Classical Music News of the Week, September 3, 2016

Peter Sellars Directs Los Angeles Master Chorale Season Opening Production

From the creative mind of renowned director Peter Sellars comes his very first a cappella staging and most personal work to date, Orlando di Lasso's (1532-1594) emotionally powerful
Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter). Twenty-one Los Angeles Master Chorale singers conducted by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, transform this 60-minute sweeping a cappella Renaissance masterpiece - committed to memory and dramatically staged - into an overwhelmingly passionate performance piece. Lagrime di San Pietro depicts the seven stages of grief that Peter experienced after disavowing his knowledge of Jesus Christ on the day of his arrest and prior to his crucifixion.

Performance dates and times:
There will be two performances of Lagrime di San Pietro at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Each performance will run 60-minutes without an intermission:

Sat., Oct. 29, 2016 at 8 pm
Sun., Oct. 30, 2016 at 7 pm

Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Ticket informaton:
Single tickets go on sale Tue., Sep. 6, 2016 at 10 am.

Tickets begin at $29 and can be purchased in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office (Mon.-Sat., 10-6) or the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office (day of performance), by phone at 213-972-7282, or online at lamc.org. For disability access, call 213-972-0777.

--Gary Murphy Public Relations Consulting

World Premiere on Amazon Prime - Wildly Entertaining Great Kat's New Liszt
Great Kat's New Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 Music Video - CD.

Hot Classical/Metal Female Shredder, The Great Kat Shreds BOTH Violin AND Guitar with her All-Male Stud Band, "Vlad the Impaler" & "Franz Liszt" on Liszt's famous Classical masterpiece "Hungarian Rhapsody #2"!

Free on Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L3G60EY

--Karen Thomas, Thomas PR

Announcing the Hermitage Piano Trio
Reference Recordings is delighted to announce signing the Hermitage Piano Trio to an exclusive recording contract for multiple albums. The members of the Trio are Misha Keylin, violin; Sergey Antonov, cello; and Ilya Kazantsev, piano.

The Trio's debut album will comprise the piano trios of Sergey Rachmaninov: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G Minor; Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Opus 9; and Vocalise (world premiere recording of piano trio transcription by Julius Conus), to be recorded in 2017. States Reference Recordings' Executive Director Marcia Martin: "We are excited and honored to record the Hermitage Piano Trio, and we anticipate a long and rewarding collaboration." The album(s) will be recorded by RR's GRAMMY-winning engineer and Technical Director Keith O. Johnson and produced by the outstanding multi-GRAMMY-nominated team, Marina and Victor Ledin.

Descending from the great Russian musical tradition, the Hermitage Piano Trio is distinguished by its exuberant musicality, interpretative range, and sumptuous sound—attributes that Reference Recordings expects to be highly appealing to music lovers and audiophiles worldwide.  Following a recent performance, The Washington Post raved that "three of Russia's most spectacular young soloists… turned in a performance of such power and sweeping passion that it left you nearly out of breath."

For more information, visit www.hermitagepianotrio.com

--Janice Mancuso - Media Relations

Philharmonia Baroque Wins Twice in SFCV's Best of the Bay
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale has had a wonderful year! And now we are honored to have been selected by voters in two categories in the San Francisco Classical Voice Best of the Bay contest: Best Early/Baroque Ensemble and Best Dance Performance (for our part in the Mark Morris Dance Group performances of "L'Allegro" at Cal Performances)

We'd like to thank everyone who voted for us and look forward to seeing our many patrons - whether you've been with us for 36 years or just bought your first ticket - at the upcoming 2016/17 season.

PBO is passionate, brilliant, and original. And so are our audiences. On behalf of music director Nicholas McGegan, thank you for allowing us to take you on truly unusual and exciting musical journeys. We hope you'll come back for more.

For more information, visit https://www.sfcv.org/article/best-of-the-bay-2015-16-winners

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

"The Elements" Showcased in Music Institute's Season Opener Sept. 24
The Music Institute of Chicago opens the 2016–17 season of its Faculty and Guest Artist Series with "The Elements," a program of works about or inspired by earth, water, air, fire, and spirit, Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

More than 20 members of the Music Institute's celebrated faculty, now numbering more than 150, perform a diverse program, including Music Institute Composer-in-Residence Mischa Zupko's Waves from "Shades of Grey" (water).

"The Elements" takes place Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available at http://mic-the-elements.brownpapertickets.com/ or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. All programming is subject to change. For more information, visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

The Crypt Sessions Presents Matt Haimovitz in Concert by Candlelight on September 23
On September 23rd, cellist Matt Haimovitz will give an intimate candlelight performance in the underground crypt beneath The Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY, part of Unison Media's acclaimed Crypt Sessions concert series (as featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, NPR, WQXR, The Christian Science Monitor, Agence France-Presse, and more). The concert will feature selections from Bach's cello suites, as well as newly commissioned works by Philip Glass, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer, Roberto Sierra, and Luna Pearl Woolf all of which act as overtures to Bach's cello oeuvre. There will be a wine and cheese reception at 7PM before the concert at 8PM.

Tickets are $35 (including wine & cheese), with all proceeds going to the church.

More info is available at: www.DeathOfClassical.com.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Fort Worth Opera Wraps-Up Million Dollar Summer; Exceeds Goal of $500,000 in Groundbreaking Gift Match Challenge
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced today the successful finale to their 90-day, million dollar gift match challenge, Million Dollar Summer. FWOpera's patrons united to support the local arts community throughout the campaign. The conclusion of this challenge coincides with the end of the company's fiscal year, August 31, and solidifies FWOpera's future to pioneer new operatic works that reflect the city's unique cultural mosaic.

FWOpera's success occurs in a climate where corporate support for the arts has proven challenging. FWOpera attributes the success of Million Dollar Summer to the city's residents, who stood united under their shared passion for the performing arts, including 100 percent participation for board and staff of this milestone campaign. Now that Million Dollar Summer has come to a close, the company boasts a 100 percent increase to its donor base. This increase in donor base and the participation in the campaign was made possible in large part by first time giving household, but the success didn't stop there. While FWOpera surpassed it's immediate goal with their forward thinking initiative, they have cultivated a new generation of audiences and patrons.

--Ryan Lathan, FWOpera

ASPECT Foundation Announces New York Debut Season
Making its home in New York for the first time since its inception, ASPECT Foundation for Music & Arts presents a concert series which aims to establish and develop a recital format beyond the traditional classical performance.

"Music In Context," which expands the notion of classical music as it is experienced in the standard concert setting, incorporates a variety of art forms as well as lecture and discussion to give audience members a more multifaceted, integrated understanding of the social context and historical relevance behind a piece of music. After its successful London run presenting various series such as "Composers on Composers," "Musical Capitals," "One Off," and "Great Muses," ASPECT Foundation finds a new locale at Columbia University's intimate The Italian Academy for the 2016/17 season. Guest speakers include Yale Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Music History Paul Berry and British classical music radio broadcaster, composer, and author Stephen Johnson will lead the series' Illustrated Talks with others to be announced later in the season.

For more information, visit http://www.aspectfoundation.net/

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Lawrence Brownlee Announces "Larry's September Weight Loss Challenge & Autism Fundraiser"
The star tenor asks his friends and colleagues to donate to Autism research for every pound he loses during the month of September, in support of his son Caleb. See below for a note from Brownlee:

"As many of you know, my six-year-old son Caleb was diagnosed with Autism as a child, and while he is doing fantastically, I still believe it's important to raise awareness and research funds for Autism. My amazing father-in-law Kenny Wilson is going to do a Half-Ironman (1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run) in order to raise money for Autism Speaks, and I'd like to help!

Following Kenny's remarkable example, I've been working to lose weight this year - 30 pounds down already, and 15 more to go! For the month of September, I'm going to go through The Whole30 diet plan (http://whole30.com/), and I'd love to have your support!

I'm asking you to pledge to donate to Kenny for every pound I lose in September - if you pledge $5 per pound and I lose 5 pounds, then that's $25 to Autism research! You can join by filling out the form here: http://bit.ly/2c9aB72, and then following my progress on my Facebook Page (http://bit.ly/2crmABt)."

You can also just donate directly to Kenny on his fundraising page here: http://bit.ly/2c4TUe4

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Los Angeles Master Chorale Receives Major Grant from The James Irvine Foundation
The Los Angeles Master Chorale announced today that The James Irvine Foundation has awarded a $450,000 Exploring Engagement Fund grant to support the Chorale's launch of Big Sing California that will culminate in June 2018. This two-year grant will support the Chorale's ongoing efforts to utilize state-of-the-art live-streaming technology to enable thousands of Californians to connect with others throughout the state for a shared singing experience, led by its Swan Family Artist-in-Residence and Grammy award-winning composer/conductor Eric Whitacre.

"We are honored and delighted and extremely thankful to The James Irvine Foundation," said Grant Gershon, Los Angeles Master Chorale's Artistic Director. "Our goal for the Big Sing California is simply to inspire people to tap into a gift each person is born with, namely, the ability to sing.  As one of the nation's most prominent choruses, the Master Chorale is taking a leadership role in creating the fertile environment in which the love of singing and the choral arts can grow and thrive."

--Gary W. Murphy, GM/PR

The Wallis Announces Full Schedule for WelcomeFest
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts announces the full schedule and new artist additions to the lineup for WelcomeFest, a two-day celebration of the performing arts taking place Saturday, September 10 from 2pm – 10pm and Sunday, September 11 from 10am – 2pm. WelcomeFest  will showcase many of the upcoming 2016/17 season's artists and other Los Angeles-based performers who will bring their work to the Beverly Hills campus. Performances and activities are free to the public. For a complete listing of events and up-to-the-minute information, please visit TheWallis.org/WelcomeFest or join the WelcomeFest Facebook event.

Joining the WelcomeFest lineup is Syncopated Ladies, the female tap dance band who gained international recognition with their viral video featuring a performance to Beyonce's Formation; Venice, CA-born musician Tutu Sweeney, whose sound fuses soul, funk, disco and rock; a performance poetry project by Jacqueline Suskin that consists of composing one-of-a-kind poems on a manual typewriter; portrait and calligraphy sessions with artist Emily J. Snyder; an intimate tableaux and video projection installation exploring historic Los Angeles by experiential filmmaker Gina Marie Napolitan; a special screening of a Harold Lloyd film (to be announced) accompanied by pianist Michael D. Mortilla; and an ASL Storytelling Hour in American Sign Language led by Broadway's Sandra Mae Frank and Amelia Hensley (Spring Awakening) and actress Ipek Mehlum.

For more information, visit TheWallis.org

--Sarah Jarvis, The Wallis

Fred Hellerman, Last Surviving Member of the Weavers, Dies
Fred Hellerman, a singer and composer who was the last surviving member of the iconic and influential folk music quartet the Weavers, has died.

The musician passed away on Thursday "after a long run of failing health" and was at "home and surrounded by family" when he died, his son Caleb Hellerman said on his Facebook page.
Fred Hellerman was 89 and lived in Weston, Connecticut.

Hellerman, Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, and Lee Hays formed the Weavers in the late 1940s and recorded many folk standards, such as "If I Had a Hammer," "On Top of Old Smoky," "Goodnight, Irene," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (also known as "Wimoweh") and "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,"
Hellerman played guitar and sang for the group, which set the stage for a folk music wave in the 1950s and 1960s.

Despite the Weavers' popularity, the group had been targeted by anti-Communists and was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. "They were forced to take a hiatus from their recording career due to the blacklist, until their return for their iconic Christmas Eve 1955 concert at Carnegie Hall, according to CNN affiliate WCBS.

After Seeger left the Weavers in 1958, Gilbert, Hays and Hellerman went on with other singers until the group disbanded in 1964. After that, members reunited to perform. The Grammys gave the group a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and an article on its Web site called the group "seminal" and said the members "fought back against political intolerance."

"If this award to us has any message, it's that if you stay the course you can outlast your enemies with your honor and dignity intact," Hellerman said at the time.

Born in Brooklyn on May 13, 1927, Hellerman "first displayed his love for music by collaborating on stage plays in the Yiddish theater," WCBS said, citing Hellerman's son. He attended Brooklyn College and served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, according to the Internet Movie Database. His AllMusic.com bio said he taught himself to play guitar during his Coast Guard stint.

Hellerman was an arranger and songwriter for other performers. He produced Arlo Guthrie's 1967 record "Alice's Restaurant."

There won't be a funeral but a memorial service -- with music -- will be held in the next few months, Hellerman's son said.

Gilbert died on June 6, 2015; Seeger on January 27, 2014; and Hays on August 26, 1981.

--Joe Sterling, CNN

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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