p.m.
Beethoven's 9th and Getty World Premiere at Lincoln Theater
Russian National Orchestra
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
Volti Chorus

The evening features the world premiere of new choral works by Gordon Getty, and Beethoven's monumental Ninth Symphony. The world premiere works are: Ballet Russe, for chorus, harp, piano and strings after a poem by John Masefield; There was a Naughty Boy, for chorus and chamber orchestra after a poem by John Keats; For a Dead Lady, for chorus and orchestra after a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson; Beauty Come Dancing, for chorus and chamber orchestra with lyrics by the composer; and Those Who Love the Most, for chorus and orchestra after a poem by Sara Teasdale.

For information on the complete festival lineup, visit

--Nancy Shear, Shear Arts Services

Cal Performances Announces Details of the Dudamel Residency
Cal Performances at UC Berkeley today announced the public programs, academic endeavors, and University collaborations of the inaugural project of Berkeley RADICAL. The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem 2015 Orchestra Residency features Gustavo Dudamel and the  Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV), September 22–26, 2015. Cal Performances' Berkeley RADICAL initiative, announced in February 2015, is a framework to cultivate public artistic literacy and create cultural access for diverse current and future audiences in the context of the digital age and transitional generations. Collaboration and interaction with the research and academic resources of the University of California, Berkeley, is key to the Berkeley RADICAL concept. This residency will explore the music of Beethoven, with performances of the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies at Zellerbach Hall, and an outdoor performance of the composer's monumental Ninth Symphony, to be streamed live from the Hearst Greek Theatre. In addition to these featured performances, the dense, four-day residency will include an academic symposium, a Berkeley Talks event, master teaching, a film screening, lecture-demonstrations, rehearsals open to the public, area classroom visits by SBSOV members, and the multimedia dissemination of harvested knowledge on digital platforms, including iTunes.

Berkeley RADICAL (Research and Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts and Learning), seeks to explore both known works and the creation of major new works. Following this inaugural endeavor, Cal Performances' 2015–2016 season will weave three further artistic strands into Berkeley RADICAL, including art and the environment (The Natural World), new ideas of performance practice (ReVisions), and the overarching influence of the music of Bach (ZellerBACH).

For more information, visit

--Christina Kellogg, Cal Performances

George Li Awarded Silver Medal at International Tchaikovsky Competition XV
The International Tchaikovsky Competition jury announced today that pianist George Li has placed second at this year's competition. One of the most highly revered music contests in the international community and a landmark symbol of national culture in Russia, it is held every four years in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The event competition began in 1958. It is currently celebrating its 15th occurrence and also the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's birth. Li tied with Geniusas Lucas, both will take home silver medals.

Only twenty years old, Li is considered one of the world's most talented and creative young pianists. He has been winning piano competitions since the age of six. Li is an alumnus of NEC's Preparatory School program. Li's Prep years include performances on "From the Top" (at age 10 in 2006) and at outgoing NEC President Tony Woodcock's Installation Ceremony (at age 11 in 2007).

For more information about George Li and the New England Conservatory, visit

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, NEC

Interlochen Arts Festival Kicks Off Copland Celebration on July 5th
The first two weeks of Interlochen's highly anticipated "Aaron Copland: The World of an Uncommon Man" Festival promises to be a treat for both the eyes and the ears, kicking off on July 5th with a rousing performance from Interlochen's resident World Youth Symphony Orchestra. The brainchild of "Interlochen Presents" Executive Director Christopher Gruits and centered around one of America's most enduring composers, the Michigan festival celebrates the life and prolific legacy of the legendary composer who made two Interlochen appearances in the 1960s and 1970.

With events featuring a variety of disciplines including orchestral performance, vocal performance, lecture, dance and film, this first two weeks of stellar performances promise to showcase Copland's multi-dimensional talents and bring some of his most revered works to festival audiences.

For more information on "Aaron Copland: The World of an Uncommon Man" and to review the complete festival events scheduled visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

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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 Jon 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 of The $ensible Sound magazine 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa