Classical Music News of the Week, May 27, 2017

Saratoga Performing Arts Center Unveils "SPAC on Stage"

Saratoga Performing Arts Center is poised to present a wholly transformed audience experience with the August launch of an innovative new programming series, "SPAC on Stage." With a seating capacity of just 300, the series features a unique format that challenges concert hall convention by placing the entire audience onstage with the artists. The series will take place on four consecutive Monday evenings – August 7, 14, 21 and 28 – showcasing acclaimed ensembles whose artistry crosses both classical and contemporary genres, including the Hot Sardines, Time for Three, Black Violin, and Tiempo Libre.

"The success stories of the dynamic groups we've chosen for SPAC on Stage underscore the importance of cross-genre thinking in the performing arts. Today's audiences are craving fresh artistic experiences, not only in content, but also in presentation," said Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC. "In developing SPAC on Stage, our goal was to meet both of these demands. Positioning audiences onstage for this series will offer them a unique, visceral experience – a connection with the performance unlike anything they have experienced previously."

"We are enthusiastic about presenting a lineup that is artistically vibrant, comprised of musicians who are pushing the boundaries of classical into new directions," she continued. "Black Violin typifies this approach with their stereotype-challenging presence across classical, hip-hop, rock and R&B genres. That no-holds-barred creative energy is also at the core of the other three extraordinary acts on the schedule – the Hot Sardines, Time for Three. and Tiempo Libre."

"With every new season, we have the opportunity to add to SPAC's remarkable story. With SPAC on Stage joining an already exceptional summer lineup, 2017 may be one of the most interesting, exciting chapters yet," she concluded.

Tickets to SPAC on Stage will be $50 or $40, depending on location, and available on

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Guests Enjoy Music Institute's 87th Anniversary Gala
The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the nation's oldest, largest and most distinguished community music schools, welcomed nearly 300 guests to the 87th Anniversary Gala on Monday, May 15 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago. The event raised $800,000 from a combination of table sponsorships, ticket sales, and outright contributions.

The evening included a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances took place throughout the evening, representing every area of the Music Institute. Highlights included young musicians from the Community Music School; award-winning students from the renowned Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians; and young students from the Music Institute ArtsLink outreach programs, including performances by students from Joseph Lovett Elementary School and Third Coast Suzuki Strings, a violin program on the Northwest Side of Chicago operated in collaboration with the McCormick-Tribune YMCA.

Guests enjoyed a welcome greeting recorded by renowned opera singer, soprano, and Gala Honorary Chair Renée Fleming. Not once but twice, Dushkin Award recipient Rachel Barton Pine graciously surprised guests with performances alongside Music Institute students, performing Frideric Handel's Bourrée in G Major at the beginning of the evening and closing the event with Vittorio Monti's Czárdás.

For information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

PBO Introduces "Choose Your Own" Subcription Packages with 50% off Messiah
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is pleased to announce our new "Choose Your Own" subscription packages for new and lapsed subscribers!

Choose any 3, 4 or 5 regular season concerts and get all the benefits of subscribing including free exchanges, discounts on additional tickets, and -- with this package only -- 50% off tickets to Handel's Messiah.

The wonderul 2017/18 season continues to develop. We've just added rising star mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau to our "Beethoven Unleashed" program next April. The New York Times calls Avery "a rarity in music."  We'll have more exciting announcements over the summer as well.

Take advantage of this Choose Your Own subscription offer today and grab those extra Messiah tickets at 50% off before the discount expires on June 15, 2017. And bring the entire family. There's no limit to the number of discounted Messiah tickets you can add with this offer.

For complete information, visit or call (415) 295-1900 | Mon - Fri, 10am - 5pm.

--PBO Marketing

YPC Spring Concert
Young People's Chorus of New York City Spring Celebration Concert
Francisco J. Núñez, Artistic Director/Founder. Elizabeth Núñez, Associate Artistic Director

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Two performances: 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Please note that graduation will take place at the 2:00 p.m. performance

Location: 92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall
1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street, NYC

For Tickets:
92nd Street Y Box Office
Ticket prices range from $30-$60

--Shirley Delgado, YPC of NYC

Musica Viva NY Announces 40th Anniversary Season
Musica Viva NY--a chamber choir under the artistic direction of Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez--celebrates its 40th anniversary throughout the 2017-18 season, continuing its commitment to performing beloved as well as rarely heard works from various periods of musical history and from diverse cultures worldwide together with the Aeolus Quartet, quartet in residence. Highlights of the season include Orff's Carmina Burana, a concert featuring pianist and composer Seymour Bernstein, an appearance by Musica Viva NY's founder Walter Klauss, a performance commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. featuring Alice Parker; and the world premiere of a work by Elena Ruehr, commissioned by Musica Viva NY. All performances take place at All Souls Church (80th Street and Lexington Avenue).

Musica Viva NY's 40th anniversary season kicks off on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 5:00 p.m., with a program entitled "The Wheel and the Sphere" featuring Carl Orff's iconic Carmina Burana and Guillaume Connesson's Sphaera together with the Allen-Stevenson School Chorus. These concerts will be followed by "Voices in Motion: Exploring Sound and Space" on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

On Sunday, April 8, 2018 at 5:00 p.m., Musica Viva NY presents "Infinite Hope," a concert featuring renowned conductor, composer, and writer Alice Parker who joins Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, the Musica Viva NY choir, and the Aeolus Quartet for her own A Sermon from the Mountain: Martin Luther King; spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan and Alice Parker; and Antonín Dvorák's String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, "American."

Closing its 40th anniversary season, Musica Viva NY presents "Sunrise in the City" on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. featuring a newly- commissioned work by Boston-based composer, Elena Ruehr, together with Ola Gjeilo's Sunrise Mass, and works by Gustav Mahler and Maarten Spruijt.

In addition to the traditional four-concert Sunday evening series at All Souls Church, Musica Viva NY presents one additional benefit concert on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. "Reintroducing Seymour."

Season Subscriptions, priced at $130, and single tickets, priced at $40, for the four-concert series at All Souls Church are available by visiting Single tickets are also available at the door on the evening of the concert.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Taste of Randolph Announces Additional Artists
Silver Wrapper and Star Events have announced new additions to the 21st Annual Taste of Randolph Festival on Friday-Sunday, June 16-18th, 2017. This iconic celebration features three stages with a variety of talent, including a star-studded list of headliners on the Denver Live on the Rocks Stage, featuring the jaw-dropping scale replica of Red Rocks Amphitheater. The three day event benefits the West Loop Community Organization, which has been working since 1991 to support local businesses and economic development in the West Loop neighborhood.

Experience the Taste of Randolph in style and comfort, with amenities such as reserved viewing stands and lounge seating, private restroom trailers, discounted beer and more! Buy your tickets before they are gone! VIP options are available for all 3 days, or separately for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dawes | Eden | Emancipator Ensemble | Moon Taxi | Here Come The Mummies | Robert Delong | Slow Magic

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) | Son Little | Jerry Folk | ProbCause | Michl | Too Many Zooz | Head For The Hills | Soule Monde |  The Blue Stones | Brayton Bowman | Growler | Nasty Snacks | Satsang | Organ Freeman
Naughty Professor | Bassel & The Supernaturals | Wes John Cichosz | Donnie Biggins | Carlile | JJ & Dre | Fletcher Rockwell | Heather Horton | Grood | The North 41 | Nelson Street Revival | Two Filipinos | Yuri Lame | Phillip-Michael Scales | Jonas Friddle

DJ Dance Stage hosted by the West Loop Community Organization:
Psycho B! Valerie | Teri Bristol | David Sabat | Adam Gibbons | Alan King | Jesse De La Peña | DJ set by Echodroides | CZ Boogie | DJ Flx | Bomba Con Buya | Sean Alvarez | David Chavez | Bassment Tapes | Spence Young/Mark Matras | DJ Madrid | Julius the Mad Thinker | Pleasure Prince ft. Russoul | Mario Romay

Location: 900 W. Randolph, Chicago IL
Dates: Friday-Sunday, June 16-18th, 2017

--Rane Abhijeet, Cramer PR

Universal/Decca Music signs pianist Moye Chen
The Universal/Decca record label announced that pianist Moye Chen has been signed by the
as an exclusive recording artist.

Internationally acclaimed pianist Moye Chen has been signed to Universal Music on the Decca Classics label. Mr. Chen has won numerous prizes from world-renowned competitions such as Sydney and Cincinnati. His bravura technique caught the eyes and ears of the judges, while his warm stage persona proved enormously popular with the audiences as well.

For more information, visit

--Classics Alive Artists

Miami Music Festival Summer Program Lineup
Miami Music Festival (MFF), an intensive training program for the next generation of classical musicians, announces the lineup for the 2017 season from June 6 through July 30, 2017 at various venues in Miami. In its fourth season, MMF will host young artists from around the world selected from top conservatories and universities.

This year, 250 students from over 25 countries will receive instruction from an assembly of world-class faculty while the community benefits from accessible public concerts featuring many of the industry's most talented artists.

New additions to the Miami Music Festival this season include an Independence Day Celebration with the MMF Symphony Orchestra, featuring popular and patriotic symphonic favorites; a residency with composer Jake Heggie and the South Florida premiere of his groundbreaking opera Dead Man Walking; and the highly anticipated return of the MMF Wagner Institute, which will bring MMF to the stage of the incomparable Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County for the first time.

For the full schedule, to purchase tickets and more information on Miami Music Festival, please visit

--Leticia Rivera, Miami Music Festival

Celebrations with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Our upcoming Coro II project is cause for many celebrations. We celebrate our return to Hamburg's iconic new concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, with a celebrated programme that we debuted recently with Artistic Partner Teodor Currentzis and his MusicAeterna Choir. We join Festival de Saint-Denis's 50th anniversary celebrations with a three-concert residency – which in turn celebrates our 20th anniversary – beginning with a concert on this tour.

In many ways, this edition of the MCO newsletter is also celebratory: of the exceptional work and character of our Artistic Partner Teodor Currentzis; a new member joining our ranks; the longstanding partnership developed with our Dortmund partner class; a successful recent tour of many firsts; and our venture into the realm of the Instagram takeover.

For complete information about the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, visit

--Mahler Chamber 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 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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa