Classical Music News of the Week, April 23, 2016

Meany Center for the Performing Arts Announces 2016-17 Season

The University of Washington's Meany Center for the Performing Arts, newly renamed from UW World Series, today announced its programming for the 2016/17 Season, including 23 events in four subscription series—World Dance, World Music, International Chamber Music and President's Piano Series—as well as a special holiday presentation.

Michelle Witt, Executive and Artistic Director of Meany Center, remarks, "We are thrilled to present the exciting inaugural season of Meany Center for the Performing Arts. Our commitment to featuring extraordinary artists from around the globe continues as we support the expanded development of new work, innovative public engagement and learning in the arts."

Programming highlights of the 2016/17 Season include:
The Northwest premiere of Meany Center co-commission Layla and Majnun, performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group with The Silk Road Ensemble.

Tesseracts of Time, a work created in collaboration with internationally recognized architect, Washington native, and UW alumnus Steven Holl, and performed by Jessica Lang Dance in its Northwest debut.

The  Washington, D.C.-based percussive dance troupe, Step Afrika!, performing the West Coast premiere of Meany Center co-commission, Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of painter Jacob Lawrence, a former UW professor.

The Northwest premiere of a Meany Center co-commission from British composer Mark Anthony Turnage, performed by the Emerson String Quartet, and an appearance with guest pianist and UW professor Craig Sheppard.

The Northwest debut of singer/songwriter Emel Mathlouthi, called "The Voice of the Tunisian Revolution."

Seattle-area debut by the all-male French-Algerian dance troupe La Compagnie Hervé Koubi.

Tickets:
Discounted full-series subscriptions and Choose Your Own subscriptions are on sale now. Prices for full-series subscriptions begin at $146; Choose Your Own subscription prices vary according to selection. Subscriber benefits include priority seating, free ticket exchanges (upgrade charges may apply), discounts off additional single ticket purchases and lost ticket replacement. Full-series subscribers also have the opportunity to purchase discounted parking passes.

Single tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, August 1.
Subscriptions may be purchased through the ArtsUW Ticket Office:
Phone: (206) 543-4880
In Person: 1313 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105
Online: MeanyCenter.org

For more information, visit https://uwworldseries.org/events-tickets/next-season

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

Seattle Symphony Presents Two-Week Summer Festival Celebrating American Music
The Seattle Symphony presents Tuning Up!, a two-week festival celebrating American musical creativity of the 20th and 21st century at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and Marymoor Park in Redmond from June 17 to July 2.

With a tremendous breadth of music over nine concerts, Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Symphony will explore everything from avant-garde to minimalism, jazz to Broadway, classics to Hollywood. Highlights of the festival will include a celebration of the cult electronic instrument — the theremin, reflections on 9/11 and a continuation of the Orchestra's relationship with composer John Luther Adams. Local philanthropic support through the Judith Fong Music Director's Fund will enable concert tickets to be offered at low affordable prices, furthering the Orchestra's commitment to make music accessible to all.

Tickets for all Tuning Up! Festival concerts at Benaroya Hall are $25 each (see below for Marymoor Park ticket information), with the exception of an untitled concert on July 1, which is $15. Tickets are available now for pre-sale to subscribers and donors, and on Friday, April 8 at 11 a.m. to the public. Tickets can be purchased online at www.seattlesymphony.org/summer, by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747 or (866) 833-4747, or in person at the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office on the corner of Third Avenue and Union Street. Tickets may also be purchased through the Seattle Symphony's iPhone and Android apps by searching "Seattle Symphony" or "Listen Boldly" at Apple's App Store or Android's App Store.

A limited number of Festival passes are available for $148, and include a Festival lanyard, VIP seating to all concerts (excluding Marymoor Park concert), Festival t-shirt, invitations to the kick-off party and closing night party, and special meet and greet with Seattle Symphony musicians. Only 200 passes are available.

Tickets for the Sunday, June 26 performance at Marymoor Park in Redmond ($34.50 General Admission Lawn; $42.50 - $49.50 Reserved Seating; or $69.50 Gold Circle Reserved Seating) may be purchased through marymoorconcerts.com on April 8 at 10 a.m. Tickets will not be available through the Seattle Symphony or Benaroya Hall ticket office. Tickets will be available from marymoorconcerts.com, by calling (888)-929-7849; or through the Marymoor Park Box Office by phone at (206)-477-7275 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m., or in person at 6046 W Lake Sammamish Pkway, N.E. in Redmond. Tickets are also available for in-person purchase at the Showbox Box Office, located at 1426 1st Avenue in Seattle, on Wednesday and Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Marymoor Park concert is not part of the Tuning Up! Festival pass offer.

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

New Century Presents World Premiere by Jennifer Higdon
Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and New Century Chamber Orchestra conclude the 2015-2016 season May 5-8 with the World Premiere of Dance Card by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon. As this season's Featured Composer, Higdon was co-commissioned by New Century and River Oaks to write a new dance suite for string ensemble reflecting both their soloistic and ensemble virtuosity. Consisting of five separate movements that can stand alone as separate works, Dance Card is described by the composer as "a celebration of the joy, lyricism and passion of a group of strings playing together." Following the theme of works inspired by dance, the evening also features Stravinsky's neo-Classical ballet Apollon musagète, a work based on Greek mythology and the composer's first composition for string orchestra. Completing the program is Dance of the Seven Veils from Strauss's Salome and Khachaturian's Sabre Dance.

The program will be given on four evenings in different locations around the Bay Area: Thursday, May 5 at 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley, Friday, May 6 at 8 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m., Herbst Theatre , San Francisco and Sunday, May 8 at 5 p.m., Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael. New Century offers an Open Rehearsal Tuesday, May 4 at 10 a.m., Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco for a price of only $15. The Open Rehearsal will offer a sneak preview of the concert repertoire, while allowing audiences to experience the musical democracy of a rehearsal without a conductor.

Single tickets range in price from $29 to $61 and can be purchased through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for patrons under 35. Open Rehearsal tickets are $15 general admission and can be purchased through City Box Office: www.cityboxoffice.com and (415) 392-4400.

For more information, visit http://www.ncco.org

--Brenden Guy, New Century Chamber Orchestra

AOP Presents "First Glimpse" of Emergins Opera Composer and Librettists
On Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 8:00pm, contemporary opera producer American Opera Projects (AOP) will present "Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse 2016," a concert of songs from nine artists quickly emerging in the world of contemporary opera. Audiences will hear compositions written by composers Matthew Barnson, Carlos R. Carrillo, Nell Shaw Cohen, Marc LeMay, Cecilia Livingston, and Sky Macklay and librettists Edward Einhorn, Duncan McFarlane, Emily Roller, and Mark Sonnenblick, who were chosen by AOP to spend a year creating new works focusing on the operatic voice in its bi-annual fellowship program Composers & the Voice (C&V). The performances will be held at South Oxford Space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the home of AOP. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for students/seniors and are available at www.aopopera.org.

First Glimpse 2016 will be performed by the AOP Resident Ensemble of Singers: coloratura soprano Tookah Sapper (Manhattan School of Music), lyric soprano Jennifer Goode Cooper (NYCO, Glimmerglass), mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert (Metropolitan Opera, Sarasota Opera), tenor Blake Friedman (BAM, St. Petersburg Opera), baritone Michael Weyandt (Lyric Opera of Virginia, Dicapo Opera Theater) and bass Jonathan Woody (BAM, Apollo's Fire). Each of the songs were composed specifically for the singers' voices, after months of study and experimentation during the C&V program. Supporting on piano will be C&V Music Directors Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, and Charity Wicks.

The performances will be part of the first annual New York Opera Fest (http://nyoperafest.com), a two-month long festival made up of members of the New York Opera Alliance (NYOA), a consortium of New York alternative/independent opera companies and producers.

Friday, May 13, 8:00 PM and Saturday, May 14, 8:00 PM
South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Tickets: General Admission: $25; Students/Seniors: $20.

For more information, visit www.aopopera.org/events

--Matt Gray, AOP News

Mahler Chamber Orchestra Spring Highlights 2016
Gatti and Beethoven: The MCO and Artistic Partner Daniele Gatti conclude their much-lauded Beethoven cycle with Beethoven's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies. The concerts will take place in Torino (27 May), Ferrara (28 May), Bergamo (29 May) and Brescia (30 May).

Håkan with Harding: The MCO joins forces with Conductor Laureate Daniel Harding and Håkan Hardenberger in a programme pairing Beethoven with works by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Edgar Varèse. This programme can be heard in Cologne (15 June) and Ravenna (19 June).

"On Becoming a Musician": How does the Academy embody many of the values of the MCO and how are they shared between the orchestra and a new generation of musicians?
Watch this video to find out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eZC36yckvY

For more information about the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, visit http://www.mahlerchamber.com/

--Sonja Koller, MCO

Please Support SOLI on May 3rd--Big Give S.A. 2016
Did you know that in the past 22 years the SOLI Chamber Ensemble have performed over 220 concerts, commissioned and gave the world premieres of 46 brand new works, and educated the future stars of the music world all in our fair city of San Antonio, Texas? Did you also know that we have toured the nation, representing our city and it's cultural vitality with our award winning programming?

Whether or not you knew any of the facts above, or have ever been a SOLI supporter before, we would like to invite you to experience the wonder of contemporary classical music, and re-discover SOLI.

This year on May 3rd, SOLI will again participate in The Big Give S.A. a day of Giving for the numerous non-profits throughout San Antonio and surrounding areas. We hope that you will put SOLI on top of your list of organizations to support and help us give life to the "Music of Today."

For more information, visit https://thebiggivesa.org/npo/soli-chamber-ensemble

--SOLI Chamber Orchestra

West Edge Opera Announces 2016 Festival Dates and Casting
West Edge Opera's 2015 Festival of three operas will take place July 30 through August 14 at Oakland's abandoned Train Station at 18th and Wood in West Oakland.

Under the combined artistic leadership of General/Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky and Music Director Jonathan Khuner, the Festival opens on Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm with Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen. Repeat performances are Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 1 pm.

The first West Coast staging of Thomas Adés's Powder Her Face opens on Sunday, July 31 at 3 pm. With a plot drawn from real life – the scandalous 1963 divorce proceedings of the "Dirty Duchess," Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, this modern masterpiece provokes and challenges. Repeat performances are Saturday, August 6 at 1 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 8 pm.

Handel's Agrippina, directed by Mark Streshinsky, opens Saturday, August 6 at 8 pm. In this opera that could be considered a prequel to Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Handel has created an oddball comedy filled with scheming characters from ancient Rome with a plot full of humorous escapades laden with irony, deception and intrigue.

Festival Subscriptions are now on sale, priced at $260 for "gold" seating and $154 for "silver" seating; also offered is $146 "silver" seating for seniors and youth. "Gold" seating is reserved; "silver" is general admission within a reserved section. Single tickets go on sale June 1 and will also include a non-series limited view price of $20, available a week prior to each performance. For more information or to view a virtual brochure, call (510) 841-1903 or visit westedgeopera.org.

--Marian Kohlstedt, West End Opera

PBO Announces Spring Tour and Caroline Shaw Commission
Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale will embark on two spring tours beginning with a reprise of the modern world premiere of Alessandro Scarlatti's "The Glory of Spring" at Carnegie Hall. This 300 year-old serenata was recently discovered and performed and recorded for the first time in the western hemisphere by McGegan and Philharmonia in the San Francisco Bay Area in October 2015. The original cast will appear on tour at Carnegie Hall in New York and Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa CA. The tour coincides with the release of this Scarlatti work on the Orchestra's Philharmonia Baroque Productions label.

Philharmonia's tour continues with a program of George Frideric Handel, Henry Purcell, and Arvo Pärt, featuring soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and countertenor Andreas Scholl.  Audiences will also hear the world premiere of "Red, Red Rose" by Caroline Shaw, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner in composition, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The work was commissioned by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and inspired by the Robert Burns 1794 poem "O my Luve's like a red, red rose" after von Otter expressed a fondness for Burns's writing. Shaw is known for her unique compositional style with a particular passion for the Baroque structure.

"The Glory of Spring"
Friday, May 6, 2016
Carnegie Hall, NY
 Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Segerstrom Hall, Costa Mesa, CA

"Handel, Part, Shaw"
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles CA
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Weill Hall, Rohnert Park CA
 Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Palais Montcalm, Québec City Canada

Wednesday, May 18,  2016
Bourgie Hall, Montreal Canada

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/

--Dianne Provenzano, PBO

Attacca Quartet Bring Their Six-Year Haydn String Quartet Cycle To a Close May 12
On May 12, the Attacca Quartet will present the final concert in its ambitious, six-year long project covering "The 68," the complete cycle of 68 string quartets composed by Joseph Haydn.

The performance will take place on Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (3 West 65th Street), with a pre-concert discussion with the quartet at 7:00. The program will include Opus 1, No. 1; Opus 42; Opus 103; and Opus 76, No. 5.

Says the quartet of the cycle: "Over the years, we have explored a variety of string quartets greatly ranging in styles, sounds, and complexity. As we attempt to understand these most abstract of works, we have discovered the importance of looking to the roots of their composition to more fully realize what inspired so many composers to create such a fantastic repertoire for this genre. What better way to do this than to play the complete string quartets of the man who started it all, Franz Joseph Haydn?"

"The 68" Final Concert
May 12, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
(7:00 pm: Pre-concert talk and demonstrations by the Attacca Quartet)

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
3 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
$20; students and children are free

For more information, visit attaccaquartet.com

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Four NEC Students Take Home Awards at the Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition
New England Conservatory announced today that four of its students have been presented with awards from the Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition.  Kyle Orth '16 M.M., piano, Alexi Kenney '15 B.M., '17 A.D., violin, Noémie Raymond-Friset '16 G.D., and Yoojin Jang '12 M.M., '13 G.D., '15 A.D., violin were among the competition's recipients. Orth is this year's Young Artist Competition Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize, awarded at the discretion of Minnesota Orchestra Music Director, Maestro Osmo Vanska, is a subscription series concert performance with the Minnesota Orchestra led by Vanska and a $8,500 in cash prize.

For more information, visit http://necmusic.edu/

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park Subject of 13 Mini-Operas by NYU Composers
On May 7 and 8, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, American Opera Projects (AOP), and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy (FGPC) will present "Park and Bark," thirteen mini-operas written by students in Tisch's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (GMTWP) on the subject of Fort Greene Park, one of New York's, and the nation's, most historic and vibrant neighborhood parks.

The operas, each under fifteen minutes, include musical dramatizations of the park's large dog walking community, the remains of the Prison Ship Martyrs from the American Revolution, and the bust of Edward Snowden (Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0) that appeared overnight in 2015 and made international headlines. Six of the operas, staged by opera director, associate Arts Professor and Head of Dramaturgy in the Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film Sam Helfrich (Glimmerglass, Virginia Opera, Boston Lyric), will be performed at NYU Tisch's Black Box Theater (715 Broadway, 2nd Floor, NY 10003) on Saturday, May 7th at 2:00pm. The other seven operas will be performed in an outdoor concert near the Visitors Center at Fort Greene Park on Sunday, May 8th at 4:00pm. All performances are free and open to the public. More information can be found at www.aopopera.org.

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

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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