Classical Music News of the Week, February 13, 2016

Cypress String Quartet Performs Final Concerts in June 2016 - Celebrating 20 Years Together

The Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello) announced today that the ensemble will disband in the summer of 2016 after 20 fulfilling years of performing together. A Farewell Concert will be presented by the Cypress at the Green Room of the War Memorial Building on June 26, 2016.

As a culmination of the group's work together, the Cypress's recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartets will be released on AVIE Records in May 2016. This release will be in conjunction with a month-long Beethoven celebration in the city of San Francisco, during which the quartet will present all 16 quartets at public venues in every district as a gift to their hometown that has supported and nurtured the ensemble for the past two decades.

Additional highlights of the Cypress Quartet's celebratory 20th anniversary season include performances of the complete Beethoven Quartets cycle in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna in fall 2015; a tour of Germany with an all-American program including concerts recorded for radio broadcast by WDR (Westdeutche Rundfunk) in Cologne and SWR (Südwestrundfunk) radio; the group's 17th Annual Call & Response program at Herbst Theatre in March 2016; an inspired set of Salon Series programs taking place in October, February, and May in intimate venues in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Palo Alto; a concert at Sonoma State's Green Music Center in February 2016; a Farewell Concert at the Green Room of the War Memorial Building in June 2016; and collaborations throughout the season with cellist Zuill Bailey and violist Barry Shiffman culminating in a live recording in spring 2016 of the two String Sextets of Johannes Brahms with Bailey and Shiffman. This Brahms Sextets recording, as well as an album of music by Elena Ruehr, will be released on AVIE Records in the late fall of 2016 and spring of 2017, respectively.

The Cypress Quartet's decision comes after a great deal of reflection and discussion, and the quartet agrees that it is the right time for them to move on to explore new artistic territories as individuals. The members of the quartet are deeply grateful to vast numbers of fans, donors, fellow musicians, and presenters for all of their support of the Cypress Quartet.

For more information, visit www.cypressquartet.com

--Christina Jensen Artists

Landmark Event Recreates One of Fort Worth's Most-Famed Collaborations
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) and Friends of the Cowtown Coliseum will present "Caruso in Cowtown" the ultimate evening of "Cowboys and Culture" Thursday, April 7, 2016, at Cowtown Coliseum. This special one-night-only, black-tie gala will recreate famed tenor Enrico Caruso's historic 1920 Fort Worth concert, brilliantly showcasing how the city's deep western roots complement the thriving cultural mecca it is today.

Guests will enjoy a Fort Worth-inspired menu, while stars of the 2016 FWOpera Festival productions take the stage with special preview performances. World-renowned tenor and Metropolitan Opera favorite Stephen Costello will headline the evening with a recreation of Caruso's repertoire

Mayor Betsy Price stated, "We are proud to have organizations like the Fort Worth Opera and Stockyards Championship Rodeo partner together to model what it means to be the City of Cowboys & Culture. The reenactment of Caruso's historic performance is a fantastic example of how Western heritage and fine arts have long shaped our wonderful city."

Tables start at $2,000 and individual dinner tickets available for purchase at $200. For more information on table benefits, prices, and reservations, contact FWOpera Events Manager Emily Weir at emily@fwopera.com  or 817.288.1214.

--Holland Sanders, Director of Marketing and Communications, FWOpera

Collage New Music Valentine's Day Performance: Eddie's Musical Spheres Memorial Concert
Collage New Music announces the next concert in its 2015-2016 season titled "Eddie's Musical Spheres Memorial Concert." In recognition of Edward Cohen's enormous gifts as a teacher, mentor and composer who gave so deeply to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology music department and to Boston's musical life, the Institute organized a series of concerts in Cohen's name. Collage New Music was honored to be asked to give the first of these concerts in 2006 and the ensemble is now returning to present the 2016 concert. Collage New Music's Music Director, David Hoose will conduct.

The evening's program includes music by Cohen's greatest influence, Seymour Shifrin; an early song cycle by his MIT colleague Peter Child; and music by recent MIT graduate Nina Young, whose music shows some of the passionate dignity of Cohen's. The program also includes Cohen's beautiful Elegy, for soprano and chamber ensemble.

Guest vocalist, Nina Guo will be performing during the concert. Guo, a soprano, is a recent graduate of New England Conservatory where she was a student of Lisa Saffer.

The concert will be held in Killian Hall at MIT on February 14, 2016. The concert starts at 4:00pm.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the link below: http://www.collagenewmusic.org

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Celesta Marketing and PR

American Bach Soloists Presents Alexander's Feast February 26-29
Handel: Alexander's Feast
Handel: Concerto Grosso in C Major
Handel: Harp Concerto in B Flat Major

Friday February 26 2016 8:00 pm - St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA
Saturday February 27 2016 8:00 pm - First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday February 28 2016 4:00 pm - St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Monday February 29 2016 7:00 pm - Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For more information, visit http://americanbach.org/seasons/15-16/index.html

--Jeff McMillan, ABS

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Spring Tour Dates, Family Concert, and the 16/17 Season of Heroes
BAROQUE FIREWORKS
Handel Arias, Watermusic and Music for the Royal Fireworks
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano

Friday, Febrary 12, 2016
Mondavi Center, Davis CA

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Weill Hall, Rohnert Park CA

Tueday, February16, 2016
Krannert Center, Urbana IL

SCARLATTI'S THE GLORY OF SPRING
Nic and cast of The Glory of Spring
Nicholas McGegan, conductor

Friday, May 6, 2016
Carnegie Hall, NY

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Segerstrom Hall, Costa Mesa CA

HANDEL, VIVALDI, CORELLI & MORE
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Andreas Scholl, countertenor

Wednesday, May 11,  2016
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles CA

Saturday May 14, 2016
Weill Hall, Rohnert Park CA

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Club musical de Québec, Québec City Canada

Wednesday, May 18,  2016
Montreal Arte Musica, Montreal Canada

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/2015-16-tour-dates/

--Dianne Provenzano, PBO

Danish String Quartet Returns to U.S. in Spring 2016
The Danish String Quartet embarks on U.S Tour, February 13-March 1, 2016, performing Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Nørgård, Schnittke, and Janácek.

The  Danish String Quartet returns to the United States on a seven-city tour, including a teaching residency at the University of California Berkeley. The young ensemble, already renowned globally for their outstanding level of musical refinement and lush interpretations of classical, contemporary, and folk traditions, offer programs featuring elegant and nuanced compositions of the 21st century, as well as the classics, which they have been praised by the New York Times as "...one of the most powerful performances of [Beethoven's] Opus 132 I've heard live or on disc. The musicians acutely attuned to one another, didn't appear to be on autopilot even for a millisecond, with every nuance, phrase, and gesture beautifully wrought."

On February 21, the DSQ gives the sixth and final performance of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's "The Beethoven Cycle," in which every Beethoven string quartet is played in chronological order. The Quartet follows the Jerusalem, Miró, Orion, and Escher String Quartets, for these performances in Alice Tully Hall. The Quartet is now in their third year as Chamber Music Society Two artists.

For more information, visit http://danishquartet.com

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Young People's Chorus of NYC Welcomes Guest Artists Bebe Winans and Friends
In one of their most exciting benefit concerts ever, the Young People's Chorus of New York City and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez welcome BeBe Winans, a six-time Grammy Award-winner and one of today's most inspirational American gospel singers, and his friends, the iconic gospel artists Dorinda Clark-Cole and Hezekiah Walker, to perform with them and The New York Pops at their Monday, March 7, gala in Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater.

On accepting the invitation to be YPC's special gala guest, BeBe Winans said, "My heart is full with the ideas and dreams of the young people of YPC, and if I can be a part of those dreams becoming reality I'm all in. And so I decided to bring a couple of friends with me, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Hezekiah Walker, and with YPC's gifted young people, we all plan to shake the building and blow the roof with sounds of celebration."

Remaining tickets are available from the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office, by calling CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, or online at www.jazz.org. For tickets for the entire gala concert and dinner evening, call 212-289-7779, Ext. 16 or email ypcgala@ypc.org.

--Schuman PR

Stefan Jackiw to Play Carnegie and More with the Russian National Orchestra
This March, violinist Stefan Jackiw will embark on a seven-city tour with the Russian National Orchestra, including his Carnegie Hall main stage debut on March 2nd, performing Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev. Kirill Karabits will conduct the remaining six dates, with stops in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and four performances in Florida. In addition to the Prokofiev, Jackiw will also play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64.

Of the Prokofiev concerto, Jackiw says: "Prokofiev's G minor concerto puts the listener ill at ease right from the start, and this dark and unsettling quality drives the piece throughout all three movements. Even during more lyrical sections, such as the sweet Juliet-themed second melody in the first movement, the underlying orchestral harmonies are tortured and gnarled, twisting a knife into the sweetness…For me, this music is quintessentially Prokofiev. The duality of the delicate tenderness and dark, even theatrical, menace is everywhere in this violin concerto."

This tour follows Jackiw's triumphant performances of the Charles Ives violin sonatas with Jeremy Denk this past November, which were hailed by the New York Times as "a model of how performers can both inform and entertain an audience with a challenging program."

View full tour schedule here: http://www.stefanjackiw.com/en/schedule

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

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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