Classical Music News of the Week, August 20, 2016

InSight Concerts Place Audiences Inside the Orchestra

Conductor Roger Nierenberg presents InSight Concerts, an immersive experience that places audience members in the midst of a symphony orchestra. Created for both the classical newcomer and aficionado alike, the initial performances will take place on September 17th and 18th at The DiMenna Center for Music in New York City and feature music by Wagner, Britten, Kodaly, Ravel and more.

Over the past twenty years, conductor Roger Nierenberg has led hundreds of sessions with his company The Music Paradigm, taking executives from organizations such as Google, AT&T, Pepsi, Wal-Mart, and more, and placing them amidst a symphony orchestra in order to draw parallels between leading a rehearsal and leading a workforce.

Now, Maestro Nierenberg will take his immersive experience from the boardroom to the concert hall, presenting InSight Concerts. The performances will place audience members next to the musicians, allowing them to watch the interactions as the conductor shapes the performance, even offering a chance to stand behind the podium themselves.

Nierenberg believes this is also one of the best ways to introduce newcomers to classical music, saying of the experience: "I've noticed time and again how incredibly curious people get about the inner workings of the orchestra – the way the musicians communicate, the role of the conductor, the meaning of those puzzling gestures. And people get so excited to listen and observe from the place where the conductor stands, as well as to sit side-by-side with a musician. This concert is designed to provide all those opportunities, free from any distractions, and to provide the audience a chance to feel a real bond with the performers."

The two InSight Concerts will take place on Saturday, September 17th at 7PM and Sunday, September 18th at 3PM, at the DiMenna Center for Music in New York City. The performances will be free, but require attendees to RSVP here:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley to Launch Berkeley "Radical Inclusion"
Cal Performances begins the second season of its Berkeley Radical initiative by addressing one of the most pressing and immediate issues in contemporary society: Inclusion. A thematic strand that informs performances and activities spanning multiple genres from September 2016 – February 2017, Inclusion seeks to explore how universal themes can arise from diverse, culturally specific artists or ensembles, and how artists use the idea of inclusion in their creative process. Regardless of cultural backgrounds, audiences can see themselves in such works because the artists aim intentionally for inclusion.

To launch the Inclusion engagement strand, and to open the 2016/17 season, September 30 – October 2, Cal Performances presents the world premiere of Layla and Majnun, a major new evening-length work by choreographer Mark Morris. The sets and costumes for Layla and Majnun were created by British artist Sir Howard Hodgkin, the lighting was designed by James F. Ingalls, and the music will be performed by the Silk Road Ensemble with Azerbaijan's preeminent mugham vocalists Alim Qasimov, named "one of the greatest singers alive" by the New York Times, and his daughter Fargana Qasimova. Layla and Majnun is a classic story of forbidden love most notably expressed by the great Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Cal Performances is proud to serve as the lead commissioner for Layla and Majnun, and as Mark Morris Dance Group's longtime West Coast home--this production marks the company's 13th world premiere presentation at Cal Performances.

Ticket information:
Tickets for Mark Morris Dance Group with the Silk Road Ensemble: Layla and Majnun, Friday–Saturday, September 30 – October 1, at 8pm; and Sunday, October 2 at 3pm, in Zellerbach Hall range from $36–$126 (prices subject to change). Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at, and at the door. For information about discounts, visit

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

Five Boroughs Music Festival Announces Programming for Tenth Anniversary Season
Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) today announces programming for its tenth anniversary season, continuing its mission of bringing affordable, high-caliber performances of traditional and contemporary chamber music to all five boroughs of New York City.

As the centerpiece of its anniversary season, 5BMF launches the second volume of its Five Borough Songbook. The second iteration of the project features twenty new commissions of songs inspired by New York City places, themes and poetry, from twenty composers, and includes solo songs, duets and ensemble works scored for various combinations of voice, piano and cello.

The 2016-17 season celebrates 5BMF's first decade by welcoming back some of its favorite artists and ensembles from previous years, beginning with two performances by GRAMMY-nominated vocal quartet New York Polyphony on Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Riverdale in the Bronx, and on Sunday, September 25 at 5:00 p.m. at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on Staten Island. The ensemble performs a mix of Renaissance and contemporary music, in a program entitled Passion, featuring works by Compere, Andrew Smith, de Penalosa and Kreek. The September 25th concert will feature Staten Island-based early music vocal ensemble Voyces, who will join the members of New York Polyphony for "Amid A Crowd of Stars" by Andrew Smith, an expanded version of his work Salme 55, originally written for New York Polyphony.

For the full schedule, visit

Tickets for all Five Boroughs Music Festival concerts, ranging between $10 and $40, are available by visiting

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Single Tickets Now on Sale
If you're a fan of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, you have a lot to look forward to. Our 2016/17 "Season of Heroes" will offer a range of incredible music experiences with an array of top guest artists culminating in a spectacular, fully-staged Rameau opera at Cal Performances.

Individual tickets to this anticipated season are finally on sale now. Order with City Box Office or order online! Either way, act soon for the best available seating!

Choose your concerts and call City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or order on-line at

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque

92nd Street Y 2016-17 Season Highlights
92Y's 16/17 season opens on October 15 with internationally renowned pianist Jeremy Denk joining the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, "the leading orchestra of its kind in America" (The New York Times), in their 92Y debut and their first New York performance in five years.  Together, they open 92Y's illustrious concert season with the first New York premiere of "O Mikros, O Megas" (The Small World, The Huge World) by George Tsontakis, whose ties to the Orchestra have included three other world premieres earning a Grawermeyer Award and Grammy nomination. The orchestra also performs the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major and Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major with Denk, 2013 MacArthur Fellow and on the roster of SPCO's current Artistic Partners since 2014, as the piano soloist.

For the full season schedule, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

A Tribute & Fellowship in Memory of Lloyd Arriola (1972-2016)
One World Symphony
One World Symphony Vocal Artists
Bob Page Jazz Trio
Markus Kaitila, Piano
Sung Jin Hong, Artistic Director and Conductor

Ludwig van Beethoven: from Fidelio and from Pastoral Symphony
Arvo Pärt: Fratres ("Brothers," 1977)*
Joan Tower: Throbbing Still (2000)*
Lawrence Rush: Altar (2009)*
Lloyd Arriola: Concert Piece (1986, 2010)
*Living composers

Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 8:00 p.m.
Church of the Holy Apostles
296 Ninth Avenue at 28th Street
New York City

Fellowship (Potluck Reception) will follow immediately after musical tribute with live jazz.

Admission/Suggested Contribution for Tribute & Fellowship:
We kindly ask each guest to please bring wine, cheese, desserts, or covered dishes to share at the fellowship (potluck reception) immediately held after the musical tribute. The Bob Page Jazz Trio will serenade all our guests during the fellowship. Seating will be limited. RSVP is highly recommended by August 26, and please inform us what you are planning to bring by emailing at

--One World Symphony

Collage New Music Announces 2016/2017 Concert Season
Grammy-nominated, Boston-based ensemble, College New Music recently announced its 2016/2017 concert season. This year is the group's 45th Season and they will bring eight Boston premieres, three world premieres, a broad span of music by revered composers, and many newly composed pieces to audiences. According to CNM's founder, Frank Epstein, at the heart of the season is a renewal of CNM's passion about, and commitment to, the captivatingly eccentric music of the late Donald Sur.

All concerts are at Pickman Hall at Longy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 8pm. Each program includes a 7pm conversation about the program with composers and music director David Hoose, and a post-concert reception for audience and musicians. Individual tickets and season subscriptions may be purchased through the group's web site. Student and senior discounts are available:

For complete information, please visit:

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Celesta Marketing and PR

ChangYong Shin NY Debut at Carnegie Hall, November 19
The Hilton Head International Piano Competition (HHIPC) will present its 2016 First Prize winner, ChangYong Shin, at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, November 19, 2016, 2:30 p.m. Mr. Shin will perform works by Bach, Beethoven, Unsuk Chin, Granados and Prokofiev. This performance is Mr. Shin's New York debut.

Dr. Douglas Humpherys, the 2016 HHIPC Jury Chair (as well as Chair of the Piano Department at the Eastman School of Music and Artistic Director of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition), said about Mr. Shin, "He is a pianist with passionate expression and profound artistry, representative of the best among his generation!"

Robert McDonald, Mr. Shin's teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, said, "ChangYong Shin is a young artist of exceptional gifts—a brilliantly complete instrumentalist whose playing is always at the service of the music and its expressive possibilities."

ChangYong Shin, Piano
Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
57th Street and 7th Avenue, New York

Bach: Toccata in D major, BWV 912
Unsuk Chin: Piano Etudes No. 4 (Scalen), No. 5 (Toccata), and No. 6 (Grains)
Beethoven: Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
Granados: Goyescas Op. 11, No. 1, Los requiebros
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 83

Tickets: $40 ($15 students, at Box Office only), available August 19, 2016, at; by calling CarnegieCharge (212) 247-7800; or by visiting the Carnegie Hall box office: 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

AOP Takes Operas to Space, Asylums, and a Human Uterus in "Six Scenes"
This fall, contemporary opera producer American Opera Projects (AOP) will present "Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes 2016," a concert of opera scenes from ten artists emerging in the world of contemporary opera. Audiences will get a first look at six wildly different new works that range from imagining moments in the lives of famous people such as Sigmund Freud and Mabel Dodge Luhan or events taking place in a spaceship, an asylum, and a uterus. The 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, were chosen by AOP to spend a year creating new works in its bi-annual fellowship program Composers & the Voice (C&V).

The performances will be held on Friday, September 30 at 8:00pm at South Oxford Space (138 S. Oxford St.) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY, the home of AOP, and on Sunday, October 2 at 2:30pm at the National Opera Center (330 7th Ave, 7th floor) in Manhattan. Tickets range from $10-$25 general admission and are available at

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

The Wallis Kicks Off 2016/17 Season with WelcomeFest
In anticipation of the new 2016/17 Season, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, will throw open its doors and welcome the community for a two-day celebration of the performing arts. WelcomeFest will showcase many of the upcoming 2016/17 season's artists and other Los Angeles-based performers bringing their work to the Beverly Hills campus.

WelcomeFest takes place Saturday, September 10 from 2pm – 10pm and Sunday, September 11 from 10am – 2pm. All performances and activities are free to the public. For complete listing of events and up-to-the-minute information, please visit or join the WelcomeFest Facebook event. Detailed timeline and schedule for the weekend to be announced in early September.

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

For complete information on WelcomeFest, vist

--Sarah Jarvis, The Wallis

New Century Opens 25th Anniversary Season with Inon Barnatan
New Century Chamber Orchestra kicks off its 2016-2017 25th Anniversary Season, September 15-18, with a debut appearance by New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Association, Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan.

Returning to the Bay Area following his critically acclaimed San Francisco Symphony East Coast Tour appearances in April 2016, Barnatan performs as soloist for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 13 in C Major, K. 415. Also featured on the program are Langsamer Satz by Anton Webern, Symphony No. 3 by Philip Glass, and Happy Birthday Variations by Peter Heidrich. This opening performance set includes New Century's first-ever matinee concert on September 16 at the newly-renovated Herbst Theatre, Berkeley, CA.

Immediately preceding the concert is the orchestra's inaugural Stuart Canin Award Luncheon in honor of Bay Area philanthropists Paula and John Gambs. The award is named for New Century's founding Music Director, Stuart Canin, and honors those who have made a deep impact on the arts in the Bay Area and beyond. All proceeds from the luncheon will support the Stuart Canin Artistic Fund, which benefits outreach and education initiatives.

Subscriptions to the New Century Chamber Orchestra are on sale now. Three-concert subscriptions range from $78 to $165; festival passes range from $52 to $155. Call (415) 357-1111, ext. 305, or visit to purchase.

Single tickets range in price from $29 to $61 and are available through City Box Office: and (415) 392-4400. Discounted $15 single tickets are available for students with a valid ID.

Open Rehearsal tickets are $15 general admission and can also be purchased through City Box Office: and (415) 392-4400.

For further information on New Century, please visit

--Brenden Guy, New Century Chamber Orchestra

American Bach Soloists News
Please join us for American Bach Soloists' annual fundraising gala, Sparkle 2016, on Friday, September 24, 5 p.m., at the historic James Flood Mansion, San Francisco, CA. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and dinner will be served, and you'll enjoy an exclusive, intimate concert featuring baritone Mischa Bouvier and the American Bach Soloists.

What's more, you'll be able to bid on some truly fantastic items! Our auction includes five nights for two in Bordeaux, France; a private dinner prepared by none other than Maestro Jeffrey Thomas at an astonishing San Francisco home; and an exclusive Twilight Tasting & Tour for six at Opus One Winery. Whether you're looking for something for yourself or to team up with friends for a larger item, there's going to be something for everyone!

For tickets and more information, please visit

--American Bach Soloists

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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 both its equipment and recordings 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 they 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 Marantz CD 6007 and Onkyo CD 7030 CD players, 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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa