Classical Music News of the Week, September 30, 2017

Orion's "Let's Tango" Features Bernstein, Schumann, von Dohnanyi, Horn

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, continues its 25th anniversary season with "Let's Tango," featuring guest violist Stephen Boe.

Performances take place November 5 at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church; November 8 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and November 12 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois.

Orion's 25th anniversary season
Orion's 2017-18 season, which includes violist Stephen Boe on all programs, continues with "Old Meets New," highlighted by a world premiere in honor of the 25th anniversary by Sebastian Huydts, along with works by Bruch, Klein and Fauré, in March, and "Quintessential Quintets," with additional guest violinist Mathias Tacke performing on a program including Weber, Gershwin and Dvorák, in May. Also during the season, Orion hosts a fall benefit October 7 at Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois and appears on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" October 2, 2017 and March 5, 2018.

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Let's Tango" takes place Sunday, November 5 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Single tickets are $26, $23 for seniors and $10 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. 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

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

Pianist Szymon Nehring Carnegie Hall Debut
Pianist Szymon Nehring, winner of the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, makes his Carnegie Hall debut on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Weil Recital Hall.

Presented by the American Friends of the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society, Nehring will appear on stage with an intriguing program of works by Beethoven, Szymanowski and Chopin.  Currently pursuing the Artistic Diploma under the guidance of Professor Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music, highlights of Nehring's upcoming season include performances in Paris, Nancy, Olso, Bukarest, Strasbourg, the United States, South America and throughout Poland.  His debut recording, Chopin, Szymanowski, Mykietyn, received the 2016 "Supersonic Pizzicato" Award from the Pizzicato Magazine.

The concert will include
Beethoven: Sonata Op. 57 "Appassionata"
Szymanowski: Mazurkas Op. 50 No. 3 & 4 and Variations Op. 3
Chopin: Sonata No. 2 Op. 35

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

San Francisco Girls Chorus Presents "Philip Glass and the Class of '37"
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) and Music Director and Principal Conductor Valérie Sainte-Agathe open the organization's 39th concert season on Wednesday, October 25, at 8:00 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, with "Philip Glass and the Class of '37" in celebration of the composer's 80th birthday.

Longstanding members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, Music Director and keyboardist Michael Riesman and flutist/saxophonist Andrew Sterman, will share the stage with SFGC for selections from four Philip Glass works that are available for performance only with members of the Philip Glass Ensemble: Building and Knee Play 5 (Einstein on the Beach), Act III (The Photographer), Vessels (Koyaanisqatsi) and Father Death Blues (Hydrogen Jukebox). Setting context for Glass's unmistakable style and extensive output, the program begins with a survey of works from three composers who share the "'37" birth year with Glass and represent three distinct periods in the evolution of classical music: Dietrich Buxtehude (born 1637), Joseph Michael Haydn (born 1737) and the Mily Balakirev (born 1837).

Tickets for "Philip Glass and the Class of '37" are $26 / $36, and can be purchased through or by phone at (415) 392-4400. $5 student tickets can be purchased in-person with valid student ID.

--Brenden Guy, SF Girls Chorus

Slavyanka Chorus Presents "Festival of Russian Choral Music"
The Slavyanka Chorus's Festival of Russian Choral Music, October 15, 20 and 22 in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA.

Led by Artistic Director Irina Shachneva, the festival features three unique programs that shine a light on the lesser-known choral masterworks of Russian music's "Silver Age" (late 19th and early 20th centuries). Highlights are three West Coast Premieres by Sergei Taneyev, including his monumental choral cantata Ioann Damaskin (John Damascus), Op. 1; works for solo voice and piano by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Taneyev featuring Russian countertenor Andrey Nemzer; and a vast selection of Russian folk and sacred works featuring nine participating choral groups from the Bay Area and beyond.

"Russian Roots"
Sunday, October 15, 2017, 4 p.m.
(St. Mark's Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA)


"Reaching Toward Heaven"
Friday, October 20, 2017, 8 p.m.
(Star of the Sea Church, 4420 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA)

Slavyanka Chorus
Church of All Russian Saints Choir, Burlingame
Holy Virgin Cathedral Pontifical Choir, San Francisco
The Choir of St. Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church, Santa Cruz

"Russia's Bach
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 4 p.m.
(Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th Street, San Francisco, CA)

Slavyanka Russian Chorus
Andrej Nemzer, countertenor
Elena Stepanova-Gurevich, soprano
Donna Stoering, piano
Russian Festival Chorus & Orchestra

--Brenden Guy

YPC and Meredith Monk Perform at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival
Following its critically acclaimed Mostly Mozart Festival debut in July, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) performs with Meredith Monk in Dancing Voices at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival. This multidimensional, multiperceptual program of the composer's music is presented in three concerts on Friday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.

Tickets start at $35 and are available online at, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or at the David Geffen or Alice Tully Hall Box Office (Broadway and 65th Street).

--Shuman PR

St. Charles Singers Announces 2017-2018 Concerts
The St. Charles Singers has announced its complete 2017–2018 concert programming, which will mark the professional chamber choir's 34th season.

The mixed-voice ensemble, led by founder and music director Jeffrey Hunt, will present three different concert programs: the newest installment of its "Mozart Journey," the choir's multi-season survey of Mozart's complete sacred choral music; a Christmas concert with new arrangements of favorite carols; and a season finale featuring Ildebrando Pizzetti's "Requiem" and Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St. Cecilia."

'Mozart Journey XXII' Sept. 30 in St. Charles, Oct. 1 in Elgin, Ill.
'Candlelight Carols' Dec. 1 & 3 in St. Charles, Dec. 2 in Chicago, Ill.
Pizzetti's 'Requiem' April 28 in River Forest, April 29 in St. Charles, Ill.

Single tickets for all concerts are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability. Group discounts are available.

--Nat Silverman, Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

'Inside Out' Halloween Concerts - Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Launches New Season
Music Director David Bernard will conduct with the audience seated amongst the musicians, continuing his trailblazing 'InsideOut' concept, at New York's DiMenna Center.

It will be a musical Halloween with a difference at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on October 28th. Launching their 2017/18 season, Music Director David Bernard and the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony will play Saint-Saens's Danse Macabre and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique - two works shot through with witches and ghosts. And the audience will experience the musical ghouls up close, as they will be seated amongst the musicians throughout the orchestra, in Bernard's popular and vivid InsideOut concert format.

"These are two of the most scenic works in the classical canon," says Bernard, "each in their own ways works of genius - the Saint-Saens a perfectly structured piece of entertainment, the Berlioz a blazing, revolutionary masterpiece. Each paints devilish, extraordinarily evocative sound-pictures, and our audiences will have the opportunity literally to sit in the midst of all of that. They will be able to follow the motifs as they whizz around their ears, moving from section to section, they will find themselves immersed in dark and magical worlds. I can't think of a better way to spend Halloween!"

For more information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Opera On Tap to Release Episode 1 of the World's First Virtual Reality Horror Opera Series
Opera on Tap is proud to announce the release of Episode 1 of the world's first virtual reality horror opera, entitled "The Parksville Murders," on October 20 exclusively on Samsung VR. The episode will be featured exclusively on the Samsung VR app on Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus and at

The release will coincide with a special screening at Samsung VR Presents: An Evening in 360 in San Francisco on October 19, which will include new operatic content from the series by Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye performed by Benjamin Bloomfield, with interactive video art projections by Cari Ann Shim Sham and costumes by Ramona Ponce.

Additionally, "The Parksville Murders" will be featured at the Future of StoryTelling (FoST) conference in NYC from October 6-8, following a series of viewings and installations at the Salem Horror Fest earlier this month. The piece, directed by Cari Ann Shim Sham and featuring music by Kamala Sankaram and libretto by Jerre Dye, is being produced by Shim Sham, Opera On Tap's Anne Hiatt, and former Blue Man Group creative director Todd Perlmutter with VR production by Light Sail VR.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians September Newsletter
Auditions for FAYM's new Mariachi class were held on Thursday, September 7. Nineteen students auditioned and 8 scored high enough to be accepted.

Fall Recital
Saturday, October 21st
3pm to 5:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

FAYM 10th Anniversary Gala
Friday, November 3rd

Winter Recital
Saturday, December 9th
11am to 1:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

Did you know that administration for the FAYM program is done entirely by volunteers? We have some special projects this fall, and we need your talents to make them happen! FAYM is looking for a bilingual volunteer to translate materials, like this newsletter, from English to Spanish. FAYM is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this fall with a gala event. We are looking for special raffle prizes for this event. Can you, or someone you know, donate a prize? The FAYM Mariachi Band needs help with uniforms. Can you donate your sewing skills? If you can help with any of these projects, please contact Art Ochoa at

For more information about the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians, visit

Art Ochoa, FAYM

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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 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.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine 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 simple-minded, 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 Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. 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 LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. 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.

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