Classical Music News of the Week, January 30, 2016

Conrad Tao and Noteflight Partner for a Groundbreaking Online Masterclass, February 10

Noteflight ( will present acclaimed pianist/composer Conrad Tao in a groundbreaking new kind of live masterclass. Conrad will use Noteflight's cloud-based, collaborative notation software to explain the compositional process and musical ideas behind his piece A Walk (for Emilio). The event will present the live score of the work side-by-side with a video of Conrad himself, and will incorporate questions from Noteflight's vibrant community of almost 2 million music enthusiasts.

The masterclass will offer insight into how Conrad conceived and created his new solo piano piece A Walk (for Emilio), written as part of his new Warner Classics album Pictures and recalling one of his earliest piano teachers, Emilio del Rosario, who died in 2010. He says of the work: "I sometimes imagine spending time with 'Mr. D' today. I imagine the two of us sharing the various things we've both done since I moved away; I imagine the two of us talking about music as we always did. A Walk (for Emilio) is about those imagined memories. It alternates between ambling, freely lyrical passages and anxious, pleading, yearning chords."

Following the event, Conrad will moderate a dedicated forum on the site where users can follow-up on the event and present their own scores for constructive feedback. The uniquely collaborative nature of Noteflight's technology will allow for an unprecedented level of direct interaction between Conrad and Noteflight users.

Said Noteflight President Joe Berkovitz of the event: "Noteflight is thrilled and honored to be working with Conrad Tao to offer this event. Our service is all about sharing, collaboration, and learning. Using Noteflight to bring artists like Conrad together with our members feels like something that was simply meant to happen."

Conrad Tao on YouTube - "A Walk for Emilio":

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

K. Scott Warren - Organ Recital 2/21 - St. Ignatius Loyola on SMSS Series
Organists are often hidden away in the rear of the church, or tucked off to the side behind the choir.  Most churchgoers or audiences have only a rudimentary understanding of what the organist actually does, or the sheer amount of work that goes into preparing and performing each piece. Sacred Music in Sacred Space's N.P. Mander Organ Recital Series works to put the organist front and center by showcasing the extraordinary talent of some of the finest organists on one of the stateliest instruments in the United States. At each recital, through the use of a large-screen projection, the audience gets to witness firsthand the organist at work, a rare treat for those used to organists being "out of sight and out of mind."

On February 21, 2016, at 3:00 pm, K. Scott Warren, Director of Music Ministries at New York's majestic Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and Artistic Director of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concerts continues the grand tradition of the Mander Organ Recital Series. Unfortunately due to a recent injury, Organist Emerita of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola Nancianne Parrella, who was to join Mr. Warren for this performance, will be unable to participate.

Tickets for this recital are $20 and may be purchasded by calling 212.288.2520 or visiting

--Amanda Sweet, BuckleSweet Media

Celebrate Valentine's Day with The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Sunday, February 14, 3:00 pm
Green Music Center, Weill Hall, Sonoma State University
1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Tickets start at $35

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano

Program & Information:
Handel: "Scherza infida" and "Dopo notte" from Ariodante
Handel: "Ombra mai fu" and "Se bramate" from Xerxes
Handel: Suite in D Major from Water Music
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

Join "America's favorite mezzo," opera star Susan Graham, Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for a lively afternoon of music on February 14. Treat yourself and your date to a free glass of J Cuvée sparkling wine in the lobby and make this a Valentine's Day to remember. Use promo code VDAY at checkout to unlock this special offer.

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

Celebrate Bach's Birthday with American Bach Soloists
Friday March 18 2016. 8:00 pm. St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Jonathan Dimmock organist

Internationally acclaimed organ recitalist, Jonathan Dimmock, is currently the organist for the San Francisco Symphony and Principal Organist at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. He holds the unique distinction of having been the only American Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey and is one of the few organists in the world to tour on six continents. He is founding director of Artists' Vocal Ensemble (AVE), co-founder of American Bach Soloists, and founding president of Resonance, an organization that uses music in international conflict resolution. To celebrate Bach's birthday, Mr. Dimmock has created an all-Bach program that celebrates the master's genius as composer for "the king of instruments," performing on one of the Bay Area's most treasured tracker organs. Favorite gems and a few lesser known yet brilliant works will add up to a sensational special event.

For more information, visit

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Awards Presented to Two New England Conservatory Students By Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Program
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Program awarded prizes to New England Conservatory students, GyuYeon Shim and Erica Pertrocelli. Held annually, the New England auditions are located in Jordan Hall. The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Program aims to discover exceptional young opera talent, provide the opportunity for gifted young opera singers at all levels of development to be heard by representatives of the Metropolitan Opera, and to assist those with the greatest potential for operatic careers. This year's judges were Gayletha Nichols, Executive Director of the National Council Auditions; James Robinson, Artistic Director of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis; and Nicholas Russell, Director of Operations for Boston Lyric Opera.

GyuYeon Shim, a 27-year-old soprano from Seoul, South Korea won the third prize and a monetary award of $4,000. She most recently sang the role of Nella in NEC's production of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi on December 13, 2015 and is anticipated to graduate from NEC in 2017 with a Graduate Diploma degree studies. Shim studies with Lorraine Nubar at the Conservatory. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Korea National University of Arts and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

Erica Petrocelli, a 23-year-old soprano from Providence, Rhode Island won an "Encouragement Award" and a monetary prize of $2,000. Petrocelli was cast in the title role of Bystrouska (Vixen) in NEC's upcoming production of Janaceck's The Cunning Little Vixen. She will appear in the Sunday, February 7, 2016 and Tuesday, February 9, 2016 performances at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Petrocelli received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from NEC and is continuing at NEC in the Master of Music program, which she anticipates completing this year. She will be performing her graduation recital in Brown Hall on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 8:30pm.

For more information, visit For more information about New England Conservatory's Opera program, visit: and

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

Clint Mansell Announces "Uneasy Listening" Dates for L.A. & U.K. in March
"Uneasy Listening: An Evening with Clint Mansell" promises to be a breath-taking performance of film music from the acclaimed British composer – the man behind some of the most celebrated soundtracks of the past two decades.

Longtime collaborator of groundbreaking director Darren Aronofsky – for whom he scored Black Swan, Requiem For a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Noah, and Pi – Mansell has been recognized for his outstanding work with Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, and critical acclaim.

In addition to his work on Aronofsky's films, Clint is the man behind the music for Duncan Jones's directorial debut Moon, Jon S Baird's Filth, and Park Chan-Wook's Stoker. Most recently he has completed the score for Ben Wheatley's High Rise, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is due for release in early 2016.

Clint plays in L.A., at The Theatre at The Ace Hotel (previously playing a 3 night residency at Largo, and a show at The Orpheum) – and 4 shows in the UK, including his largest London show to date, and his first 'home coming' show in the midlands.

Mansell will perform works from his scores, with his band (Mike Fonte, Clint Walsh & Eric Gardner), alongside pianist Carly Paradis and Sonus Quartet (Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, Kathleen Sloan, Jennifer Takamatsu & Rob Brophy).

For more information on tickets for the Los Angeles event, visit

--George Corona, Terrorbird Media

American Idol Meets Classical Music in THE EAR
Leading a movement to reboot mainstream classical music, The Ear returns, following its boisterous debut in October. Provoking an alternative to frequently-alienating "new music," The Ear is a concert, a rowdy night out, and a competition for mainstream classical composers. The brainchild of composer Alf Bishai, The Ear asks audiences the simple question: Do you want to hear it again? The second edition of The Ear takes place on Monday, February 29 at 7:00 pm at Le Poisson Rouge, the multimedia art venue with food and drink, in Greenwich Village, New York City.

"I've been obsessed with understanding the absurdities, prejudices and self-defeating practices of classical music culture, and with figuring out how we may be rid of them," says Bishai, a composer, music director, and music theory teacher at NYU. "The Ear is the fruit of a decade of thinking, arguing, writing, wrangling, experimenting, and searching for kindred spirits." Steadily attracting like-minded musicians, The Ear currently counts over 600 composers in its network. The aim? To produce infectious, jaw-droppingly gorgeous, new classical hits.

At The Ear, seven new short works for solo piano will be performed. After each piece, the audience answers the question: Do you want to hear it again? If half vote yes, the piece moves forward. At the end of the evening, the yeses are encored and, after a vote, the winner is declared and takes home $2,000.

At The Ear's launch event in October, the audience encored 7 out of 9 pieces. "After each piece, people exchanged thoughts and reactions; strangers were having fun conversations about high art!," says Bishai, also the emcee, "People were bantering with me on stage, cheering, booing, heckling. The Ear is a glorious, beautiful, human mess, and great art is going to be born here."

The Ear: A Mainstream Composer Competition
Monday, February 26 at 7:00 pm (doors 6:00 pm)
Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street | 212.505.FISH |

$10 / 20 General Admission
$80 / 150 VIP Seating and Open Bar

For more information, visit

--Shira Gilbert 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 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