Classical Music News of the Week, October 8, 2016

Cal Performances Launches "Page & Stage," A Unique Take on Traditional Book Club

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley is proud to launch "Page & Stage," a unique take on the traditional book club that offers a focused look at literary works associated with selected artists and performances during the 2016/17 season. Cal Performances associate director Rob Bailis will host the series of one-hour conversations with authors, artists, and scholars, exploring the dynamic relationship between staged works and literature.

Topics will include artistic inspiration, how artists reimagine established works, and the artistic process involved in creating such adaptations. Four texts have been selected for the inaugural series of discussions: the Memory of Fire trilogy by Eduardo Galeano, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets by Edward Dusinberre, and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. The "Page & Stage" series will take place in the intimate setting of The Musical Offering café, Berkeley, California, and each ticket includes one complimentary non-alcoholic beverage, with additional food and beverage available for purchase. Each moderated discussion will encourage audience participation and be followed by informal conversation among attendees.

Tickets for the "Page & Stage" series on Wednesday, November 16; Monday, March 20; Thursday, April 6; and Thursday, May 11 at The Musical Offering are $5 per event and include one complimentary non-alcoholic beverage per ticket holder. Tickets are available in advance through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, and at, and will be available on the evening of each event at the Will Call office across Bancroft Way at Zellerbach Hall, pending availability.

For more information, visit

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

DCINY Presents Pianist and Steinway Artist Warren Lee at Carnegie Hall
On November 17 at 8PM, internationally acclaimed Chinese pianist Warren Lee makes his DCINY Artist Series debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall with a solo piano recital featuring the music of Bach-Busoni, Tan Dun, Beethoven, Chopin, and Lee himself.

A Steinway Artist, Warren is also an award-winning and internationally published composer. He received the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in Hong Kong in 2012 and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in 2015 for his significant contribution to the music profession.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and Yale School of Music, Warren Lee's artistry has brought him to four continents, gracing stages of all sizes and forms and in collaboration with international artists and leading orchestras. His discography includes multiple albums on Universal Music (Hong Kong) and Naxos Music, and has garnered rave reviews worldwide. As an educator off the stage, Warren is the Music Director of St. Paul's Co-educational College, which was the recipient of the Yale Cultural Leadership Citation in 2016. Since 2015, he has also been the host of the popular radio series, "Piano Examinations" on RTHK Radio 4.

Bach-Busoni: Chorale Prelude, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645
Bach-Busoni: Chaconne from Violin Partita No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Tan Dun: Eight Memories in Watercolour
Warren Lee: Three Novelettes
Beethoven: Sonata in E major, Op.109
Chopin: Barcarolle in F-sharp major, Op.60

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Unison Media

Behzod Abduraimov Makes Stern Auditorium Recital Debut
Young Uzbekistani pianist Behzod Abduraimov returns to Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perlman Stage on November 17, 2016. The accomplished musician has already earned great recognition and critical acclaim for his exceptional caliber of pianistic ability, and he is quickly establishing himself among the frontrunners of the current generation's outstanding pianists.

After making his New York recital debut in conjunction with his Carnegie debut in Weill Recital Hall in February of this year, Mr. Abduraimov was praised by The New York Times: "This was playing of assurance and ideas: a tense Chopin, a Schubert slipping between stability and dissolution and 'Gaspard' as a surreal flood of colors, from the glassy opening of 'Ondine' to the trills in 'Scarbo.' Mr. Abduraimov came out with something to prove, and in the first Ballade the extremes — of tempo, volume and phrasing — stood out in stark, self-conscious relief, with an effect like that of looking at a landscape through the glare of the sun...Mr. Abduraimov will, I expect, have a long and distinguished career to show us."

Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium/Perlman Stage

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Golden Gate Symphony Presents "Sent-Down Youth: An Intercultural Exchange"
The Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, led by Music Director Urs Leonhardt Steiner, presents "Sent-Down Youth: An Intercultural Exchange," November 5 at Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco.

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of China's "sent-down youth" movement, the program will showcase a rare performance of Ask the Sky and the Earth, a classical oratorio-cantata for orchestra, chorus and solo voices, by Chinese composer Tony Fok and librettist Wei Su, that reflects upon one of the largest cultural experiments in human history. This performance will bring together Chinese and American performers from Bay Area communities and across the United States, marking the first cross-cultural presentation of this work by an independent Western arts organization. Also featured on the program is the World Premiere of Remembering for Atonement by Bay Area composer Michael Kimbell and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral).

Saturday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco
Single tickets are $35 and can be purchased through City Box Office at 415.392.4400 or

--Brendon Guy PR

New World Symphony Announces 2016-17 WALLCAST Concert Series
Led by Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), the New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), launches the fifth season of its WALLCAST concert series, presented by Citi, on October 15.

The series features 11 concerts projected on the 7,000 square-foot eastern façade of the New World Center for audiences in adjacent SoundScape Park, which is equipped with over 160 Meyer Sound speakers for an immersive sound experience. This season, the WALLCAST experience is enhanced by the installation of a dozen 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) cameras in partnership with Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, completing the first phase in an end-to-end 4K upgrade of NWS's video infrastructure. The series launch also commences the first full season of NWS' Sensory Friendly Environment (SFE), which offers children and adults with Sensory Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders the opportunity for a full concert experience in conjunction with each WALLCAST concert in a space that caters to their special needs. Through these new initiatives, NWS reinforces its commitment to community engagement and audience diversity.

Each WALLCAST concert is free to the public and does not require a ticket.

For complete information, visit

--Craig Hall, New World Symphony

PBO Announces New East Bay Venues
One week after a fire devastated the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale has secured new venues for ten season subscription concerts that were originally scheduled to take place in the Sanctuary at First Congregational.

First Congregational Church has been the home of PBO's Saturday and Sunday Berkeley series concerts for more than 30 years. The fire happened September 30 - roughly two weeks before the season opener was scheduled to take place at the church. The orchestra staff has since been scouting multiple possible venues, seeking locations that could meet the Orchestra's needs. The Philharmonia staff knew that the new venues would need to be in the East Bay, accommodate up to 600 subscribers and single ticket buyers, suit - as best as possible - the physical and acoustical needs of a period instrument orchestra (which does not use amplification), and offer reasonable parking and transportation options.

Within a few days, the team at PBO secured First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley for all but one of its Saturday concerts. First Presbyterian is located across the street diagonally from fire-damaged First Congregational Church, so patrons will not experience any significant difference in their drive times or parking. In addition to the ideal proximity, the Sanctuary at First Presbyterian is approximately the same size, and offers a choir loft for the Chorale.

The Sunday series of concerts has been scheduled to take place at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. "LOPC," as it's called, was a PBO venue from 2003-2010 when the Orchestra performed a series in Contra Costa County. The church has since been renovated and will nicely accommodate the orchestra and its patrons.

The only concert not taking place at either First Presbyterian or LOPC is the Vivaldi & Bach concert with Rachel Podger, which is being presented on Saturday November 5 at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus.

"Given this terrible situation, I'm pleased with how smoothly this transition is being made. The fact that our Saturday concerts will now happen right across the street from First Congo couldn't be better. Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church is an old friend to Philharmonia and has worked very hard to accommodate us. And our patrons and musicians have been extraordinarily supportive," says Monroe.

The season is now all set to begin with the All-Beethoven program featuring Robert Levin now taking place at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette on Sunday October 16. The Saturday October 22 concert is now happening at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.

All Berkeley Series ticket-holders are being instructed to keep their existing tickets and to present them at the door of these new venues in both October and November. While the seating plans are different in the new venues, tickets will be honored and patrons will be assigned seats approximating their subscription preferences. Ushers will be on hand to assist patrons find their new seats.

Subscription tickets for the remaining season concerts beginning in December will be reprinted with new venues and mailed to subscribers.

First Presbyterian Church is located at 2407 Dana St, Berkeley, CA 94704.
Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church is located at 49 Knox Dr, Lafayette, CA 94549.
Hertz Hall is located at 101 Cross-Sproul Path, Berkeley, CA 94704.

For more information, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

Indianapolis Zabur Concert
2:00 p.m., Sunday, Octoober 16, 2016
Carnegie Hall, NYC
The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir inaugurates its 80th Anniversary Season with their return to Carnegie Hall – the Choir's first performance in the storied hall in nearly 40 years.

Eric Stark conducts the New York City debut of the oratorio Zabur by composer Mohammed Fairouz, a piece commissioned and premiered by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in Indianapolis in 2015. Joining the Symphonic Choir are the Indianapolis Children's Choir and New York-based orchestra Mimesis Ensemble. The performance also includes Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations.

For tickets and information, visit:

--Schwalbe and Partners, Inc.

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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