Classical Music News of the Week, February 4, 2017

Spoleto Festival USA Announces 2017 Program

Festival General Director Nigel Redden announced today the program for the 41st annual Spoleto Festival USA, taking place May 26 through June 11, 2017, in Charleston, South Carolina. "On the heels of a hugely exciting 40th season, this year's Festival promises to build on that momentum," says Redden. "Charleston's rich history in the arts comes alive during each Festival, and we will explore that history and add to it again in 2017."

The 2017 Festival features more than 160 ticketed events, held in 12 venues around Charleston that reflect the city's past and present—including the intimate Woolfe Street Playhouse, the historic Dock Street Theatre, and the recently renovated Charleston Gaillard Center. Again in 2017, the Gaillard will host the Festival's opera, this year a new production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. The Dock Street Theatre will be the venue for the US premiere of Vivaldi's opera Farnace, as well as renowned Irish theater company Druid's production of Waiting for Godot. Award-winning Garry Hynes, Druid's artistic director, will direct both Dock Street performances. A few blocks uptown, three other internationally acclaimed theater productions will be held in College of Charleston's Emmett Robinson Theatre: Blind Summit Theatre's The Table, Aurélia Thierrée's Murmurs, and Rezo Gabriadze's Ramona.

The complete 2017 program and an event calendar can be found at

Tickets went on sale to the general public January 18: By phone at 843.579.3100 and online at Also, tickets can be purchased in person through the Spoleto Festival USA Box Office at the Charleston Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun Street) beginning Monday, May 1.

--Shuman Associates PR

The Sheen Center Announces Its Spring 2017 Classical Music Series
The NoHo/East Village based Sheen Center for Thought and Culture is proud to announce its 2017 spring classical series made up of three unique concerts curated by Marc Kaplan of SubCulture, exploring the gamut of chamber music from the classical to the contemporary eras.

The series begins on April 24 with violinist Anthony Marwood and the acclaimed chamber orchestra Les Violins du Roy performing works by Strauss, Mozart, and Enescu. The second concert, May 6, features cellist, composer, and curator Joshua Roman and several guest musicians in a far-ranging recital program. A final June 5 concert rounds out the season with the world premiere performance of Gregg Kallor's piano quintet, performed by Kallor and The Attacca Quartet.

For more information about the Spring season, please visit:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

FAYM January Newsletter
The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians is dedicated to "Building Better Futures Through Music."

Meet Michelle! Michelle is a 3rd grade student who takes violin classes with us at the Pearson Community Center. Although she has only had a violin in her hands since October 2016, she performed with her class in our Christmas Concert and is learning songs to perform in the Spring Concert this March.

Meet Joshua! Joshua está en segundo grado y está tomando clases en el East Las Vegas Community Center. Nomas tiene como 3 meses con el violín en sus manos.

A Message from the FAYM President:
"Our Founder and Board President, Hal Weller, has decided to step down and retire from his many years of service and dedication to FAYM. The children of our inner city communities are very fortunate that Hal took an interest in them and did something! What began in 2009 with just 12 students has grown to include over a hundred current students...."

For more information, visit

--The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

Acclaimed Organist Chelsea Chen to Play Free Recital Feb. 10 in Des Plaines
Award-winning young international concert organist and composer Chelsea Chen will perform a diverse, centuries-spanning program that includes her signature composition, "Taiwanese Suite," and the Chicago debut of her "Chorale-Prelude on 'Bethold'" at a free concert presented by the Chicago chapter of the American Guild of Organists at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 10, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 675 East Algonquin Road, Des Plaines, Ill. The event is open to the public, and reservations are not required. More information at, (773) 865-5470.

For more information, visit and

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Baroque Violinist Tekla Cunningham To Give Free ABS Master Class on Monday February 6th
The first in the 2017 series of American Bach Soloists Free Master Classes will take place next Monday on February 6th at 7:30 p.m. in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street at Van Ness.

Works by Bach performed by Sarah Bleile, violin; Elizabeth Boardman, viola; Emily Nardo, violin; and Eugenio Solinas, cello.

Additional free 2017 Master Classes include Steven Lehning, violone, on Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm; and Jeffrey Thomas, conductor, on Monday, April 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm.

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Music for Life International - Feb. 13
Music For Life International continues its decade-long tradition of global humanitarian concerts at Carnegie Hall by presenting Mahler For Vision, a benefit concert of Gustav Mahler's monumental Second Symphony "Resurrection"(the only performance of Mahler's Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall during the 2016-17 season) on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, NYC.

The concert, which is the culmination of the Music For Vision series of concerts in the Netherlands and Mumbai and Delhi, India, aims to promote the restoration of vision to millions affected by treatable cataract blindness on the most prestigious concert stage in the world. The net proceeds of Mahler For Vision will benefit HelpMeSee's unique efforts to end preventable cataract blindness and to preserve and enrich the dignity and livelihoods of those affected through the innovative use of cutting-edge technology and transformative socio-economic models for distributing these critical public health services.

The performance will be conducted by Singapore-born, Indian conductor and Music For Life Artistic Director, George Mathew, and will feature renowned American violinist, Elmira Darvarova (the first woman ever to serve as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York); distinguished soprano Indra Thomas; and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, a familiar voice to New York audiences from more than thirty years of iconic performances at the Metropolitan Opera and the concert stage. Mahler For Vision will bring together many of the world's finest orchestral musicians. Principal artists will gather from many of today's most distinguished, ensembles, music academies and conservatories.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

2017 ABS Academy Applications Due February 15th
The American Bach Soloists ACADEMY is an advanced training program for emerging professionals and accomplished students of Historically Informed Performance Practice. The ABS Academy is held in the spectacular facilities of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in the heart of San Francisco's Arts district.

During the course of the program, students and faculty present public concerts as part of the American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy including programs of chamber music, "Academy-in-Action" performances, a concert-version Baroque opera or oratorio and annual performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor, which include the participation of the American Bach Choir. Additional Academy events provide opportunities for collaboration with other arts organizations through colloquia and special performances.

For more information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Orchestre National de Lyon - First US Visit Since 2003
Beginning February 18, the Orchestre National de Lyon, "probably the most refined ensemble of the world" (The Guardian), tours the United States for the first time since 2003, playing concerts with music director Leonard Slatkin on a six-city tour. The Orchestra performs in renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and at the University of Georgia, Wake Forest University, and others. Special guest artists at Carnegie Hall include two of classical music's most treasured American voices, soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Thomas Hampson. The New York program will feature debut performances of Guillaume Connesson's Celephaïs and a new Ravel arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov's Antar with text by Amin Maalouf.

The programs predominantly feature music of French composers, namely Berlioz and Ravel, whom the Orchestra performs and records extensively. At Carnegie Hall, the program opens with a reconstructed version of Ravel's incidental music to Antar, after works by Rimsky-Korsakov. The ONL has pioneered what is essentially a new work, after commissioning French-Lebanese writer, Amin Maalouf, to compose a contemporary text to add new dimension to the music. Mr. Maalouf, whose work has included the libretti for four of Kaija Saariaho's operas, collaborated closely with Maestro Leonard Slatkin to create a libretto with narrator (Thomas Hampson). The text is declaimed during and in between the musical movements.  This inventive version of music and text premiered in France in 2014; an English translation by Matthew Hurt and Sarah Vermande makes its debut at Carnegie Hall on February 20.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Music Institute Premieres Duo Piano Dialogues March 26
To spotlight the unique repertoire for two pianists at one and two pianos, the Music Institute of Chicago presents Duo Piano Dialogues, a series of performances with commentary featuring the Music Institute's piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem as performers and speakers. The first program, "Schubert and the Princess," takes place Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

"Schubert and the Princess," an exploration of Schubert's relationship with Princess Caroline Esterhazy and the four-hand music their friendship inspired, includes Rondo in D (Notre amitié est invariable), Variations on a French Song, Grande Marche No. 6 in E Major, Divertissement a la Hongroise, and Fantasie in F minor. Following the performance and commentary, there will be a gathering for refreshments and conversation.

The Duo Piano Dialogue program "Schubert and the Princess" takes place Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students, available at For information, call the Nichols Concert Hall Box Office at 847.905.1500 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

92Y March Concerts - a Month of Debuts
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 8:30PM
92Y - Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Sir András Schiff Selects: Young Pianists
Dinara Klinton, piano (92Y debut)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 8:30PM
92Y - Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Thibault Garcia, guitar (New York debut)
European Guitar Quartet (New York debut)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:30PM
92Y - Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord (92Y debut)

Saturday, March 25, 2017  at 8:00PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Pablo Sáinz Villegas, guitar (92Y debut)

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 3:00PM
92Y - Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Rafal Blechacz, piano (92Y debut)

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

PBO Presents 2017 Winter Gala Honoring Dominque Labelle
Join us on Friday, March 10, 2017 for Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale's annual Winter Gala at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown San Francisco, CA.

This year's gala will feature the world premiere of a newly commissioned piece by Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Caroline Shaw, written for and performed by acclaimed soprano Dominique Labelle. Ms. Labelle will also be honored at the event for her extraordinary artistic contributions.

The evening includes a silent auction showcasing one-of-a-kind items and cocktail reception; an exquisite three-course dinner and student musician performance; and a festive afterparty featuring a premium Scotch tasting.

We hope you'll join us for a magical evening and support the future of America's leading period ensemble.

For more information, 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