Classical Music News of the Week, October 15, 2016

American Brass Quintet Embarks on Fall Tour, Featuring World and NY Premieres

Hailed by Newsweek as "the high priests of brass," the American Brass Quintet is internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. As 2013 recipient of Chamber Music America's highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, the American Brass Quintet's rich history includes performances in Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States; a discography of nearly 60 recordings; and the premieres of over 150 contemporary brass works. Committed to the development of brass chamber music through higher education, the American Brass Quintet has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at The Juilliard School since 1987 and the Aspen Music Festival since 1970.

Following their residency at Adelphi University on October 8, the Quintet returned to Juilliard with two NYC premieres by Kenneth Fuchs and Eric Nathan (both of which debuted in Aspen this past summer), along with works by the late Brazilian composer Osvaldo Lacerda and a suite of Renaissance pieces for large brass ensemble, for which the Quintet will be joined onstage by their Juilliard students. Fuchs's "American" Quintet, commissioned by the ABQ, aims to capture a truly "Americana" style; consonant, pleasing and grand, with great virtuosic and musical variety. The Aspen Times commented that the composition "lit a fire under the players' virtuosity, with rapidly moving, colorful and delightfully accessible writing that never flagged. It was so good I wished they had played the entire 12 minutes over again." Kenneth Fuchs was a student at The Juilliard School during the beginning of the American Brass Quintet's tenure as Ensemble-in-Residence, and is a faculty colleague of the Quintet's trumpet player Louis Hanzlik at the University of Connecticut.

On October 23, the American Brass Quintet appears at the Guggenheim as part of its Works & Process performing arts series for a Works & Process encore commission of Zorn's Commedia dell'arte, a suite of five miniatures for multiple ensembles inspired by the dell'arte characters Harlequin, Colombina, Scaramouche, Pulcinella and Pierrot. The Quintet's movement is the jovial, quasi-minimalist "Pulcinella." Commedia dell'arte displays a wide range of compositional styles spanning minimalism, post-bop jazz, avant-garde and more. This suite is being choreographed for a future collaboration with the ABQ.

Additional fall engagements bring the Quintet to Colgate University (Hamilton, NY), The Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, CT), Adelphi University (Garden City, NY), Coastal Concerts (Lewes, DE) and University of Maryland – Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD).

Internationally, the American Brass Quintet is presented by the Santa Marcelina Cultural Society in São Paulo, Brazil, and tours Asia in November in coordination with The Juilliard School.

For the full schedule, visit

--Katharine Boone, Kirshbaum Associates

DCINY Presents Messiah...Refreshed!
Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) is proud to present its sixth annual performance of "Messiah…Refreshed!" on November 27th at 2PM, bringing their signature version of Handel's Messiah in the Thomas Beecham/Eugene Goossens 1959 re-orchestration for full symphony orchestra to Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The performance will feature an international choir made up of singers all over the world, as well as soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and the award-winning Distinguished Concerts Orchestra led by maestro Jonathan Griffith.

The performance will be livestreamed via DCINY's Facebook page, whose previous livestreams have been viewed by over 1.5 million people around the world.

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Unison Media

Women Composers Highlighted in Free Concert Nov. 4
The Music Institute of Chicago presents the Cleveland ensemble Burning River Baroque, performing a free concert that explores well-known and overlooked female composers, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

"Twisted Fate: Famed and Forgotten Female Composers" blends works from antiquity to the present and explores the ways in which historical circumstances twisted the lives of some women into the spotlight and others into the shadows. The history of Western art music predominantly focuses on the lives and works of male teachers, composers, and performers. In eras when women rarely had access to the same educational and professional opportunities as their male colleagues, it can be easy to presume that women were simply not as productive and successful in the field. A closer look at history, however, reveals that some women were able to rise above the gender restrictions placed on them and achieved great success as professional musicians. Others led more private professional lives cloistered in abbeys and composing for their fellow sisters.

"Twisted Fate: Famed and Forgotten Female Composers" takes place Friday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Admission is free. All programming is subject to change.

For more information, call 847-905-1500 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Sonus Inenarrabilis: Nine Live Plays the Music of John Clark, November 22
Some music just won't be pigeonholed, including the collection of compositions presented in Sonus Inenarrabilis. To do justice to this adventurous and haunting melding of diverse influences, you have to apply the immortal Duke Ellington's highest compliment: It's beyond category.

Sonus Inenarrabilis, soon to be released on Dave Soldier's Mulatta Records label (, features six jazz-inflected compositions by John Clark, rendered by a nonet starring instruments more commonly associated with symphonic music, including French Horn, Bassoon, Viola, and Cello.

Clark secured his jazz bona fides early on, playing with NEA Jazz Masters McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, George Russell, and Gil Evans: Clark was a mainstay of Evans' renowned Monday Night Orchestra, which reigned supreme at Sweet Basil in the 1980s. He has played with luminaries including Joe Lovano, Julius Hemphill, Jaco Pastorius, the Mingus Orchestra, and has done extensive pop, Broadway, classical, and studio work. Ensembles who have performed Clark's compositions include the Gil Evans Orchestra, the McCoy Tyner Big Band, the Paul Winter Consort, Composers' Concordance, Genghis Barbie, Imani Winds, and the Pugh-Taylor Project. Clark earned an advanced degree from the New England Conservatory, and is currently on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music.

November 22nd, 7:00pm
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3
196 Allen Street (between Houston St & Stanton St)
New York City
 $10 plus 2-drink minimum

For more information, visit

--Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

New Century Announces Daniel Hope as Artistic Partner
New Century Chamber Orchestra announced today the appointment of British violinist Daniel Hope as Artistic Partner for three seasons, beginning 2017-2018 through 2019-2020. The position of Artistic Partner will provide artistic continuity throughout the search process for a permanent Music Director to succeed Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who steps down at the end of the 2016-2017 season.

Following the January announcement that Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg would be stepping down at the end of the 2016-2017 season, Executive Director Philip Wilder and the New Century Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors initiated a strategic process, creating a search committee dedicated to identifying the next stage of New Century's artistic leadership. It was unanimously agreed that the creation of a short-term artistic position would serve to maintain artistic stability and enhance organizational direction during the search for a permanent Music Director. In his role as Artistic Partner, Daniel Hope will lead the orchestra in multiple performances each season, with candidates appearing as Guest Concertmasters until a permanent successor has been appointed. The search committee is led by Founding President Paula Gambs and consists of members of the Board, musicians and staff.

--Brenden Guy, New Century Chamber Orchestra

National Philharmonic Chamber Concert at Potter Violins on Oct. 23, 2016
Under the direction of National Philharmonic Concertmaster Colin Sorgi, the newly formed National Philharmonic Chamber Players make their debut with a program of music by Mozart, Prokofiev and Fauré on October 23 at  John Kendall Recital Hall at Potter Violins in Takoma Park, MD. The intimate hall seats only 90, allowing concert goers to experience chamber music as it was originally intended, up close and personal.

"The new partnership between the National Philharmonic and Potter Violins is really exciting and the Philharmonic very much looks forward to bringing great chamber music to this wonderful new addition to Washington-area's music venues," said National Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski.

The October 23rd concert will feature violinists Colin Sorgi and Henry Flory; cellist Kerry Van Laanen; and pianist Kathryn Brake. The group will perform Mozart's Piano Trio in B-flat Major, K. 502; Sergei Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56; and Gabriel Fauré's Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45.

The NP Chamber Players will also perform on two Sundays in 2017--a program of  Brahms, Szymanowski and Lutoslawski on February 12, from 3-5, and a program of  Ravel, Janacek and Korngold on May 7, also from 3-5.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here:

Potter Violins, John Kendall Recital Hall is at  7711 Eastern Ave, Takoma Park, MD.

For more information, visit

--Deborah Birnbaum, National Philharmonic

Young People's Chorus of New York City Receives $750,000 Arts Education Impact Grant From Matisse Foundation
The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation has awarded an Arts Education Impact Grant of $750,000 to the Young People's Chorus of New York City for its new initiative: Vocal Resolutions: Shaping Perceptions Through Music. The Matisse Grant, one of today's most prestigious and competitive arts grants, will be distributed over five years and support YPC's innovative new initiative that focuses on matters of social justice and uses music as a catalyst for cultural exploration and mutual understanding among young people of diverse backgrounds.

Vocal Resolutions: Shaping Perceptions Through Music will provide YPC choristers vocal training that includes customized private lessons, recitals, as well as master classes led by celebrated professional singers. The program will not only develop highly trained singers with individually honed vocal skills, but also provide them with knowledge and understanding of social concerns that will lead to a skillful cultural dialogue. Each year of the five year project, a composer will be chosen to write a new work that raises awareness of our current social climate. The work will aim to stimulate conflict resolution discussions in music workshops that further shape the piece, which will be premiered as part of a year-end summit conference and concert in association with Carnegie Hall. The first composer chosen for the new initiative is Michael Gordon, who also serves as YPC's composer-in-residence.

For more information, visit

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Music Institute Chorale Announces 30th Season
The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale, conducted by Daniel Wallenberg, announces its 30th anniversary season, collaborating with Music Institute ensembles and faculty on three concerts at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

The season opens Sunday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. with "Curtains Up!" Music Institute voice faculty and Chicago Children's Choir ensembles from Rogers Park and Humboldt Park join the Chorale for music of the stage, opera, and musical theatre.

"Sing We and Chant It" on Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. celebrates early music, with the Music Institute's Recorder Orchestra, Gamba Ensemble, and Natural Trumpet Ensemble enhancing the Chorale's vocals.

The season concludes with "Dona Nobis Pacem" Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m., a choral and orchestra concert featuring Music Institute string faculty members in the orchestra and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Choir singing with the Chorale. The program includes Dona Nobis Pacem by Vaughan Williams and To the Chief Musician by Israeli composer Yehezkel Braun.

The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale's 30th anniversary season concerts take place Sundays, December 11 at 7:30 p.m.:
March 19 at 3 p.m.:
June 11 at 3 p.m.: at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors and $7 students.

For information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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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