Classical Music News of the Week, May 20, 2017

Bravo! Vail Music Festival Announces Its 30th Season: June 22-August 4, 2017

The Bravo! Vail Music Festival announces its 30th season, which runs from June 22 to August 4, 2017. The season features the return of its longtime resident ensembles the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic as well as the second-annual residency of the London-based chamber orchestra the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, led by violinist and Music Director Joshua Bell. The 30th season celebration includes five world premieres signifying the launch of a New Works Project, and seven string quartets performing in its various chamber music programs.

Bravo! Vail's historic 30th season also features Jaap van Zweden and Alan Gilbert in their final Bravo! Vail concerts as music directors of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, respectively.

For tickets, please visit, or call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet Media

Rising Opera Star Avery Amereau to Join PBO Next Season
The New York Times calls her "a rarity in music." Joyce DiDonato describes her voice as "like velvet, caramel chocolate." Maestro Thomas Crawford of the American Classical Orchestra proclaims, "the voice is just ravishing." And now Bay Area audiences will have a chance to hear it for themselves when up-and-coming contralto Avery Amereau performs with PBO in two separate programs next season.

Avery is finishing her studies at the Juilliard School where she completed a master's degree and has made notable appearances onstage this past season including her Metropolitan Opera debut as the madrigal singer in Manon Lescaut, the title role of Carmen with Opera Columbus, and a return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for her debut with the Festival in Ariadne auf Naxos.

Avery's unique voice is noted as being "contralto in vocal color and range" by vocal guru Matthew Epstein. But she considers herself to be an alto and bills herself as a mezzo-soprano. She'll be singing the mezzo roles with us next season.

Avery will first appear along with composers Sally Beamish and Caroline Shaw in a PBO "SESSIONS: New Music for Old Instruments," that will focus on female composers and the female musicians who bring their music to life. Then she'll join us again in April for the "Beethoven Unleashed" program where she'll perform in Beethoven's Mass in C major and his "Choral Fantasy."

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Orion Ensemble, May 24
The Orion Ensemble is concluding its season with a program featuring two works by Jean Francaix and a work by Brahms. Preceding the May 24 performance at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago, Daniela Broderick will give a talk on "The young and the mature Jean Françaix - a comparison of his style in two chamber works 57 years apart."

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Wit and Passion" takes place Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, May 24, with CYSO quintet Zephyrus, at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians (FAYM)
Just a note of thanks to far-away family & friends for your support of FAYM!

Our kids and teachers in the "Violins for Kids" program are doing well and will be showing off this Saturday with their 10th Annual Spring Concert. Then, in June, our youngsters will come together for an intensive week of classes and performances in FAYM's Summer Camp.

If we could....we'd come to your home and serenade you for helping to make it all possible!  Just know that you are very much in our thoughts and that we appreciate all you have done to enrich the lives of our FAYMsters!

Spring concert: Saturday, May 20, 3pm
East Las Vegas Community Center
250 North Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, NV

String Orchestra FAYM Presents Summer Camp
June12-16. 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Concert: June 17, 10am
Valley High Schoo, Las Vegas, NV

For more information, visit

--Hal Weller, FAYM

YoungArts Presents Little Boy Lost: One Child's Story of Life Behind Bars
On May 20, 2017, the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) will present Little Boy Lost: One Child's Story of Life Behind Bars, a collaborative work that amplifies the voices of incarcerated youth through the story of 20-year-old Miami native Damien Duncan. The performance is part of YoungArts' celebrated Outside the Box series, which engages the community with free, multidisciplinary performances that take place outside of the iconic Jewel Box on the YoungArts Plaza.

Created by composer and performer Daniel Bernard Roumain and journalist Lisa Armstrong, Little Boy Lost employs classical music, spoken word, rap and film to address the issue of youth incarceration and the prison industrial complex through the eyes of one young adult. At the center of the performance is a 40-minute documentary by Armstrong with live scoring by Roumain, cinematography by Nilo Batle (2017 YoungArts Winner in Cinematic Arts), and spoken word by Simbaa Gordon (2016 YoungArts Winner in Writing).

Little Boy Lost follows a day in the life of Damien, who has recently been released from state prison, and has since become a role model in his local community by volunteering as an active mentor for Empowered Youth, a non-profit that helps at-risk inner city teens in Dade-County. Through transmedia, Roumain unpacks the cultural and socio-economic context of Damien's experience, and highlights what could have been through character juxtaposition with YoungArts alumnus Gordon.

For more information, visit
To watch a brief video about YoungArts, visit

--Heike Dempster, National YoungArts Foundation

Notes from Festival Mosaic
Each year the Festival Mosaic returns to beloved venues like Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Serra Chapel in Shandon, See Canyon in Avila Beach, and other spaces that showcase the beauty of the Central Coast. For 2017, we're excited to partner with some new venues. We hope you join us!

Festival Mozaic is delighted to partner with the History Center of San Luis Obispo County to present "The French Connection," a brunch and Notable Encounter on Sunday, July 30, featuring music of Maurice Ravel for flute, viola and harp. The Dallidet Adobe and Gardens were the private home of Pierre Hypolite Dallidet. Pierre and his family were well educated, traveled, and interested in the arts and natural sciences. Pierre Sr. owned many properties, mining claims, farm and ranch lands, but is remembered most for starting the first commercial winery on the central coast. Only a few tickets remain for this brunch event on the final day of our 2017 Festival!

For more information, visit

--Festival Mosaic

Naxos at 30
Naxos was launched in 1987 as a budget classical CD label, offering CDs at the price of an LP at a time when CDs cost about three times more than LPs. The focus was on recording the standard repertoire in state-of-the-art digital sound with outstanding, if unknown artists and orchestras, initially mainly from Eastern Europe. From these humble beginnings, Naxos developed into one of the world's leading classical labels, recording a wide range of repertoire with artists and orchestras from more than 30 countries.

The Naxos Music Group will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of Naxos with events in Munich and London, including a gala concert on May 16 at the Court Chapel in Munich featuring Naxos artists Boris Giltburg, Tianwa Yang and Gabriel Schwabe.

Today, at the gala event in Munich, Klaus Heymann, the founder of Naxos, will receive the Special Achievement Award of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) awarded to him on April 1, 2017. Says ICMA President Remy Franck: "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 visions, his incredible efficiency and has profound love for the music he became the industry's major player."

For more information, visit visit

--Kelly Voigt, Naxos USA

Met's New Production of Dvorák's Haunting Fairy Tale Rusalka
Kristine Opolais stars in her first Met performances of her breakthrough role, the title character in Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka, in a critically acclaimed new staging, directed by Mary Zimmerman and conducted by Mark Elder, on "Great Performances at the Met" Sunday, June 18 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

This haunting love story also stars Jamie Barton as the witch Jezibaba, with Katarina Dalayman as the Foreign Princess, Brandon Jovanovich as the Prince, and Eric Owens as Rusalka's father, the Water Sprite.

The opera premiered at the National Theater in Prague in 1901. The only one of Dvorák's operas to gain an international following (so far), Rusalka is in many ways a definitive example of late Romanticism-containing folklore, evocations of the natural and the supernatural worlds, and even a poignant interpretation of the idea of a love-death. The story has a strong national flavor as well as universal appeal, infused by the Romantic supernaturalism of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's novella Undine (previously set as an opera by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tchaikovsky, and others) and Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

Visit Great Performances online at for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.

--Harry Forbes, WNET

ICE Performs Free Pop-Up Concert at Miller Theatre
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), returns to the Miller Theatre for "ICE: Animal Behaviors," a free Pop-Up concert on Tuesday, June 6 at 6:00 p.m. ICE members Jacob Greenberg (piano), Nuiko Wadden (harp), Ryan Muncy (saxophone), and Dan Lippel (guitar) will perform a program that re-examines the basic animal nature of each of the featured instruments' personalities, from ferocity to tenderness, and everything in between. The chamber pieces explore how instruments camouflage each other's sound, while the natural and unnatural tendencies of harp, saxophone, and Indian harmonium are highlighted in the solo works.

The concert's unique on-stage seating will allow audience members an intimate look into the world premiere of Dai Fujikura's White Rainbow (2016) for Indian harmonium; Drew Baker's Skulls (2016) for guitar and harp; Mikel Kuehn's Entanglements (2016) for harp and guitar; Ann Cleare's luna (the eye that opens the other eye) (2014) for solo saxophone; Suzanne Farrin's Polvere et Ombra (2009) for solo harp; and Alex Mincek's Pendulum III (2009) for saxophone and piano.

Tuesday, June 6 at 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
Tickets: Free on a first-come, first-served basis

Miller Theatre at Columbia University
2960 Broadway (at 116th Street)
New York, NY 10027


--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and 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