Classical Music News of the Week, September 24, 2016

Jeremy Denk and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Open 92Y Classical Season

On October 15, celebrated pianist Jeremy Denk joins the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, "the leading orchestra of its kind in America" (The New York Times), in its 92Y debut and its first New York performance since Carnegie Hall five years ago, opening 92Y's superb 2016/17 classical concert season.

This trailblazing ensemble performs the 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 Grawemeyer Award and Grammy nomination. This piece premieres the previous evening at Dartmouth. Jeremy Denk, 2013 MacArthur Fellow and one of SPCO's Artistic Partners since 2014, is the soloist for the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major, and the orchestra also performs Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major.

Saturday, October 15 at 8:00PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall
New York City, NY

Bach Odyssey I
Angela Hewitt, piano
Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7:30 PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall

Bach Odyssey II
Angela Hewitt, piano
Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 3 PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall

For complete information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Giancarlo Guerrero Commits to Nashville Symphony Through 2025
The Nashville Symphony today announced that music director Giancarlo Guerrero has agreed to a five-year contract extension to continue his leadership of the orchestra through the 2024-25 season. This would make Guerrero – who has served the orchestra in this capacity since 2009 – the second-longest-serving conductor in the orchestra's history. The Symphony also adds its 26th, 27th and 28th recordings on Naxos to its award-winning discography with collections devoted to composers Michael Daugherty (released September 9), Richard Danielpour (due October 14) and Jennifer Higdon (due spring 2017).

The seventh music director in the Nashville Symphony's 70-year history, Guerrero has overseen a period of remarkable success for the organization. Under Guerrero's leadership, the orchestra has garnered five of its eight GRAMMY Awards and presented eight world premieres, while also recording nine critically acclaimed albums, to cement the Nashville Symphony's reputation as one of the most active recording orchestras in the country.

His extended commitment to the orchestra is rare in the classical music industry and will play a key role in helping the Nashville Symphony sustain its mission of artistic excellence, fostering new American repertoire and serving the Middle Tennessee community. Since Guerrero's appointment, the Nashville Symphony has gained significant national and international attention for its prolific recording output and for forward-thinking collaborations with Nashville-based artists including Ben Folds, Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer.

For more information, visit

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Orion's Original Three Perform Khatchaturian, Granados, Yadzinski, John Williams
The Orion Ensemble salutes its roots with November concerts as three of its founding musicians perform in Geneva, Evanston, and Chicago, Illinois.

Showcasing its three original ensemble members--clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu and pianist Diana Schmück--The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, presents "Serenade by Three: Orion Beginnings."

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Serenade by Three: Orion Beginnings" takes place Sunday, November 6 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Sunday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston; and Wednesday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

YPC Performs World Premieres of Six New Works
The award-winning Young People's Chorus of New York City and Artistic Director and Founder Francisco J. Núñez continue their groundbreaking Transient Glory new music series with the world premieres of six choral works for young voices in concerts at National Sawdust on Friday, November 4 at 7:00 p.m. and Merkin Concert Hall on Sunday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer, the performances feature new works by six distinguished composers representing a wide range of perspectives and styles, including Mason Bates, YPC Composer-in-Residence Michael Gordon, Joan La Barbara, YPC alumna Jessie Montgomery, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, and Charles Wuorinen.

Mr. Núñez created Transient Glory as a platform for today's important composers?those who write major orchestral works, operas, and chamber music?to write for children's chorus. Mr. Núñez says, "I wanted to inspire today's Mozarts and Beethovens to write masterworks for the 21st- century children's chorus, with subjects that would appeal to the young minds of today." Now, nearly two decades later with over 100 compositions commissioned and premiered by YPC, Transient Glory has established an awareness among composers of the child's voice as a significant instrument for making music. Transient Glory works have now been performed by youth choirs worldwide and many of the works have become part of the standard repertoire for children's chorus.

Tickets for the Friday, November 4 concert at National Sawdust (80 North Sixth Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) are $35 and available by calling (646) 779-8455 or at

Tickets for the Sunday, November 6 concert at Merkin Concert Hall (129 West 67th St.) are $25 ($15 for students) and available at the box office, by calling (212) 510-3330, or at

For more information, visit

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Rachel Podger to Leads PBO in Vivaldi & Bach Program
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale welcomes back Rachel Podger who will lead the Orchestra in a program of mostly violin concertos by Vivaldi and Bach in concerts taking place November 2-6 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Earlier this year, Rachel Podger won the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award for Vivaldi "L'Estro Armonico" and was just recently awarded the Gramophone Classical Music Awards Baroque instrumental category for her recording of Biber "Rosary Sonatas" on Channel Classics. This is her third appearance with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.

Dubbed the "queen of Baroque violin" by the Sunday Times, Podger is known for her definitive interpretations of Vivaldi. This program explores the variety of styles and forms encompassed by the word "concerto" from the violin virtuosity of Tartini to the collaboration of flute, oboe, violin and bassoon in the chamber of Vivaldi. The program also includes a piece by Veracini and one of only four orchestral suites written by J.S. Bach.

See Rachel Podger with PBO throughout the bay area November 2-6. The Vivaldi & Bach program takes place Wednesday November 7 at 7:30 pm at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, CA; Friday November 4 at 8 pm at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco; Saturday November 5 at 8 pm and Sunday November 6 at 4 pm at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA.

Tickets range from $27 to $108. For more information about this and other Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale concerts, visit For tickets, call 415-392-4400 or visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

The Crypt Sessions Celebrate Halloween with "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Gregg Kallor
On October 26th and 28th, Unison Media's performance series The Crypt Sessions will celebrate Halloween early with the world premiere of pianist/composer Gregg Kallor's dramatic canata based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," featuring mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski, cellist Joshua Roman, and Kallor himself at the piano. Both concerts will be at 8PM, with a wine & cheese reception from 7-8PM.

A collaboration with On Site Opera, "The Tell-tale Heart" will have a semi-staged setup by director Sarah Meyers, who has worked with the Metropolitan Opera as stage director for over a decade. Gregg will also perform his appropriately-named cello sonata "Undercurrent" with Roman. Unison Media's acclaimed Crypt Sessions is a concert series presenting intimate performances in the underground crypt beneath The Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY.

The concert is a part of Unison Media's Crypt Sessions, a concert series in partnership with The Church of the Intercession and sponsored by Yamaha, which most recently featured twin sister piano duo Christina & Michelle Naughton performing Messiaen's Visions of the Amen.

The Crypt Sessions Presents: Gregg Kallor - "The Tell-Tale Heart," with Elizabeth Pojanowski, mezzo-soprano, and Joshua Roman, cello. A collaboration with On Site Opera directed by Sarah Meyers. The program includes Kallor: "Undercurrent" for cello and piano and "The Tell-Tale Heart" for voice, piano and cello (world premiere).

Tickets are $35 (including a pre-concert wine & cheese reception), with all proceeds going to the church. October 26th & 28th, 2016 | Wine & Cheese 7PM | Show 8PM

Concert Information:
Crypt Sessions Homepage:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

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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 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.
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 simple-minded, 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 Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. 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 LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. 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.

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