Classical Music News of the Week, September 20, 2015

Cal Performances Presents Two Bay Area Premieres By Twyla Tharp in Her 50th Anniversary Tour

Cal Performances celebrates the 50th Anniversary Tour of American iconoclast choreographer Twyla Tharp with three performances, featuring two Bay Area premieres, Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, October 18, at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA.

Instead of creating the expected for her milestone tour--a retrospective of her greatest hits--Tharp's restless spirit demanded she choreograph new works. This Berkeley RADICAL residency showcases Tharp's vast and enduring career of creating dance that has famously bridged popular and classical forms, with two new works performed by a company of 13 dancers, many of whom have worked with her for years. Preludes and Fugues (Bay Area premiere) is set to J. S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier and presents the world as it ought to be, balanced and in sync. Yowzie (Bay Area premiere) presents the world as it is, and is steeped in the energetic rhythms of early jazz, with music by Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, among others, arranged and performed by Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein. Both premieres are introduced by a Fanfare, composed by John Zorn with choreography by Tharp. The Berkeley performances are part of a tour that begins in Dallas on September 18 and concludes at New York's Lincoln Center on November 17–22.

Berkeley RADICAL residency activities are planned on the campus and in the community, including an Artist Talk by Twyla Tharp, followed by a signing of her latest book, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together (2013), on Saturday, October 17, at 3:00 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium; a Community Response Panel on the enduring attraction of Bach's music to creative artists on Saturday, October 17, at 5:30 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium; and a Community Dance Class, featuring an artist with Twyla Tharp's company leading choreographic phrases from the current work on Saturday, October 17, at 11:00 a.m. in Bancroft Studio. All events are free and open to the public. Advance registration is highly recommended. RSVPs open on September 8.

Tickets for Twyla Tharp's 50th Anniversary Tour on Friday­­ and Saturday, October 16 and 17, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, October 18, at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $40.00 to $96.00 and are subject to change. 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.

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Lawrence Brownlee Announces 2015-2016 Season
The approaching 2015-2016 season for star tenor Lawrence Brownlee is perhaps his most exciting yet, including performances at four of the world's top opera houses, as well as a series of recitals around the U.S.  Brownlee will open with a run of Rossini's La Cenerentola at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (his house debut), and then stars opposite his friend and colleague Joyce DiDonato in Rossini's La Donna del Lago at the New York Metropolitan Opera.  From there, he flies to Paris to sing Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Pretty Yende and Ildar Abdrazakov at the Opéra National de Paris, followed by a series of U.S. recital dates (including Wolf Trap), before capping the season with Bellini's I Puritani at the Opernhaus Zurich, once again opposite Pretty Yende.

Lawrence will also sing the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers (he is a lifelong fan) on November 15, when they play the rival Cleveland Browns.

The past season had its fair share of exciting firsts as well – the extraordinary world premiere playing the lead role of Charlie Parker in Opera Philadelphia's YARDBIRD, a GrammyTM Award nomination for his critically-acclaimed Virtuoso Rossini Arias album on Delos Records, his nomination for "Male Singer of the Year" by the International Opera Awards, and most recently his first performance with conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl.

Fir full 2015-2016 season information, visit www.lawrencebrownlee.com/performances/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

From Ghetto to Cappella: Interfaith Explorations in the Music of Baroque Italy
On Sunday October 11th, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò partners with Salon/Sanctuary Concerts to present a series of events commemorating a period in history when dialogue's light shined through walls of ignorance.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, (the Papal declaration which condemned antisemitism in any form), and the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, From Ghetto to Cappella: Interfaith Explorations in the Music of Baroque Italy explores the cross-fertilization of Jewish and Catholic musical cultures that enriched the music of both Synagogue and Sanctuary in baroque Italy.

Performers: Jessica Gould, soprano and Noa Frenkel, contralto; Diego Cantalupi and Diego Leveric, lutes; James Waldo, viola da gamba; Pedro d'Aquino, harpsichord and organ.

Concert date and location: Sunday, October 11th, 4:00pm. The Fabbri Library of the House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, NYC.

Tickets: $25 / $35 / $50 / $125

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

--Casa Italiana, NYU

Joseph Rescigno to Conduct CCPA Contemporary Ensemble
Joseph Rescigno will guest conduct Roosevelt's CCPA Contemporary Ensemble in its first concert of the 2015-16 season, on Friday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the seventh-floor Ganz Hall of Roosevelt University, 430 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL.

The varied program of music from the 20th and 21st centuries will include Notturno Romano by Nicolas Flagello, with whom Maestro Rescigno studied, plus works by Luigi Dallapiccola, Milton Babbitt, Henry Cowell and Silvestre Revueltas. The concert also will include a world premiere, Infinite Gaze, by CCPA Associate Professor of Music Composition Dr. Kyong Mee Choi. The concert will be recorded for possible broadcast.

"I've called the concert 'Midnight to Noontime'," says Maestro Rescigno, "because in a little over an hour, the music will trace a progression from night to day, from dark to light.

"We start with Dallapiccola, in a Spanish village square in the middle of the night. We move to Rome for Flagello's version of night music. Dr. Choi's piece offers different views of the Earth and other celestial bodies from the perspective of deep space. Babbitt's work is not the least bit programmatic, but its sound world evokes the stars. We begin to see daylight with Cowell's Sinfonietta, which gets rather peppy, and end up in the sun with the revelry of the Revueltas, whose rhythms approach those of salsa."

Friday, October 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Ganz Hall, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University
430 South Michigan Avenue, 7th Floor, Chicago, IL 60605

This concert is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. (Guests without a Roosevelt ID may be required to show photo identification
to enter the Auditorium Building.)

For more information call: 312/341-2352 or visit
http://www.roosevelt.edu/News_and_Events/Calendar/EventDetails.aspx?ccpaid=206870

--Daniel Guss, Nancy Shear Arts Services

FWOpera Creates a Six-Month Symposia Series Leading to the World Premiere of JFK
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) proudly announced program details for a six-month long community conversation series titled JFK: 5 Decades of Progress. Beginning in October 2015 and culminating in the world premiere of FWOpera's JFK, the series will include five unique events focused on the presidential platforms of John F. Kennedy and the progression of those topics during the 50 years since his presidency. JFK: Five Decades of Progress will highlight a variety of important topics, policies, and events that helped define President Kennedy's time in office. From issues like Civil Rights, U.S foreign policy, and the Space Race to the evolution of journalism and government support of the arts, JFK: Five Decades of Progress will show how far – or not so far in some instances – the U.S has come since the President's time in Texas.

"Fort Worth Opera prides itself on being an innovative leader on the stage, but with JFK: Five Decades of Progress, we hope to be a leader in the community as well, bringing relevant discussions to North Texas. It is my belief that art isn't just a form of entertainment, but a spark meant to ignite conversation and create change," stated General Director Darren K. Woods.

Cultural and community leaders across the Metroplex have shown incredible support of FWOpera in this endeavor to engage our larger community in conversations beyond the opera stage. The organization has partnered with businesses across the metroplex including The Sixth Floor Museum, KERA, Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and more in an effort to bring these panel discussions directly into the communities and neighborhoods of North Texas residents.

Tickets are free, but RSVPs are strongly encouraged. Reserve your seat by contacting 817.288.1227 or online at www.fwopera.org/events.

--Christina Allen, FWOpera

Renée Anne Louprette - Organ Recital 10/18 - St. Ignatius Loyola, SMSS Series
Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's 2015-2016 N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series kicks off with Renée Anne Louprette and the NY premiere of a new Pamela Decker piece: October 18th, 3pm at New York City's Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Sacred Music in a Sacred Space's N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series –set in the majesty of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola – has established itself as a top "must do" event on New York's busy classical music and spiritual calendars. The four-part Mander Recital series kicks off with former Associate Director of Music at St. Ignatius, Renée Anne Louprette, on October 18, 2015, at 3:00 pm.

For tickets and information, call 212-288-2520 or visit http://smssconcerts.org/site/concerts/upcoming-concerts/eventdetail/119/-/organ-recital-renee-anne-louprette.

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

New Century Chamber Orchestra Awarded Bloomberg Philanthropies Grant
New Century Chamber Orchestra announced that it is a grantee recipient of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program. Through the two-year initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing $30 million across 262 small and mid-sized nonprofit cultural organizations around the country to help strengthen their operational and programming efforts, including training in fundraising, audience development and board member engagement.

"It is a great honor to be chosen by Bloomberg Philanthropies as a grantee of the AIM program," said New Century Chamber Orchestra Executive Director Philip Wilder. "This grant will give New Century both the financial and educational resources we need to bring the orchestra's unique artistry to a broader public, and to strengthen the health of our organization."

First piloted in New York City, Bloomberg Philanthropies supported 245 grantees through AIM from 2011-2013. Participating organizations reported improvements in audience development, board engagement and fundraising over the two-year program.

For more information on New Century, visit http://www.ncco.org.

--Brenden Guy, New Century Chamber Orchestra

Seattle Symphony Launches 2015-16 Season
Inaugurating a season highlighted by the orchestra's commitment to empower and nurture aspiring young musicians and that continues the theme of innovation and exploration for which the orchestra has been celebrated in recent years, Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony will continue to explore diverse repertoire and engage with Seattle's creative community through innovative concerts and in-depth community and education programs. The season begins on September 19 and runs through July 2016.

Performing Major Orchestral Repertoire Paired with Rarely Heard Symphonic Works:
Ludovic Morlot leads the orchestra in 12 Masterworks programs this season with performances of core orchestral repertoire including Mahler's Symphony No. 1, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4, Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and Fauré's Requiem. In a programming philosophy that pairs standard repertoire with rarely heard orchestral works, the Orchestra's Masterworks season also includes the U.S. premiere of Silvestrov's Symphony No. 8, Berio's Sinfonia featuring vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Messiaen's Poèmes pour Mi, Martinu's Symphony No. 4, and Dutilleux's Timbres, espace, mouvement.

Performing the Complete Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos Over Two Seasons:
Ludovic Morlot embarks on a two-year Beethoven cycle starting this September, which will include all nine symphonies and all five piano concertos. This season Ludovic Morlot will conduct Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 3 and 4, featuring pianists Alexander Melnikov, Yefim Bronfman and Imogen Cooper, respectively.

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet Appointed Artist in Residence:
The Seattle Symphony names pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as its Artist in Residence for the 2015–2016 season. Thibaudet's residency will bring him to Seattle for various performances with the orchestra including as guest soloist for the Opening Night and Masterworks season concerts, a Distinguished Artists Recital, and in collaboration with Seattle Symphony musicians on the Chamber series, as well as teaching opportunities throughout the season.

For complete information, visit http://www.seattlesymphony.org/

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

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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