Classical Music News of the Week, September 27, 2015

December Events at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel
Music of Joyous Celebration
Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: $29, $39, $49

ARTrageous Benefit Gala
Starring Martin Short
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Gala: 5 p.m.
Performance: 8:30 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Performance-Only Tickets: $109
Gala Tickets: $500, $750, $1,000 (Includes pre-show reception, gourmet dinner and premium theater seating.)

Lightwire Theater: A Very Electric Christmas
Sunday, December 6, 2015, 2 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: $29, $39, $49

The TEN Tenors: Home for the Holidays
Thursday, December 10, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 11, 2015, 8 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: $49, $59, $79

Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
Starring Patti Hannon
Written by Maripat Donovan with Jane Morris and Marc Silvia
December 11–20, 2015
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 2
Tickets: $39

A Merri-Achi Christmas
Presented by Mariachi Sol de Mexico®
Directed by Jose Hernandez
Friday, December 18, 2015, 8 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: $29, $39, $59

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra®
Directed by Scotty Barnhart
Saturday, December 19, 2015, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Tickets: $29, $39, $59

For more information, visit

--Bill Thompson, SCCARTS

Cal Performances Presents Events in the Thematic Strand of ReVisions
In programming the Cal Performances 2015–2016 season, Executive and Artistic Director Matías Tarnopolsky curated three thematic strands—ZellerBACH, The Natural World, and ReVisions—to draw connections between performances across artistic genres and to encourage the reimagining of conventional performing arts. The ReVisions strand features three artists whose multi-disciplinary work challenges genre stereotypes and performance practices; in doing so, it speaks uniquely to our cultural moment. The contemporary music laboratory Ensemble Intercontemporain, led by Music Director Matthias Pintscher, makes a rare visit from Paris for the U.S. premiere of UC Berkeley composer Edmund Campion's Cluster.X, featuring video by Kurt Hentschläger, and the US premiere of a new work by fellow faculty member Franck Bedrossian, among other works by Boulez, Pintscher, and others. The innovative Texas-based theater group the Rude Mechs performs its acclaimed production Stop Hitting Yourself in its West Coast premiere. Finally, in his first national tour, dance-theater artist Trajal Harrell presents his multifaceted new work, The Ghost of Montpellier Meets the Samurai, in its West Coast premiere.

Ensemble Intercontemporain performs on Friday­­–Saturday, November 6–7 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall. The Rude Mechs perform on Thursday–Saturday, November 19–21 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Zellerbach Playhouse. Trajal Harrell's work is performed on Friday, March 18 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Zellerbach Playhouse. Harrell will also be in residence at Cal Performances November 12-16, where he will participate in activities with UC Berkeley's Dance Studies Working Group and the Arts Research Center, among other activities.

Tickets for Ensemble Intercontemporain on Friday­­ & Saturday, November 6& 7 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are $76.00. Tickets for the Rude Mechs on Thursday–Saturday, November 19–21 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Zellerbach Playhouse are $76.00. Tickets for Trajal Harrell on Friday, March 18 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Zellerbach Playhouse are $48.00. All ticket prices 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, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to

--Christina Kellogg, Cal Performances

American Boychoir School Begins New School Year
"Through adversity comes opportunity" might well be the unofficial motto of the American Boychoir School (ABS). Having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, ABS was confronted with a painful reality: redesign the school's operational approach and secure the necessary funding to assure long-term stability, or close its doors. With a storied educational and performance legacy at stake, the school's leadership, faculty, students, parents and the community-at-large united in an unprecedented effort to not only keep the doors open, but to position the school and its revered choir for the future.

Under its new operating structure, the Princeton, N.J., area will remain the school's home.  A new location was secured at the Rambling Pines campus in Hopewell, a short distance from downtown Princeton. This vibrant campus offers the boys classrooms, rehearsal space and over 200 acres of outdoor play area. In addition, "Music Together," a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing music to children, has graciously made available additional rehearsal space at its global headquarters two miles away from our campus.

For complete information on American Boychoir School, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

From Ghetto to Cappella: Interfaith Explorations in the Music of Baroque Italy
Jessica Gould, soprano & Noa Frenkel, contralto
Diego Cantalupi and Diego Leveric, lutes
James Waldo, viola da gamba
Pedro d'Aquino, harpsichord and organ

Concert date: Sunday, October 11th, 4:00pm

Location: The Fabbri Library of the House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, NYC

Tickets: $25 / $35 / $50 / $125
Visit or call 1 888 718-4253

--Casa Italiana, NYU

Kevin Ahfat Wins First-Ever Seattle Symphony Piano Competition
The Seattle Symphony Piano Competition jury awarded First Prize in the Piano Competition to Canadian-born Kevin Ahfat. Due to the incredibly high quality of the other two finalists, the jury decided to award Second Prizes to both Kenny Broberg of Minnesota and Vijay Venkatesh of California. No third prize was awarded. Additionally, Kenny Broberg won the Audience Favorite Award.

Of 20-year-old Kevin Ahfat's performance during the Symphony's Opening Night Concert on Saturday night, The Seattle Times remarked: "First-prize winner Ahfat attacked the last movement of the challenging Barber Piano Concerto in a manner that left no question about his riveting presentation and technical finesse."

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

92nd Street Y October Concerts
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 7:30pm
Opening night concert
American Classics by Gershwin
Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks
Kirill Gerstein, piano
Maurice Peress, conductor
Kaufmann Concert Hall

Monday, October 26, 2015 at 8:30pm
"Bridge to Beethoven", Part I
Jennifer Koh, violin
Shai Wosner, piano
Buttenwieser Hall

Wedneday, October 28, 2015 at 7:30pm
Masters of the Keyboard
Angela Hewitt, piano (92Y solo recital debut)
Kaufmann Concert Hall

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

YPC On the Air
Last week, David Osenberg, music director of The Classical Network,, opened the fifth season of the station's popular "Celebrating Our Musical Future" series with the broadcast premieres of Young People's Chorus of New York City's five newest Radio Radiance commissions. The hour-long special of YPC's performances was recorded live in partnership with Mr. Osenberg and The Classical Network at SubCulture this past April, and was hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer.

In addition to live performances of the works by YPC conducted by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, the broadcast also includes interviews by WNYC's John Schaefer with each of the Radio Radiance composer -- Samuel Adler, Ryan Lott, Caroline Mallonée, Frank J. Oteri, and Aaron Siegel. YPC chorus members Isabel, Zoe, Alex, and Louisa are also interviewed.

YPC choristers Bryanna, Maya, Olivia, Zacchariah, and Galen were interviewed on another WWFM program: "Cadenza," the recipient of a 2014 Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for Broadcasting. This program hosted by David Osenberg was devoted entirely to the music of Samuel Adler and included Mr. Adler's "Songs of the Seasons" commissioned from him by YPC for Transient Glory in 2004.

For more information, visit

--Katharine Gibson, Young People's Chorus of NYC

Tod Machover, Composer-In-Residence of the Lucerne Festival
Dubbed "America's most wired composer" by the Los Angeles Times, Tod Machover,  premiered the fourth installment of his city symphonies "A Symphony for Lucerne" on Sept. 5 to thunderous ovations and tremendous critical acclaim. Machover served as this year's Composer-In-Residence at the internationally renowned Lucerne Festival, where four significant premieres - three world and one European - were presented. About his residency, Machover states, "What a powerful and rewarding experience to present so many different aspects of my work in such a concentrated period and under such superb conditions. Being Composer-In-Residence at this summer's Lucerne Festival allowed me to bring many ideas to fruition, and to try some completely new things as well. Transformative and unforgettable."

As Machover prepares for his fifth city symphony in Detroit this November, you may view the video of the hugely successful "Symphony for Lucerne" here:

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

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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