Classical Music News of the Week, May 29, 2016

Summer 2016 On Sale: Weill Hall + Lawn at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

Chamberfest 2016:
Building on the success of the inaugural ChamberFest in June 2015, the Green Music Center presents GMC ChamberFest 2016: Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schubert from June 22–26. Curated by Artistic Director, conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, ChamberFest 2016 features seven concerts in five days —six in Schroeder Hall— culminating with a finale all-Mozart concert with the Santa Rosa Symphony in Weill Hall.

4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with Steve Tyrell and the Santa Rosa Symphony
Michael Berkowitz, conductor
Mon, Jul 4 at 7:30pm

Boz Scaggs & The Robert Cray BandBoz Scaggs & The Robert Cray Band
Thu, Jul 14 at 7:30pm

Hollywood Vampires featuring Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry
Fri, Jul 22 at 7:30pm

"Weird Al" Yankovic"Weird Al" Yankovic - The Mandatory World Tour
Fri, Jul 30 at 7:30pm

Second Annual GMC Bluegrass Festival featuring The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Sam Bush, The Mando Kings, and Jeff Austin Band
Sun, Jul 10 at 3pm

Gabriel "Fluffy" IglesiasFuse Presents #FluffyBreaksEven
Sat, Jul 16 at 7:30pm

"Blues at the Green:" The Taj Mahal Trio, Hot Tuna Acoustic, and Marcia Ball
Sat, Jul 23 at 7:30pm

Los Tigres del NorteLos Tigres del Norte, with guest opening act Paul Rodriguez
Fri, Aug 5 at 7:30pm

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma
Fri, Aug 19 at 7:30pm

Star Wars Movie Marathon: May the Force Be With You
Fri, Aug 26 at 3pm
Sat, Aug 27 at 11am

Lindsey Stirling - Summer Tour 2016
Thu, Aug 11 at 7:30pm

Trevor Noah, Host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central
Sat, Aug 20 at 7:30pm

Hunter Hayes, Presented by OCP
Sun, Aug 28 at 7pm

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

Summer Music Camps and Classes from the Music Institute
The Music Institute of Chicago is offering a wide range of camps and festivals for a music-filled summer. Children and adults have the opportunity to work with the Music Institute's award-winning faculty and ensembles in residence at its campuses in Downtown Evanston (1702 Sherman Avenue), Evanston East (1490 Chicago Avenue), Lake Forest (40 East Old Mill Road), and Winnetka (300 Green Bay Road).

2016 Camps
Musikgarten programs offer joyful and stimulating musical play for children from birth to age seven. Summer session begins June 14, with classes including Family Music for Babies (birth–18 months), Family Music for Toddlers (16 months–three years), Cycle of Seasons (three to five years), Music Makers – At Home in the World (four to six years), and Music Makers – Around the World (five to seven years).

Jazz Studies provides students of all ages and levels opportunities to explore jazz through camps, private instruction, combos, and improvisation classes. The Art of the Jazz Band Camp has two sessions: grades seven to nine runs June 13–17, and high school age through adults runs June 20–24.

Piano camps feature members from the Music Institute's 45-member faculty, one of the largest community school piano departments in the nation. Piano boot camp for ages 10–17 runs June 13-17; adult piano camp runs June 16–19. In addition, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, which includes coachings, master classes, lectures, student recitals, concerts, and more, runs July 8–17.

Organ (eight years old to adult) and harpsichord (16 years to adult) classes are taught by instructors at the only regional community music school, and one of few in the country, to offer them. The Music Institute has two historic pipe organs, a 1914 E.M. Skinner organ in Nichols Concert Hall and a 1936 Kimball pipe organ. There is also a two-week internship in pipe organ building, maintenance and restoration beginning June 14.

Guitar boot camps for ages nine to 11 take place June 20–24 in Lake Forest and July 18–22 in Winnetka.

Woodwind camps include a Chamber Camp for Winds with Quintet Attacca for ages 11 to adult June 13–17, an Oboe Boot Camp for ages 10 to adult June 20–24, and a Woodwind Samplers in Clarinet and Saxophone for ages nine through 12 beginning June 14.

Brass camps include Brass for Beginners® Boot Camp for ages nine to 11 June 20–24 and All Brass Boot Camp July 7–28.

Musical Theater summer programs include weekly SmashUp! Camps for grades K through three June 6–August 19 and the Broadway Bound Workshop for grades four through eight June 6–17 and June 20–July 1. In Broadway Bound, students learn the fundamentals of acting and musical theater, dance, and singing, including audition technique. Each day features acting, dance, music, and supplemental activities. Each two-week session culminates in a revue of scenes and songs from favorite Broadway and Disney musicals.

The Chicago Suzuki Institute July 2–10 at Trinity International University in Deerfield is a concentrated week of master classes, group instruction, short-term teacher training courses, concerts, and musical enrichment for Suzuki violin, viola, cello, and piano students, parents, and teachers. The  Music Institute also offers Introduction to Suzuki classes beginning June 14.

Adult ensembles offer opportunities for adults learning instruments for the first time, returning after a long hiatus, or just looking for a way to brush up on their musical skills. Ensembles include New Horizons Band, Golden Years Swing Band, Community Symphony, and Quartet Strings.

Music Institute Chorale hosts a summer sing-along of Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah July 20 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, conducted by Frank Winkler.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Alfaia Wins Third Place in Senior Open at First-Ever "M-Prize Competition"
New England Conservatory announces today that one of its Honors Ensembles, Alfaia has placed third at the M-Prize Competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The group will take home a $3,000 prize for the Senior Open division. Founded in 2013 and selected as New England Conservatory's 2014-2015 "Wild Card" Honors Ensemble, the ensemble explores the meeting points between Middle Eastern, North and South American music. They arrive at their sound through traditional performance practices, original composition, and contemporary approaches to instrumental techniques and improvisation. Composed of pianist Henrique Eisenmann '12 M.M. (currently pursuing NEC's D.M.A.), oud player Kenan Adnawi (currently pursuing NEC's M.M.), saxophonist Gustavo D'Amico ('16 M.M.), and bassist Kirsten Lamb ('15 M.M.). World percussionist, Tareq Rantisi, has recently joined the group and participated in this competition with them. The group's NEC faculty coach is accordionist, keyboard player, and composer Ted Reichman.

Collectively, Alfaia represents Brazilian, Syrian, Palestinian, and American cultures. Drawing on their international musical influences, they work together to create musical diplomacy, engaging audiences with a fusion of Syrian melodies, Brazilian and Middle Eastern rhythms, and jazz harmony. They have performed extensively all over the globe as individuals and a group.

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

The Dessoff Choirs Appoints Malcolm J. Merriweather as Ninth Music Director
The Dessoff Choirs today announces its appointment of Malcolm J. Merriweather as its ninth music director.

"I'm delighted with The Dessoff Choirs' appointment of Malcolm Merriweather as their new Music Director. Malcolm is one of the bright rising stars of his generation of choral conductors," said Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and former Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs. "Dessoff is close to my heart, and I will always be grateful to the choir for our eight wonderful years together. Knowing them as I do, it is my great expectation that their new synergy with Malcolm will lead to new heights of artistic achievement."

The Dessoff Choirs today also announces its 2016–17 season, which opens with a concert at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center—the first time the choir has performed there since 2010.

The five-concert series reflects Merriweather's approach to programming with a focus on connecting audiences to topical and meaningful themes. Under his leadership, Dessoff seeks to personalize the audience experience by extending engagement before, during and after each concert.

For more information about the Dessoff Choirs, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Primephonic Offers Solution for Lossless Audio + Meticulous Metadata for Classical Music
Primephonic, a superior quality classical music platform, designed and developed in the Netherlands by a team of 10 classical music specialists, is now launching in North America. Founded in 2015, primephonic offers classical music downloads in formats ranging from WAV, to FLAC, to DSD – with no compressed files or degraded sound – and will follow later this year with an equally high-quality streaming service. Already offering music from a host of superb labels, primephonic expands to include the Sony Classical catalogue this month. With its unsurpassed detail and dynamic sound, sophisticated and thorough metadata, a vibrant online community, and a huge range of recordings, primephonic is unrivalled as the central platform for classical music online.

Dirk Jan Vink, Managing Director of primephonic, comments: "primephonic offers a vast treasure chest of sound that embodies the richness of artistry and audio throughout the ages. Our mission is to deliver digital music in the same audio format in which they came into being – an uncensored and uncondensed classical music experience." As the head of PENTATONE – renowned for its superb sound – Vink recognized that the download providers in the market were not sufficient for the classical label's needs. Thus, the idea was born to build a bridge between classical music and the digital world by establishing a better download platform that would be open and available for all classical music labels.

The UK-based audiophile magazine What High-Fi? praised primephonic earlier this year, saying: "With a great catalogue, superb website and useful extra content, not to mention a growing community, it is much more than just a download site … this is the place to be if you're a classical music fan."

For complete information, visit

--Shira Gilbert PR

Daniele Gatti New MCO Artistic Advisor
We are delighted to share with you today that Daniele Gatti has been appointed Artistic Advisor of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. As we wrap up our cycle of Beethoven symphonies with Maestro Gatti on this week's tour, we are already looking ahead to concrete projects ensuing from this enhanced artistic collaboration. In addition to continuing our Beethoven cycle leading up to the composer's 250th birthday in 2020, our plans include a Schubert cycle, pairing Schubert symphonies with works from the Second Viennese School, as well as opera productions.

With the summer almost upon us, we will be giving concerts in Italy, Germany and France before returning to our annual summer residence at the Lucerne Festival. We look forward to welcoming you on one of our upcoming tours – in person, virtually, or both!

For more information, visit

--Elaine Yeung, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony at Strathmore
The National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, performs Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique") on Saturday, June 4 at 8pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert will also feature the National Philharmonic's nearly 200 voice all-volunteer chorale performing Brahms's Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates) and Nänie.

A free pre-concert lecture with Associate Conductor Victoria Gau will be presented in the Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. In addition, the National Philharmonic will offer its first free instrument petting zoo, where children and their families can explore and learn about orchestral instruments, from 7-7:30 pm in the Orchestra Lobby. Concert tickets start at $29 and are free for children ages 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

Midsommarfest Returns to Andersonville
Returning to Andersonville for its 51st year, Midsommarfest continues to prove why it is Chicago's most intriguing and refreshing family festival. Complete with 5 performance stages, several blocks of delicious food and drink, and a plethora of family-friendly activities, Andersonville's annual street festival offers something for everyone.  Midsommarfest goes well beyond music and food; morning Yoga classes, costume contests, choir performances, comedy theater, and more distinguish Midsommarfest as one of Chicago's most captivating and unique summer experiences.

For 51 years Midsommarfest has brought Chicago communities together to share in the culture of the city and celebrate Andersonville's Swedish heritage. Midsommarfest strives to give back to Andersonville and Chicago at large, promoting local businesses and preserving the roots of Chicago communities.

Date: Friday June 10 @ 5PM - Sunday June 12 @ 10PM
Location: Clark Street between Balmoral and Catalpa
Entry Fee: A $10 donation is asked at the gate, donations go toward innovative programming and initiatives that keep the Andersonville community vibrant. Children and Seniors are free.

For more information, visit

--Jonathan Blazejewski, Cramer PR


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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

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