Classical Music News of the Week, Januray 21, 2017

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Announces 2017-18 Season at Carnegie Hall

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra today announces programming for its 45th season, with four concerts in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Orpheus is joined by world-renowned soloists including pianist André Watts; Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk in his first appearance with Orpheus; classical trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth in her Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage debut; and violinist Lisa Batiashvili in her first appearance with Orpheus. As part of Orpheus' on-going American Notes commissioning initiative, two new pieces—by Indian-American jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and award-winning Chinese composer Shuying Li—are additionally featured next season.

Orpheus kicks off its 2017-18 season on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. with the world premiere of Asunder, a new piece by 2013 MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer. Additionally, the concert includes Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, "Jeunehomme," featuring Grammy award-winning pianist André Watts in his first appearance with Orpheus since 2003, as well as Beethoven's First Symphony.

On Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk joins Orpheus for the first time playing Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto. The program also includes a world premiere by Shuying Li, inspired by early motherhood's private emotions, entitled Down Came the Sunlight: Into the Twenty-third Day; along with Handel's Orchestral Suite No. 2, Water Music; and Stravinsky's Suite from the ballet Pulcinella.

Classical Norwegian trumpeter Tine Ting Helseth makes her Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage debut with Orpheus on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. and is featured in two works—Albinoni's Trumpet Concerto Op. 9, No. 2, and Bach's Trumpet Concerto in D Major (after Vivaldi), BWV 972. Rossini's Overture to his operatic farce Il signor Bruschino; Haydn's Notturno No. 1 in C Major; and Mozart's dramatic Symphony No. 40 round out the program.

On March 24, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., Georgian violinist and Musical America's 2015 Instrumentalist of the Year Lisa Batiashvili is featured with Orpheus for the first time, highlighted in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 63. Additionally, the concert includes Orpheus' first performance of Schubert's Symphony No. 8, Unfinished; Paul Chihara's latest creation for chamber orchestra which expands on Prokofiev's piano transcriptions of waltzes by Schubert; and Schubert's Entr'acte No. 1 from Rosamunde.

Subscriptions are available from Orpheus at or (212) 896-1704 beginning Monday, January 9, and single tickets can be purchased at or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, beginning August 2017.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Oratorio about Japanese American Incarceration Camps by Van Nuys High School Students Premieres
When a group of 85 choral students at Van Nuys High School began learning about World War II Japanese American incarceration camps in September as part of the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within Oratorio Project, the topic was a historical look back. Following November's election, with deportations and ethnic registries making headlines, the students found that the topic had become starkly relevant. The resulting 45-minute oratorio they composed called In America poses the question: "Where can I be American; If not in America?"

The students will perform In America accompanied by eight members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Van Nuys High School at a free community concert on Saturday, February 18 at 2 PM. On Thursday, February 16 they will premiere the piece in front of their fellow students at a full-school assembly. Sunday, February 19 marks the 75th anniversary of President Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 that resulted in the forced removal and incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese Americans. The Japanese American community will hold Day of Remembrance events throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, Director of Public Relations, Los Aneles Master Chorale

Cal Performances Presents Available Light
Cal Performances celebrates the 70th birthday of longtime collaborator and Berkeley resident, composer John Adams, with a co-commissioned revival of choreographer Lucinda Childs's classic work, Available Light, on Friday–Saturday, February 3–4 at 8pm in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, CA. Available Light is set to Adams's impressionistic electronic composition, Light Over Water, and features a striking asymmetrical set designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.

Berkeley audiences last saw Childs's now-iconic Minimalist choreography in the revival of Einstein on the Beach in the Cal Performances 2012/13 season; here she returns with her company to explore tensions between simplicity and complexity, patterns and permutations, repetitions and variations, in a work hailed by The New York Times in its 1983 premiere as "a career breakthrough...a work of blazing formal beauty." The performances and surrounding events illuminate the Innovation strand of Cal Performances' 2016/17 season Berkeley RADICAL programming, which joins trailblazing artists at key moments in their careers, and recognizes their lasting contributions to contemporary performance practice.

In honoring Adams's 70th birthday with this co-commission, Cal Performances executive and artistic director Matías Tarnopolsky explained, "John Adams is an artist whose impact is global. Any part Cal Performances can play in the development and exposition of his art is fundamental to our mission, vision, and values."

Tickets for Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4 at 8pm in Zellerbach Hall range from $36–$126 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at

--Louisa Spier, Cal Performances

American Bach Soloists Present "A Weekend in Paris"
The American Bach Soloists' 2017 subscription season begins with "A Weekend in Paris: Opéra, Ballet, et Chapelle," a program celebrating both highly popular and lesser-known works of the French Baroque. ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas conducts performances in the San Francisco Bay Area and Davis, CA from February 10-13, 2017.

The concert features the ABS debut of Steven Brennfleck, a much sought after tenor and haute-contre. An alumnus of the 2015 ABS Academy, Steven has performed at many of the country's premier venues, including Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood.

"A Weekend in Paris: Opéra, Ballet, et Chapelle," with music by Marais, Rebel, Mondonville, Corrette, and Rameau.

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

Single Tickets: $33-$85
Tickets for ABS Subscribers: $29-$80

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Violinist/Entrepreneur Xi Wang at Carnegie Hall - Feb.16
Violinist Xi Wang will feature at the Karwendel Artists Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, NYC on February 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm.

Schoenfield: Cafe Music
Gerald Resch: "Al fresco" for cello solo
Clarke: Viola Sonata, Impetuoso 
Brahms: Sonatensatz
Sarasate: Navarra, Op.33
Brahms: Piano quintet in F minor, Op. 34

For more information, visit

--Sida Tang, W&T Arts Promotion

From Ghetto to Capella in La Serenissima
Salon/Sanctuary Concerts is honored to partner with Carnegie Hall's La Serenissima Festival, the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, and NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò in presenting the third annual New York performance of "From Ghetto to Cappella," conceived to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the creation of the Venetian Ghetto.

With the generous patrocinio of the Comune di Sabbioneta, "From Ghetto to Cappella" was most recently presented in October 2016 at the 1590 Teatro all'Antica di Sabbioneta, one of three remaining Renaissance theaters in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In June, the program was performed at the Great Synagogue of Florence, Italy, at the invitation of the Synagogue.

While the Inquisition raged throughout Counter-Reformation Italy, the ghetto walls that separated Gentile from Jew were more porous than impenetrable. A lively dialogue between Jewish and Catholic musical cultures traversed the forbidding walls and enriched the music of both Synagogue and Sanctuary at a time of great oppression.

An international ensemble performs works of Benedetto Marcello, Francesco Durante, Salomone Rossi, GF Handel and unaccompanied Hebrew chants – exquisite music that attests to a vibrant conversation that triumphed over ignorance and resounds with hope and beauty into our own time.

For complete information, visit

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Tucson Desert Song Festival Presents Its Fifth Edition
Nine of Tucson's leading arts organizations showcase outstanding vocalists ranging from Broadway favorite Bernadette Peters to dynamic new-music advocate Tony Arnold in the fifth annual Tucson Desert Song Festival from January 18, through February 5, 2017. The soloists will figure in intimate vocal recitals, orchestral and choral concerts, chamber music presentations, fully staged opera and ballet, and lectures and master classes at a variety of Tucson locations.

Tickets for individual events are available through each presenting organization: the Arizona Early Music Society, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Arizona Opera, Ballet Tucson, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Tucson Guitar Society, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, UA Presents, and the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music.

For a full listing of Tucson Desert Song Festival events, please visit:

--Raphael Zinman, Tucson, Desert Song Festival

PBO: Haydn and Mozart with Elizabeth Blumenstock Jan 25-29
When it comes to Joseph Haydn, nobody does it quite like Nic and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale. Over the years, Nicholas McGegan has established himself as a leading interpreter of Haydn, and always brings out the humor and subtleties in Haydn's music, particularly in the symphonies. He also pays close attention to the little flourishes and details that other conductors may let slip by and makes the most of every movement.

That is one of the reasons that Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale has done more recordings of the work of Joseph Haydn than any other composer. In fact, PBO's recording Haydn: Symphonies No. 104, "London", No. 88, No. 101 "The Clock" received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Orchestral Performance in 2012.

PBO's upcoming January program will include Haydn's Symphony No. 91, which will be recorded for future release. We hope you'll take this opportunity to hear Nic and the Orchestra shine with Haydn in our Haydn & Mozart concert with Elizabeth Blumenstock doing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 "Turkish."

Wednesday January 25, 7:30 pm - Bing Concert Hall, Stanford, CA
Friday January 27, 8 pm - Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Saturday January 28, 8 pm - First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday January 29, 4 pm - Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, Lafayette, CA

For more information and tickets, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa