Classical Music News of the Week, February 3, 2018

Pacific Symphony Announces First-Ever Tour to China, May 9-15, 2018

Pacific Symphony today announced the details of its first-ever tour to China and first international tour since the Symphony toured European capitals in 2006. The five-city tour launches May 9, 2018 with a concert at the Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre, followed by performances in Hefei (capital of Anhui province), Wuxi (Jiangsu province), Chongqing (a major city in southwest China) and Beijing. The final concert takes place at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, colloquially known as "The Giant Egg" due to its distinctive dome-shaped, titanium and glass architecture.

The Symphony's tour will include works by Leonard Bernstein in celebration of his centennial, as well as Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, Suite No. 2; Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky (arranged by Ravel); and Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3, featuring soloist Pinchas Zukerman. The visit to China follows another important tour this season to New York City for the Orchestra's Carnegie Hall debut on April 21, 2018.

"We are gratified to represent Southern California on this highly anticipated tour," says Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair. "This is an artistic milestone for the orchestra and I couldn't be more pleased to be leading this exceptional group of musicians on its first tour to China. This is an artistically significant opportunity for Pacific Symphony to embrace cultural diplomacy and to carry the message of music's universality across the ocean to the other side of the Pacific Rim. The halls we will be playing have all been built within the last ten years. Some of the world's leading architects have created contemporary temples of music with stunning acoustics that will beautifully showcase the fine playing of our musicians."

For complete information, visit

-- Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

ICE Performs Ann Cleare Composer Portrait Led by Steven Schick
On Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 8pm, the innovative artist collective International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) returns to Miller Theatre for a Composer Portrait celebrating young Irish composer Ann Cleare. ICE musicians perform some of Cleare's most striking works in an ensemble led by Steven Schick, including the square of yellow light that is your window, inspired by fellow Irish artist Oscar Wilde; Dorchadas for bass flute, bass clarinet, bassoon, trombone, percussion, piano, and strings; the U.S. premiere of to another of that other for trumpet, trombone, clarinet and orchestra; and the world premiere of teeth of light, tongue of waves for voice, bassoon, viola, cello, bass, co-commissioned by ICE and Miller Theatre.

Ann Cleare is an Irish composer working in the areas of concert music, opera, extended sonic environments, and hybrid instrumental design. Her work explores the static and sculptural nature of sound, probing the extremities of timbre, texture, colour, and form. She creates highly psychological and corporeal sonic spaces that encourage a listener to contemplate the complexity of the lives we exist within, exploring poetries of communication, transformation, and perception.

Ann Cleare Composer Portrait
Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 8pm
Miller Theatre | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY
Tickets: $20-30

--Katy Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Composer Thea Musgrave to Celebrate Her 90th birthday with a Concert in NYC
One of Britain's most distinguished composers, Thea Musgrave celebrates her incredibly prolific seventy-year career with a 90th birthday concert on May 27 at The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City. A pioneer of the "dramatic-abstract" in the contemporary musical landscape, Musgrave's oeuvre is comprised of more than 160 pieces, including 13 operas, 11 choral works, and 21 orchestral works.

For her birthday concert, Musgrave will be joined by Dr. Harold Rosenbaum and The New York Virtuoso Singers for an evening of choral music, solo music, and excerpts from Musgrave's grand operas.

For information, visit
For tickets, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Founation to Assist Young Musicians Newsletter
Two students admitted into Mariachi Estrellas De FAYM.

One of the additions for 2017 was the creation of a FAYM Mariachi which we named 'Mariachi Estrellas De FAYM.' In late September, we scheduled auditions for students in group 2 or above. Students that did not pass the audition were invited to come to audit the classes.

Spring 2018 Calendar:
Spring Recital
Saturday, March 10
3pm to 5:30pm
East LV Community Center
Las Vegas, NV

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

For more information about FAYM, visit


Three Gertrude Stein Plays in the Shape of an Opera
SIX.TWENTY.OUTRAGEOUS: Three Gertrude Stein plays in the shape of an opera.

World premiere presented by Symphony Space Fuse Project in partnership with American Opera Projects.

When an oddball couple, their sassy housekeeper, a sewing machine, and a deranged radio all start singing, Gertrude Stein's playful language is transformed into the ecstatic and uncannily beautiful new opera from composer Daniel Thomas Davis, librettist Adam Frank, and director-designer Doug Fitch. From a shopping expedition that turns into an erotic adventure to a presidential election party that goes prophetically and horribly wrong, Stein's genius for upending convention is made startlingly relevant to our own cultural and political moment.

Ariadne Greif, soprano
Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, mezzo
Andrew Fuchs, tenor, with the Momenta String Quartet and Dimitri Dover, pianist
Musical Director: David Bloom

February 9-10, 7:30 PM
February 11, 2:00 PM
Symphony Space, Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025-6990

Standard $30 and up, Members $26 and up
30 & Under with ID $20 and up

For more information, visit

--American Opera Projects

Duo Piano Mini-fest Next in CDPF's 30th Season
The 30th anniversary season of the Music Institute of Chicago's Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) continues with the Chicago Duo Piano Winter Mini-fest, featuring master classes, coachings, lectures, student recitals, and performances March 2–4 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

Mini-fest concerts, open to the general public, feature the next installment in the Duo Piano Dialogues series, "Exploring Claude Debussy." Duo Piano Dialogues, a series of performances with commentary by CDPF piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, spotlights the unique repertoire for two pianists at one and two pianos. Marking the centenary of Debussy's death, Aebersold and Neiweem present a program, which takes place Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m., dedicated to the composer's music for piano duo, including his own arrangement of La Mer for piano, four hands.

A "Faculty Extravaganza" concert showcasing the talented Music Institute faculty includes Xiaomin Liang and Jue He, Sung Hoon Mo and Inah Chiu, Mio Isoda and Matthew Hagle, and Irene Faliks and Maya Brodotskaya performing music by Schoenfield, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, and Gershwin. The concert takes place Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The Chicago Duo Piano Festival's Winter Mini-fest concerts take place Friday, March 2 (Duo Piano Dialogues: "Exploring Claude Debussy") and Saturday, March 3 (Faculty Extravaganza) at 7:30 p.m.
at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

Tickets for each concert are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students.
Duo Piano Dialogues tickets are available at

Faculty Extravaganza concert tickets are available at, or for either concert, call 800-838-3006.

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Fifty Pianists Chosen as Quarterfinalists for 2018 Honens International Piano Competition
Fifty concert pianists from 22 countries have been chosen to perform in the Quarterfinals of Canada's 2018 Honens International Piano Competition. The Screening Jury evaluated more than 100 candidate applications based on proposed Competition programming, experience relative to age, and letters of reference.

The Quarterfinals/International Audition Rounds take place in Berlin (March 11 to 13—Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler) and New York (March 19 to 21—Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center). Each pianist performs a 40-minute self-programmed solo recital and is interviewed by an arts journalist.

"I have been involved with Honens since 2000, and not only was I very impressed by both the quantity and quality of the young pianists who applied this year, but also with their understanding of Honens' value of the 'Complete Artist.' It was a real challenge for the jury to reduce the field to 50 quarterfinalists," commented Eric Friesen, Chair, Screening Jury.

The 50 Quarterfinals performances are recorded on video for review by the First Jury, made up of both pianists and arts professionals: Winston Choi (2003 Honens Laureate, Head of Piano, Chicago College of the Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, United States), Isolde Lagacé (General and Artistic Director, Arte Musica Foundation, Canada), Eduardo Monteiro, (Pianist, Vice Director & Professor of Piano, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), and Pedja Muzijevic (Pianist, Artistic Administrator, Baryshnikov Arts Center, United States). The First Jury evaluates the performances during deliberations at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in April. Ten pianists will be chosen to advance to the Semifinals in Calgary. Semifinalists will be announced on May 28, 2018.

For complete information, visit

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

The Crypt Sessions Presents Violinist Lara St. John
Season 3 of Unison Media's acclaimed concert series The Crypt Sessions continues on March 14 & 15, with violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz performing their haunting, heralded program Lavuta: Violin Beyond the Pale.

The music incorporates folk melodies from Eastern Europe and the Jewish Diaspora, re-imagined by contemporary composers like Serouj Kradjian, Milica Paranosic, John Kameel Farah, and more. Lara recorded the program for her much-vaunted album Shiksa.

Due to rapid sell-outs and long waiting lists, each new concert will be announced immediately after the one preceding it, first to the mailing list, then via The Crypt Sessions website ( and Facebook page.

All Crypt Sessions are held in the Crypt Chapel under the Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY.
Each Crypt Session will feature a pre-concert reception included in the ticket price, with a tasting of food and wine that is paired to the themes and moods of that evening's music, prepared by Ward 8 Events.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Deep River - The Musical Impact of African American Spirituals
Turning spirituals into art songs and transforming American music, PostClassical Ensemble observes the legacy of Dvorák protégé Harry Burleigh. The program features the National Cathedral Choir, led by conductor Angel Gil-Ordoñez, and charts the journey of African American spirituals into the concert hall.

February 28th at 7:30 p.m., Washington National Cathedral.

Harry Burleigh (1866-1949) is a forgotten hero of American music, though undoubtedly one of the most significant African American musicians of his generation. Assistant to the prolific composer Antonín Dvorák, Burleigh was the composer/singer most responsible for turning African American spirituals into art songs—transforming American music and musical palates in the process.

The creative team behind PostClassical Ensemble, conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Joseph Horowitz, pay tribute to Burleigh's immense cultural influence with Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual, marking their second engagement as ensemble in residence at the Washington National Cathedral, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Inspired by Burleigh's most famous arrangement of the same name, Deep River pairs multimedia elements with live performance to chart the history of African American spirituals in classical music, while illustrating Burleigh and Dvorák's influence on one another. Tickets and information are available at

Wednesday, February 28, 2018; 7:30 p.m.
Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Tickets: $25-$65 (special student ticket pricing also available)

--Mike Fila, BuckleSweet Media

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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.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa