Classical Music News of the Week, June 10, 2017

Chicago Duo Piano Festival Announces 29th Season

The Music Institute of Chicago presents its 29th annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival July 7–16. In addition to offering students coaching, lectures, master classes, and recitals, the Festival includes five public events at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, in Evanston, featuring guest duo the Park Sisters, Festival Founders/Directors Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, and Music Institute piano faculty, all performing duo piano repertoire.

Public Performances:
Gala Opening Concert: Duo Amadeae/the Park Sisters—Friday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Esther and Sun-A Park won the Grand Prize and the Director's Prize at the 2016 Chicago International Duo Piano Competition, which included a field of 18 piano duos representing 14 countries. Their program includes Mozart's Two Piano Sonata in D Major, K. 448 and Liszt's Don Juan Fantasy.

Esther Park has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals across the United States as well as Asia and major European cities, including the Houston Symphony, Yale Philharmonia, Corpus Christi Symphony, Filharmonia Pomorska of Poland, Orchestra Filarmonica of Romania, Shanghai Philharmonic of China, Shreveport Symphony, the Juilliard Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony. She gave a five-city recital tour in Korea and has performed at the Juilliard Theater in NYC, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Halls' Weill Recital Hall, Salle Cortot in Paris, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Palau de la Musica in Spain and on the Kum-Ho Music Society's Prodigy Series. She was the winner of the 52nd Kosciusko International Competition and the Gina Bachauer Competition.

Sun-A Park has received international recognition in several competitions, including 1st prize at the 61st Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition (New York) and top prizes at the 58th Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, the New York International Piano Competition, and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. Her concerto engagements have included performances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, San Marino Republic Orchestra, Haydn Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Albany Symphony, and the Symphonic Orchestra of Castilla y LeĆ³n. She has appeared at Alice Tully Hall and Benaroya Hall in the United States, National Dublin Hall in Ireland, Sejong Arts Center in Korea, the Miguel Delibes Cultural Center in Spain, and the Sendai Cultural Center in Japan.

Free Master Class: Saturday, July 8 at 10 a.m.
Guest duo the Park Sisters lead a master class.
Duo Piano Dialogues—Sunday, July 9 at 3 p.m.

Faculty Extravaganza Concert I—Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Faculty Extravaganza Concert II—Friday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

All concerts take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois. Except where noted, tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students and are available at 847-905-1500, ext. 108.

For complete information, visit https://www.musicinst.org/

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Lara St. John to Perform June 27 at Naumburg Bandshell with Ensemble LPR
Violinist Lara St. John will perform with Ensemble LPR on June 27, 7:30pm, as part of the 112th Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, a free concert series founded in 1905, held at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, NYC.

St. John will give the U.S. Premiere of a new string orchestra arrangement of Matthew Hindson's Maralinga (originally written for her), a haunting work that makes reference to the Aboriginal history at Maralinga, a place in the South Australian desert that was the site for secret British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s. St. John will also perform Ralph Vaughan Williams' timeless work The Lark Ascending.

The rest of the concert will feature an eclectic spectrum of music, with works by contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery, as well as Benjamin Britten, and Igor Stravinsky. The concert will be hosted by WQXR's Paul Cavalconte and broadcast live on Classical 105.9 WQXR and at www.wqxr.org.

All concerts begin at 7:30pm and are presented at the Naumburg Bandshell on the Concert Ground in Central Park located south of the 72nd Street cross-drive. Admission is free on a first-come-first-served basis with some seating provided. No rain dates. For information, contact 212.501.7809 or log on to www.naumburgconcerts.org.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

The Guthrie Sessions
The Huntington's Disease Society of America, also known as HDSA, is the world's premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone with Huntington's disease and their families. HDSA is a recognized as a Charity Navigator Four-Star Charity, was the partner in coordinating a massive global event recently at The Vatican with Pope Francis and is the organization to turn to for the latest Huntington's news and resources. It has also become the place to find the next big singer/songwriter…

Fifty years ago, HDSA was founded by Woody Guthrie's wife, Marjorie, shortly after Woody passed away from Huntington's disease (HD) complications when he was only 55 years old. HD is described as having ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's – simultaneously. Children of a parent with HD have a 50/50 chance of inheriting this fatal brain disorder with no cure.

HDSA looked to create a unique digital platform that celebrated the Guthrie Family legacy while getting the word out about this horrific disease that is devastating families. When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, every nonprofit was being challenged to come up with an impactful campaign of their own. HDSA decided to stick to its roots and make music.

In February 2015, the organization launched The Guthrie Sessions at HDSA, an online series that streams professionally edited music videos on HDSA's YouTube Channel. HDSA will book artists who are willing to volunteer their time to record five songs from HDSA's conference room in New York City or venues around New York City and Los Angeles. The songs are professionally shot and edited by filmmaker and photographer Rae Maxwell. Once the songs are completed, HDSA features the artist for an entire month, posting a new song each Monday. The artist will then share the videos to their fan base. In the end the artist receives professionally cut music videos and HDSA gets to introduce its mission to a new audience by sharing the Guthrie Family legacy…Win/Win for everyone, all for an incredible cause.

Not only has The Guthrie Sessions at HDSA generated unprecedented awareness, it has also created a unique platform that has never been done before by a nonprofit organization battling a rare-disease.

For a complete playlist, visit www.HDSA.org/GuthrieSessions

--Chris Cosentino, HDSA

Green Music Center Summer
Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular with Kathy Mattea and the Santa Rosa Symphony.
Tuesday, July 4, 7:30 pm
Weill Hall and Lawn, Sonoma State University

The GMC's 3rd Annual Bluegrass Festival Featuring Del and Dawg Bluegrass Band, with Mark O'Connor and the O'Connor Family Band, and Sierra Hull.
Sunday, July 9, 2:00 pm
Weill Hall and Lawn

Gloria Estefan – The Standards & More, with Festival Napa Valley Music Academy Orchestra.
Saturday, July 15, 7:30 pm
Weill Hall and Lawn

For more information, visit http://gmc.sonoma.edu/

--Green Music Center

FWOpera Announces Call for Submission for Frontiers 2018
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced today a call for submissions for its sixth annual Frontiers showcase, to be held during the 2018 Fort Worth Opera Festival – April 27, 2018 – May 13, 2018. Launched during the company's 2012-2013 season, Frontiers remains one of the only programs world-wide that seeks out unproduced works by the finest up-and-coming composers and librettists from North, South, and Central America, and has been acclaimed for the opportunities it provides its winners. Composers and librettists whose works are selected as part of the Frontiers showcase gain valuable exposure for their works in a live performance environment while also taking part in unparalleled networking opportunities with industry professionals including artistic directors of other established opera companies, artist managers, classical music publishers, funding organizations, and conductors.

Composer and librettist teams whose works are selected for the 2018 Frontiers showcase will be in residence during the 2018 Festival where they will attend the showcase, participate in the final rehearsals of their work, and engage in discussions about their works with panelists and audience members. Selected composers and librettists will also receive feedback on their piece through private meetings with the Frontiers jury panel and will have a recording of their work provided to assist them further in their compositional process.

Applications must be submitted between June 7 and July 31, 2017.

Please contact Amanda Robie, Director of Artistic Operations at frontiers@fwopera.org for submission address and information. All application materials must be submitted electronically through the Frontiers web portal. Only 15-25 minutes of a composition will be considered. Submissions must include: Synopsis of the entire composition; Libretto and Piano/Vocal score of the excerpts (in order within the piece); English translation if the work is in another language. All materials submitted must have the composer and librettist names removed to ensure anonymity during the panel review. A non-refundable entry fee of $25 U.S. is due upon submission. Payments will be made with the application submission online. Fort Worth Opera retains the right to select fewer than six works for the showcase. More details are available at http://www.fwopera.org/operas/frontiers/.

--Ryan Lathan, Forth Worth Opera

PBO Co-produces Re-imagined Aci, Galatea e Polifemo at National Sawdust in July
Summer is here and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is hard at work on many exciting projects! Next month brings an exciting co-production when PBO joins forces with National Sawdust on a radical re-imagining of Handel's dramatic cantata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (an earlier version of Handel's Acis and Galatea). The project is led by star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, whose recent appearances in Handel's Partenope at the San Francisco Opera were reviewed to critical acclaim. He's received the highest accolades for his performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, among many others. Aci will be directed by Olivier Award-winning director Christopher Alden, who also directed Partenope at SF Opera and has enjoyed a distinguished career in directing projects for the English National Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Glimmerglass Festival. Clay Zeller-Townson will lead the new period instrument ensemble, Ruckus, a group of recent Juilliard graduates. Clay has appeared with Tafelmusik, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, Boston Baroque, and many others. Cath Brittan, production director from Le Temple de la Gloire, will co-produce.  

The production is billed as a spectacular, streamlined, cliff-notes version of a Handel opera and will use innovative video technology to create multi-dimensional visual landscapes and re-imagined recitatives by composer and sound designer Mark Grey. The intimate National Sawdust space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a center known for its work with Phillip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Renee Fleming, and other artists.

This project is a perfect complement to PBO's New Music for Old Instruments initiative - to produce, commission, and perform new and reimagined works written expressly for period-instruments.

National Sawdust
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
July 12 | July 13 | July 19 | July 20
80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

For details, visit https://nationalsawdust.org/event/aci-galatea-e-polifemo/

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Giancarlo Guerrero Named Music Director of the Wroclaw Philharmonic
The National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland, announced that Giancarlo Guerrero is to be the Music Director of the Wroclaw Philharmonic starting in the 2017-18 season, succeeding Benjamin Shwartz.  Guerrero will conduct four weeks during his first season in Wroclaw, and starting with the 2018-19 season, he will spend eight weeks per season with the orchestra in addition to touring and recording activities. Guerrero will continue in his role as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, a post he has held since 2009 and to which he has committed through the 2024-25 season.

The Witold Lutoslawski National Forum of Music in Wroclaw is located in the historic center of Wroclaw and operates a state-of-the-art multifunctional concert venue which opened in 2015. The acoustic and theater design of the concert halls was the work of the renowned New York based Artec Consultants Inc (now Arup) and led by Tateo Nakajima. The building of the NFM has been designed by the esteemed polish architect Stefan Kurylowicz and the Kurylowicz & Associates Architectural Design Studio.The NFM presents an international orchestral series which in this current season included the Bayrischer Rundfunk and Staatskapelle Dresden among others.

More on the National Forum of Music can be found here: http://www.nfm.wroclaw.pl/en/

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa