Classical Music News of the Week, October 21, 2017

Lagrime di San Pietro to Return to Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Los Angeles Master Chorale's groundbreaking and critically-acclaimed production of Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) directed by Peter Sellars will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA for a special Gala performance on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 7 PM.

The performance will be conducted by Grant Gershon, the Kiki and David Gindler Artistic Director, and feature 21 Master Chorale singers who perform the 75-minute, dramatically-staged work from memory. The performance will be part of a gala evening honoring Los Angeles arts philanthropists Kiki and David Gindler for their leadership, and honoring Sellars for artistic vision. David Gindler is currently Chairman of the Los Angeles Master Chorale Board of Directors, a position that he will step down from on June 30, 2018 after serving two three-year terms. In 2012, the Los Angeles Master Chorale announced a gift of $1 million from the Gindlers. The gift established the Master Chorale's Artistic Director's Circle, a group of dedicated donors who donate $50,000 or more to the organization to support core institutional programming to enable innovative projects.

Lagrime is the Los Angeles Master Chorale's first collaboration with the internationally-renowned Sellars and his first staging of an a cappella choral work. A longtime colleague and friend of Gershon, the two discovered a shared passion for Renaissance music and were intrigued — and challenged — by the idea of staging Lagrime, a work that, although widely respected, remains relatively under-performed.

Single tickets to the concert will be released at a later date pending availability

Gala table reservations and tickets including the Lagrime performance on Sunday, March 18 and pre- and post-concert festivities are available now from 213-972-4355 and For information and pricing visit

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

See American Opera Projects Nationwide
Philadelphia - 11/29 & 30
"Wolf-In-Skins" workshop performance of a dance opera

Brooklyn's Ft. Greene Park
Free pop-up opera

Hudson, NY - 11/18, 1:00 & 4:00pm
"One Thousand Splendid Suns" - Act II Workshop

San Diego, Chicago, and Des Moines
"As One" - Full Production - 3 Cities!

For complete details, visit

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

Young People's Chorus of NYC Debuts at The Metropolitan Museum
The Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), led by Artistic Director and Founder Francisco J. Núñez, debuts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the New York premiere of composer Ben Moore and librettist Kelley Rourke's Odyssey: A Youth Opera, an hour-long re-telling of Homer's epic. This new, fully staged and costumed production incorporates video imagery from the Museum's extensive collection—including images of ancient Greek art and artifacts—to create thematic links to the action on stage. The production is directed and choreographed by Eric Sean Fogel, with video and projection design by S. Katy Tucker. Three performances, presented as part of the Museum's MetLiveArts series, will be held at The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on Friday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 4 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Tickets start at $50 and are available online at or by phone at 212-570-3949. Tickets are $1 for children ages 5 to 16 with the purchase of one adult ticket. For groups of 15 or more, call 212-570-3750.

For more information, visit

--Shuman PR

Augustin Hadelich Named Musical America's Instrumentalist of the Year
Classical violinist Augustin Hadelich has been named Musical America's 2018 Instrumentalist of the Year, it was announced today by the pre-eminent performing arts resource. The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2018 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts which will pay homage to Augustin and his fellow-award winners in its editorial pages.

In his tribute article for the 2018 Musical America Directory, Bruce Hodges praises Augustin's "lyrical, singing style" and "unambiguously emotional style, abetted by the lyrical, singing quality of his "Ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivari from 1723 [that] affords audiences exalted performances from Mozart to the moderns."

--Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International

Francisco J. Núñez Named Musical America's 2018 Educator of the Year
Francisco J. Núñez, Artistic Director and Founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), was today announced as the recipient of Musical America's Educator of the Year award.

Musical America will hold a ceremony for award winners at Carnegie Hall's Weill Terrace Room on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Other winners include Andris Nelsons (Artist of the Year), Mason Bates (Composer of the Year), Augustin Hadelich (Instrumentalist of the Year), and Sondra Radvanovsky (Vocalist of the Year).

--Shuman Associates

Nic McGegan Leads Juilliard415 - Buy One, Get One Free
Witness the future of historically-informed performance as Nicholas McGegan leads the talented student musicians of the Juilliard415 ensemble in a side-by-side concert with the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players. Hear works by Telemann, Rameau, Gluck, Avison, and others inspired by the music, culture, and people of Baroque France, Spain, Scotland, the Ottoman Empire, Persia and China in this musical excursion.

Join us for this inspiring program at the Koret Auditorium at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA on Sunday, October 29 at 4pm. Come to the museum early to enjoy free access to the dynamic exhibit in Wilsey Court, the Café and Terrace with sculpture garden, and the Hamon Observation Tower on the 9th floor with 360 degree views of the city. Tickets to other museum exhibits can be purchased on site.

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

PARMA: October 2017 Call for Scores
PARMA is pleased to be partnering with a diverse slate of soloists and ensembles to select works for a variety of upcoming recording and release projects. There is also a possibility of live performance of recorded works during the performers' regular concert seasons.

For each category below, we are working on crafting a full album of music representing the finest in contemporary composition for each instrumentation. The resulting recordings will be released and distributed physically and digitally on a PARMA label imprint and distributed via Naxos.

For pieces selected by PARMA and the performers, the composer is responsible for securing funding for all costs associated with recording and production. In return, the music will be professionally recorded and released on a commercial album, the composer will have full creative control during the production process, and the composer will retain all ownership of the master and underlying composition.

For complete information, visit

--PARMA Recordings

92nd Street Y November Concert Highlights
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 8 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Leila Josefowicz, violin
John Novacek, piano

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 7:30 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Bach Odyssey IV
Angela Hewitt, piano

Friday, November 10, 2017, 9:30 pm
92Y – Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Pedja Muzijevic,piano and prepared piano

Sunday, November 12, 2017, 3 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
New York Philharmonic String Quartet
New York Recital Debut

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 7:30 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Benjamin Grosvenor,piano
92Y debut

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

The Wallace Foundation Releases Story on the Seattle Symphony's Approach to Market Research
The Wallace Foundation today released the second installment in its "Building Audiences for Sustainability" (BAS) Stories series that looks at preliminary efforts of performing arts organizations to attract and retain new audiences in ways that also contribute to their financial health.

The Seattle Symphony story focuses on the orchestra's efforts to counter a trend in declining ticket sales by reaching new residents in downtown Seattle, home to the orchestra's performance hall. The article, written by Judith Dobrzynski, and video, produced by Stephanie Carter of WNET, are both available at

The story shows the Seattle Symphony's use of market research to more effectively target a new downtown audience that is growing at twice the rate of Seattle's overall population. To attract these prospective symphony attendees—dubbed by Seattle as "new urban cultural consumers" or NUCCs—the company developed three new concert formats, all more informal than its signature, more traditional "Masterworks" series.

It was unclear at first whether the new concert series would result in increased Masterworks attendance. "While they were never intended to be a formal series or viewed as a stepping stone from one concept to the next," Dobrzynski writes of the company's thought process, "there was some initial thinking that they might spur general interest in the symphony and therefore potentially in the core Masterworks concerts."

To read the release, visit

For more information on Building Audiences for Sustainability or on other Wallace arts initiatives, visit:

--Barbara P. Escobar, Resnicow and Associates

The Green Music Center Resumes Programing
Since the early morning hours of October 9, our community has been struck by devastating fires that have ripped through our neighborhoods in Northern California. Many of us experienced the damage of the fires firsthand, including 50 Sonoma State students, faculty, and staff who lost their homes. Our thoughts are with the many people who are impacted.

We are extremely thankful for the efforts made by the first responders, the care displayed by those who volunteered their time and resources, and the dedication shown by countless employees across the CSU system who came here from throughout the state to share their time and skills. Some GMC staff took part in the EOC efforts here on campus. Others volunteered countless hours at evacuation shelters across the region. Thank you for the grit and grace displayed in the midst of such devastation. We have never been more proud to be a part of the Sonoma State family.

Across the Sonoma State University Campus, our recovery efforts are all under the banner of #NomaCares. If you or someone you know would like to attend a concert at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center through the month of October, but have been impacted by the fires in any way, please know that money is not our primary concern. We seek to be a haven of peace in a time of deep hurt. All are welcome – pay as you can, come as you are. To access tickets, please use the promo code NomaCares.

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

Community Music Center Benefit Concert Raising Money for Victims of Hurricane Maria, Mexico Earthquakes, and North Bay
CMC Faculty and Students will perform on November 3, 2017 at 7pm in a benefit for victims of Hurricane Maria, Mexico earthquakes and North Bay Fires. The concert will take place at the Community Music Center at 544 Capp Street (between 20th and 21st streets) in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The concert will feature several CMC performing ensembles including the CMC Cuban Charanga Ensemble directed by Tregar Otton; the Latin Vocal Workshop and Coro de Camara directed by Martha Rodriguez Salazar, CMC Children's Chorus directed by Beth Wilmurt and other performances by Allison Love Joy, CMC's Old Time Music Group featuring Erik Pearson, Tregar Otton and other CMC students and faculty.

100% of the proceeds will go to support victims of these disasters through the funds below:

Supporting Puerto Rican Communities in the Recovery from Hurricane Maria:

California North Bay Fires: Redwood Empire Food Bank:

Mexico City Earthquakes:

Learn more about CMC at

--Sylvia Sherman, Community Music Center

Beethoven: Panorama (CD review)

Leonore Overture; Piano Concerto No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Piano Sonatas 17 & 21; String Quartet "Razumovsky." Carlos Kleiber, Claudio Abbado, Karl Bohm, Maurizio Pollini. DG Panorama 289 469 112-2 (2-disc set).

This two-disc set began DG's second series of "Panorama" double albums, featuring some of the company's best older recordings of Beethoven. Like many others in the series, these discs offer some magical and highly persuasive moments at a relatively low price. It remains a bargain and a must-have if you don't already have these performances in your library.

The program begins with the Leonore Overture, performed by Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in 1991. The performance displays commendable energy and drive, but finds flaw in its mediocre, curiously lifeless sound.

Following the overture on disc one is the Fourth Piano Concerto with pianist Maurizio Pollini and conductor Karl Bohm with the Vienna Philharmonic. Pollini's playing appears a bit distant but as always his craftsmanship and precision are without peer. The recording, made in 1976, is fuller, warmer, and more ambient than the later Abbado productions and provides a more comfortable listening experience.

Carlos Kleiber
Disc one concludes with what is perhaps the most famous and most critically acclaimed recording of the last forty or fifty years, Carlos Kleiber's 1975 rendition of the Fifth Symphony, also with the Vienna Philharmonic. The set would be worth its price for this electrifying and emotionally charged performance alone. On a side note, DG also offer this Fifth Symphony in their "Originals" series of single discs, coupled with Kleiber's excellent interpretation of the Seventh Symphony.

Disc two begins with a pair of piano sonatas, No. 21 "Waldstein," and No. 17 "The Tempest." Both find pianistic perfection in a 1989 recording by Maurizio Pollini. The lineup concludes with the String Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3 "Razumovsky." Recorded in 1997 by the Emerson String Quartet, it is immediate in sound and evocative in spirit.

Given that so many record companies are repackaging older material these days, it's good to see DG doing so with such good taste, creativity, and generosity. What's more, given that DG first issued this set some years ago, one can find it at a ridiculously low price new or almost nothing used. You won't find better value anywhere in the world of recorded music.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

McEncroe: Symphonic Suites 1 & 2: A Medieval Saga (CD review)

Mark J. Saliba, orchestration; Anthony Armore, Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra. Navona Records NV6116 (2-disc set).

Australian composer and pianist Mark John McEncroe (b. 1947) began his career in music working in his early twenties and thirties as a label manager for EMI Records in Australia and Sweden. It was during this time that he also took up piano, trumpet, flute, and clarinet, mainly as a hobby but later in depth. It wasn't until 2003 that he began studying music theory and composition, and since that time he has composed a number of works and recorded an equal number of albums. While his usual approach (including the current album) has been to write the scores for piano and then collaborate with Mark J. Saliba, who would orchestrate the pieces, he is currently studying orchestration, perhaps to do more of the work himself.

McEncroe began writing the Symphonic Suites 1 & 2: A Medieval Saga in 2007, originally entitling them "A Modern Medieval Tale" (now "Just Another Medieval Tale") and the second "And The Medieval Tale Continues," perhaps hinting that there are more "medieval tales" to come. Even though McEncroe regards the two works as "symphonies with a story to tell," he was probably right in labeling them suites because that's pretty much what they are: two series of program music describing life in medieval times. In this regard they reminded me of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (if you substitute Renaissance for medieval), and, indeed, the composer is currently developing his suites into a ballet. Of course, the suites may also remind some listeners of film music (here, for example, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky comes to mind), and perhaps even a score for an Arthurian epic. Understand, I only mean this observation as a compliment as the music is quite graphic.

The titles of the various movements may give you a better idea of their content.

Suite No. 1:
1. Entrance of the King
2. Strutting Peacocks - Hangers on at Court
3. Rising Discontent
4. Peasants Uprising
5. An Uneasy Truce
6. A New Way Forward
7. The Quest - A Search for Truth

Suite No. 2:
1. The Gathering of Forces - A Call to Arms
2. The Night Before the Battle
3. The Siege
4. A Call for Peace
5. Hail to the New King
6. A Brave New World

Each suite is a little over forty minutes, so together they are a bit too long to accommodate on a single CD. But not to worry: Navona Records offers the two-disc set for the price of one, so everyone is happy.

Mark John McEncroe
Anyway, the section titles tell it all. The music describes a series of dramatic scenes from medieval life, mainly conflicts and turbulences among the ruling classes. There's a lovely lyricism to the slower segments that one can see would lend themselves nicely to ballet. The battle sequences also work well, developing an appropriate intensity.

And so it goes. The orchestration is often lush and romantic. The Janácek Philharmonic do a splendid job articulating the various degrees of ardour and periodically feverish passion the score requires. And Maestro Anthony Armore manages to keep it all of one piece, as the score does tend to go off in different directions on occasion.

I can't say the music impressed me overmuch with its originality, however, because by the time I finished the first suite, I wasn't quite ready for a sequel. Fortunately, the second suite actually comes across as more innovative, more creative, more tuneful, and more atmospheric than the first. I can't help wondering, then, if it wouldn't have been better for McEncroe to have synthesized a single suite of numbers from the two suites. At about an hour, he might have something important here. In the meantime, we look forward to the upcoming ballet he has planned for the music.

The album's producer and engineer, Jaroslav Zouhar, recorded the two suites at The Hall of Culture, Ostrava, Czech Republic in June 2015 and January 2016. There is sometimes a rather bright, edgy upper midrange response in the first of the suites that tends to dominate the music, but if you can get past that, things are fairly neutral. Clarity is OK if a bit steely, as I say. Good depth of field helps with realism, as do strong dynamics. Hall resonance sometimes appears just right and at other times appears a tad too reverberant and tubby. Mid bass is full and round, providing a comforting warmth to the proceedings. Most of the time the sound is natural and lifelike, especially in the second suite, which I not only liked more for its musical content but sounds better recorded to me.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, October 14, 2017

The Crypt Sessions Presents Alyson Cambridge, Singing From the Diary of Sally Hemings

Alyson Cambridge
The Crypt Sessions Season 2 concludes on November 15, 2017 with American Soprano Alyson Cambridge singing William Bolcom's song cycle From the Diary of Sally Hemings. The eighteen imagined diary entries tell the life story of Thomas Jefferson's slave-turned-mistress, grappling with issues of race, regret, respect and love that are as relevant today as they were back then.

Cambridge has been hailed by critics as "radiant, vocally assured, dramatically subtle and compelling, and artistically imaginative" (Washington Post), noted for her "powerful, clear voice" (New York Times) and "revelatory, sensual, smoky readings" (Opera News).

The performance will feature a pre-concert reception included in the ticket price, where Magnvm Opvs hosts a tasting of wines specially chosen to suit the music of that evening's concert, and Ward 8 Events provides hors d'oeuvres similarly tailored to the wine and the performance.

November 11, 2017 | Wine & Food Tasting 7 pm | Show 8 pm
Tickets: $75, including Wine & Food Tasting
Crypt Chapel underneath the Church of the Intercession, Harlem, NY.

Due to rapid sell-outs and waiting lists, each new concert will be announced immediately after the one preceding it, first to the mailing list, then via The Crypt Sessions Web site ( and Facebook page.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

One Found Sound's Season Opening Performance
A democratically run chamber orchestra that performs without a conductor, One Found Sound opens its fifth anniversary season with a program that highlights varying styles of dance music spanning three centuries. Works include Webern's arrangement of Ricercar a 6 from J.S. Bach's The Musical Offering, Serenade for Winds, Op. 44 by Dvorák and Danses Concertantes by Stravinsky. Audiences members are invited to attend in Halloween-inspired costume and stay for the after-show dance party.

Friday, October 27, 8:00 p.m.
Monument SF (140 9th Street, San Francisco)

--Brenden Guy

Historic Nichols Concert Hall Undergoing Renovation
The Music Institute of Chicago is preparing to undertake significant capital restoration of Nichols Concert Hall, a cultural anchor on Chicago's North Shore located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. The project will enhance and improve the experience for audiences of chamber music, jazz, orchestral concerts, dance, and much more, while preserving the characteristics that qualified the facility for landmark designation by the Evanston Historical Landmark Commission.

Renovation work began in 2015 and included a full replacement of the HVAC system, repairs to 12 original entrance doors, and restoration of window lintels. In this second phase of capital improvements, the Music Institute will rebuild the Hall's front steps with a full masonry restoration of the Indiana Limestone Treads matching original materials and aesthetics, replace hand railings, add lighting, and refresh landscaping. Immediate repair of the entry is imperative due to safety concerns, and the aging decline and settlement of the staircase led to deterioration of the original foundation. Approved by the Evanston Historical Landmark Commission, the work is scheduled for completion in late April 2018.

Nichols Concert Hall, a Classical Revival-style structure, was designed in 1912 by renowned Chicago architect Solon S. Beman as First Church of Christ, Scientist. The Music Institute acquired the building and transformed the upper level into an acoustically perfect, 550-seat performance space that is home to a fully restored 1914 E.M. Skinner pipe organ. The Music Institute converted the lower level into Evanston's Community Music School campus. Nichols Concert Hall opened in 2003 and received the Richard H. Driehaus Award for best adaptive use by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Conductor Nell Flanders To Join The Chelsea Symphony
The Chelsea Symphony, featured in the hit Amazon show Mozart in the Jungle, announces the appointment of conductor Nell Flanders to their conducting staff. Ms. Flanders takes the podium on October 27 and 28 in her first official concert as TCS conductor, joining the ranks with Matthew Aubin, Reuben Blundell, and Mark Seto in leading concerts throughout the 2017/18 season. Ms. Flanders was chosen from a field of four finalists after a year-long selection process with dozens of candidates.

Every concert by The Chelsea Symphony features soloists, composers, and conductors taken from the ensemble. This is a collective of New York City professional freelancers coming together to create meaningful, self-governed concerts--a unique model in the classical world.

Nell Flanders' conducting credits include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, Mannes Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and the Riverside Orchestra. She served as a cover conductor for JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic during the 2014-15 season and was the assistant conductor at Peabody Opera Theater during 2016-17. An enthusiastic proponent of contemporary music, Ms. Flanders has conducted many orchestral premieres with groups such as Mannes American Composers Ensemble, The Secret Opera Company, Peabody's Now Hear This, and The Chelsea Symphony. In May 2016 she conducted the premiere of Jochem Le Cointre's opera Steppenwolf.

For more information, visit

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

Lucy Moses School joins Park Avenue Chamber Orchestra for "Instrument Zoo"
The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony partners with the Lucy Moses School to bring an "Instrument Zoo" to its special family InsideOut Halloween offering, October 28th.

The afternoon family event that precedes each Park Avenue Chamber Symphony (PACS) evening concert is always a special event. This fall, with the addition of an "Instrument Zoo" led by New York's largest community music school, the InsideOut family Halloween event on October 28th at 2pm will offer an unforgettable afternoon for children.

The "Instrument Zoo" will feature members of the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center, who will join the PACS musicians and Music Director David Bernard at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, to offer a menagerie of string and wind instruments for children to touch and get to know (but probably best not to attempt to feed them). It will round off a thrilling afternoon.

The afternoon event will begin with a performance at 2pm featuring Saint-Saens's hugely entertaining Danse Macabre, alongside excerpts from Berlioz's ghoulsome Symphonie Fantastique. The audience will experience the musical ghouls up close, as they will be seated amongst the musicians throughout the orchestra, in Bernard's popular and vivid InsideOut concert format. Bernard will explain and talk about each musical piece.

All events will take place at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 W 37th St, New York City, NY.

For more information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

To Our Community in This Difficult Time
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you as our Green Music Center community experiences immense loss from the fires in the North Bay, Sonoma County, CA. Our thoughts are with the many people who are impacted and those who are serving the community at this time.
Sonoma State University has canceled all classes and university business until Monday, October 16, and the Green Music Center has followed suit by canceling the performances scheduled this weekend. We aim to resume normal business hours on Monday. At that point, please reach out with any questions or concerns and our team will do our best to meet each request in a timely and efficient matter. The Sonoma State University Box Office can be reached at 1.866.955.6040 or via e-mail at
In the coming weeks, we hope for the Green Music Center to be a place for us to gather and come together as a community in support of each other. We seek to be a beacon of hope, connection, and restoration, and to find healing through the power of music as soon as it is safe for us to do so.

--Jacob Yarrow, Executive Director, Green Music Center

Benjamin Beilman Leads New Century, November 9-12
New Century continues its 2017-2018 season November 9-12 with debut performances by Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, American violinist Benjamin Beilman. Hailed by the Washington Post as "mightily impressive," Beilman will lead New Century in a varied program that spans the ages ranging from Biber's Battaglia to Stravinsky's Concerto in Re and Andrew Norman's virtuoso Gran Turissmo. Beilman will also take center stage for J.S. Bach's Violin Concerto in E major BWV 1042 with Mahler's arrangement of Beethoven's Quartet in F minor Op. 95 rounding out the program.

Praised by The New York Times for his "handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence," 27-year old Benjamin Beilman has fast become a sought-after artist across the world appearing with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Frankfurt Radio Symphony. In addition to receiving a 2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Beilman has received numerous accolades including First Prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and First Prize in the Montréal International Musical Competition with The Strad praising his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto in the latter as "pure poetry." A favorite among Bay Area audiences, Beilman made his San Francisco Symphony debut in July 2014 performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, and has also appeared with Music@Menlo and San Francisco Performances.

For more information on New Century, please visit

--Brenden Guy

SOLI's First Annual Contemporary Music Open Mic. Night
November 6, 2017
312 Pearl Parkway, Bld. #6, Suite #6001, San Antonio, TX 78215 - 7:30PM

Have you been toiling away at your instrument, waiting for your moment to shine? Are you a fan of modern music? Well then, your opportunity is now, as Texas Public Radio and SOLI Chamber Ensemble team up to present the first annual SOLI Contemporary Music Open Mic Night at Jazz TX.

For more information, visit
To sign up, visit

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

New Century Chamber Orchestra Presents "Benjamin Beilman Leads"
New Century Chamber Orchestra presents upcoming performances of "Benjamin Beilman Leads" November 9 through 12, featuring Benjamin Beilman as Guest Concertmaster and soloist. Four performances will be given around the SF Bay Area in Berkeley, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and San Rafael.

New Century continues its 2017-2018 season with debut performances by Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and American violinist Benjamin Beilman with a varied program that spans the ages. Works are by Biber, J.S Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Norman.

Open Rehearsal: Wednesday, November 8, 10 a.m., Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, November 9, 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Friday, November 10, 8 p.m., Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, November 11, 8 p.m., Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, November 12, 3 p.m., Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael, CA

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

YPC's Countdown to "Dancing Voices" and "Odyssey" Opera
With YPC's performance in Lincoln Center's White Light Festival on October 20 & 21, and the Met Museum's premiere of "Odyssey: A Youth Opera" on November 3 & 4, Young People's Chorus of New York City is earning a reputation as "the chorus that never sleeps." From daily rehearsals to film crews, costume fittings and puppet repair, YPC choristers have been fully engaged in the entire art-making process.

U.S. Premiere of "Dancing Voices" at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival with Meredith Monk and YPC, October 20 - 21.

YPC in NYC Premiere of Ben Moore's "Odyssey," an opera at the Met Museum, November 3 - 4.

For more information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Beethoven's 6th and a World Premiere
The Chelsea Symphony, featured in the hit Amazon show Mozart in the Jungle, announces the continuation of its 2017/18 season, entitled "Sea Change," with concerts on October 27 and 28 featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"), View of Life, a World Premiere by composer Aaron Dai, Camille Saint-Saëns's Cello Concerto No. 1, featuring cellist Alicia Furey (10/27 only), Ludwig van Beethoven's Romance No. 2, featuring violinist Jessica Lightfoot (10/28 only), and Carl Maria von Weber's Bassoon Concerto, featuring bassoonist Anna Keelin Fitzgerald (10/28 only).

The Chelsea Symphony's 2017/18 season features orchestral works with a focus on nature and environmental stewardship. Every concert by The Chelsea Symphony features soloists, composers, and conductors taken from the ensemble. This is a collective of New York City professional freelancers coming together to create meaningful, self-governed concerts—a unique model in the classical world.

For more information, visit

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

Maria Callas: The Legend (CD review)

EMI CDC 7243 5 57057  2 3 (Warner Classics 2435570575)

The American operatic soprano Maria Callas (1923-1977) may still be the most recognizable female name in opera, almost a quarter century after her death. Although she was quite versatile, singing in French, German, and Italian, she is known today primarily for her French and Italian roles, which are well represented on this collection of her art. She was also known for her volatile disposition and the notoriety of her lifestyle, but that's another story. The questions is, Was she really the greatest female soprano of all time? One can only say, maybe. Personal taste dictates the answer.

Certainly, one could make the case that Callas should come somewhere near the top of any list of great singers. And another thing seems clear: she probably did not possess the most dynamic, lilting, precise, or beautiful voice of all time. Those titles might go to other contenders. What is equally clear, however, is that no other soprano in modern history interpreted a song quite like her. By the time she retired, she had performed over forty separate roles and had recorded something like twenty operas.

Maria Callas
The booklet insert provides a good example of her singing style. When a reporter once asked her after a film appearance, "So you have decided to start out on a career as an actress," she replied that she thought she had always been one. Yes, above all she was an actress, a dramatic singer who could transform herself into the character she was performing and convey the character's emotions through the words. She was not simply singing; she was being.

The seventeen arias on this recital disc, among the best she ever recorded, are good examples of her ability to transcend the mere lyrics of a song and create a genuine persona. Listen to the first item, Bellini's "Casta Diva" from Norma, and you'll see what I mean. There follow songs from Catalani, Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini and Verdi, of course, Saint-Saens and Bizet. Trust me in saying you will recognize all of them; they are standard repertoire fare like "Un bel di vedremo," "Si, Mi chiamano Mimi," "O mio babbino caro," and the like. Each is exquisite; each a gem.

EMI's sound varies from mediocre to above average in these remasters, now available from Warner Classics. Remember, these recordings were taken from the mid Fifties on. Most are in monaural, but like "Vissi d 'arte" from Tosca, it is quite good mono sound. My only complaint is that the EMI engineers occasionally seem to have applied a little too much noise reduction, softening the high end more than necessary. Most of the tracks evidence a degree of hardness or roughness, but it is not extreme, and if you love music you won't even notice. Strongly recommended.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (CD review)

Kristin Sampson, soprano; Edith Dowd, alto; Cameron Schutza, tenor; Brian Kontes, bass; New Amsterdam Singers; West Point Glee Club; Young New Yorkers' Chorus. David Bernard, Park Avenue Chamber Symphony. Recursive Classics RC2058306.

If you're like me (heaven forbid), you may view Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 as the epitome of big-scale classical music. So it might give you some slight pause to consider the symphony played by a chamber orchestra. You might have even more doubts to learn that the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony comprises mainly players who do other things for a living (hedge-fund managers, philanthropists, CEO's, UN officials, and so on). They're not exactly amateurs, but they're not full-time, paid musicians, either. Fortunately, one listen to their playing should dispel any lingering skepticism. Everyone involved with this current production deserves praise.

Not that the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony is a particularly small ensemble. It just isn't the size of a full symphony orchestra, and no matter how well they play, you won't mistake them for the Concertgebouw Orchestra or the Berlin Philharmonic. In fact, in the final movement the solo and choral forces (Kristin Sampson, soprano; Edith Dowd, alto; Cameron Schutza, tenor; Brian Kontes, bass; New Amsterdam Singers, the West Point Glee Club, and the Young New Yorkers' Chorus) must outnumber the orchestral players two to one. Nevertheless, the New Yorkers play with enthusiasm, and Maestro David Bernard leads them with gusto.

David Bernard
Did I say "gusto"? I mean, Bernard really has them zipping along. Remember back in the early days of CD, we heard that Philips and Sony, the cofounders of the format, decided upon seventy-five minutes as the limit for content (although some CD's now contain a little over eighty minutes) because seventy-five minutes would accommodate the average length for the Beethoven Ninth Symphony? Well, Bernard's performance leaves plenty of room on the disc to spare. I compared his timings for all four movements to Roger Norrington's historically informed performance, which uses Beethoven's own metronome marks (for better or for worse, depending on your attitude toward the reliability of the markings), and Bernard's sixty-five minute mark is almost as fast. So, yes, this is a zippy reading.

The first thing one notices about the performance is that the fairly small size of the ensemble provides a cozier, more intimate style than many of us may be used to. I still miss the big-scale approach, but the inner detail this one provides compensates in part.

Anyway, the first two (orchestral) movements roll along with a zesty fervor, thanks largely to Maestro Bernard's obvious love of the subject matter and his keen desire to communicate that love to his listeners. The orchestra, amateur or not, respond with equal ardor. They may not produce the lush, rich tones of a bigger group, but they make up for it with their eager (and accurate) musicianship. And the third-movement Adagio is as lyrical and sensitive as you'll find.

Which brings us to the concluding choral movement (the familiar "Ode to Joy"), the moment everybody's been waiting for. Here, the orchestra takes a backseat to the various soloists and choruses participating. In fact, the orchestra practically gets overwhelmed. Moreover, Maestro Bernard lessens the speeds a tad, giving the music a little more chance to breathe, yet the overall impression remains one of intense drive. It's an exceptionally energetic and dramatic interpretation, with the soloists and choruses contributing to favorable effect.

Maybe not everyone will take a shine to Bernard's thrill-a-minute rendering of so well-loved and well-travelled a piece of music, but there's no doubt his is an entertaining ride. You may even find yourself coming back to it more often than you imagined.

Engineers Joseph Patrych and Antonio Oliart recorded the symphony at the DiMenna Center, New York City in November 2016. You'll find a fine sense of orchestral depth, a modest hall bloom, and a relatively wide dynamic range involved, which greatly enhance the realism of the production. Voices elicit a clear, vibrant response, if a bit close. Although stage width is somewhat limited, it has little impact on the recording's clarity. There is also some degree of upper midrange brightness and edge, particularly noticeable in the vocals, but it's not enough of a deal killer to be entirely distracting. While the sound may not be absolutely audiophile, it's quite good and complements the orchestra especially well.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, October 7, 2017

Nashville Symphony's Second Composer Lab and Workshop Brings Four Emerging Composers to Nashville

Following a nationwide call for submissions, the Nashville Symphony has selected four promising young composers to participate in the second edition of its Composer Lab and Workshop, an initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of great American composers.

The four composers – Emily Cooley, James Diaz, Liliya Ugay, and Shen Yiwen – will be in Nashville on November 13-15 to take part in the comprehensive program, led by Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, during which they will showcase their music and learn about every facet of working with a major American orchestra.

"This program is an important part of the Symphony's long-standing commitment to promote the creation of new, forward-thinking American music," said Guerrero. "Each of these gifted artists represents the vibrancy and diversity of our country today, and each is helping to shape the sound of orchestral music in the 21st century. We're so thrilled to welcome them to Nashville and to help them take the next step in their careers — and we invite the community to hear what we believe will be the classics of the future."

For complete information, visit

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

PBO's Elizabeth Blumenstock Leads Italian Baroque Violin Program
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale will present a vivacious program of violin works from --- and inspired by --- Baroque Venice this November. PBO's long-time co-concertmaster and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock will lead the Orchestra in a program called "Vivaldi in Venice" that she designed to spotlight the virtuosity of her fellow Orchestra members.

Baroque era Venice was the hub of violin-making and the city's musicians and composers wrote a profusion of music at the time. Some of that work is rarely performed today --- the program includes a violin concerto by one of Blumenstock's favorite composers, Giuseppe Tartini, whom she has helped champion in the last decade. Blumenstock will open with Vivaldi's masterpiece "l'Autunno" (Autumn) from Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) and will also showcase works by Locatelli, Veracini, Campra, Pisendel and Handel. In addition, oboist Marc Schachman will perform the virtuosic Albinoni Concerto in D minor.

Wednesday November 8, 7:30 pm
First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto

Friday November 10, 8 pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Saturday November 11, 8 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday November 12, 4 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Ticket prices range from $28 to $20
Tickets are available at City Box Office 415-392-4400 or
For more information, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Chicago Duo Piano Fest Celebrates 30
The Music Institute of Chicago announces the 30th anniversary season of its annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) beginning this fall with a concert program Friday, October 27 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois and continuing with a year of performances and a youth duo piano competition.

Called a "duo piano mecca" by Pioneer Press, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival was founded in 1988 by Music Institute of Chicago faculty members and piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Its mission is to foster a deeper interest in the repertoire, performance, and teaching of music for piano, four hands and two pianos, in a fun and supportive atmosphere. The festival offers coaching, master classes, concerts with special guest artists, and student recitals for students age 12 through adult.

For complete information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble and Oriana Singers in 'Echoes of Wittenberg'
The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble and The Oriana Singers chamber choir, in a first-time collaboration, will perform a centuries-spanning concert on Sunday, October 22, in Wheaton, Illinois, featuring German Renaissance a cappella music from the Roman Catholic tradition and instrumental works by Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz, Felix Mendelssohn, and others, based on famous melodies by Protestant Reformation leader and composer Martin Luther.

Free and open to the public, the one-time-only "Echoes of Wittenberg: Music of a Momentous Era" will take place at 5 p.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave, Wheaton, IL. The concert is presented by St. Michael church. No tickets or reservations are required. Donations are welcome. For information, call (630) 665-2250 or visit

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

One Found Sound Opens Fifth Anniversary Season
One Found Sound, a chamber orchestra that performs without a conductor, opens its fifth anniversary season on Friday, October 27 at Monument SF with a program titled "Monster Masquerade." The program features three diverse works that highlight varying styles of dance music spanning three centuries including Webern's arrangement of Ricercar a 6 from J.S. Bach's The Musical Offering, Serenade for Winds, Op. 44 by Dvorák and Danses Concertantes by Stravinsky. Dedicated to presenting classical music in an intimate and informal setting, One Found Sound kicks-off its anniversary celebrations with a Halloween-inspired "masquerade ball" and invites audiences to attend the performance in full costume. Concluding the evening with a twist, One Found Sound will convert the venue into a post-concert dance party to feature a selection of music by Michael Jackson and other popular artists.

Founded in 2013 by five graduates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, One Found Sound is a democratically run orchestra that rehearses and performs exclusively without a conductor. Artistic decisions are made by the collective participation of each member, with leadership positions chosen on a rotating basis. Now celebrating its fifth full season, the organization has presented more than 20 concerts in unique, accessible venues such as Salle Pianos, Monument SF and Heron Arts with an emphasis on showcasing the creativity of each individual musician. Regular members of the ensemble perform professionally in the Bay Area with a variety of orchestras, ensembles and chamber groups, with each member sharing the united goal of changing the way that audiences experience classical music.

Subscriptions to One Found Sound's 2017-2018 fifth anniversary season are on sale now. VIP passes to all three regular season concerts can be purchased online at the discounted price of $121.50 through

Single tickets to "Monster Masquerade" and all regular season concerts range in price from $25 to $45 and are available through

Annual gala tickets are available now for an early bird discounted price ranging from $45 to $100 until November 4, 2017. Full price tickets will then range in price from $50 to $125. Tickets can be purchased at

--Brenden Guy, Press & Media Relations

Thomas Dausgaard Named Music Director of Seattle Symphony Orchestra
The Seattle Symphony announced today that Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard will become the orchestra's next Music Director, beginning in the 2019–2020 season. Dausgaard will succeed current Music Director Ludovic Morlot, whose tenure concludes after the 2018–2019 season.

Dausgaard has served as the Seattle Symphony's Principal Guest Conductor since 2014. Additionally, he is Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra (through 2019), Honorary Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana, and Honorary Conductor of the Danish National Symphony, having previously served as its Principal Conductor from 2004–11.

--Hannah, Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Musica Viva NY Opens 40th Anniversary Celebration Season
Musica Viva NY opens its 40th anniversary celebration season, with a concert entitled "The Wheel and the Sphere" on Sunday, November 12 at 5:00 p.m. at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side, NYC.

The performance features Carl Orff's joyful masterpiece, Carmina Burana—his most well-known work—featuring the Musica Viva NY choir, joined by the Allen-Stevenson School Chorus, Sandbox Percussion, sopranos Shabnam Abedi and Devony Smith, tenor Shawn Bartels, baritone Alex Lawrence, and pianists Margaret Kampmeier and Nelson Padgett. Also on the program is the New York premiere of Guillaume Connesson's Sphaera, based on a Latin poem by 17th century writer Richard Crashaw.

Tickets, priced at $40, are available by visiting or at the door.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts & Media

ROCO November 2017 Concerts
ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Houston, Texas) continues its thirteenth season, themed "Cultivate Curiosity," with a varied series of November performances, including a new commission in honor of JFK's 100th birthday this year, a delicious evening of music paired with chocolate, as well as ROCO's grateful tribute to the former owners of Rienzi.

Courageous Catalysts (In Concert – November 11)
Musical Parfait (Unchambered – November 19)
A Season of Thanks (Connections – November 30)

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

New World Symphony Premieres Project 305
Project 305, a nearly yearlong project to crowdsource a symphony and accompanying film about Miami, FL by its residents, will culminate in a free concert celebrating the diversity of Miami-Dade County and the power of music on Saturday, October 21, 7:30 PM at the New World Center (500 17th Street). The project is a collaboration of the New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), Knight Foundation, the MIT Media Lab, and Miami-Dade County.

The crowdsourced work, composed by Ted Hearne with an accompanying film by Jonathan David Kane, is titled "Miami in Movements." The title not only alludes to the work's six-movement structure, but also pays homage to the variety of cultures and influences that have moved through and contributed to Miami-Dade County's identity over time.

"Miami in Movements" will be conducted by NWS Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and performed by the New World Symphony to close the concert, immediately preceded by George Gershwin's Cuban Overture. The first half of the concert will feature performances by Miami-based musical ensembles, including Picadillo – with vocalists Sol Ruiz and Rey Rodríguez – and the Barry Bucaneiros, a Brazilian drumming ensemble from Barry University.

The concert will be streamed via Facebook Live and projected onto the 7,000-square foot front wall of the New World Center as a WALLCAST concert, presented by Citi, for audiences in the adjacent SoundScape Park. Audiences online and at the Park will not only experience the new work's accompanying film, but will also see live video from the concert hall integrated throughout. To watch the performance on Facebook Live, follow the New World Symphony on Facebook at

--Shuman Associates

Harlem Quartet Returns to The Wallis
The Harlem Quartet Returns to The Wallis with Game-Changers Concert Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 7:30pm

When the Harlem Quartet stepped onto the stage of the Bram Goldsmith Theater in 2016 for its debut at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Wallis) in Beverly Hills, it brought down the house. Praised for its "panache" by The New York Times, the acclaimed quartet is "bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent," says the Cincinnati Enquirer. That new attitude will be on full display at The Wallis when they return with Harlem Quartet: Game-Changers on Sunday, October 15 at 7:30pm.

Harlem Quartet's members include violinists Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White, violist Jaime Amador and cellist Felix Umansky. The evening program explores game-changing works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries—including Claude Debussy, Dizzy Gillespie and Gabriela Lena Frank, as well as a work by Gavilan's father Guido Gavilan, one of Cuba's most celebrated composers and conductors.

Single tickets are now available for $25 – $75. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, call 310.746.4000, or stop by in person at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Services located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Ticket prices subject to change.

--Sarah Jarvis, The Wallis

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (CD review)

Also, Triple Concerto; Orchestral Suites; others. Helmut Muller-Bruhl, Cologne Chamber Orchestra. Naxos 8.554607, 8.554608, and 8.554609.

I have to admit that I have developed a fondness over the past few decades for baroque music played on period instruments. However, there is always room for performances of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Overtures (Suites) on modern instruments, too, as they are rendered here on three discs from Naxos. Helmut Muller-Bruhl and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra observe some of the performing practices of the past (the orchestra used to play with period instruments but here use modern ones) with a fluent, contemporary sound. Now, if I could have said the same for the interpretations, these discs might have been sure bets.

Bach's six Brandenburgs are notable not only for the attractiveness of their tunes but for their variety of instrumentation and diversity of style. Muller-Bruhl's tempos for the First Brandenburg Concerto are quick but not breathless. The piece flows nicely, if somewhat blandly, along. Be that as it may, I found the First and Sixth of his Concerto performances the most uninteresting of the lot, no matter how well the Cologne Chamber Orchestra plays.

Then, Muller-Bruhl dashes through Nos. 2 and 3, probably the most popular of the set, about as quickly as I have ever heard. They are almost exhausting, in fact. One could charitably say they are effervescent, and, in fact, they may surely appeal to some listeners. But not to me because they seem to lack elegance or any discernable style. Nos. 4 and 5 come off best of all. After the hectic pace of the previous two works, Muller-Bruhl finally allows his players a few minutes to relax and enjoy themselves, and we're all the better for it.

Helmut Muller-Bruhl
Naxos pretty well fills out the three discs they sent for review, each sold separately: Disc one contains the Brandenburgs Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6. Disc two contains Brandenburgs Nos. 4 and 5, plus the Triple Concerto in A minor for flute, violin, and harpsichord and the Concerto in F major for two recorders, harpsichord, and strings. Disc three contains the four Orchestral Suites. Of the latter, we have a different story. Where Muller-Bruhl's Brandenburgs appear somewhat controversial, and thus at least partially entertaining in their way, the Suites seem respectful in the extreme, sometimes solemnly so. They are as straightforward and straight-arrow as one could find, which may or may not be what every listener is after. For only a few dollars more, Neville Marriner's mid-priced set of Suites on Decca offers more spirit and vitality.

Sonically, all three Naxos discs sound pretty much alike. The sonics are clear, clean, and well balanced throughout the midrange and treble. It is not ideally well imaged front-to-back, though, and without much bass resonance it appears smooth but lightweight. A little more mid-bass foundation and added warmth might have helped give the music more character.

For me, these discs have only the advantage of a reasonable price, but if it's a cost advantage you're looking for in the Brandenburgs I suggest checking out used copies with conductors and groups like Marriner, Leppard, or I Musici on modern instruments; or Pinnock, Hogwood, Savall, Harnoncourt, Leonhardt, Koopman, Goodman, or the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on period instruments. Any of them will provide a rewarding musical experience.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Sawyers: Symphony No. 3 (CD review)

Also, Songs of Loss and Regret; Fanfare. April Fredrick, Soprano; Kenneth Woods, English Symphony Orchestra; English String Orchestra. Nimbus Alliance NI 6353.

Although English composer Philip Sawyers (b. 1951) has been around for a good many years, he is probably not yet a household name. Indeed, his major fame has no doubt come from the Nimbus recordings of his works conducted by Kenneth Woods, with three records now available with four different orchestras. In 2015 the English Symphony Orchestra, of which Woods is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, appointed Sawyers their John McCabe Composer in Association, with various commissions including a song cycle, a trumpet concerto, and the Third Symphony that we find on the present disc.

Still, as his Web site informs us, "Sawyers's works have been performed and broadcast in many countries worldwide including the USA, Canada, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, France and UK. Music-web International described the Nimbus Alliance CD of Sawyers's orchestral work as 'music of instant appeal and enduring quality.' Robert Matthew-Walker writing in Classical Source described the premiere of the Second Symphony by the London Mozart Players as a "deeply impressive work, serious in tone throughout, and genuinely symphonic… one of the finest new symphonies by a British composer I have heard in years…'" High praise for a fellow who, as the Web site continues to note, "began composing as a teenager, shortly after picking up the violin for the first time at the age of 13. However, it has only been in the last few years that his talent has begun to be recognised with major commissions and performances by orchestras in the USA and frequent performances in Europe."

Thus, we come to the Symphony No. 3 and its accompanying pieces on the album under review. Maestro Woods says the programme "reveals Philip Sawyers as a composer at the height of his powers whose music ranges across a relatively wide spectrum of harmonic intensity." Of the Third Symphony, Woods says it "stands very much in the tradition of the great 'darkness to light' symphonies, including Beethoven's 5th, Bruckner's 8th, Brahms' 1st and Shostakovich's 5th." Imposing company, indeed.

Woods goes on to say, "This is turbulent music for a turbulent era, its defiant ending all the more hopeful for being so hard-won. In this respect, I believe this symphony marks a powerful and badly-needed renewal of the symphony as an expression of universal hope and personal will, an archetype which may reach back to Beethoven's iconic Fifth, but the message of which is more relevant than ever."

Kenneth Woods
The Third Symphony exhibits all the hallmarks of modern music, meaning you may not go away humming any memorable tunes, yet it's all quite accessible, even for a Neanderthal like me. The opening movement establishes a dark tone, powerful, with continuing tensions throughout. That is to say, this is the way Woods approaches it, and I assume this was the composer's intention. Without any other recorded interpretations with which to compare it, we have to accept Woods's performance as authoritative, at least for now.

A longing Adagio provides a moment's respite, although even here we notice a good degree of underlying pressure that builds over the course of the movement. But eventually it settles into what Woods calls "a fragile calm." A brief intermezzo follows, which appears at first blush wholly unrelated to anything that went before it, being rather light and fanciful in nature. Then we get a finale that storms onto the scene in rowdy fashion, negotiates its way through a series of themes, both tumultuous and gentle, before ending on what seems like a note of hope, perhaps triumph. It's all a tad disconcerting at first listen, but there's no question its shifting moods do make for a pleasurable experience.

Next on the agenda is the 2015 song-cycle Songs of Loss and Regret, a cycle commissioned to mark the centenary outbreak of World War One, the text of which includes lines from A.E. Housman's "A Shropshire Lad," Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Break, Break, Break," Wilfred Owen's "Futility," Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," the Apocrypha's "Wisdom of Solomon," and William Morris's "The Earthly Paradise." Soprano April Fredrick sings the vocals with Woods and the English String Orchestra, the whole thing enjoyably moving.

The final track is Sawyers's Fanfare (2016), in which the composer tells us he set out to write not another short work "to mark some state or royal occasion" but a "memorable and substantial concert piece." Well, short it is (under four minutes) but substantial it surely is, too, of its kind. Woods is not afraid to let the guns loose, and more power to him.

Producer, engineer, and editor Simon Fox-Gal recorded the Symphony No. 3 and Fanfare at Wyastone Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England in February 2017 and the Songs of Loss and Regret at Hereford Cathedral, Hereford, England in October 2017. Nimbus Records have always produced natural-sounding recordings, so it's no surprise this one sounds so realistic. The engineers are more into room ambiance and warm reverberations than ultra-close, clinical accuracy, and more's the better for it. In this case, the big orchestral parts come off with power and authority while still admitting a good deal of detail and clarity. Dynamics and frequency range are strong and wide, stage width is appropriate to the recording's moderately distanced perspective, and stage depth is more than acceptable. Moreover, the solo voice sounds equally lifelike, without a hint of brightness or edge. Very pleasant stuff.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, September 30, 2017

Orion's "Let's Tango" Features Bernstein, Schumann, von Dohnanyi, Horn

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 25th anniversary season with "Let's Tango," featuring guest violist Stephen Boe.

Performances take place November 5 at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church; November 8 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and November 12 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois.

Orion's 25th anniversary season
Orion's 2017-18 season, which includes violist Stephen Boe on all programs, continues with "Old Meets New," highlighted by a world premiere in honor of the 25th anniversary by Sebastian Huydts, along with works by Bruch, Klein and Fauré, in March, and "Quintessential Quintets," with additional guest violinist Mathias Tacke performing on a program including Weber, Gershwin and Dvorák, in May. Also during the season, Orion hosts a fall benefit October 7 at Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois and appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" October 2, 2017 and March 5, 2018.

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Let's Tango" takes place Sunday, November 5 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets.

For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

Pianist Szymon Nehring Carnegie Hall Debut
Pianist Szymon Nehring, winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, makes his Carnegie Hall debut on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Weil Recital Hall.

Presented by the American Friends of the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, Nehring will appear on stage with an intriguing program of works by Beethoven, Szymanowski and Chopin.  Currently pursuing the Artistic Diploma under the guidance of Professor Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music, highlights of Nehring's upcoming season include performances in Paris, Nancy, Olso, Bukarest, Strasbourg, the United States, South America and throughout Poland.  His debut recording, Chopin, Szymanowski, Mykietyn, received the 2016 "Supersonic Pizzicato" Award from the Pizzicato Magazine.

The concert will include
Beethoven: Sonata Op. 57 "Appassionata"
Szymanowski: Mazurkas Op. 50 No. 3 & 4 and Variations Op. 3
Chopin: Sonata No. 2 Op. 35

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

San Francisco Girls Chorus Presents "Philip Glass and the Class of '37"
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) and Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe open the organization's 39th concert season on Wednesday, October 25, at 8:00 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, with "Philip Glass and the Class of '37" in celebration of the composer's 80th birthday.

Longstanding members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Music Director and keyboardist Michael Riesman and flutist/saxophonist Andrew Sterman, will share the stage with SFGC for selections from four Philip Glass works that are available for performance only with members of the Philip Glass Ensemble: Building and Knee Play 5 (Einstein on the Beach), Act III (The Photographer), Vessels (Koyaanisqatsi) and Father Death Blues (Hydrogen Jukebox). Setting context for Glass's unmistakable style and extensive output, the program begins with a survey of works from three composers who share the "'37" birth year with Glass and represent three distinct periods in the evolution of classical music: Dietrich Buxtehude (born 1637), Joseph Michael Haydn (born 1737) and the Mily Balakirev (born 1837).

Tickets for "Philip Glass and the Class of '37" are $26 / $36, and can be purchased through or by phone at (415) 392-4400. $5 student tickets can be purchased in-person with valid student ID.

--Brenden Guy, SF Girls Chorus

Slavyanka Chorus Presents "Festival of Russian Choral Music"
The Slavyanka Chorus's Festival of Russian Choral Music, October 15, 20 and 22 in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA.

Led by Artistic Director Irina Shachneva, the festival features three unique programs that shine a light on the lesser-known choral masterworks of Russian music's "Silver Age" (late 19th and early 20th centuries). Highlights are three West Coast Premieres by Sergei Taneyev, including his monumental choral cantata Ioann Damaskin (John Damascus), Op. 1; works for solo voice and piano by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Taneyev featuring Russian countertenor Andrey Nemzer; and a vast selection of Russian folk and sacred works featuring nine participating choral groups from the Bay Area and beyond.

"Russian Roots"
Sunday, October 15, 2017, 4 p.m.
(St. Mark's Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA)


"Reaching Toward Heaven"
Friday, October 20, 2017, 8 p.m.
(Star of the Sea Church, 4420 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA)

Slavyanka Chorus
Church of All Russian Saints Choir, Burlingame
Holy Virgin Cathedral Pontifical Choir, San Francisco
The Choir of St. Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church, Santa Cruz

"Russia's Bach
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 4 p.m.
(Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th Street, San Francisco, CA)

Slavyanka Russian Chorus
Andrej Nemzer, countertenor
Elena Stepanova-Gurevich, soprano
Donna Stoering, piano
Russian Festival Chorus & Orchestra

--Brenden Guy

YPC and Meredith Monk Perform at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival
Following its critically acclaimed Mostly Mozart Festival debut in July, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) performs with Meredith Monk in Dancing Voices at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival. This multidimensional, multiperceptual program of the composer's music is presented in three concerts on Friday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.

Tickets start at $35 and are available online at, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the David Geffen or Alice Tully Hall Box Office (Broadway and 65th Street).

--Shuman PR

St. Charles Singers Announces 2017-2018 Concerts
The St. Charles Singers has announced its complete 2017–2018 concert programming, which will mark the professional chamber choir's 34th season.

The mixed-voice ensemble, led by founder and music director Jeffrey Hunt, will present three different concert programs: the newest installment of its "Mozart Journey," the choir's multi-season survey of Mozart's complete sacred choral music; a Christmas concert with new arrangements of favorite carols; and a season finale featuring Ildebrando Pizzetti's "Requiem" and Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St. Cecilia."

'Mozart Journey XXII' Sept. 30 in St. Charles, Oct. 1 in Elgin, Ill.
'Candlelight Carols' Dec. 1 & 3 in St. Charles, Dec. 2 in Chicago, Ill.
Pizzetti's 'Requiem' April 28 in River Forest, April 29 in St. Charles, Ill.

Single tickets for all concerts are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability. Group discounts are available.

--Nat Silverman, Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

'Inside Out' Halloween Concerts - Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Launches New Season
Music Director David Bernard will conduct with the audience seated amongst the musicians, continuing his trailblazing 'InsideOut' concept, at New York's DiMenna Center.

It will be a musical Halloween with a difference at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on October 28th. Launching their 2017/18 season, Music Director David Bernard and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony will play Saint-Saens's Danse Macabre and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique - two works shot through with witches and ghosts. And the audience will experience the musical ghouls up close, as they will be seated amongst the musicians throughout the orchestra, in Bernard's popular and vivid InsideOut concert format.

"These are two of the most scenic works in the classical canon," says Bernard, "each in their own ways works of genius - the Saint-Saens a perfectly structured piece of entertainment, the Berlioz a blazing, revolutionary masterpiece. Each paints devilish, extraordinarily evocative sound-pictures, and our audiences will have the opportunity literally to sit in the midst of all of that. They will be able to follow the motifs as they whizz around their ears, moving from section to section, they will find themselves immersed in dark and magical worlds. I can't think of a better way to spend Halloween!"

For more information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Opera On Tap to Release Episode 1 of the World's First Virtual Reality Horror Opera Series
Opera on Tap is proud to announce the release of Episode 1 of the world's first virtual reality horror opera, entitled "The Parksville Murders," on October 20 exclusively on Samsung VR. The episode will be featured exclusively on the Samsung VR app on Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus and at

The release will coincide with a special screening at Samsung VR Presents: An Evening in 360 in San Francisco on October 19, which will include new operatic content from the series by Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye performed by Benjamin Bloomfield, with interactive video art projections by Cari Ann Shim Sham and costumes by Ramona Ponce.

Additionally, "The Parksville Murders" will be featured at the Future of StoryTelling (FoST) conference in NYC from October 6-8, following a series of viewings and installations at the Salem Horror Fest earlier this month. The piece, directed by Cari Ann Shim Sham and featuring music by Kamala Sankaram and libretto by Jerre Dye, is being produced by Shim Sham, Opera On Tap's Anne Hiatt, and former Blue Man Group creative director Todd Perlmutter with VR production by Light Sail VR.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians September Newsletter
Auditions for FAYM's new Mariachi class were held on Thursday, September 7. Nineteen students auditioned and 8 scored high enough to be accepted.

Fall Recital
Saturday, October 21st
3pm to 5:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

FAYM 10th Anniversary Gala
Friday, November 3rd

Winter Recital
Saturday, December 9th
11am to 1:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

Did you know that administration for the FAYM program is done entirely by volunteers? We have some special projects this fall, and we need your talents to make them happen! FAYM is looking for a bilingual volunteer to translate materials, like this newsletter, from English to Spanish. FAYM is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this fall with a gala event. We are looking for special raffle prizes for this event. Can you, or someone you know, donate a prize? The FAYM Mariachi Band needs help with uniforms. Can you donate your sewing skills? If you can help with any of these projects, please contact Art Ochoa at

For more information about the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians, visit

Art Ochoa, FAYM

Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 "Romantic" (CD review)

Gunter Wand, Berliner Philharmoniker. RCA 09026 68839-2.

Beethoven, Bruckner, and Brahms. In the years since conductor and composer Gunter Wand (1912-2002) first broke onto the recording scene some twenty years before he made the present album and already then a man advanced in age, he had recorded the three composers I mentioned earlier two or three times apiece. Practice makes perfect, I suppose. In the case of Wand, who was approaching ninety when he made the recording under review, this rendition of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony bears the mark of authority borne of obvious experience. By then, the fellow had been conducting it for over sixty years; he apparently learned something about it along the way. It is, in fact, a totally absorbing and uplifting performance.

Bruckner dubbed the Fourth Symphony "Romantic" because he wanted people to appreciate its connection with nature and its attendant depth of emotion. Later, Bruckner added even more descriptive phrases to help sell the work--"Knights bursting into the open astride proud steeds," that sort of thing--but the appellation "Romantic" is quite enough. The piece is almost entirely suggestive, not literal, anyhow.

Most important, this is the way Wand presents it. His interpretation is very broad, dramatic, and intense, yet it is not without excitement, too, especially in the finale, where it counts. The grand climaxes are filled with an eloquent drive, and the softest passages convey a feeling of deep spirituality. As always, the Berlin Philharmonic play spectacularly.

Gunter Wand
RCA made the recording in the Philharmonie in 1998, the digital sonics typical of RCA's products in the late Nineties: Velvety smooth, with very wide dynamics and excellent mid bass. There is sparse deep bass, however; not much front-to-back imaging; some occasional spotlighting of individual instruments; and at times a highlighting of whole orchestral sections.

RCA captured the performance live, as I've said, which was the way Wand preferred it for all of the last recordings he made, affording him, I assume, greater spontaneity despite intermittent audience noise. For the most part the recording is reasonably quiet, except during softer moments, between movements, and for a single obtrusive cough about a quarter of the way into the slow second movement. It caught me so off guard I thought it was a sound outside my house; I had to play it back several times to confirm its existence on the disc and not in my yard. Otherwise, the recording carries the weight necessary to complement the power of Wand's realization.

Compared to the three older classics I had on hand at the time--Klemperer (EMI), Jochum (DG), and Bohm (Decca)--Wand fits right in. His performance has the same feeling of rightness, although it is perhaps closer to Bohm than the other two. Klemperer is still the more magisterial and architecturally sound, and Jochum the more mysterious. But Bohm and Wand take us to equally lofty heights without being quite so idiosyncratic.

Wand's is certainly among the best recordings one can buy of Bruckner's most popular symphony, and if you like the conductor's style and can tolerate the minor inconveniences of the live sound, it's something to consider.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

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 pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa