Classical Music News of the Week, December 17, 2016

West Edge Opera Inaugurates Snapshot, Highlights California Composers' Works

West Edge Opera inaugurates "Snapshot." New program highlights Northern California composers' works, January 21 and 22; February 25 and 26, 2017.

"I wish there had been something like Snapshot when I was first coming along and looking for such opportunities." -- Jake Heggie

This January and February West Edge Opera inaugurates Snapshot, an initiative that introduces new work by both emerging and established Northern California composers. Conceived and curated by composer Brian M. Rosen, Snapshot presents excerpts from eight previously unproduced operas over two programs performed in intimate concert settings in venues in Berkeley and San Francisco: the Goldman Theater at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley and the historic and newly renovated Bayview Opera House at 4705 3rd Street in San Francisco. Conductors Mary Chun and Jonathan Khuner lead an instrumental chamber group featuring members of San Francisco-based new music ensemble Earplay.

On January 21st at 8:00 p.m. at the David Brower Center and January 22nd at 3:00 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House, Snapshot presents the work of David Conte, Stephen Eddins, William David Cooper and Alden Jenks.

Works by Carla Lucero, Allen Shearer, Linda Bouchard and Liam Wade comprise the second program of Snapshot, presented on February 25th at 8:00 p.m. at the David Brower Center and February 26th at 3:00 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House.

Earplay has been a cornerstone of new music performance in the SF Bay Area since its formation in 1985. Throughout its history the chamber ensemble has commissioned over 80 works and premiered more than 140 pieces by today's leading composers. The musicians return to work with West Edge Opera in Snapshot after performing in last year's Powder Her Face. Conducting duties will be split between Earplay's Mary Chun and West Edge Opera Music Director Jonathan Khuner. Vocalists are being confirmed and will be announced shortly.

Named after the "father of the modern environmental movement," the David Brower Center houses 28 national and international organizations dedicated to environmental advocacy and creating sustainable living conditions for the global community. The Goldman Theater is an intimate space for lectures and performances within the center. The Bayview Opera House is an 1888 registered historic landmark and San Francisco's oldest theater.  A venue located in the heart of San Francisco's most diverse area, the organization is committed to providing affordable arts education opportunities for all.

Members of the audience will be treated to video introductions with Snapshot's composers and librettists before each excerpt at both venues. General admission tickets go on sale December 1st and will be available online at or by phone at (510) 841-1903. Tickets are $30 each.

--Kate McKinney, West Edge Opera

Mirror Visions Ensemble Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Concert on January 16
Mirror Visions Ensemble (MVE) celebrates its 25th anniversary on Monday, January 16 at 8:00 p.m. at the Loreto Theater at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture with a concert entitled "Reflections and Projections: 25 Years of Mirror Visions." Sopranos Vira Slywotzky and Justine Aronson are joined by tenor Scott Murphree, baritones Jesse Blumberg and Mischa Bouvier, and pianists Alan Darling and Margaret Kampmeier.

MVE was founded from a desire to explore the relationship between music and text, initially through the creation of "mirror visions"--settings of the same text to music by different composers. Throughout the group's history, the ensemble has championed and fostered the work of new composers, providing a platform for their works to be showcased through the commissioning and performance of over 80 works by 24 composers, creating deep contributions to the catalogue of American art song.

The anniversary concert showcases MVE's commitment to new work and includes the world premieres of the four winning pieces from the ensemble's inaugural Young Composer's Competition: Margaret Barrett's At a Window, with text by Carl Sandburg; John Glover's Squall with text by Leonora Speyer; Aaron Grad's Invitation to Love with text by Paul Laurence Dunbar; and Daniel Temkin's Summer Rain with text by James Joyce and Amy Lowell.

For more information, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Gregg Kallor's Setting of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" at SubCulture January 14
Pianist/composer Gregg Kallor brings his acclaimed setting of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Tell-Tale Heart," to SubCulture on January 14, 2017 with soprano Melody Moore and cellist Joshua Roman, featuring a semi-staging by Sarah Meyers. The sold-out premiere in October and final concert of Unison Media's Crypt Sessions concert series was featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NYC Arts 13, and on NY1 among others.

"I can't think of a better opera to become a new Halloween tradition." --New York Observer

Kallor has also been commissioned to write a new work for string orchestra by Town Hall Seattle, which will be premiered by the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Joshua Roman on June 21st, 2017.

SubCulture Presents: Gregg Kallor - "The Tell-Tale Heart," with Melody Moore, soprano, and Joshua Roman, cello. Directed by Sarah Meyers

January 14, 2017 | Doors 10PM | Show 11PM
Tickets: $35

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Opera Star Deborah Voigt to Join Vireo - a Made-for-TV-and-Online Opera by Lisa Bielawa
Composer Lisa Bielawa's Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser will feature world-renowned opera star Deborah Voigt singing a role created for her in Vireo's Episode Eleven, "Circus," to be shot on January 20, 2017 at the 16th Street Oakland Train Station in Oakland, California.

Vireo is a new, made-for-TV-and-online opera composed by Lisa Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, which is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly in 12, 10-to-15-minute episodes for release online and on TV. In May 2017, KCET in Southern California and Link TV nationwide (DirecTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410) will release all 12 episodes of Vireo at once for free, via on-demand streaming, which is a first for both. Vireo is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award, and was recently awarded a prestigious MAP Fund Grant for 2016 through Grand Central Art Center.

Deborah Voigt will sing the role of the Queen of Sweden in Episode Eleven, "Circus." Vireo's cast includes mezzo-soprano Maria Lazarova as Vireo's Mother, baritone Gregory Purnhagen as the Doctor, Ryan Glover as the student Raphael, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin as the Voice/Witch, mezzo-soprano Kristen Sollek as The Cow, bass-baritone Chung Wai Soong as The Elephant, 15-year-old soprano Emma MacKenzie as Vireo's mysterious twin Caroline, and 18-year-old soprano Rowen Sabala in the title role of Vireo. "Circus" will also include Magik*Magik Orchestra; San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) & Chorus School; Lance Suzuki, piccolo; Matthias Bossi, drums; and approximately 50 amateur musicians, participating via the Amateur Music Network, in the role of The Audience.

The final episode of Vireo, "My Name is Vireo," will be shot on January 16, 2017 and will feature the Kronos Quartet with lead Rowen Sabala in a Californian redwood forest. Episode Ten is in progress, and features the Vireo cast plus violinist Jennifer Koh with members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus School; Kate Campbell, toy piano; and Randy Matamoros, hurdy-gurdy.

More information: and

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Artis-Naples Capital Campaign Reaches $40 Million Mark
Artis-Naples' CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen and Board Chairman Ned Lautenbach announced today complete board participation in the organization's Future-Forward capital campaign, an important milestone. Through the generosity of these board members, the campaign has commitments of $40 million, including 13 gifts of $1 million or more.

"I can't express deep enough admiration for my fellow board members who have accepted the challenge of this campaign and delivered unprecedented support," Lautenbach said. "This initial wave of funding shows the community how serious this organization takes its future and the future of arts and culture in Southwest Florida."

"Artis-Naples has grown tremendously over its first two-plus decades as the cultural heart of our community," van Bergen said. "Now that we have reached a certain level of financial stability, it is time to imagine what the next quarter century will bring and how we all can embrace the future of arts and culture."

For more information, visit

--Jonathan Foerster, Artis-Naples

DCINY Presents Reflections of Peace at Carnegie Hall on January 16
On January 16 at 7 p.m., Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) will present Reflections of Peace, a night of concert music featuring the NYC premiere of Kim André Arnesen's Requiem, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, as well as selected works performed by Virginia-based wind ensemble Flutopia.

Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall, NYC.

Kim André Arnesen is one of the most frequently performed classical composers from Norway today and is known for his extensive body of choral works. He is also an elected member of the Norwegian Society of Composers. Arnesen's Requiem was Commissioned by The Nidaros Cathedral Boys´ Choir and conductor Bjørn Moe, Trondheim, Norway, and premiered in Nidaros Cathedral on April 6, 2014.

About his work, Arnesen has stated "My Requiem is not dedicated to any particular person or group. I wanted to write a requiem that could provide solace to people who are in pain and grieving, or to assist in a moment of remembrance and honoring." Instead of utilizing the complete text of the original Requiem Mass, Arnesen decided to include text from foreign sources such as Emily Dickinson's poem "Not in Vain." DCINY Associate Artistic Director James Meaders will lead this NYC Premiere.

More information about the concert:
Tickets for the concert are now on sale from $20:

--Ely Moskowitz, Unison Media

The Shared Roots of Wagner and Klezmer
Salon/Sanctuary Concerts Presents "Of Meistersinger and Mizmorim: The Wandering Troubador, the Origins of Klezmer, and the Roots of Wagnerian Fantasy."

Corina Marti, recorders and clavisymbalum; Ivo Haun, tenor; Ayelet Karni, recorders; Christa Patton, harp; music and texts by Moniot de Paris, Mahieu le Juif, Guiraut Riquier, Obadiah the Proselyte, and anonymus songes and dances.

Thursday, January 12th, 8:00pm

The Brotherhood Synagogue
28 Gramercy Park South
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25/$35/$100; call 1-888-718-4253 or visit

For more information, visit

--Salon Sanctuary Concerts

Decca Launches Publishing Division
Decca has appointed highly respected publishing executive Natasha Baldwin to launch a music publishing division dedicated to expanding the opportunities for neo-classical composers to write for television, film and video games.

Decca Publishing, which launches in the UK this week, will complement the classical division of Universal Music Publishing, one of the largest and most respected publishers of classical music in the world.

Baldwin joins Universal Music Group as Senior Vice President, Head of Decca Publishing from Imagem Music where she was Group President, Creative & Marketing. Based in London, she reports directly to Dickon Stainer, President and CEO Universal Global Classics, while working closely with the senior team at Universal Music Publishing in London, New York and Santa Monica.

With streaming services and mood-based playlists providing a new platform for original works by neo-classical composers, Decca will offer an aligned recording and publishing strategy for its artists and their unique creative projects, such as Ludovico Einaudi's "Elements" on Decca and Max Richter's "Sleep" on Deutsche Grammophon.

Decca Publishing will work with Universal Music Publishing Classical on appropriate projects and synchronisation opportunities involving their respective composers and repertoire. The new division will also enhance Universal Music UK's other recent soundtrack composer initiatives, such as Globe Soundtrack and Score,  a label services offering for film makers and composers launched in conjunction with Abbey Road Studios.

--Olga Makrias, Universal Music Group

Spring Concerts at ASPECT Foundation for Music & Arts
The ASPECT Foundation for Music and Arts continues its North American debut season with three exciting concerts from its Musical Capitals and Great Muses series. Prior to its successful opening night concert on October 5, WQXR listed ASPECT Foundation's series as one of "6 Events This Fall for Classical Music Lovers," and it received critical acclaim for its sold-out first performance.   Founded in London in 2011, ASPECT Foundation has found a new locale at Columbia University's intimate Italian Academy for the 2016/17 season. "Music In Context," which expands the notion of classical music as it is experienced in the standard concert setting, incorporates a variety of art forms as well as lecture and discussion to give audience members a more multifaceted, integrated understanding of the social context and historical relevance behind a piece of music.

Guest speakers include British classical music radio broadcaster, composer, and author Stephen Johnson; historical musicologist Nicholas Chong; and Yale Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Music History Paul Berry, who lead the series' "Illustrated Talks." By incorporating these illuminating speakers to the traditional classical music recital setting, the audience experiences some of the genre's most revered masterworks in a more contextual light, deepening understanding and appreciation for the genius of these timeless composers and their compositional legacies.

For more inforation, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Do "InsideOut" Concerts Point a Way Towards Classical Music's Future?
At a time when orchestras around the world are trying to find new ways to attract audiences, New York's Park Avenue Chamber Symphony (PACS) orchestra has a startling philosophy – developed around the idea of doing for audiences what orchestras have always done, only thrillingly more so. Their "InsideOut" concerts, trialed with great success last year, put audiences literally in the center of the music – seating them amongst the musicians, within the fabric of the orchestra itself. Last year's "InsideOut" debut sold out within days, and competition for places in the next concert in the series – on February 4th 2017 at the DiMenna Center – promises to be intense, as PACS Music Director David Bernard conducts Stravinsky's The Firebird suite and Haydn's Surprise Symphony (two works particularly suited to the "InsideOut" format).

Why is this important to orchestras and their audiences? It's all to do with the experience, says David Bernard, whose brainchild this is: "Movie producers sought to make the viewer's experience more immersive through new technologies that incorporate 3D and large screen IMAX formats.  The reason is clear—to win, or even compete in the game of audience acquisition/retention, you have to be innovative on delivering unforgettable experiences. The result has been a rebirth of the movie-going experience that has successfully staved off competition for consumers' time and dollars—while actually increasing the ticket prices for these enhanced experiences. When thinking about how orchestras can achieve the same kind of success—transforming the audience experience in ways that not only surprise and delight concert goers, but also more solidly monetize the orchestra—I conceived of the "InsideOut" approach."

For more information and tickets, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

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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