Classical Music News of the Week, May 13, 2017

Opera Training Program Sees Three Premieres in Multiple Cities

In the first half of 2017, Three Way, The Summer King, and Independence Eve have joined the list of operas that were developed in AOP's "Composers & the Voice" training program and continued on to a fully-staged world premiere.

Since launching in 2002, "Composers & the Voice" has fostered the development of 54 composers & librettists who were awarded fellowships to learn the fundamentals of writing for the voice and opera stage.

Robert Paterson, C&V composer
Three Way world premiere
January 2017 - Nashville
June 15-18, 2017 - New York City
Co-production Nashville Opera and AOP

Daniel Sonenberg, C&V composer
The Summer King world premiere
April 29-May 7, 2017 - Pittsburgh
Presented by Pittsburgh Opera
May 2018 - Detroit
Presented by Michigan Opera Theatre

Sidney Marquez Boquiren, C&V composer
Independence Eve world premiere
June 3-11, 2017 - Washington DC
Presented by UrbanArias

For further informatin, visit

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

DCINY Presents Pianist Ian Gindes at Carnegie Hall on May 30
On May 30 at 7PM, DCINY presents acclaimed American pianist Dr. Ian Gindes in an evening performance at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, NYC. An officer in the National Guard, Dr. Gindes honors Memorial Day Weekend with a performance of works by Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Copland, and Wild.

Dr. Gindes serves as a commissioned officer in the United States Army National Guard. Following in this spirit of service to neighbor and country, he has given highly publicized performances to honor and raise funds for families of soldiers and victims of terrorism and war. His performances of works by American composers, including Copland and Gershwin, in addition to Romantic period masters, such as Schumann, Liszt, and Chopin, are inspired by his service.

DCINY Artist Series - Ian Gindes, piano
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall

More information about the concert:

Tickets for the concert are now on sale from $50:

--Ely Moskowitz, Unison Media

Ravinia to Host Two-Season Celebration of Bernstein Centennial
In 2018 Ravinia will launch a two-season centennial tribute to one of the all-time legends of American music, conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, and in 2019 will open the Ravinia Music Box experience center with an exhibit of important mementos from Bernstein's life and storied career, including his personal piano.

"There aren't enough hyphens to string together all of Bernstein's titles and accomplishments, and Ravinia is hoping to present a well-rounded remembrance of both the common man and the superstar artist who shaped so much of our musical tastes and understanding," Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman said. "Of course, there's the Laureate Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic and the genius behind West Side Story, but there's also the iconoclast, the man who defended melody in era that was atonal in so many ways, and the charismatic leader at home at the glitziest parties and in the grittiest political movements. He lived life large, and his legacy merits global celebration."

Central to Ravinia's celebration will be the two-year appointment of Marin Alsop—one of Bernstein's final protégés—as the first musical "curator" in the festival's 113-year history. Ravinia introduced Chicago audiences to Alsop between 2002 and 2005 when she led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in works by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Corigliano, as well as excerpts from John Adams's Nixon in China. The Chicago Tribune said, "Like her famous mentor, Leonard Bernstein, Alsop can be a dervish on the podium when the music is fast, busy, and highly charged. But she is her own musician in terms of considered emotional response and the way she conveys intensity of feeling to her players."

--Allie Brightwell, Ravinia Press

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers Joins California Symphony for Symphony Surround
California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera celebrate the Orchestra's 30th anniversary with Symphony Surround, a special event and fundraiser Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, California, with guest violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, who returns to perform with California Symphony for the first time since 2007. Meyers and the Orchestra will perform arrayed in a special configuration for this event, surrounding the guests seated on stage. The proceeds from Symphony Surround benefit the Orchestra's nationally-recognized education programs, including Sound Minds, Music in the Schools, and its Young American Composer-in-Residence program.

The Blackhawk Auto Museum will provide the unique environment for Symphony Surround, with pre-performance cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a three-course dinner catered by Scott's Restaurant (purchased separately), with an opportunity before the performance to admire privately-owned, one-of-a-kind classic cars and to bid on items in a silent auction to benefit the Orchestra's education programs. Dinner guests enjoy preferred seating on stage among the orchestra musicians for the three-course meal and performance with Meyers, valet parking, a welcome cocktail with Music Director Donato Cabrera, unlimited wine during dinner and a hosted bar all evening, special photo opportunities with musicians and the classic cars following the show, and early access to bid on auction items. Doors open at 5:30 pm to all cocktail/performance ticket holders, who will have traditional theater-style seating. A live auction will also take place during the event.

Tickets are $135 for cocktail/performance tickets, $500 for dinner/performance tickets, and from $5,000 to $30,000 to sponsor tables (limited availability). Tickets are available by calling 925-280-2490 or at

--Jean Catino Shirk, Shirk Media

Music Institute's Andrew Guo Named Presidential Scholar
The Music Institute of Chicago is thrilled to announce that the Commission on Presidential Scholars has named Andrew Guo, a piano student in the Music Institute's prestigious Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Guo is one of 20 YoungArts Winners from 10 states, representing eight artistic disciplines, to receive this high honor based on artistic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership, and service activities.

Guo, 18 years old and a resident of Chicago, has been a Music Institute student since 2003, when he began Suzuki piano with faculty member Kate Nir at age four, and a member of the Academy since 2007. After 16 months of instruction, Nir arranged an audition with esteemed teacher Emilio del Rosario, who had a reputation for developing young talent. After del Rosario retired, Guo moved to the studio of Music Institute and Northwestern University faculty member Alan Chow. He also studies advanced composition with Matthew Hagle, whom Guo believes had a major impact on his winning this honor. Guo has won many national and international awards as a composer, soloist, and chamber musician in his 14 years at the Music Institute, including first place in the Music Teachers National Association Senior Composition Competition for his piece Seven Images.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

One Thousand School Children from Across NYC Come Together at the Apollo Theater
A thousand elementary and middle school children representing the many vibrant cultures that make New York City the most appealingly diverse city in America, will take the stage at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater on Monday morning, May 15. All of these children participate in the School Choruses program of the Young People's Chorus of New York City.

Under the direction of YPC's Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, the children demonstrate the value of the arts in education with an exciting showcase of musical stories from countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean, based on this year's school curriculum, "The Tales We Tell." The children's performances will be interspersed with dramatic interludes of acting, dancing and poetry by artists from The Classical Theater of Harlem.

Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street
Monday morning, May 15, at 10:45 a.m.

If you would like to attend, please email or text/call at 718-344-5140.

For more information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Lisa Bielawa's Made-for-TV Opera Vireo Premieres on KCET Online and On Air
KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent non-profit public broadcast and digital network, announced today that made-for-TV opera "VIREO: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser," composed and conceived by Lisa Bielawa, will make its world broadcast television premiere on Tuesday, June 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on both KCET in Southern California and Link TV (DirecTV375 and Dish Network 9410) nationwide. Produced in partnership with Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast will be a special edition of KCETLink's Emmy award-winning arts and culture series ARTBOUND. In a first for the network, KCETLink will release all 12 of the approximately 15-minute episodes of "VIREO" at once for free, on-demand streaming starting Weds., May 31 at,, and on Apple TV and Roku.

"VIREO" is an Artist Residency Project of Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, a unit of Cal State Fullerton's College of the Arts shepherded by Director and Chief Curator John Spiak. The new, made-for-TV-and-online opera conceived and composed by Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly for release online and on TV. The unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing various facets of the production. VIREO is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award and was recently awarded a prestigious MAP Fund Grant for 2016 through Grand Central Art Center.

To learn more, please visit or or on social media use #OperaVireo

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Berkeley Symphony and Joana Carneiro Announce 2017-18 Season
Music Director Joana Carneiro and Berkeley Symphony today announced its symphonic and chamber music concerts and programs for the 2017-18 season.

Program highlights of the Orchestra's 49th season include the world premiere of a new commission by William Gardiner, a cello concerto, with Tessa Seymour as soloist; two West Coast premieres, one by Berkeley Symphony's Music Alive composer-in-residence Anna Clyne, and one by Rene Orth, under the baton of Gemma New, guest conductor; performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Choral, and Symphony No. 1, and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique; a performance of John Adams's Fearful Symmetries, in honor of the composer's 70th birthday; Gordon Getty's cantata Joan of the Bells; Shostakovich's Jazz Suite No. 1; and the return of pianist Conrad Tao as soloist with the Orchestra in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Liszt's Totentanz.

The Orchestra has also announced that it will curate three of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive's Full series performance events of new and experimental music in the new downtown Berkeley art museum and film archive. The Orchestra also announced the expansion of its successful chamber music series at the Piedmont Center for the Arts.

2017-18 season subscription packages for the four Berkeley Symphony Symphonic Series concerts at Zellerbach Hall and the five-concert Chamber Series are on sale now at; by phone at (510) 841-2800; or in person or by mail at 1942 University Avenue, Suite 207, Berkeley, CA 94704.

--Jean Catino Shirk, Shirk Media

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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 Jon and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

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

For more than 20 years I was the editor of The $ensible Sound magazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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