Classical Music News of the Week, July 8, 2017

Music Institute of Chicago Announces 2017-18 Season

Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, Pinchas Zukerman Trio, Trio Settecento, the Music Institute Faculty, and the Minnesota Orchestra's Erin Keefe are among the season highlights.

The Music Institute of Chicago announced the 2017-18 season of its Faculty and Guest Artist Series, featuring the Music Institute's renowned faculty and an array of stellar guest artists. All concerts take place at the historic Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in downtown Evanston, Illinois.

Opening Night: "Sonic Youth"
Saturday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.

Ella Fitzgerald Centennial Concert
Saturday, November 11, 7:30 p.m.

Family Concert: Duke It Out!
Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
General admission: $7

Trio Settecento
Sunday, February 18, 3 p.m.
Rachel Barton Pine, baroque violin, viola d'amore; John Mark Rozendaal, viola da gamba, baroque cello; David Schrader, harpsichord, positiv organ

Academy Orchestra with Erin Keefe
Saturday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.

Zukerman Trio
Pinchas Zukerman, violin; Amanda Forsyth, cello; Angela Cheng, piano?
Sunday, May 20, 3 p.m.

All performances take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets, except where noted, are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students, available online or 847.905.1500 ext. 108. All programming is subject to change.

For complete information, visit musicinst.org.

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Festival Mozaic Kicks Off This Month
The Festival brings talented musicians from around the country to beautiful San Luis Obispo, CA. See players from the Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the LA Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and many more, brought together by Music Director Scott Yoo.

These musicians will play in Chamber Music,  Orchestra, Fringe events and free Midday Mini-Concerts. Join us! This constellation of stars arrives in San Luis Obispo in just two short weeks...don't miss the heavenly music!

For complete information, visit http://www.festivalmozaic.com/summer-festival

--Katy E., Festival Mozaic

Orion Celebrates 25th Season
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, celebrates 25 years of chamber music performance with four concert programs welcoming respected guest musicians who will join Orion's three founding members--clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu and pianist Diana Schmück--along with longtime cellist Judy Stone. The season features a 25th anniversary world premiere and several favorite Orion works from past seasons.

"We are grateful to our loyal audiences and the thousands of people our music has touched in Chicago and across the country," said Pirtle. "Throughout the years, we have had the opportunity and joy of sharing our stage with some of the finest artists in music, dance, poetry and visual arts. We are particularly proud of greatly expanding the repertoire for our instrumentation by inspiring and commissioning many composers." Ramniceanu added, "We are blessed to have made music together for 25 years, growing into the chamber music family we are today. The generosity and support of our funders and patrons has inspired us to do more for our community and reach for the stars. We are looking forward to continuing for many years as we share our love of music."

The Orion Ensemble performs its 2017-18 concert programs at three Chicago-area venues: the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Wednesdays, September 27, November 8, March 7 and May 23 at 7:30 p.m.; the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston on Sundays, October 1, November 12, March 11 and May 27 at 7:30 p.m.; and First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva on Sundays, September 24, November 5, March 4 and May 13 at 7 p.m.

Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; children 12 and younger are free. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit orionensemble.org.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

World Premiere of a Work by Richard Strauss
On July 15 at 4 p.m., Shani Diluka will play the world premiere of a piano piece by Richard Strauss at the Markus Sittikus Hall, Austria. The short "Nocturno" was composed as a part of the "Stimmungsbilder" op. 9 (finished in 1884), but eventually not included by Strauss in the printed edition. The piece was thought lost until, recently, Berlin-based antiques dealer Rainer Schlicht managed to obtain the manuscript. The Strauss family has kindly given their consent to the first public performance of the piece at the Schubertiade.

Also, due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, the lieder recital with Anna Lucia Richter and Sir András Schiff on August 31, 2018 cannot take place. Instead, Sir András Schiff will perform a solo recital.

For complete information, visit http://www.schubertiade.at/

--Schubertiade in Hohenems 2017

Pentatone Announces Long-Term Partnership with Vladimir Jurowski
Pentatone announced the signature of a long-term, multi-album agreement with Vladimir Jurowski, one of the leading conductors of his generation.

"Vladimir Jurowski delivers an absolutely stunning account that vividly captures the work's drama and emotional intensity" – BBC Music Magazine on Schnittke's 3rd Symphony

The Russian-born maestro will helm a new complete cycle of the symphonies of Sergei Prokofiev with his Moscow-based State Academic Symphony Orchestra, the first installment of which will feature Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 and is slated for release in November this year. Both the original and revised versions of Symphony No. 4 will follow in 2018. In addition to this major undertaking, Tchaikovsky's complete ballet Swan Lake will be captured with the same forces and released during next year.

Jurowski, who becomes Chief Conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) in September, will also conduct the orchestra on two new releases marking the beginning of his tenure in the German capital: Mahler's rarely recorded tone poem Totenfeier (the original version of the first movement of the composer's Second Symphony) and Strauss' famous Also sprach Zarathustra will come out that same month, while Britten and Hindemith violin concertos with Arabella Steinbacher's revelatory take on the two seminal works of the 20th-century , will come out in October.

--Silvia Pietrosanti, Pentatone

Michael Stern Replaces Gianandrea Noseda in Aug. 1 Ravinia Concert
Michael Stern has graciously agreed to step in as conductor for Ravinia's Aug. 1, 2017, concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and pianist Simon Trpceski. He replaces Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, who is recovering from surgery. The program on Aug. 1 will remain as scheduled, featuring works by Smetana, Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Ravel.

Stern's most recent appearance at Ravinia was with Joshua Bell and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Summer Festival Orchestra, celebrating the 100th anniversary of IU's music department in 2011. Stern, the son of legendary violinist Isaac Stern, has guest conducted and held titled positions with orchestras throughout Europe and the US, most recently as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, now beautifully housed in Moshe Safdie's Kauffman Center, one of the most acclaimed theaters in the world.

For complete information on the Ravinia Festival, visit https://www.ravinia.org/

--Allie Brightwell, Press Ravinia

The Toscanini Wars
No maestro was more revered--or more reviled. On the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth, it's time to give him a fair hearing.

To read the article, visit http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/10/the-toscanini-wars

To read a list of some of Toscanini's greatest recordings, visit http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/toscaninis-greatest-recorded-performances

--David Denby, The New Yorker

Fort Worth Opera Announces Formation of the FWOpera National Artistic Council
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced today the creation of the Fort Worth Opera National Artistic Council. Led by international opera star Plácido Domingo, this distinguished advisory council, composed of renowned artists, classical musicians, and directors, will provide ongoing support and guidance to FWOpera regarding artistic endeavors and educational programs that impact the city of Fort Worth. This extraordinary ensemble of creative minds and operatic entrepreneurs will keep FWOpera informed of larger trends within the opera world, as the company embarks upon its 72nd year and writes its next great chapter.

The Council is designed to establish a long-term relationship with FWOpera, and it will become an integral part of its foundation going forward. Members will make recommendations about singers and repertoire in conjunction with the vision of the company's General Director and its staff. They will receive and evaluate input from the Fort Worth community, acting as a liaison to other professionals in the opera field on behalf of the organization. The Council will also serve as a resource and advocate for the opera company, and will assist in crafting long-range strategic plans for Fort Worth Opera in conjunction with current initiatives, like the company's bold, 4-year celebration of Spanish language operas, Latino culture and heritage, Noches de Ópera.

The formation of the Council arrives in the second month of FWOpera's pivotal, summer-long campaign, FWOpera FOREWORD, which was recently launched to secure the legacy of the oldest opera company in the state of Texas, and celebrate the rich stories, history, and cultural vibrancy of Fort Worth. Maestro Domingo encourages the public to give generously as the company moves forward. To share your stories of the city and join Fort Worth Opera in writing the next great chapter of the company's future, donate today by calling 817.288.1212 or go online at www.fwforeword.org.

--Ryan Lathan, Fort Worth Opera

A Very Busy Summer for Young People's Chorus
The Young People's Chorus of New York City's choristers and staff have begun a whirlwind of activity that will continue throughout the summer. They returned from Finland in June, and now 80 YPC choristers leave for Barcelona, Spain.

July 11 - July 16: Barcelona, Spain
YPC's first stop in Barcelona will be a performance at the world famous Palau de la Musica Catalana, listed as a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO. Next, YPC will participate in the Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs, an international festival with performances and competitions with other choruses from all over the world.

The summer is far from over. Stay tuned for many more YPC performances, such as our Mostly Mozart debut on July 25 and 26. Learn more and get tickets at http://lincolncenter.org/mostly-mozart/show/the-singing-heart

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

PostClassical Ensemble Named Ensemble in Residence at Washington National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.'s intrepid classical music group, PostClassical Ensemble, with Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Executive Director Joseph Horowitz, has been named ensemble in residence at the Washington National Cathedral. The partnership provides PCE, a distinguished "experimental orchestral laboratory" for classical music programming, with its first dedicated performance space since its founding in 2003.

A benchmark for the pioneering classical music ensemble, the partnership is also a shift toward decidedly contemporary programming for the Cathedral.

PCE and the Cathedral will explore music in historic and social contexts, and in their inaugural season will present musical responses to World War II, music of the "cultural Cold War" between the United States and Soviet Union, and the legacy of African American composer/singer Harry Burleigh. Concerts will align with exhibitions and public lectures, to deepen the experience for patrons.

--Mike Fila, BuckleSweet Media

Nexyt @ AOP: Free Pop-Up Opera in the Park
At American Opera Projects, free opera is a walk in the park the next two weekends.

7/8 @ Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park 11am - 12:30pm:
AOP presents free pop-up opera with tenor Bernard Holcomb and The Walt Whitman Project at the Fort Greene Park Conservancy's Walt Whitman Walking Tour. Tour begins at Visitor Center.  RSVP HERE

7/15 @ Governors Island 1pm:
AOP's free pop up opera with baritone Jorell Williams and  Greg Trupiano for The Walt Whitman Project at the yellow house, 4-B Nolan Park by the Manhattan ferry landing on Governors Island. More Walt Whitman events noon to 4.

7/15 @ Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park 11am - 12:30pm:
AOP has more free pop-up opera with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy's and Myrtle Avenue Downtown Partnerships' Wallabout Historic Walking tour, featuring soprano Adrienne Danrich with Ron Janoff. Tour begins at the Visitor Center.


Complete information and event calendar at www.aopopera.org

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

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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