Classical Music News of the Week, May 26, 2018

Brahms Requiem to Close LA Master Chorale 2017/18 Season

A pillar of the choral repertoire, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, is paired with contemporary works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers David Lang and Caroline Shaw in the Los Angeles Master Chorale's final concerts of its 2017/18 season on Saturday, June 9 at 2 PM and Sunday, June 10 at 7 PM at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA.

The concerts will feature the West Coast premiere of Lang's where you go and open with Shaw's Fly Away I. The performances will be conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, and feature the full 100-voice chorus and LA Master Chorale Orchestra.

Gershon said he decided to program the short a cappella choral works as a prelude to the Requiem, suggesting a contemporary context to then hear Brahms's score.

Tickets are available now, starting from $29:
Phone: 213-972-7282

Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office Monday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM.

For for more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Young People's Chorus of New York City Performs in Debut
In continuation of its year-long 30th anniversary celebration, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) makes its debut at the world's largest Gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, on Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets priced $30 (general admission) are on sale now online or in-person at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street). VIP tickets are priced $130.

This spring performance, co-presented by YPC and the Cathedral, brings together more than 425 choristers from all of YPC's choral divisions, with girls and boys from 8 to 18 years of age singing in a variety of different choral configurations. Led by YPC Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez and Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, the choristers perform repertoire that exemplifies their versatility and virtuosity, from classical and contemporary compositions to Broadway, spiritual, folk, and popular music.

Tickets priced $30 (general admission) are on sale now online or in-person at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street). VIP tickets are priced $130.

For complete information, visit or

--Shuman Associates PR

ABS Presents the 9th Annual American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy
For the 2018 American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy—San Francisco's Summer Bach Festival—Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas has chosen the music of Germany with a particular emphasis on "The Glorious Court of Dresden," known for the extraordinary quality of music that was composed for the Electors and Kings of Saxony who upheld the highest artistic and cultural standards for their subjects. A full array of free events—including public master classes, lectures, concerts, and colloquia—complement the performances by American Bach Soloists, American Bach Soloists Festival Orchestra, and the American Bach Soloists Academy.

August 3-12
San Francisco Conservatory of Music and St. Mark's Lutheran Church
Tickets: $35 - $105
Order online at or call 800-595-4TIX (-4849)

For more information, visit

--Jonathon Hampton, American Bach Soloists

SOLI Travels to Italy
Between May 24 and June 4, 2018, the Soli Chamber Ensemble will present concerts in San Remo & Baiardo, in the Ligurian region of Italy before they travel North to the Piedmont region to perform in the towns of Busca, Monforte d'Alba, and finally two more performances in the city of Alba. SOLI will be the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Alba Music Festival Composition Program from May 26 through June 4. While in residence, the Ensemble will perform and record 15 new works by the Composition Program Fellows.

You can follow SOLI's travels on this blog:

We are also working on Live Streaming some of our performances from Italy on Facebook Live, and post photos on Instagram and Twitter, so please be on the lookout for those.

For more information, visit

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Big Sing California Announced: Free State-side Singing Event July 21
This summer the Los Angeles Master Chorale and choral music superstar Eric Whitacre will present the largest free group singing event in California history--Big Sing California.

Big Sing California culminates in a concert in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, July 21st at 2 PM (PDT). The full 100-voice Master Chorale will perform from the stage and the 2,200-person audience will sing-along to selected works on the program. The concert will be conducted by Whitacre, Grant Gershon, the Master Chorale's Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, and guest conductors Moira Smiley and Rollo Dilworth. Whitacre, who is currently the Master Chorale's Swan Family Artist-in-Residence--and who has a huge global audience through his Virtual Choir projects, popular choral compositions, and Grammy Award-winning recordings--will also serve as the event's host.

People can register online now at to attend the Los Angeles concert or any of the five hub broadcast venues. Once capacity has been reached, a wait-list will be created for each venue, and ticket vouchers will be distributed 10 days prior to the performance.

Live feeds will take place during the concert, connecting the participants in the hub cities to Whitacre and the Master Chorale in Los Angeles. The event's reach is further expanded with the concert being live-streamed on the Big Sing California website, making it possible for people around the world to participate. (The combined capacity of the six venues is 9,800; over 10,000 singers are expected to participate including the live-stream audience.)

Ticket information:
Participants who want to attend a Big Sing California event at the venues must register individually through the website. Once capacity has been reached for the concert venues, a wait-list will be created. Ticket vouchers to all locations will be distributed via email 10 days prior to the event.

Music books can be ordered online for a $3 shipping fee (U.S.). Music books will also be distributed for free at the venues on the day of the concert.

Live-streamed at

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

The Crossing Presents Ninth "Month of Moderns" Festival
The Crossing presents the  ninth annual Festival of New Music, "The Month of Moderns" 2018.

The Crossing, winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, presents its ninth annual festival of new music, "The Month of Moderns," June 9, 17, and 30, 2018, in Philadelphia at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Donald Nally conducts the 24-voice ensemble in new music that addresses our lives and speaks to our current political environment.

On Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 8:00 p.m., The Crossing opens the festival with "a house," a concert featuring three works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. The festival continues with "Voyages" on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 4:00 p.m., an exploration of two stylistically diverse settings of one of the great poem cycles of the 20th century, Hart Crane's masterpiece, "Voyages." Then, "The Arc in the Sky" on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. features the world premiere of Kile Smith's unaccompanied concert-length work of the same name, commissioned by The Crossing and Donald Nally.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble to Celebrate French Music June 24 at Chicago Concert
The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will celebrate French music of the late-19th and early 20th centuries at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, featuring, as guest artists, the church's resident organists on an historic instrument ideally suited to the repertoire.

The Gargoyle ensemble's "French Reverence" concert will include two of its own commissioned arrangements: Alexandre Guilmant's colorful, power-packed Symphony No. 1, Op. 42; and Maurice Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess," both arranged for brass and organ by Craig Garner.

They'll also perform Marcel Dupré's audience-pleasing, late-Romantic "Poème héroïque" for brass, organ, and field drum; Dupré's "Symphony-Passion" for solo organ, a religiously inspired work that utilizes the instrument's full resources; and British-born Canadian composer Healey Willan's motet "How They So Softly Rest," arranged by Garner for brass and organ.

Stephen Squires, resident conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the brass and organ works.

Tickets and information:
Single tickets for French Reverence are $15 adult general admission, $10 seniors and students, and $5 for ages 6-18. Tickets are available at, by phone at (800) 838-3006, and at the door. For additional information, call the Chicago Gargoyle ensemble's Rodney Holmes at (708) 975-0055.

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Robert Trevino and the Basque National Orchestra Focus on Basque Female Composers
Robert Trevino's tenure as Music Director of the Basque National Orchestra continues with a special focus on two female Basque composers. The selected composers, Maria Eugenia Luc and Maria Luisa Ozaita, are, says Trevino, just the first two in an ongoing initiative that will see female Basque composers performed across future seasons.

The performances are part of the Musikaste Festival in the Basque Country that closes out this month, with Trevino himself conducting. And he sees the pair as something of a study in contrasts, in terms of their locus to Basque culture. "Maria Luis Ozaita, who sadly passed away quite recently, focussed very much on the Basque culture in her music, and involving that in her pieces, using folk tunes and indigenous rhythms," says Trevino, "Whereas Maria Eugenia Luc is more of an 'absolute music' type of composer, musically speaking."

The project, adds Trevino, is an important one to the orchestra. "We want to support the female composers of the Basque Country - in tandem with male composers of course - we want all great Basque music and artists to be heard, and to have equal opportunities to be heard."

For more information visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Musica Viva NY Announces 2018-19 Season
Musica Viva NY—a chamber choir under the artistic direction of Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, that presents a series of chamber concerts on the Upper East Side--today announces its 2018-19 season.

Highlights of the season include a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I featuring a co-commission for choir and orchestra by acclaimed American composer Joseph Turrin; a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's birth; a performance by the Aeolus Quartet, the organization's quartet-in-residence; a concert featuring Poulenc's Organ Concerto; and a performance of Duruflé's Requiem.

The season kicks off with a benefit concert on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at All Souls Church, NYC, entitled "Songs of Love," featuring songs by Brahms, Schumann, and P.D.Q. Bach, performed by Musica Viva NY soloists together with Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez. Concerts continue through Sunay, May 19, 2019.

Ticket information:
Subscription tickets, priced at $130, and single tickets, priced at $40, for the four-concert series are available by visiting Single tickets are also available at the door on the evening of the concert. Some discounts apply; please visit the website for more information. The season benefit concert on September 23 is free with donations accepted at the door.

For complete information, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

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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