Classical Music News of the Week, May 12, 2018

Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Announces its 2018 Summer Series

New York City's Naumburg Orchestral Concerts announces its 113th season which continues to feature free, outdoor classical concerts at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. This season's performances include Ensemble LPR on June 12, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on June 26, A Far Cry on July 10, The Knights on July 17, and Orchestra of St. Luke's on July 31.

Started in 1905, the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts seeks to build new and broader audiences for classical music.  It is the oldest, continuous, free, outdoor, western classical music concert series in the world.  The performances occur on Tuesdays throughout June and July, with each one drawing thousands of attendees. All the events are broadcast live on Classical 105.9 WQXR and at

This summer series will be the Naumburg's 113th year of free concerts in New York's Central Park. Elkan Naumburg initiated the concert series in 1905 and gifted the Naumburg Bandshell to New York City in 1923. The concert series, the oldest in the world, is organized by Christopher W. London, a great-grandson of Elkan Naumburg, who passionately continues the concert series as a service to New Yorkers. The free outdoor concerts feature promising new talent and promote the professional development of young composers and conductors. Over 14,000 people enjoyed last year's performances.

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Returns to Naumburg Bandshell
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra returns to Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 7:30pm for a free concert presented by Naumburg Orchestral Concerts. The festive summer program features Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21/61 arranged by Andreas Tarkmann; the New York premiere of Othmar Schoeck's Summer Night, Pastoral Intermezzo for Strings, Op. 58, inspired by the Gottfried Keller poem of the same name; and Beethoven's String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 "Serioso" arranged by Mahler. The evening is hosted by WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon and will be live-streamed on WQXR and their website.

The Keller poem on which Othmar Schoeck's work is inspired evokes a lively summer evening: "In a bright summer night, young peasants reap, moved by grateful sensations, the ripe grain of an orphan or widow, who knows no help for this work. Crescent noises, cheers, and harmonica sounds betray the cheerful activity of the old, beautiful custom, until morning cocks, awakening bird calls and early bells call the brave, secret helpers to their own, heavy work."

Program Information
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 7:30pm
Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, NYC
Free and Open to the Public. Open seating starts at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit:

--Katy Salomon, Morohan Arts and Media

Young People's Chorus of New York City Presents 15th Annual School Choruses Concert
Bringing together over 1,000 young choristers, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) presents its 15th annual, year-end concert for the citywide YPC School Choruses program at The World Famous Apollo Theater (253 West 125th Street) on Thursday, May 17, at 10:45 a.m. The program is directed year-round by YPC Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, and the upcoming concert showcases the musical growth of its participants—New York City elementary- and middle-school children—over the course of the school year, during which YPC-trained music educators teach them how to read and write music, sing with healthy vocal technique, and perform as a group.

Tickets priced at $15 are available via the Apollo Theater Box Office or online via Ticketmaster by clicking here:

--Shuman Associates

Chicago Area Student Musicians Win M Prize
Congratulations to the Kairos Quartet on winning the Junior Strings Division of the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition!

The Kairos Quartet has already been featured in a live broadcast of WFMT's Introductions, won First Prize at the Rembrandt Chamber Players Chamber Music Competition, was named the 2018 Rembrandt Young Artists, won the Grand Prize at the A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition, and was awarded the Silver Medal at the St. Paul National String Quartet Competition. They will also compete in the advanced rounds of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in May.

Thompson Wang, age 18, lives in Glenview, Illinois, relocated from California to study violin at the Academy until he graduates. Joshua Brown, age 18, lives in Gurnee, Illinois, moved from the Washington DC area to study violin at the Academy. Lydia Rhea, age 18, lives in Highland Park, Illinois, relocated from Fishers, Indiana to study cello at the Academy until she graduates.
Julian Rhee, age 17, travels from Brookfield, Wisconsin every week to study violin at the Academy.

The M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition showcases exceptional chamber arts ensembles in Junior and Senior Divisions in Strings, Winds, and Open categories.

The Kairos Quartet will participate in a master class with acclaimed musician and educator Pinchas Zukerman, Monday, May 21 at 11 a.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

The master class is free and open to the public; RSVP to
For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Robert Cole to Step Down as Director of Berkeley Festival & Exhibition
After almost 30 years as Director of Berkeley Festival & Exhibition (BFX), Robert Cole has announced that he will step down from his position effective June 11, 2018, at the conclusion of the 2018 summer festival.

Mr. Cole founded BFX in 1990, just four years after becoming Director of Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. He has served as Director of BFX since then except for the 2010 and 2012 Festivals following his resignation as Director of Cal Performances. During those years, he directed the preparations for the grand opening of the Green Music Center in Sonoma and spent time conducting in the United States and abroad. In 2010, Harvey Malloy, Executive Director of the San Francisco Early Music Society (SFEMS) and John Phillips, then President of SFEMS, stepped in to sustain BFX and the Festivals have since been produced by SFEMS. Mr. Cole returned to the position of Director in 2014 donating his services in this role.

For more information about BFX 2018, please visit

--Brenden Guy Media

Honens International Piano Competition Announces 2018 Semifinalists
Ten pianists have been chosen to advance to the Semifinals of Canada's Honens International Piano Competition. The pianists (aged 21 to 29) come from nine countries: Austria, Belgium, Georgia, Hong Kong, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States. Only one pianist will be named Honens Prize Laureate and win the world's largest award of its kind—$100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half million dollars. The Semifinals and Finals of the Honens International Piano Competition take place during the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition & Festival in Calgary, August 30 to September 8, 2018.

The ten Semifinalists are: Stefano Andreatta (Italy), Han Chen (Taiwan), Tzu-Yin Huang (Taiwan), Adela Liculescu (Romania), Nicolas Namoradze (Georgia), Megan-Geoffrey Prins (South Africa), Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (United States), Philipp Scheucher (Austria), Aristo Sham (Hong Kong), and Yannick Van de Velde (Belgium).

Each Semifinalist performs two recitals (August 30 to September 3): a 65-minute solo recital and a 65-minute collaborative recital with baritone Phillip Addis and violinist Jonathan Crow. Three pianists will advance to the Finals (September 6 and 7) for quintet performances with the Azahar Ensemble and concerti performances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Karina Canellakis. The 2018 Honens Prize Laureate will be announced on September 7.

For complete information, visit

--Raphael Zinman, Nancy Shear Arts Services

NYU Tisch, the Brooklyn Museum, and American Opera Projects Present 11 Mini-Operas
The Dinner Party Operas, a showcase of eleven original mini-operas inspired by Judy Chicago's iconic feminist installation The Dinner Party, a multi-media work housed in the Brooklyn Museum, will be presented this May in New York City by the NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (GMTWP), the Brooklyn Museum, the NYU Tisch Department of Design for Stage & Film and American Opera Projects (AOP).

Six of the operas will be performed on Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at NYU Tisch's GMTWP Black Box Theatre, located in Manhattan at 715 Broadway, between Washington and Waverly places, on the second floor. The remaining five operas will be performed on Sunday, May 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238. Each under 15-minutes long, the operas were written and composed by students in the NYU Tisch GMTWP Opera Lab and will be performed by professional opera singers with piano accompaniment. The Dinner Party Operas is free with advance registration (May 23) or museum admission (May 27) and open to the public. To reserve tickets for the May 23 performance at NYU, email Complete info at

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

Academy Violinist Julian Rhee Makes National Impact
Julian Rhee (age 17, from Brookfield, Wisconsin) is a scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians, and studies violin with Almita Vamos. This week, he was named a 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts (following in the footsteps of Academy alumnus Andrew Guo in 2017). He recently was the first prize winner in the violin division of the 2018 Johansen International Competition and, as a member of the Kairos Quartet, won first prize in the Strings Junior Division of the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition on May 5.  He is a finalist winner of the 2018 National YoungArts Foundation and was a featured performer on NPR's From the Top with Host Christopher O'Riley, where he collaborated with internationally renowned ensemble Time for Three at a concert in Jordan Hall, Boston.

This past summer he returned from a 10-day tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay as a guest soloist and participated in the Bowdoin International Festival. In June, he will compete in the semifinals of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition. He will study at the New England Conservatory of Music beginning this fall.

Julian is one of several students who will have the privilege of working with acclaimed violinist, violist, conductor, and educator Pinchas Zukerman in a master class on May 21 (free and open to the public). Zukerman will be in Chicago to perform with the Zukerman Trio May 20 and receive the prestigious Dushkin Award at the Music Institute's Anniversary Gala May 21.

For more information about the Music Institute of Chicago, which has Community School campuses in downtown Chicago as well as Chicago suburbs Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove, click here:

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Green Music Center at Sonoma State University Announces 2018–19 Season
The Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, home of the Mastercard Performance Series, today announced the 2018–19 Season, the first full season where curation was led by new Executive Director Jacob Yarrow. The season spans September 15, 2018–May 9, 2019 and comprises 35 performances representing the finest talent across the genres of classical orchestral, chamber, vocal, and solo recital music; jazz, folk, and popular music; film; theater; and world music and dance. Venues include the traditional 1,400-seat Weill Hall, a new setup in Weill Hall called The Loft which reimagines the concert experience by spinning performers and audiences around to see and hear from a whole new perspective, and the intimate 240-seat Schroeder Hall.

Highlights of the season include debut performances from A Far Cry, Joan Baez, The Kenny Barron Quintet, Brentano String Quartet, Julie Fowlis, Kronos Quartet, Anne Akiko Meyers, Monterey Jazz Festival, Villalobos Brothers, Wild Up, and more.

Returns by Josua Bell, Las Cafeteras, The Chieftains, Dave Koz, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Peter Serkin, Gil Shaham, Soweto Gospel Choir, Tallis Scholars, Venice Baroque Orchestra, and more.

For complete information, visit

--Kathryn Stewart, Green Music Center

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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