Classical Music News of the Week, December 16, 2017

Musica Viva NY Presents "Reintroducing Seymour" Benefit Concert

Musica Viva NY presents legendary pianist, teacher, and composer Seymour Bernstein in a special benefit concert, Reintroducing Seymour, on Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side (Lexington Avenue at 80th Street), NYC.

The program begins with Bernstein in solo piano works by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Liszt and Grieg. Following this, Musica Viva NY Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez is featured in solo piano works by Chopin, Schumann, and Schubert, and members of the Musica Viva NY Choir, soprano Devony Smith and baritone Brian Mextorf, perform lieder by Schubert and Schumann, accompanied by Seymour Bernstein. The program concludes with Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor, D. 940, featuring both Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and Seymour Bernstein.

The concert is free, with a suggested donation at the door.

Additional concerts in Musica Viva NY's 2017-18 season at All Souls Church include "Voices in Motion: Exploring Sound and Space" on February 25, 2018 featuring guest organist, conductor and Musica Viva NY founder Walter Klauss; "Infinite Hope: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of MLK's Assassination" on April 8, 2018 featuring the music of conductor, composer, and writer Alice Parker; and "Sunrise in the City: Musica Viva NY Celebrates 40 Years" on May 20, 2018 featuring a new commission by Elena Ruehr.

For more information, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

New Century Presents Zurich Chamber Orchestra
New Century Chamber Orchestra announce a special San Francisco performance featuring the Zurich Chamber Orchestra on Friday, March 16, 2018, 5:30 p.m. at Herbst Theatre.

In his first season as Artistic Partner of New Century, Daniel Hope brings the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, with whom he also serves as Music Director, for the opening performance of its 2018 United States Tour. Both ensembles will be highlighted separately in a selection of works from the chamber orchestra repertoire including Bartók's Romanian Dances, Mozart's Divertimento in F Major, K. 138 and Summer 3 from Max Richter's Recomposed: Vivaldi - The Four Seasons. The evening will conclude with both orchestras combining forces for Grieg's Holberg Suite.

Immediately following the concert, New Century will host its 2018 annual gala in the Green Room at Herbst Theatre with proceeds benefiting the organization's education and artistic programs.

Tickets to the Zurich Chamber Orchestra concert go on general sale January 5, 2018 and range in price between $29 and $61. Purchase by phone (415) 392-4400 or online at

--Brenden Guy, NCCO

Concerts at ASPECT Foundation for Music & Arts
Praised by Epoch Times as "a very welcome addition to the chamber music landscape of New York, the Aspect Foundation for Music & Arts eagerly presents the latter half of its second New York City season, with illuminating performances, underscoring a different thematic concept each evening. With appearances by many of the most prominent performers and musical scholars of today, the Aspect Foundation has quickly become a favorite series among New York's classical concert-goers. The Foundation is housed by the elegant Italian Academy at Columbia University, further instilling Aspect's core sentiments of curiosity, intellectualism, and deriving pleasure from art.

Taneyev and Arensky...In Tchaikovsky's Shadow
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 7:30PM
Alexander Kobrin, piano; Philippe Quint, violin; and others

J.S. Bach: The Art of Fugue
Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 7:30PM

Weimar: The Cradle of Musical Talent
Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 7:30PM
Vsevolod Dvorkin, piano; Sergey Antonov, cello

Fête Galante: The Anatomy of Melancholy
Monday, May 14, 2018 at 7:30PM
Sherezade Panthaki, soprano; Four Nations Ensemble

For complete information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Senior Public Relations Associate

Strathmore Mansion Winter Concerts
Strathmore's Music at the Mansion (10701 Rockville Pike North Bethesda, MD) performances in January and February focus on the intricacies of the individual instrument.

Internationally-recognized pianist and member of the revered Silk Road Ensemble Joel Fan thrills with a blend of canonical and contemporary music. Principal oboist for the London Symphony Orchestra, Olivier Stankiewicz, finds expressiveness in his passion for experimental new music and timeless symphonic traditions. Ashley Bathgate concentrates on the power of a solitary instrument in the concert hall, performing a reinterpretation of Bach's cello suites by composer/collective Sleeping Giant. In a decided departure, the Jon Stickley Trio grooves things up with thumping melodies and harmonies, blending gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop with guitar, violin, and drums.

Joel Fan, piano
Thursday, January 25, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Olivier Stankiewicz, oboe
Thursday, February 1, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Jon Stickley Trio
Thursday, February 8, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

Ashley Bathgate, cello
Bach Unwound
Thursday, February 22, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit

--Mike Fila, Bucklesweet Media

ICE Reprises David Lang's the whisper opera
From January 24 to February 3, 2018, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) reprises Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang's the whisper opera in 13 performances at NYU Skirball.

The small audience and musicians are enclosed in an intimate onstage set, as the opera, performed almost entirely in whispers, explores the question: "What if a piece were so quiet and so personal to the performers that you needed to be right next them or you would hear almost nothing?" With direction and design by Jim Findlay, the whisper opera features sopranos Tony Arnold and Alice Teyssier and ICE musicians Kivie Cahn-Lipman (cello), Claire Chase (flute), Ross Karre (percussion), Joshua Rubin (clarinet). the whisper opera was premiered in NYC with one performance at Lincoln Center's 2013 Mostly Mozart Festival, and since toured across the US and Europe.

David Lang's the whisper opera
January 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, February 1, 2, 3, 2018 at 7:30pm and January 27, 28, February 3, 4 at 3pm
NYU Skirball | 566 LaGuardia Pl | NYC
Tickets: $75

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians
After 10 years, FAYM is still going strong. At our most recent board meeting we looked back at where we have been and began long term planning with hopes to make the next 10 years even better than the first.

FAYM began with an idea from Mr. Harold Weller, and thanks to the help of many individuals along the way has grown. I especially want to draw attention to our board and all they have done to make that growth possible. Our board members come from different backgrounds and professions that come together for one reason: to bring music education to young people.

None of us are interested in personal fame or fortune. We are only trying to make a difference in the lives of others. I frequently quote the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child". The FAYM village could not exist without the leadership of our board members.

Every month, the board gathers to share ideas and make plans to improve and expand FAYM programs, all in the hope that we are creating a legacy for young people yet to come. We share the dream that this program will continue long after we are gone!

We put in a lot of time, effort, and financial support to keep FAYM going strong. At this time I would like to thank Board Members past, present, and future who have share this mission and work hard to bring it to fruition.

Spring 2018 Calendar:
Classes Resume
Week of January 8th

Spring Recital
Saturday, March 10, 3pm to 5:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

Last Day of Spring Classes
May 9th and 10th

Year End Recital
Saturday, May 12th
3pm to 5:30pm
East Las Vegas Community Center

For more information, visit

---Arturo Ochoa, President, 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 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