Classical Music News of the Week, April 7, 2018

NYOA Presents the Third Annual New York Opera Fest, May and June

New York Opera Alliance (NYOA), a consortium of New York opera companies and producers, presents the third annual New York Opera Fest (, a two-month celebration of opera on an unprecedented scale that takes place throughout May and June, with over 20 New York City-based companies large and small, putting on over 30 events in venues around the city, including World Premiere performances of 12 new works.

The Fest shows opera in its myriad forms, from world-class productions of traditional favorites, to the far-flung fringes of innovation and instigation that drive the art form forward. The staggering breadth of offerings on display presents a raw, un-sanitized snapshot of all that opera is, has been, and can be.

This year's Fest includes Experiments in Opera releasing a serial podcast opera, a #MeToo take on Mozart's Don Giovanni by Heartbeat Opera, the World Premiere of a jazz opera based on the life of 1920s avant-garde Parisian Kiki de Montparnasse by Cantanti Project, Hunter Opera Theatre and American Opera Projects performing three one-act Premieres, New Amsterdam Opera presenting Donizetti's rarely heard La Favorita in a performance dedicated to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Operamission's binge-watchable behind-the-scenes look at Handel's Teseo, and many more productions in locations ranging from a pub to a public library, a playground to a playhouse.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

PBO Announces 2018-19 Season
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale announces its 2018/19 season--"Transcendence." In its 38th year, PBO will continue to take its signature brand of historically-informed performance to the next level with its subscription season, alternative concert series PBO SESSIONS, Juilliard partnership and its national tour schedule.

Philharmonia's 2018/19 season promises an eclectic array of music and experiences, including sacred vocal works by Bach, Mozart, and Pärt, virtuosic concerti by Vivaldi and Clement, and Handel at his dramatic heights. Starting in October, Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate" sets the tone for an exuberant season in an all-Mozart program featuring the Philharmonia Chorale and soprano Camille Ortiz who appeared in Philharmonia's operatic production of Rameau's "Le Temple de la Gloire" in 2017.

For details about the entire season, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Robert Trevino Triumphs in Spain, Sensational Zurich jump-in, LPO Debuts
While Robert Trevino is confirming his brilliant start as the new Music Director of the Basque National Orchestra, Spain, he is also rapidly becoming the go-to maestro for A-list cancellations and (planned!) debuts with leading orchestras.

Much like his triumphant performance of Mahler's Third Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra last season (a last-minute call after Daniel Harding's withdrawal), Trevino recently hot-footed it from concerts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus to conduct Mahler's Fifth with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, standing in for an ailing Donald Runnicles at very short notice. As with the LSO, he won over audience and reviewers.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported, "The first of three performances...caused a storm of enthusiasm among the audience...The Tonhalle Orchestra was spurred on by Trevino to a peak performance, proving again the enormous artistic potential it can mobilise with appropriate leadership."

More and more leading orchestras are noticing. The coming months will include returns to the London Philharmonic, Sao Paulo Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, RTVE Madrid, NDR Hannover, Malmo Symphony, Barcelona Symphony and RTE Dublin among others, and debuts with the Bournemouth Symphony and MDR Leipzig.

For more information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Musica Viva NY Presents "Sunrise in the City" on Sunday, May 20
Musica Viva NY celebrates its 40th anniversary with a concert entitled "Sunrise in the City" on Sunday, May 20 at 5:00 p.m. at All Souls Church, NYC. The performance, which features the Musica Viva NY Choir led by Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, includes the world premiere of Ars Poetica #1002: Rally by Elena Ruehr, commissioned by Musica Viva NY in celebration of its 40th anniversary.

Also on the program is Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" ("I am lost to the world") in a choral arrangement by Clytus Sottwald; the New York City premiere of Maarten Spruijt's Thurémin; and Ola Gjeilo's Sunrise Mass. Works are accompanied by a string orchestra which includes the Aeolus Quartet.

Tickets, priced at $40, are available by visiting or can be purchased at the door.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Salt Bay Chamberfest 2018; Troubadours & Tangos
Noon walks along jetties to historic lighthouses and trails overlooking blueberry bogs, afternoons wandering along the dramatic shore where tidal pools hold secret worlds, or strolling through charming downtown… all part of the local culture in Damariscotta. And for 2 weeks every summer - evenings filled with the music of the Salt Bay Chamberfest, exciting world-class chamber music performances in the intimate setting of Darrows Barn, an historic 19th-century dairy barn turned concert hall perched on the promontory of Great Salt Bay.

Salt Bay Chamberfest (SBC)'s 2018 season Troubadours & Tangos traces the intriguing origins of the guitar from its ancestry of the oud and lute, through the Renaissance to today, culminating in an SBC newly commissioned work, written by the award-winning and trailblazing composer and electric guitarist Steven Mackey, for the acclaimed Brentano String Quartet and SBC Artistic Director and cellist Wilhelmina Smith. Ancient laments and modern ballads will inspire a season where the vernacular and Western classical art music join forces to lament, sing, and dance the tango!

All Festival concerts begin at 7:30 pm at Darrows Barn (pre-concert talks with Mark Mandarano begin at 6:30), Round Top Farm, Business Route 1, Damariscotta, Maine. 

For tickets and more information, call (207) 522-3749, e-mail, or visit

--Elizabeth Dworkin, Dworkin and Company

International Music Stars Teaming Up to Support Community Music Center's Scholarship
International music stars Frederica von Stade, Joyce DiDonato, and Jake Heggie are teaming up to support the San Francisco Community Music Center's scholarship programs at a spring gala on Saturday, May 12. Joyce DiDonato will be giving her final performance in the title role of Cendrillon at the Met the night before on May 11.

How is it that Joyce DiDonato, one of the world's biggest opera stars, is flying out the night after finishing a run at the Met to sing at a gala for a community music organization? This year's Community Music Center Spring Gala is a story of enduring friendship and admiration between world-renowned artists Frederica von Stade, Joyce DiDonato, and Jake Heggie and their whole-hearted support of CMC's visionary mission of free and low-cost access to music education for all people.

Saturday, May 12, 2018
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Four Seasons Hotel, Veranda Ballroom
757 Market  Street
San Francisco, CA 94103


--Anne C. Mitchell, Community Music Center

Presenting "Modern Mexico," Contemporary Classical Music
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo early with "Modern Mexico" a guided Mezcal tasting led by master distiller Alejandro Aispuro, including samples from his private collection, paired with a concert of Mexican contemporary classical music, May 1 at The Bowery Electric and (Le) Poisson Rouge, NYC.

Co-produced by Unison Media, the WFMT Radio Network, and Access Contemporary Music, the event will feature mezcales that are unavailable for purchase anywhere, followed by a concert of New York City premieres of works by Gabriela Ortiz, Felipe Pérez Santiago, Ana Lara, Hilda Paredes, and Mexico's most celebrated living composer, Mario Lavista.

For tickets and information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

USM School of Music Premieres Original Work and Community Collaboration
The University of Southern Maine School of Music announces the premiere of an original work "Girl in Six Beats," commissioned by Opera Maine and created in collaboration with The Telling Room. USM Opera Workshop students will perform the one-act chamber opera, which features a libretto written by students of The Telling Room. The music was composed by Dan Sonenberg, composer-in-residence at USM, whose opera The Summer King had its world "fully-staged" premiere last spring with the Pittsburgh Opera.

"Girl in Six Beats" will premiere Saturday, April 21, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 22, 2:00 p.m. at Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham Campus, and then travel to two local schools (home to some of the students who created the libretto), to be performed for their students.

Tickets: $8 adults, $5 for students, seniors, USM employees and alumni.
For more information, visit

--Maureen Puia, PR/Event Promotions

David Bernard's Music Director Contract Extended with Massapequa Philharmonic
The Massapequa Philharmonic, the principal orchestra serving Massapequa and Long Island, has extended David Bernard's contract as their Music Director. The extension secures Bernard's position with the orchestra until 2020.

Having taken up the Music Director's baton in 2016 after a number of successful years of guest conducting there, Bernard's first seasons with the MPO have been a hearty success. As well as pushing artistic standards ever-higher, Bernard has brought his popular and accessible 'InsideOut Concerts' concept to the orchestra, formed partnerships with local businesses and arts institutions. One of his most admired accomplishments has been the partnership with the Eglevsky Ballet, resulting in that company's first run of Nutcracker performances with live orchestra for years.

Bernard, who is also Music Director of the New York City-based Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, says, "I knew from the first moment on the podium with this wonderful MPO family that this would be a special relationship."

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

FAYM April Newsletter
On March 14th, Touro University invited the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians Mariachi Estrellas de FAYM to perform at their student talent show. Several individual and small groups of students performed comedy, dance, and music numbers. Some of the performances were accompanied by Touro University staff members. It was exciting to see artistic performances by students that were enrolled in a variety of academic programs with most of them working towards medical careers.

Eventually, it was time for our Mariachi Estrellas de FAYM to take the stage. While our students were much younger than the performances we had already seen, it was amazing to see them step up, position themselves, and start their songs. The room was filled with awe as they played their first song and a loud and excited applause followed. They began their second number and a little into the song, Guadalupe stepped forward with the microphone and started singing. The audience were completely amazed at the talent of the musicians and the vocalist.

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

For more information, visit

--Arturo Ochoa, President, FAYM

Princeton University Concerts Announces Its 125th Season
Princeton University Concerts ("PUC")'s 2018-19 season will celebrate the series' 125th anniversary with a set of performances that redefine the scope of what a chamber music series can encompass. Building on PUC's long history of offering the absolute pinnacle of talent, the concerts and initiatives will blur the lines of genre, build new relationships between audiences and performers, and expand the boundaries of the concert experience.

At the heart of the new season is the series of concerts and events centered around PUC's first Artist-in-Residence, conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The Maestro, currently the Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will visit the Princeton campus three times throughout the 2018-19 season.

Subscriptions to the 2018-2019 season will go on sale in May. Interested individuals are highly encouraged to secure their tickets as early as possible. Patrons can choose from a flexible variety of subscription packages online at or by phone at 609-258-2800, Monday-Friday, 10AM-4PM.

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Salisbury Symphony + Darrell Harwood
On Saturday May 5th 2018, the Salisbury Symphony will become the first orchestra in the U.S. to perform alongside a country music band when it presents a joint concert with Darrell Harwood.

The first half of the concert will feature the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra performing well-known Western tunes including Bernstein's "Magnificent Seven," Williams's "Cowboys Overture," Copland's "Rodeo," Albert's "Western Suite," and Daughtery's "American Gothic: Pitchfork," while the second half of the concert will feature Darrell Harwood and his band and include orchestral arrangements of Harwood's original songs including "Out With A Bang," "One For The Money," "Fixer Upper," "Love You More," "Stand Together," "Mama I Hate To See You Cry," and "Magic Cowboy Hat." 

Harwood, who hails from China Grove, NC, is one of country music's most prolific artists, performing over 150 shows up and down the East Coast each year. He has won numerous accolades including the 2016 CMA Country Male Artist Award and 2017 Carolina Artist Showdown Humanitarian Award. Harwood's fast-paced high-energy country rock has earned him a reputation as a powerhouse performer and a loyal following throughout the Southeast.

Tickets range from $25 - $5 and can be purchased by calling 704 216 1513 or online at

--James Harvey, Director

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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 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 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