Classical Music News of the Week, February 20, 2016

The Artemis Quartet's New Member Anthea Kreston, North America Tour

In the past six months, while mourning the death of violist Friedemann Weigle following his long struggle with bi-polar disorder, the Artemis Quartet decided to continue its work as an ensemble. Now, the group is excited to announce its new member: American violinist Anthea Kreston, who will take over the second violin position with immediate effect. In a musical chairs scenario, Gregor Sigl will assume the viola position in the quartet, performing on Weigle's instrument in tribute to their late companion.

Anthea Kreston, born in Chicago, studied with Felix Galimir and Ida Kavafian at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, as well as chamber music with the Vermeer Quartet and Emerson String Quartet. Kreston was a member of the Avalon Quartet - with whom she won the ARD Competition in 2000 - for seven years. In 1999, she founded the Amelia Piano Trio. She has given many concerts in the United States and Europe with both ensembles.

The Artemis Quartet looks forward to this exciting new chapter, and will embark on their first North American tour with Kreston joining them this April 2016, as well as continuing to promote their recently-released Erato recording of the Brahms String Quartets 1 & 3 (Weigle's last recording, all the more poignant with the prominent viola part in Quartet No.3).

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Philharmonia Showcases Its Own Talented Virtuosi in March
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will take center stage during the March concert set entitled "Explore Baroque Europe." Nicholas McGegan will lead the orchestra and audience on an excursion through European Baroque music with works written for the most skilled ensembles of Venice, Versailles, Dresden, and London while featuring the orchestra's own master musicians.

"Philharmonia concertante" is the theme of this multinational program of orchestral music from the theater, ballet, and salon, interwoven with solos, duets, and other small ensembles featuring our virtuoso players," writes Philharmonia's Scholar-in-Residence, Bruce Lamott.

"These works in the Baroque period do not make the sharp distinction between soloist and orchestra in the manner of later style periods, but allow soloists to emerge from and return to the texture of the whole ensemble," continues Lamott.

The program features Arne's Overture to King Arthur, Zelenka's Hipocondrie à 7 Concertanti, Heinichen's Concerto in F major, Tartini's Violin Concerto in D major, and Rameau's Suite from Les Fêtes de L'Hymen et de L'Amour.

Philharmonia's own celebrated violinist, Elizabeth Blumenstock, will perform the Tartini violin concerto on her 1660 Guarneri on loan from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Period Instrument Trust. Blumenstock is a highly-admired and long-term member of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra often serving as concertmaster, soloist, or leader. She also serves as concertmaster of the Göttingen Handelfestspiel Orchestra and the Italian ensemble Il Complesso Barocco and is involved in many acclaimed period-instrument ensembles, including Musica Pacifica, the Arcadian Academy, American Baroque and Trio Galatea.

Pre-concert talks will be conducted by John Prescott and take place 45 minutes before each concert. Prescott holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from U.C. Berkeley and has taught at U.C. Berkeley and the Crowden School in Berkeley.

Wednesday March 2 @ 7:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Friday, March 4 @ 8:00 p.m.
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, March 5 @ 8:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday, March 6 @ 7:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

For more information, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Marketing and Communications Director, PBO

92nd Street Y March Concerts
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall
David Russell, guitar

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 8 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall
Steven Isserlis, cello
Stephen Hough, piano

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 8 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall
Between Worlds
Avi Avital, mandolin (92Y debut)
Ksenija Sidorova, accordion (92Y debut)
Itamar Doari, percussion (92Y debut)

Monday, March 21, 2016 at 8:30 PM
Buttenwieser Hall
Bridge to Beethoven, Part III
Jennifer Koh, violin
Shai Wosner, piano

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall
Stephen Hough, piano (92Y solo recital debut)

Monday, March 28, 2016 at 8:30 PM
Buttenwieser Hall
Sir András Schiff Selects: Young Pianists
Julian Clef, piano (US debut)

For more information, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

American Bach Soloist News
Interview with Tenor Aaron Sheehan:
Tenor Aaron Sheehan returns to the ABS stage February 26-29 as a vocal soloist in Handel's Alexander's Feast. Whether singing the music of Bach, Handel, or one of their Baroque contemporaries, Sheehan's expressive singing and memorable performances are well-known to ABS audiences. Last year, Sheehan won a Grammy Award for "Best Opera Recording." We asked him about winning this important award, the challenges of Alexander's Feast, and where he plans to eat while in the Bay Area.

Patrick Vaz:
Patrick Vaz is a Bay Area blogger who attends ABS concerts in Berkeley and writes about poetry and performances at "The Reverberate Hills." With ABS's performances of Handel's Alexander's Feast coming up February 26-29, we asked for Patrick's perspective on the poem and the poet that inspired Handel to such great heights.
"Early Music Month":
Looking ahead, next month is officially "Early Music Month," a new, grassroots initiative sponsored by Early Music America to raise awareness for this vital musical tradition. To honor the occasion and the March birthday of our namesake, American Bach Soloists is proud to present a concert on March 18 showcasing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. We will also announce the results of the "Bach Favorites" poll. Vote for your favorite at the February concert.

Free Master Class with Oboist Debra Nagy, February 22:
Mark your calendar now: On February 22, ABS oboist Debra Nagy will lead a free public master class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on Monday. Since winning an ABS young artist competition in 2002, Nagy has emerged as one of the country's leading exponents on her instrument. She appears regularly with ABS and many other period-instrument ensembles and is the ABS Academy faculty member for oboes & recorders.
Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen chosen for Merola Opera program:
ABS is pleased to report that ABS Academy alum, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (Academy 2015) will be returning to the Bay Area this summer as a "Merolini" young artist in the Merola Opera Program. Being selected for this elite, opera training program is a great honor and we are delighted that so deserving an artist will enjoy this opportunity. Congratulations, Aryeh!

Harpist Maria Christina Cleary:
Handel: Alexander's Feast, Concerto Grosso in C Major, and 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

--Jeff McMillan, American Bach Soloists

Green Music Center Upcoming Events
The Band of the Royal Marines, featuring the pipes, drums and Highland Dancers of the Scots Guards
Fri, Feb 26 at 7:30 pm | Weill Hall
MasterCard Performance Series

Paddy Malony and The Chieftains
The world's best-loved Irish folk band
Sat, Feb 27 at 7:30 pm | Weill Hall
MasterCard Performance Series

Sir James Galway, Lady Jeanne Galway and Friends
Fri, Mar 18 at 7:30 pm | Weill Hall
MasterCard Performance Series

Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA
For more information, visit

--Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot Announce 2016-2017 Season
Music Director Ludovic Morlot and President & CEO Simon Woods today announced the Grammy-winning orchestra's 2016–2017 season, presenting an inspiring array of programming that artfully pairs traditional repertoire with bold new works. In Morlot's sixth season as Music Director, the orchestra will present the second part of the two-year Beethoven Cycle, innovative concert experiences including Sonic Evolution and [untitled], a Shostakovich Concerto Festival, star guest artists, commissions, premieres, recordings on Seattle Symphony Media, and Morlot's first opera in Benaroya Hall.

"I greatly look forward to a sixth season with the wonderful musicians of the Seattle Symphony," Morlot said. "We are on a journey together with our audiences to not only experience the most exciting symphonic repertoire that we all know and love, but to also explore new and unique musical voices. I'm very happy to welcome Hilary Hahn as our Featured Artist next season, and we're excited to invite her to join us in our education and community projects when she is in Seattle."

For complete information on the upcoming season, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

Cellist Zuill Bailey Performs Vivaldi at Strathmore
Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey joins the National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, in a performance of two concertos by the Baroque master Antonio Vivaldi on Saturday, February 20 at 8 pm and on Sunday, February 21 at 3 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. Bailey also performs Gregor Piatigorsky's brilliant Variations on a Paganini Theme. The concert also features two choral works--Beethoven's Elegischer Gesang (Elegiac Song) and Vivaldi's Gloria.

A free pre-concert lecture will be offered in the Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and at 1:45 pm on Sunday. Tickets start at $29 and are free for young people 7-17 through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program. ALL KIDS tickets must be reserved by calling (301-581-5100) or visiting the Strathmore Box Office. Parking is complimentary. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 301-581-5100 or visit

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

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 For tickets for the entire gala concert and dinner evening, call 212-289-7779, Ext. 16 or email

--Angela Duryea, Young People's Chorus of NYC

Pianist Jeffrey Siegel at The Wallis in LA
On Saturday, February 27, we are excited to welcome back internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel and his highly popular "Keyboard Conversations" series in a new concert that celebrates our country's most beloved composers with welcoming classical music and captivating commentary.

Audiences discover an informal, entertaining, and instantly accessible introduction to the magnificent piano repertoire, while seasoned music lovers enjoy an enriched, more focused listening experience. His concerts always deliver a highly entertaining evening for all audiences. Mr. Siegel's "American Salute" features George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, as well as music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Scott Joplin. Mr. Siegel's full bio can be found here:

Also featured this month, on Saturday, February 20, two of the LA Philharmonic's finest musicians take to the Bram Goldsmith Stage at The Wallis to close out the "East/West: Merging Music & Cultures" series. Chinese violinist Bing Wang, Associate Concertmaster of the LA Phil, will perform with LA Phil Assistant Principal and Taiwanese cellist Ben Hong in this eclectic program featuring music by Tan Dun, Mark-Anthony Turnbridge, and Bach.

--Sarah Jarvis, The Wallis

FAYM Spring Recital
The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians will hold their annual spring recital Saturday, March 12, 3 p.m., and admission is free to the public.

FAYM's "Violins for Kids" program provides instruments, materials, two class lessons a week, and two-week summer camps at no cost to youngsters from low-income families. Please come to support these children and be touched by their moving stories. This program is funded by donations from many who believe in building better futures through music.

East Las Vegas Community Center
205 N. Eastern Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101

For additional information, visit

--Harold Weller, Founder/Trustee

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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