Classical Music News of the Week, November 26, 2016

Opera Colorado's 2017-18 Season Premieres New American Opera and Presents Beloved Classics

Opera Colorado has announced their 2017-2018 season, which continues to enrich and diversify the scope of its programming with their second world premiere in two years, while also staging enduring works from the classic repertoire.

The three-production season will feature the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, a WWII romance based on a true story, with music by Gerald Cohen and libretto by Deborah Brevoort; Giacomo Puccini's beloved classic La Bohème; and Giuseppe Verdi's masterful comic opera Falstaff. In 2017 – 2018 Opera Colorado will also continue to explore performing in diverse venues throughout the community, staging Steal a Pencil for Me at the Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, MACC at the JCC.

"We're thrilled to be continuing our mission to support new American work by staging the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me—right on the heels of our world premiere of The Scarlet Letter in May 2016—and sharing with audiences a richly complex and moving depiction of this true story," said Greg Carpenter, General Director. "We're equally excited about the classic works we will be presenting next season. La Bohème holds a special place in our company's history because we first staged it during our inaugural season featuring the legendary Placido Domingo. This will also mark the first time we present Falstaff in over 25 years, so we look forward to introducing younger audiences to Verdi's incomparable satirical opera."

For complete information, visit

--Clarissa Marzan, Resnicow and Associates

Golden Gate Symphony Presents "Sing It Yourself Messiah"
The Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra & Chorus celebrates the holiday season with its annual "Sing It Yourself Messiah" on Monday, December 12, 7:30 p.m. at Mission Dolores Basilica and Sunday, December 18, 6:00 p.m. at Southern Pacific Brewery. Music Director Urs Leonhardt Steiner will also lead the chorus and audience members with piano accompaniment at the final performance on Monday, December 19, 8:00 p.m. at The Homestead.

These performances mark the Golden Gate Symphony's 10th annual "Sing It Yourself Messiah," offering audiences the opportunity to raise their voices in one of Handel's most beloved choral works and continuing the organization's mission of making classical music accessible and adventurous for all.

The "Sing It Yourself Messiah" is a longstanding tradition in the Bay Area. Created in 1979 by Milton Salkind (1916-1998), former President of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, these performances were a holiday favorite at Davies Symphony Hall for over 25 years. As a student at the Conservatory during this time, Urs Leonhardt Steiner served as President of the Student Body and worked closely with President Salkind on a number of Conservatory programs designed to take classical music to the San Francisco community at large. After the Conservatory announced that they were discontinuing this popular tradition, Maestro Leonhardt Steiner reimagined and revived the "Sing It Yourself Messiah" in a fitting tribute to his mentor. Ten years later, the tradition now includes everything from a full orchestral and choral performance at the Mission Dolores Basilica, to a raucous singalong at two popular Mission bars, the Southern Pacific Brewery and the Homestead.

Golden Gate Symphony & Chorus: "Sing It Yourself Messiah"
Monday, December 12, 7:30 p.m., Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco
Sunday, December 18, 6:00 p.m., Southern Pacific Brewery, San Francisco
Monday, December 19, 8:00 p.m., The Homestead, San Francisco *chorus and piano reduction

Mission Dolores tickets available at Bar performances are open to the public, with limited seating and suggested donation of $20.

--Brenden Guy, Press and Media Relations

New CEO at American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
David Hirsch, President of the Board of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO), announced today that the Board, following a unanimous recommendation of a search committee, has appointed Naomi Grabel as the AFIPO's first Chief Executive Officer effective December 12, 2016.

Mr. Hirsch states: "Ms. Grabel's extensive background made her a great candidate, but it was her vision that ultimately led to her selection as our very first CEO.  The board of the AFIPO has found in Naomi a leader who will focus not only on development but on increasing our footprint through social media to a much larger, more diverse, and younger audience. We recognize that young people are looking to connect with Israel in many ways, and as Israel's greatest non-political ambassador, we fill a very clear and important space."

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

ACO and WWFM Announce The ACO Experience
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and WWFM The Classical Network announce The ACO Experience, a new radio program hosted by Diane Guvenis that features live recordings of music by today's most talented and exciting composers. All works are performed by the American Composers Orchestra or by guest artists and ensembles participating in ACO concerts and ACO's 2011 and 2015 SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, nine-day citywide festivals in New York, each featuring music by more than 100 composers age 40 and under. The broadcast will air once a month on Mondays at 9pm. More information about recent and upcoming broadcasts is available online at:

David Osenberg, WWFM Music Director, says, "In addition to the great European masters and masterpieces of the past The Classical Network is committed to music of our country and our time. For over four decades ACO has been a beacon for American music past and present. This broadcast partnership will allow ACO's invaluable mission and outstanding performances to reach a new and expanded audience."

ACO President Michael Geller says, "We are thrilled to have an ongoing radio presence with The ACO Experience. So much of the music that ACO performs includes world premieres that are unavailable anywhere else, so it makes sense to make this exciting and eclectic new music available beyond the walls of the concert hall. It helps leverage our mission on behalf of the talented composers writing today. And we are tremendously excited about the partnership with WWFM, an award-winning station that has such a strong commitment to new music."

--Katy Salomon, Jensen Artists

Music Institute Welcomes Holidays and New Year
Academy Chamber Music Concert
Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m.: performances by students in the Music Institute's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians

Family Program: "Duke It Out!"
Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.: adaptation of The Nutcracker, curated by Dance Chicago, that pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by Axiom Brass and Music Institute Ensemble-in-Residence Quintet Attacca and several Chicago-area dance companies. $7 general admission

Master Class: Euclid Quartet
Saturday, December 10, 6:15 p.m. (public may observe)
Thoresen Performance Center, Winnetka Campus, 300 Green Bay Road

Music Institute of Chicago Chorale: "Curtains Up!"
Sunday, December 11, 7:30 p.m.: The Chorale's 30th anniversary seasons opens with a program of music for the stage, opera, and musical theatre, in collaboration with the Chicago Children's Choir ensembles from Rogers Park and Humboldt Park. $15 adults, $10 seniors, $7 students,

New Around Town Series
Music of Harold Arlen: Heidi Kettenring, vocals; Jeremy Kahn, piano
Monday, December 12, 7:30 p.m.
Double Monk: Jeremy Kahn and Steve Millon, pianos
Monday, January 30, 7:30 p.m.

Community Music School recitals, concerts, and special events

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

DCINY Presents the North American Premiere of Sir Karl Jenkins's Cantata Memoria
On January 15 at 2 p.m., Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) will present the North American Premiere of Sir Karl Jenkins's Cantata Memoria For the Children (In Memory of Aberfan 1966) at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, NYC. Jonathan Griffith, DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, guides the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International in this new work, a heartfelt memorial to the 116 children and 28 adults who died in the coal mining town of Aberfan, Wales in 1966 when a catastrophic collapse of a slag pile was caused by a buildup of water in the accumulated rock and shale.

Sir Karl said: "Apart from depicting the disaster itself, Cantata Memoria is also a celebration of childhood, gradually moving from darkness to light. I felt privileged and humbled to have been invited to compose this piece, whilst also being mindful of the responsibility the commission carried to create something with integrity and accessibility that would connect and move everyone."

For more information, visit

--Ely Moskowitz, Unison Media

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Holiday Sale. Select Single Tickets 50% off Through Monday
Get 50% off select single tickets in San Francisco and Palo Alto, CA.
Offer good now through Monday 11/28 at midnight.

For a limited time, you can stock up on Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra concert tickets for the rest of the season and save big time! Get PBO concert tickets for yourself or give them as gifts this holiday season.

Choose any price section at select concerts taking place in San Francisco or Palo Alto. There is no limit on the number of tickets or concerts you buy with this fantastic offer. Just order online before Monday 11/28 at midnight.

Use promo code HOLIDAY2016 to get your 50% discount on select PBO concerts now!
Hurry, this offer expires Monday 11/28 at midnight.

Handel's Joshua
Thursday, December 1 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Friday, December 2 @ 7 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto

PBO Sessions: Handel's Joshua
Tuesday, December 6 @ 8 pm | Jewish Community Center SF

Hayden & Mozart
Friday, January 27 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Operatic Heroes
Friday, March 3 @ 8 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Don't Forget!
Use Promo Code HOLIDAY2016 to get your 50% discount today.

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

No comments:

Post a Comment

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 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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, 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

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa