Classical Music News of the Week, December 3, 2016

Gustavo Dudamel to Make Florida Debut as Part of Artis-Naples 2017-18 Visiting Orchestras Series

Artis-Naples' CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen announced the organization's 2017-18 Visiting Orchestras series, which includes the Florida debut of renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who leads the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the final year of its Naples residency on February 27 and 28, 2018.

Dudamel is music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the national orchestra of his home country of Venezuela. The 35-year-old conductor has quickly become one of the world's most lauded and famous classical musicians since bursting onto the world stage at 18. Since then, he has gone on to conduct most of the leading orchestras in the world, including the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and La Scala. This year, he will be the youngest conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Day concert.

"Each year, we hope to bring the world's best orchestras to Naples," van Bergen said. "It is difficult to imagine presenting a pair of more exciting, vibrant and talented set of ensembles to our audiences. They represent the pinnacle of the classical music world, both in the United States and Europe."

For more information, visit

--Jonathan Foerster, Communications Director

Avner Dorman Explores the Link Between Wagner and Hitler in New Opera Wahnfried
In the annals of the Wagner family, the name Houston Stewart Chamberlain is but a footnote. Yet, argues Avner Dorman's new opera Wahnfried, he was in some ways the link between Richard Wagner and Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain was a failing English scientist who became obsessed with Wagner's music, after the composer's death marrying Wagner's daughter Eva and moving to Bayreuth. There he stayed close to his adopted family and, eventually, to Adolf Hitler, whom he hugely admired. Hitler for his part saw Chamberlain as a mentor and was highly influenced by his magnum opus, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century - which codified Aryan supremacy and systemic anti-Semitism. Hitler so admired the older man that he often quoted him, and made the journey to Bayreuth for his funeral.

Wahnfried, scored by the much-in-demand Israeli-American composer Dorman, with a libretto by Lutz Hübner and Sarah Nemitz, two of the most admired German playwrights of our day, presents the story of Chamberlain at Bayreuth. It's a satirical study of a man who thought himself the living embodiment of a Wagnerian hero, only to realize (as he is tormented by the mocking "Wagner demon") that he could never aspire to true greatness. And yet, as so often, mediocrity was no bar to the poison he was able to spread...

Keith Warner directs this world premiere production, which has been commissioned by the Karlsruhe Staatstheater to complement their new production of Wagner's Ring cycle. The opera house's Music Director, Justin Brown, conducts a cast that includes Matthias Wohlbrecht as Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Christina Niessen as Cosima Wagner, Andrew Watts / Eric Jurenas as Siegfried Wagner and Barbara Dobrzanska as Anna Chamberlain. The opera will run in repertoire until 12th May.

The opera plays on the following dates: 28th January 2017, 2nd and 16th February, 19th March, 12th and 24th April and 12th May. More details can be found at

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Los Angeles Master Chorale to Perform Beethoven's Missa solemnis Jan 21 & 22
The Los Angeles Master Chorale will present its first performances of Beethoven's powerful Missa solemnis in 13 years on its own concert series on Saturday, January 21 at 2 PM and Sunday, January 22 at 7 PM at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Heralded as a pillar of the choral and orchestral repertoire, the work is considered a specialty of the Master Chorale that last performed the work with Artistic Director Grant Gershon in Disney Hall in 2004.

Although Beethoven is believed to have called Missa solemnis ("Solemn Mass") his greatest work, the piece is not frequently performed owing to the large number of resources it requires including a full choir, large orchestra, and four soloists. It is also exceptionally technically challenging.

"The Missa Solemnis is like an epic journey up the river of Beethoven's tormented psyche as he struggles to find faith at the end of his life," says Gershon. "There is no chorus on the planet that sings this transcendently challenging music with more visceral power and breathtaking beauty than the Los Angeles Master Chorale. If you love Beethoven, you cannot miss this!"

Tickets to all concerts are available now, starting from $29.
Phone: 213-972-7282

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Celebrate the Winter Season with Young People's Chorus of NYC
"Ring in The New: A Festive Winter Concert"
Sunday, December 11, 2 P.M. & 5:30 P.M.
92nd Street Y, New York City
An exciting annual celebration of holiday music and traditions representing the many ways New York City families commemorate the season.  YPC's award-winning choristers will perform a program of holiday favorites, international gems, and some very special surprises in a fun-filled concert for the whole family.

"A City Singing at Christmas"
Featuring Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir, Queens College Choir, The Cathedral Organ, and New York Symphonic Brass
St. Patrick's Cathedral
1395 Lexington Avenue, NYC
Thursday, December 15, 7 p.m.

A Holiday Reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"
Performance by YPC Washington Heights Community Chorus, among other guests
The Church of the Intercession
550 West 155th Street, NYC
Sunday, December 18, 3 p.m.

For complete information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

January 2017 Concerts at 92nd Street Y
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 8:30PM
92Y - Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Asi Matathias, violin
Victor Stanislavsky, piano

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 7:30PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Pacifica Quartet
Jörg Widmann, clarinet

Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3:00PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic

Tickets and information are available at or 212-415-5500.

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Yoshiki at Carnegie Hall: Jan 12 and 13
Yoshiki, songwriter, drummer/percussionist, classically-trained pianist and the creative force of the rock group X JAPAN, announced a special concert event: "Yoshiki Classical Special featuring Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra." The classical concerts will take place on January 12 and 13, 2017 at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium.

For the Carnegie Hall concert, Yoshiki will perform his original compositions alongside the world-renowned Tokyo Philharmonic as well as several works from the traditional Classical repertoire. This New York concert follows Classical performances also taking place in Japan and Hong Kong.

"I began taking piano lessons and music theory at age four, and became interested in classical works by Beethoven and Schubert," explains Yoshiki.  "In elementary school, I played the trumpet in the brass band, and around age ten started composing songs for piano. I've been writing classical music ever since. Needless to say, classical music has been a major influence in my musical career."

Yoshiki Classical Special featuring Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra:
Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, NYC
Thursday January 12 and Friday, January 13 at 7:30 pm

Tickets from $40 to $105 available by calling 212-247-7800, at the Carnegie Hall Box Office (57th Street & 7th Avenue), or at

--Shira Gilbert PR

New England Conservatory Announces Winners of 2016 Entrepreneurial Muscianship Grants
The New England Conservatory Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department (EM) announces the winners of the Fall 2016 round of Project Grants. Following a highly competitive written application and Shark Tank-style pitch, seven students were awarded the EM Project Grant, which provides modest seed funding and access to a cohort of advisors to support them along the way.

Morgan Middleton
"Remember When"

Amanda Ekery
"The Lomax Folk Project"

Andrew Steinberg
"The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra"

Rayna Yun Chou
"Music, Distance, and One Minute of Just Us"

Lauren Parks
"Musical Storybooks"

Julian Loida & Sofia Kriger
"Mojubá: Bringing CUBA to the Community"

For more information, visit

--Lisa Helfer Elghazi, Media Relations

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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