Classical Music News of the Week, November 11, 2017

On Site Opera to Present Ricky Ian Gordon's Morning Star at the Eldridge St. Synagogue

Known for pioneering rare and captivating site-specific performances, On Site Opera (OSO) will produce the New York premiere (and the first production since its world premiere) of Ricky Ian Gordon's Morning Star on March 21-22, and 25, 2018, at the Eldridge Street Synagogue, NYC, in partnership with the Museum at Eldridge Street. This follows their acclaimed recent productions of Mozart's Secret Gardener in an NYC community garden, Milhaud's Guilty Mother in a Hell's Kitchen garage, and the world premiere of Musto's Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt at the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

Based on the Sylvia Regan play by the same name, Morning Star tells the touching story of an immigrant Jewish family struggling to find a better life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. The characters' destinies are shaped by actual historical events: the tragically horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 in which over one hundred immigrant garment workers died after having been locked in the upper floors of a New York City sweatshop, as well as the Great Depression, and World War I. Through it all, the family must learn how to adapt to the country's ever-changing landscape. OSO's performances will fall on and around the 107-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25.

Dates & Location:
March 21 & 22, 2018 at 7pm
March 25, 2018 at 12:00pm & 5pm [These performances coincide with the 107th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire]
Museum at Eldridge Street
12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002

Tickets: $60; General admission.
On sale January 11, 2018 at

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Cast Announced for 42nd Street Moon's Holiday Production The Secret Garden
San Francisco's acclaimed 42nd Street Moon has announced the full cast and creative team for the 2017-2018 season's Holiday production, the Tony Award-winning family favorite The Secret Garden. Based on the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden has a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother) and music by Grammy Award-winner Lucy Simon. The Original Broadway Production won two Tony Awards in 1991: Best Book of a Musical (Marsha Norman) and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (11-year-old Daisy Eagan, making Eagan the youngest female Tony Award-winner to date).

42nd Street Moon's production of The Secret Garden will feature an all-female creative team, in honor and celebration of the musical's authors Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon (and of Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote the original novel). The production will be directed by Dyan McBride (42nd Street Moon's Holiday hit Scrooge in Love!), with musical direction by Lauren Mayer and choreography by Robyn Tribuzi (making her 42nd Street Moon debut).

The Secret Garden runs from December 6 - 24, 2017 and will perform at the Gateway Theatre (formerly the Eureka Theatre), 215 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111. The press opening will take place on Saturday, December 9 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets range from $25 - $76 and can be purchased through the Box Office at (415) 255-8207 or online at

--Jonathan White PR

British Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor Debuts at 92Y
British keyboard sensation Benjamin Grosvenor makes his 92Y debut on Wednesday, November 15 at Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC, at 7:30 pm.  Raved by The Los Angeles Times as a pianist who "delivers virtuosity beyond his years" and " If you haven't heard him, hear him now,"  Benjamin first came to prominence as the outstanding winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven, and he was invited to perform with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the First Night of the 2011 BBC Proms at just nineteen. Since then, he has become an internationally regarded pianist and was announced in 2016 as the inaugural recipient of The Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize with the New York Philharmonic.

In his 92Y debut recital, he begins with Bach's French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 followed by Brahms's Four Pieces, Op. 119, which are interspersed with Brett Dean's 2013 work, inspired by Brahms, Hommage à Brahms. The second half of the program opens with Debussy's Prelude to L'après-midi d'un faune, arranged by Leonard Borwick, and is followed by Berg's Sonata, Op. 1. Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit concludes the performance.

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Los Angeles Master Chorale Names Elizabeth Greenway Chief Advancement Officer
The Los Angeles Master Chorale has appointed Elizabeth Greenway to the position of Chief Advancement Officer. Greenway will lead the advancement and development initiatives of the Master Chorale, a resident company of The Music Center and the choir-in-residence at Walt Disney Concert Hall led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon and President & CEO Jean Davidson. Greenway will assume her new position on Tuesday, November 28.

Greenway comes to the Los Angeles Master Chorale from Sundance Institute where she is the Director, Institutional Giving and Development Operations, a position she has held since 2015. Her tenure at Sundance began in 2010 as the Associate Director, Foundation and Government Giving before a promotion to Director, Foundation and Government Giving in 2011. She previously held a variety of positions at The Museum of Contemporary Art over a 10-year-period, including Grants Manager from 2005 to 2010.

For more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

92Y December Concerts
Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 8 PM
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Sharon Isbin, guitar; with special guest Colin Davin, guitar

Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3 PM
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Brentano String Quartet

Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 8 PM
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Jeremy Denk, piano

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Nicholas McGegan and PBO Perform Rare Handel Oratorio
No one interprets George Frideric Handel like Nic McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Nic has brought both the classic and rare works of Handel to audiences around the globe for over five decades. As Artistic Director and Conductor at the Göttingen Handel Festival for 20 years, Nic shone new light on nearly twenty Handel operas. As a recording artist, Nic has explored the depth of the composer's output, with over 50 albums of Handel compositions including a dozen oratorios and close to twenty of his operas. And now, he's adding to that list with Handel's rarely performed oratorio Joseph and his Brethren with PBO in December.

Following the performances, PBO will record Joseph and his Brethren marking the first Handel oratorio recording for the Orchestra in 25 years. But unlike the usual live recordings, Nic will take the Orchestra, Chorale, and guest artists into the studio at Skywalker Sound in Marin for a three-day, high-tech recording session. This will be Philharmonia Baroque Productions' eleventh recording for digital and CD release and will be the second-ever recording of this rare and extraordinary work.

PBO Chorale Director Bruce Lamott says, "It's hard to find a Handel oratorio that has escaped our attention during the past 37 years, but we are performing Joseph and his Brethren for the very first time, and quite possibly the first time it has been seen in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nic's definitive interpretation will highlight the power of this musical saga in what may be a once-in-a-lifetime listening experience."

Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Handel's Joseph and his Brethren in concerts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area December 14-17.

For more information, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Nashville Symphony Composer Lab & Workshop Brings Four Emerging Composers to Nashville Next
Following a nationwide call for submissions, the Nashville Symphony selected four promising young composers to participate in the second edition of its Composer Lab and Workshop, an initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of great American composers.

The four composers – Emily Cooley, James Diaz, Liliya Ugay and Shen Yiwen – arrive in Nashville this weekend to take part in the comprehensive program, led by Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, during which they will showcase their music and learn about every facet of working with a major American orchestra.

"This program is an important part of the Symphony's long-standing commitment to promote the creation of new, forward-thinking American music," said Guerrero. "Each of these gifted artists represents the vibrancy and diversity of our country today, and each is helping to shape the sound of orchestral music in the 21st century. We're so thrilled to welcome them to Nashville and to help them take the next step in their careers — and we invite the community to hear what we believe will be the classics of the future."

The program will culminate with an open rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, when the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony will perform works by all four Composer Lab participants at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Don't Miss Festival Mozaic's Next WinterMezzo Weekend
Get Your Tickets and Plan Your Visit WinterMezzo II: February 23 - 25, 2018; San Luis Obispo, CA.

Musique Française
French composers in the 20th century reinvented melody through impressionism and neo-classicism. The melodic works of Gabriel Fauré, Jean Cras and Albert Roussel were written when jazz sounds from the United States had crossed the pond. Rounding out this imaginative and evocative program is a jazz riff on the baroque style by living composer Noam Elkies.

Noam Elkies: E Sonata for flute and keyboard in E minor, op. 40
Albert Roussel: Serenade, op. 30
Jean Émile Paul Cras: Suite en Duo
Gabriel Fauré: Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, op. 45

Muscians: Alice K. Dade, flute, John Novacek, piano, Jessica Chang, viola, Meredith Clark, harp, Scott Yoo, violin and Jonah Kim, cello.

For complete information, visit

--Bettina Swigger, Festival Mozaic

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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