Classical Music News of the Week, March 17, 2018

Subscription Tix Available Now! 48th Anniversary Season: "Music Without Borders"

Festival Mosaic
"Music Without Borders"
July 17-29, 2018, San Luis Obispo Country, CA
48th Anniversary Season | Scott Yoo, Music Director

Music is the universal language. It can break down the barriers that exist between cultures, people, and even time periods. Composers throughout the ages have operated independently of borders - beginning with the composers of the baroque and classical period performing on tours of the royal courts of Europe. The composers and musicians featured in this summer's festival tackle questions of national identity, inclusion, and equity. How does music transcend borders like genre, national identity, gender, and technological divides? Join us this summer to explore these timely questions in fun, festive and intimate performances in beautiful venues on the Central California Coast.

For full information, visit

--Bettina Swigger, Festival Mozaic

Salon/Sanctuary Presents France à Cordes
It is telling that à cordes, which refers to a strung instrument, so closely resembles accord, which means agreement, harmony, concordance, and peace.

France à Cordes explores 500 years of political echoes in French music. From the biting social satire of the medieval Roman de Fauvel to the bourgeois triumph of the Guitare Napolonienne, from the Athenian nostalgia of La Rhétorique des Dieux to the absolutist splendor of Mazzarin's Italian imports, France has long provided fertile ground for musical statecraft.

Five concerts and four venues bring together an international roster of artists and scholars, joined by a city-wide consortium of partnering institutions, including La Maison Française of NYU, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the Church of St. Jean Baptiste, NYC, L'Église Française du Saint Esprit, NYC, and Princeton University Press.

April 8, 12, 17, 26, 28
Ticket prices: $20/$35/$50/$100

For complete information and tickets, call 1 888 718 4253 or visit

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Emerson String Quartet Revisits Bolcom's Piano Quintet No. 1
Emerson String Quartet, returns to Stony Brook University's Staller Center for the Arts, New York, on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM with a program that spans three centuries, featuring  masterworks by Purcell , Beethoven, and Bolcom.

Fun fact: In 2001, violinist Isaac Stern, along with members of the Emerson Quartet (Philip Setzer, violin, Lawrence Dutton, viola, David Finckel, cello) and pianist Jonathan Biss, premiered Bolcom's Piano Quintet No. 1 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of his 80th birthday celebration.  For this upcoming concert, the Emerson Quartet will be joined by pianist Christina Dahl (Associate Professor for Piano, Chamber music and Piano Pedagogy at Stony Brook University) to revisit this brilliant work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Recital Hall, Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook, NY

Emerson String Quartet
Christina Dahl, piano

Purcell: Chacony
Purcell: Two Fantasias
Bolcom: Piano Quintet No. 1
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 13 in A Minor, Op. 132

For complete information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Beethoven Unleashed, April 25-29
Philhrmonia Baroque Orchestra closes the season in a blaze of Beethovenian glory.

What better way to cap off the 2017/18 season than with two Beethoven works that the master himself performed during his famous Akademie benefit concert of 1808. Featuring a star-studded cast and our illustrious Chorale, Nic and the Orchestra will perform Beethoven's Mass in C major Op. 86 and his Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 "Choral Fantasy" alongside Cherubini's Chant sur la mort de Joseph Haydn.

Often overshadowed by the later Missa Solemnis, Beethoven's more pensive Mass in C major is a masterpiece that maintains an immediate emotional appeal throughout. Cherubini shares that sense of sincerity in his poignant tribute to Haydn. And Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy" was originally the grand finale of the epic Akademie concert that also premiered his 5th and 6th Symphonies and his Piano Concerto No. 4.

For complete information, visit

--Marketing, Philharmonia Baroque

Sir Andras Schiff Begins North American Tour
The forthcoming highly anticipated North American Tour of Sir Andras Schiff offers rich and imaginative programs centered around specific works by Johannes Brahms. The relational aspects of Brahms' writing to the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann inform the basis of this thoughtful two-program series. Reviewing the programs in London, The Independent enthused that this was "Programming at its most creative."

Spring 2018 North American concert dates:
Mar. 29  -   Princeton, Princeton University
Mar. 31  -   Philadelphia, Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center   
Apr. 3    -   New York, Carnegie Hall                       
Apr. 5    -   New York, Carnegie Hall                       
Apr. 8    -   Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall               
Apr. 10  -   Vancouver, Vancouver Playhouse         
Apr. 12  -   Santa Barbara, Lobero Theatre                                 
Apr. 15  -   San Francisco, Davies Symphony Hall                   
Apr. 17  -   San Francisco, Davies Symphony Hall

For more information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Nimrod Borenstein: new choral music with Ex Cathedra Return to Carnegie Hall
Hot on the heels of his successful album with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra for Chandos, London-based composer Nimrod Borenstein has a busy March and April, with world premieres in the UK and US; including a long-awaited return to choral music and then in June, a return for his music to Carnegie Hall in a unique international link-up.

First up is a choral premiere, and then there was light, written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Codsall Arts Festival, to be performed by Ex Cathedra. The premiere, on Thursday 22nd March, takes place at St Nicholas Church, Codsall, and marks a special moment for Borenstein. "I composed a lot of choral music in my early years as a composer," he says, "but I have always wanted to come back to it. This return has felt very natural to me. And to work with such a great choir as Ex Cathedra and for such a special occasion as the marvellous Codsall Festival's remarkable anniversary feels very special." So much has Borenstein enjoyed the experience, indeed, that he feels more choral music will follow, and soon.

April is a US-focussed month, with another world premiere, Borenstein's Tango Etude Op. 66, No. 3, given by its dedicatee, pianist Tania Stevreva, at the National Opera Centre in New York. That's followed later in the month by four performances of one of the works on the Chandos disc, "If You Will It, It Is No Dream," given by the South Florida Symphony Orchestra (15th-19th April) — to tour Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West. This will be the first North America outing for a work that was recently performed to great success at the Enescu Festival (Romania).

And 1st June will bring two connected world premieres, for a link-up between Greece and New York City. The first-ever collaboration between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Carnegie Hall and El Sistema Greece will feature new works by Borenstein around the ideas of lullabies; Lullaby opus 81a for solo piano, and Lullaby opus 81b for string quartet. There will be simultaneous events in Athens and New York, and Borenstein's two premieres will be played at the former and beamed in live to Carnegie Hall.

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Orion's 25th Season Concludes with Quintessential Quintets in May
To conclude its 25th anniversary season, The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, welcomes back guest violist Stephen Boe and guest violinist Mathias Tacke for "Quintessential Quintets." Performances take place May 13 at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church; May 23 at the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago; and May 27 at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Illinois.

The Orion Ensemble's concert program "Quintessential Quintets" takes place Sunday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Geneva-Chapelstreet Church, 2300 South Street in Geneva; Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, May 27 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. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

Preview Bre'r Rabbit, the New Opera by Nkeiru Okoye and Carman Moore
Composer Nkeiro Okoye (Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom) will present scenes from her new opera at the Dance Theatre of Harlem Sunday Matinee Celebrating Women's Herstory Month. Okoye uses her trademark opera/jazz/ gospel/folk stylings to reclaim the African-American Bre'r Rabbit tales for the modern age. Presented by AOP and Virginia Arts Festival John Duffy Institute for Opera.

Sunday March 18th | 3:00 PM
Dance Theatre of Harlem
466 West 152nd Street (Between Amsterdam and Convent Ave)
New York, NY

General Admission: $15
Seniors, Children, Students w/ ID: $10

For complete information, visit

--AOP News

Thomas Cooley: "A World-Class Evangelist"
Bach St. Matthew Passion: "A stroke of luck…named Thomas Cooley who took on the part of the Evangelist. And he demonstrated with a remarkably versatile and clear tone, what musical story telling in an emphatic sense can mean." --Süddeutsche Zeitung (Münich)

Bach St. John Passion: "As the Evangelist he took every risk to increase the drama of the narrative."
--Berliner Morgenpost

Next appearance as the Evangelist:
St. John Passion - Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra, Jane Glover, conductor
March 25, 26: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts,9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL

For more information, visit

--Schwalbe and Partners, Inc.

ABS Performs Venetian Masterpieces of Monteverdi & Gabrieli
American Bach Soloists' (ABS) 29th subscription season continues with four performances of Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine and Giovanni Gabrieli's In ecclesiis and Magnificat à 14. Under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas, the magnificent ABS orchestra and an ensemble of ten superb vocal soloists combine to present this splendid music from the Venetian school.

Friday April 6 2018 at 8:00 pm
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
3 Bay View Avenue, Belvedere, CA 94920

Saturday April 7 2018 at 8:00 pm
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

Sunday April 8 2018 at 4:00 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
1111 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Monday April 9 2018 at 7:00 pm
Davis Community Church
412 C Street, Davis, CA 95616

Phone: 800-595-4TIX (-4849)
$10 student tickets for ages 25 and under with valid student ID, at the door or reserve at 415-621-7900

For more information, visit

--Jonathon Hampton, American Bach Soloists

The Crypt Sessions Presents Countertenor John Holiday
The Crypt Sessions continues on April 26 with countertenor John Holiday.

Holiday will perform an intimate set of art songs, arias, spirituals, and standards, taking a break from touring with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (including a performance of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, April 29 at Lincoln Center).

All concerts take place in the Crypt Chapel under the Church of the Intercession in Harlem. Each new performance - announced directly following the preceding concert - includes a pre-concert food and wine tasting paired to the music, prepared by Ward 8 Events.

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 (

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Summer Fun for Children and Adults at Music Institute
This summer, the Music Institute of Chicago offers a wide range of private lessons, classes, camps, workshops, festivals, and more for aspiring musicians of all ages and levels of experience. Children and adults have the opportunity to work with award-winning faculty and ensembles in residence at Music Institute campuses in downtown Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, and Lake Forest. The six-week session for group classes runs June 12–July 30 with other activities running throughout the summer months. Of special note are "first experience" camps and classes for children ages 3 to 11, as follows:

Summer Music for Life Camp
SmashUp! Camp
Brass for Beginners Summer Camp

Musikgarten: The Cycles of Seasons and Music Makers I – At Home and in the World
Suzuki Samplers (ages 4–6)
Group Classes (ages 7–11): Violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, recorder, Brass for Beginners, voice
Music Mind Games (ages 5–11)

For a complete schedule and more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

New Century Announces Daniel Hope as Music Director
New Century Chamber Orchestra announced today the appointment of British violinist Daniel Hope as Music Director beginning in the 2018-2019 season.

Previously appointed as Artistic Partner, a three-year position created to provide artistic continuity throughout the search process for a permanent Music Director, Hope will now lead the ensemble on a five-year contract as Music Director through the 2022-2023 seasons.

--Brenden Guy PR

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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

Contact Information

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa