Classical Music News of the Week, January 28, 2017

Berkshire Opera Festival Announces Its Second Season

Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) proudly announces its second season, featuring a new production of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. Performances will be Saturday, August 26; Tuesday, August 29; and Friday, September 1 at 7:30PM at the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This follows BOF's triumphant inaugural 2016 season, in which its production of Madama Butterfly debuted to widespread acclaim. "Berkshire Opera has been born anew," said Opera News.

BOF's General Director Jonathon Loy, who also serves as stage director, remarked, "Brian and I are thrilled with the critical and financial success of Berkshire Opera Festival's inaugural season, and grateful to everyone who helped us achieve it. We're delighted in our second season to present Ariadne. Producing it makes good on our founding mission to explore the entire operatic repertoire and to bring less familiar, magnificent pieces to the Berkshire public." The production is conducted by Artistic Director Brian Garman. "Ariadne accomplishes the very rare feat of being hilariously funny in one moment and breathtakingly beautiful in the next," Garman said. "Our internationally-acclaimed cast will make this a real treat both for people already familiar with the opera and for those experiencing Strauss for the first time."

For ticket information, visit https://tickets.thecolonialtheatre.org/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent1379.html
For more information, visit http://www.berkshireoperafestival.org/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Organist Sherer Joins Music Institute Academy Orchestra March 3 and 4
The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians collaborates with John W. W. Sherer, organist and director of music at Fourth Presbyterian Church since 1996, for a free performance March 3 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 W. Chestnut Street, Chicago and a ticketed performance March 4 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

Both performances feature Poulenc's monumental Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani in G minor and Bolzoni's Minuet for Strings, conducted by James Setapen, and Mendelssohn's Octet for Strings, conducted by Roland Vamos.

"Poulenc's organ concerto, composed in 1938, is a favorite of organists and audiences, combining Poulenc's refreshing sense of wit and fun with his strongly felt religious devotion—a deft combination of the secular and the sacred," said Stetapen, Academy director and conductor-in-residence at the Music Institute.

The free March 3 performance showcases Fourth Presbyterian's Aeolian-Skinner Andrew Pipe Organ, Opus 1516, which underwent a rebuilding process beginning in 2012. The March 4 program at Nichols Concert Hall highlights the Music Institute's E.M. Skinner organ, Opus 208, which was fully restored between 2005 and 2007 and celebrated 100 years in 2013. The Music Institute is the only community music school in the region, and one of few in the nation, to offer organ and harpsichord instruction.

The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy Orchestra and solo organist John W. W. Sherer perform Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago, and Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Admission to the March 3 concert is free. Tickets to the March 4 concert are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available at musicinst.org/faculty-guest-artist-series or 847.905.1500. All programming is subject to change.

For more information, visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Cal Performances Presents Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields, February 26
Cal Performances welcomes new music champions Bang on a Can All-Stars to Zellerbach Hall for the Bay Area Premiere of Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio, Anthracite Fields, on Sunday, February 26 at 7pm. Wolfe's concert-length work, scored for electric sextet and choir, is inspired by the stories of coal-mining families in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. For the performance, Bang on a Can is joined by Bay Area esteemed new music choir, Cappella SF, directed by Ragnar Bohlin. The Los Angeles Times wrote, Anthracite Fields "captures not only the sadness of hard lives lost...but also the sweetness and passion of a way of daily life now also lost. The music compels without overstatement. This is a major, profound work."

Named after the technical term for the purest form of coal, anthracite, Anthracite Fields was developed through Wolfe's extensive research about the coal-mining industry in an area very near where she grew up in Pennsylvania. Wolfe's music is often distinguished by an intense physicality and rhythmic drive, and she freely crosses the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music in her acclaimed works. Her text for the 10-movement oratorio draws on oral histories, interviews with miners and their families, speeches, geographic descriptions, children's rhymes, and coal advertisements to create an intimate portrait of a particular slice of American life. Anthracite Fields reflects on who we are, and have been, as American workers, and explores themes of tragedy and loss, camaraderie and endurance, and the simple beauty of the natural world.

Composer Julia Wolfe will be joined by Lynne Morrow of Sonoma State University and Pacific Edge Voices for a pre-performance talk that is free to concert ticket holders.

Sunday, February 26, 7 p.m.
Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way at Dana Street
UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley, CA
Tickets: $38–$62 and subject to change

For more information, visit calperformances.org

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

A Weekend in Paris at the Opera, Ballet, & Chapelle
American Bach Soloists Present "A Weekend in Paris," February 10-13 2017.

Marais: Suite from Sémélé
Rebel: Les caractères de la danse
Mondonville: In Exitu Israel
Corrette: Laudate Dominum, after "Spring" by Vivaldi
Rameau: Suite from Dardanus

Friday February 10 2017 8:00 pm
St. Stephen's Church, 3 Bayview Avenue, Belvedere, CA

Saturday February 11 2017 8:00 pm
First Presbyterian Church, 2407 Dana Street, Berkeley, CA

Sunday February 12 2017 4:00 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA

Monday February 13 2017 7:00 pm
Davis Community Church, 412 C Street, Davis, CA

For more information, visit http://americanbach.org/

--American Bach Soloists

DePauw School of Music Announces $10 Million Scholarship
DePauw School of Music announced that $10 million in scholarship funds will be invested in undergraduate music students over the next five years. The scholarships build on the unprecedented success of DePauw's entrepreneurship-focused 21st-Century Musician (21CM) Initiative curriculum, and their visionary 21CMposium, a cutting-edge conference which features events with industry leaders like Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Judd Greenstein of New Amsterdam records, author Sarah Robinson and more.

Hailed by music writer Greg Sandow as one of the "national leaders of classical music change," DePauw has emerged in recent years as a true innovator in music education. The 21CM curriculum - the first required entrepreneurial curriculum in the country - focuses on cultivating a sense of creativity and flexibility in its students, in order to equip them with the skills, tools and experiences necessary to navigate the rapidly-changing career landscape that awaits them post-graduation. At its core, 21CM represents DePauw's commitment to transforming how musicians think about their art, and how they work together with their fellow musicians and the communities around them.

For more information about DePauw School of Music, visit:
http://music.depauw.edu/

For more information about 21CM, visit:
http://21cm.org/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Shai Wosner to Be Guest Contributor on Sirius XM Symphony Hall Facebook Page
Pianist Shai Wosner will be taking over the Sirius XM Symphony Hall Facebook page starting today, Tuesday, January 24. Over the next few months, he will be regular contributor to the SiriusXM's Classical Music Channel's Facebook. Fans of the page will be able to submit questions to Mr. Wosner, as well as see his own interviews with a range of classical musicians, from fellow pianists Marc-André Hamelin, Orion Weiss, and Anna Polonsky to conductor Tito Muñoz, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, and more. Mr. Wosner will also share personal stories, photos, podcasts, and videos that offer a look into his life and career. Videos will also include "Pianists Not in Cars, Not Getting Coffee," a parody of the Jerry Seinfeld show "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." He was recently featured on the Symphony Hall page rehearsing a Mozart concerto via Facebook Live stream.

To learn more about Shai Wosner, visit http://www.shaiwosner.com/index.html

Visit the Sirius XM Symphony Hall page here: https://www.facebook.com/symphonyhall/?fref=ts

--Shuman Associates News

Klaus Heymann Receives ICMA Special Achievement Award
Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of the Naxos Records and the Naxos Music Group, has received a Special Achievement Award from the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) in recognition of his entrepreneurial and visionary development of the classical music recording industry. ICMA President Remy Franck commented:

"Klaus Heymann has changed the recording industry and without him it would never have achieved the dynamic it has today, despite all the problems which might exist. Due to his strong vision, his incredible efficiency and his profound love for the music, he became the industry's major player."

The award will be formally presented at the ICMA's 2017 Awards Ceremony on 1 April, held at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, at which the winning recordings from this year's 321 nominations will also be announced.

--Kelly Voigt, Naxos of America

"Joshua Bell: The Man with the Violin" World Premiere at The Kennedy Center
Grammy-award winning violinist Joshua Bell enraptures audiences in the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Family Concert: Joshua Bell in "The Man with the Violin," premiering Feb. 12 at 2 pm at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C. Appropriate for the whole family, the program features sensational music by Prokofiev and Ravel alongside the world premiere of "The Man with the Violin," composed by Anne Dudley.

The concert recalls the true story of the world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, who played anonymously in a Washington, DC. Metro station. Of the thousands who passed by, only a few stopped to listen including a young boy. This world premiere performance invokes the same sense of wonder the boy must have felt when he stopped to listen to incomparable Bell play. The concert is designed for children age 5 and up, and features music performed by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Stern, and the violin-playing protagonist of the story himself-- Joshua Bell, bringing together engaging narration and colorful imagery from the book. This innovative world premiere is co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and Canada's National Arts Centre.

Tickets are $29 to $49 and available at The Kennedy Center, https://www.kennedy-center.org; or by phone through instant-charge (202) 467-4600 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The toll-free number is (800) 444-1324.

--Jane Covner, JAG Entertainment

Park Avenue Armory and International Contemporary Ensemble Host Pauline Oliveros Tribute
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Park Avenue Armory host an open commemoration of the life and work of Pauline Oliveros on Monday, February 6 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ICE and the Armory are partnering to welcome the vast network of Oliveros' students, collaborators, and friends into an open set of performances, meditations, storytelling, and Deep Listening. Spaces dedicated to historical audio recordings, film and documentary clips, participatory listening sessions, and cutting edge electro-acoustic performances are open to the public as a free offering of new experiences.

Composer Pauline Oliveros touched countless artistic lives as a tireless advocate for making and listening to new sounds. As a pioneer of electronic music and inventor of transformative listening methods, Oliveros changed the way music is made and conceived for several generations of musicians.

For those inspired by Oliveros or who are curious to learn more about her beautiful life and work, the day provides an opportunity to learn, reflect, and listen in the spaces where Oliveros held several Deep Listening sessions during her April 2016 residence as part of the Armory's Artists Studio series in the newly restored Veterans Room. Contributors include Claire Chase and the International Contemporary Ensemble, Either/OR, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Deep Listening Certificate Holders and members of the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer, Anagram Ensemble, Ione, and many of Oliveros's longest collaborators.

The events are free and open to the public. Reservations for the evening concert can be made through the Park Avenue Armory Box Office and at armoryonpark.org/oliveros

Monday, February 6, 2017
4pm - 8pm Installations, Meditations, Stories, and Performances
8pm Evening Concert

Thompson Arts Center, Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue at 67th Street
New York, NY 10065

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

San Francisco Girls Chorus Presents Organist Paul Vasile
The San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe and Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa, continues its 2016-2017 season with performances featuring virtuoso organist Paul Vasile.

Making his Bay Area performance debut, Vasile continues an ongoing collaborative partnership with the ensemble, performing in a variety of major liturgical works for treble voices and organ as well as Herbert Howell's rarely performed Psalm Prelude, Op. 32, No 1 for solo organ. "Out of Darkness" will be presented on Saturday, February 25 (Mission Dolores, San Francisco) and Sunday, February 26 (First Presbyterian Church, Oakland), and features works by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Grieg and Pärt.

For more information, visit http://sfgirlschorus.org/

--Brenden Guy, Press and Media Relations

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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 pucciojj@gmail.com.

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