Classical Music News of the Week, October 11, 2015

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival

In honor of the legendary cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky, the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, presented by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, brings together masters of the cello and young cellists from around the world for an unparalleled celebration of the cello, its music and its musicians. The Festival takes place in Los Angeles, California from May 13-22, 2016, showcasing 26 international artists representing 15 countries and 4 continents, and unveiling several premieres during the course of this outstanding 10-day event. The Festival's roster includes some of the world's most celebrated cellists – Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Jean-Guihen Queyras, David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Colin Carr, Sol Gabetta, Giovanni Sollima, Raphael Wallfisch and Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum,  among others - some of whom directly studied under Gregor Piatigorsky.

Bringing together three prestigious Los Angeles musical organizations—USC Thornton School of Music, the LA Phil and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra—the 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival aims to highlight the cello against the backdrop of one of the most culturally innovative metropolitan areas in the United States.

For more information about the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, go to

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Cal Performances Presents The Venerable Ensemble Intercontemporain
The contemporary, Paris-based music laboratory Ensemble Intercontemporain, led by Artistic Director Matthias Pintscher, makes a rare U.S. visit for two programs of modern masterpieces, recent contemporary works, and U.S. premieres of UC Berkeley faculty compositions, as part of the Cal Performances 2015–2016 season. The concerts include the U.S. premiere of UC Berkeley composer Edmund Campion's Cluster.X, featuring video and electronic sound component by Kurt Hentschläger, as well as the U.S. premiere of a new work by fellow faculty member Franck Bedrossian, among other works by Pintscher, Furrer, Stroppa, and Varèse, as well as Sur Incises (1996/1998), an infrequently performed work by the ensemble's founder and longtime director, Pierre Boulez. Praised by The New York Times for interpretations of "nearly supernatural precision and finesse," Ensemble Intercontemporain performs on Friday & Saturday, November 6 & 7 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall.

In February 2015, Cal Performances unveiled Berkeley RADICAL (Research And Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, and Learning) its new initiative to cultivate the artistic literacy of future audiences and to connect the world's most innovative artists with the intellectual capital of the UC Berkeley campus. Through carefully crafted public programs and creative artistic residencies, Berkeley RADICAL serves as a framework to expand the reach of Cal Performances by providing audiences with multiple access points to a single work of art or artist. With a program that challenges genre stereotypes and reimagines conventional performing arts practices, Ensemble Intercontemporain's residency is the first in a series of performances and public programs titled ReVisions, one of three thematic strands—ZellerBACH, The Natural World, and ReVisions—that merges traditional and contemporary genres, weaving intriguing ideas throughout the rich fabric of the season.

Tickets for the Ensemble Intercontemporain on Friday & Saturday, November 6 & 7 at 8:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are $76.00 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, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to

--Rusty Barnes, Cal Performances

Collage New Music Announces 2015/2016 Concert Season
The Grammy nominated, Boston-based ensemble, Collage New Music, recently announced its 2015/2016 concert season. The series includes four performances to be held in November, January, February and March. Now in its 44th year, the group prevails as a leader of exploratory music making in its hometown of Boston and also around the world. This year, the ensemble will celebrate the life of Gunther Schuller and perform a program titled: "Voices of Now and Tomorrow," featuring Dominique LaBelle. They will also remember composer Edward Cohen with a memorial concert and present a night of Elliot Carter music. Mary MacKenzie and Tony Arnold, both highly distinguished soprano singers will perform with Collage New Music, as will recent New England Conservatory graduate, acclaimed soprano, Nina Guo. Individual tickets and season subscriptions can be purchased through the group's web site. Student and senior discounts are available. For more information, please visit the link below:

A vital arena for the union of composer, performer and listener, Collage New Music's repertoire reaches from classical twentieth century works to powerful but obscure older works and to exciting creations by American composers. The group's commissioning history has helped create a repertoire that now serves all new music ensembles. Concerts range from solo performances to large ensemble works, from theater works to fully staged chamber operas, and to music with extensive electronic equipment.

Music Director and conductor of Collage New Music, David Hoose, discussed the upcoming season.

"This season is unique, poignant and inspiring on many different levels," said Hoose. "We are presenting such a diversity of works by new music giants and also rising talent. Our repertoire this season includes six premieres. We are presenting arrangements dating from 1942 to the present day; each piece will be played by a host of incredibly skilled players and sung by superbly gifted vocalists," he said.

Collage New Music's Founder, Frank Epstein talked about how the group has evolved over the last four decades and why this season is especially important to him.

"Collage New Music has evolved so much over the last forty years and in ways I never knew possible," said Epstein. "When we plan our program each year, I am impressed by the expansive and dimensional nature of new music and how our group's dedication to it remains absolutely steadfast. It is a pleasure to work with such seasoned talent and those at the beginning of their careers. This year's series is exceptional and also difficult, because we have had to say goodbye to Gunther Schuller. I consider our tribute to Gunther and the many wonderfully diverse pieces we will play throughout our season, as a token of deep appreciation of all that Gunther has taught me. Guther taught me to be open to all sort of musics, each creating an adventure all its own. I hope to inspire someone who is new to this music and make a profound impact on those who are familiar," he said.

For more information, visit

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi

Invitation: Salon Culture, October 23, 2015, Steinway House Munich
On Friday, October 23, 2015 Salon Culture will hold a musical soiree at Steinway Hall Munich. The program is titled the "Enigmatic Music of the Night."

The soiree is a "come back" of the centuries-old tradition of salon societies but held in a modern style. The salon's character is a mixture of different genre: The recitation of poems is followed by a song, there are various chamber music performances and four hands piano playing.

There is a guest star, who is known for extraordinary artistic achievement. The focus of the musical program is the "Salon pieces" with a high entertainment value. A moderator leads through the program and ensures a pleasant and informal atmosphere. A reception that follows will allow conversations with the artists.

Invited artists are flutist Barbara Wagner, soprano Andromahi Raptis, violinist Olena Savka, baritone Peter Lintl, pianist Olivier Petitpierre, actor Robert Kühn, and our special guest countertenor Christopher Robson, known to Munich audiences from the legendary opera productions of the National Theatre era of Sir Peter Jones.

The program includes premieres by composers Kurt Richard Wallner (Austria), Stephen Beneking (Berlin, Germany), and Ash Madni (UK).

Admission: 15 euros

If you would like to learn more about Salon Culture, visit

--Anna Sutyagina

92Y Live-Streams; Sold Out Opening Night Concert
92Y announces a special live stream for its 2015/16 concert season opener on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30PM ET. The sold-out performance features internationally renowned pianist and Gilmore Artist Award recipient Kirill Gerstein, who returns to his jazz roots to collaborate with the 1920s-style big band and Grammy award-winners Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks. Together, they present an all-Gershwin program including two of George Gershwin's most famous works—Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto in F—in their original jazz band arrangements from the 1920s. The live stream will be available at, and will be accessible for 24 hours.

The rarely-heard 1928 jazz band version of Piano Concerto in F (arranged by Ferde Grofé for Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra), has been conceived as a newly-reconstructed score by Vince Giordiano and Maurice Peress, with special permission from the Gershwin estate and Paul Whiteman Collection at Williams College Archives.

The all-Gershwin program also includes the Overture to Strike up the Band, arranged by Maurice Peress, and "That Certain Feeling"-"I Got Rhythm," transcribed by Vince Giordano.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Listen Magazine Releases Its Fall 2015 Issue
For its Fall 2015 issue, Listen: Life With Music and Culture reflects on the new trend in American popular music which Editor in Chief Ben Finane dubs the "New Sincerity" — a movement away from irony and toward songs crafted with care and authenticity, performed by musicians inspired by American country and bluegrass, unafraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Listen features a crop of female singer–songwriters who blazed a trail and influenced many of the artists exploring this trend today, proving that in music, as in life, everything goes in cycles.

One such woman is Rosanne Cash: Grammy–winner, daughter of Johnny Cash, and this fall's Listen cover artist. She engages in a candid and far-reaching discussion with Finane about community, geography, learning on the road, melancholy, and borrowing from (and respect for) past traditions. "Nobody is all original," Cash proclaims, "you are borrowing, and you better do it well and you better do it with respect!"

Classical pianist Lara Downes ruminates on the tremendous impact Billie Holiday had on her musical — and personal — development, and how Holiday's music helped her learn to set the rules aside and take a chance on creating something completely unique. Bradley Bambarger goes on a journey to the past while touring some of the great cultural monuments of Moscow: the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (site of performances by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, among many others); the Sviatoslav Richter Memorial Apartment; the Scriabin Apartment-Museum; and the Novodevichy Necropolis, which houses the remains of many of Russia's greatest cultural figures.

And much more. For information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Joseph Rescigno Conducts the CCPA Contemporary Ensemble
"From Midnight to Noontime"

Friday, October 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Ganz Hall at 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.

Complete program:
Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975) – Piccola musica notturna (1954)
Nicolas Flagello (1928-1994) – Notturno Romano (1942)
Kyong Mee Choi (1971) – Infinite Gaze (world premiere)
Milton Babbitt (1916-2011) – Composition for twelve instruments (1948, rev. 1954)
Henry Cowell (1897-1965) – Sinfonietta (1928)
Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940) – Homenaje a Federico García Lorca (1936)

For more information call: 312/341-2352 or visit

--Daniel Guss, Nancy Shear Arts Services

The Immersive Auro-3D Audio Listening Experience - Oct 30 Javits Center, NYC
On Friday, October 30 from 6-9pm, The Immersive Audio Listening Experience, presented by Sono Luminus, Auro Technologies, PMC Speakers, 2L, and Pure Audio Blu-Ray will showcase the 9.1 Auro-3D listening environment during the 2015 AES Convention at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This listening event will be held in the PMC Speakers "Masters of Audio Demo Room located on the 100 Level at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, and will include music samples curated and discussed by Grammy-nominated Sono Luminus engineer Dan Shores, 2L label founder and Grammy-nominated engineer Morten Lindberg, and Sono Luminus artist Peter Gregson, cellist and composer.

Wilfried Van Baelen first introduced his Auro-3D concept at the AES Convention in 2006 followed by four years of intense development. The Auro-3D format was launched in 2010 in Tokyo and is set to become a new standard for true immersive 3D sound. The move from Stereo or two-dimensional Surround Sound formats (5.1/7.1) to Auro-3D is a breakthrough achieved by adding the missing third dimension of height in front and around the listener, revolutionizing audio by immersing the listener in 540° of sound. Auro-3D's unique "vertical stereo field" around the listener creates a totally new level of immersion and marks a major leap in the evolution of natural sound reproduction. Thanks to the addition of height channels, natural acoustic reflections reach the listener as they would in real life, originating not only from around but also from above.

Auro-3D is the only sound system on the market that has both 5.1 Surround and Auro 9.1 in just one standard PCM delivery file with high resolution audio in each channel, making easy distribution on any system in the world possible. Mixes created in the Auro-3D format are released on Blu-ray. In addition, existing stereo and Surround Sound mixes of film and music can be rendered into an Auro-3D experience through the Auro-Matic upmixing engine software. The Auro-3D format is or will soon be available in many consumer applications, with home cinema, mobile, automotive, and gaming versions all bringing the new immersive Auro-3D sound to the market.

For more information, visit,,, and

--Christina Jensen PR

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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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa