Classical Music News of the Week, June 23, 2018

American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy

The 9th annual ABS Festival & Academy will take place August 3–12, 2018 in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco's Saint Mark's Lutheran Church.

Each summer festival focuses on a different aspect of the world of Baroque music, and for 2018, ABS 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. Its splendid Baroque and Rococo architecture brought the city its nickname as the "Jewel Box," and a distinguished roster of performers and composers made it one of Europe's most important musical capitals. A full array of free events--including public master classes, lectures, concerts, and colloquia--complement the performances by American Bach Soloists in two exceptionally fine venues.

For complete information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Green Music Center
The beloved Mormon Tabernacle Choir makes a special stop in Sonoma County as part of their 2018 Classic Coast Tour. The performance will center around works from the Choir's vast repertoire, which ranges from choral masterworks to inspirational music from around the world to American folk hymns, spirituals, and much more. Composed of 360 volunteer voices, and the Orchestra at Temple Square, a 150-piece, all-volunteer symphony orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a rich celebration of the choral tradition--an event the whole family can enjoy.

Event details:
Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 pm
Weill Hall and Lawn

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Mack Wilberg, music director
Ryan Murphy, associate music director

For more information and tickets, visit

--Green Music Center

Miami Music Festival Brings a Summer of Spectacular Talent
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Thursday - June 28 I Saturday - June 30
7:30pm, Broad Auditorium, Barry University

Ariadne Auf Naxos
Friday - June 29 - 7:30pm
Sunday - July 1 - 2pm
Broad Auditorium, Barry University

Independence Day Orchestra Pops Concert
Wednesday - July 4 - 5pm
Broad Auditorium, Barry University

For details on Miami Music Festival's complete season, visit

--Miami Music Festival

International Contemporary Ensemble Returns to Lincoln Center
The pioneering International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) returns to Lincoln Center's 2018 Mostly Mozart Festival for its eleventh consecutive season with four unique programs August 2-9, 2018. Having performed annually at the Mostly Mozart Festival since 2008, ICE was named Artist-in-Residence for the festival in 2011.

On Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 6pm in Bruno Walter Auditorium, composers Courtney Bryan, Ashley Fure, George Lewis, and Michael Pisaro, whose works will be performed during the Mostly Mozart Festival, join members of ICE for a free discussion hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer on their works, the creative process, and the future of classical music. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Later on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm, ICE performs Grand Pianola Music at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College. John Adams's groundbreaking work Grand Pianola Music is the centerpiece of this spirited celebration of the piano and technology.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Announcing the Smyth Recording Project
This year, in addition to our regular season of concerts, we at Experiential Orchestra are dedicating ourselves to a singularly exciting project, as we have been granted permission to become the first orchestra in history to create a commercial recording of Dame Ethel Smyth's final masterpiece, The Prison, composed in 1930.

We are thrilled to share this short video with you!
Watch it here in HD:
or here in SD:
and feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, email, typewriter or otherwise.

For too long, Dame Ethel Smyth has been virtually unknown as a serious composer. By creating this recording with renowned soloists Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton, the Experiential Orchestra, and members of the Clarion Music Society, we hope to bring her music to international attention by letting the quality of her work speak for itself.

Please visit our Smyth page to learn more about Dame Ethel Smyth and our plans for this recording, and for more information about making a contribution:

--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra

Five Boroughs Music Festival Announces Programming for 2018-19 Season
The season includes concerts featuring Fire & Grace, Les Délices, Aizuri Quartet, and Pianist Martin Katz.

Five Boroughs Music Festival (5BMF) announces programming for its 2018-2019 season, continuing its mission of bringing affordable, world-class performances of traditional and contemporary chamber music to all five boroughs of New York City. The upcoming slate of concerts marks the organization's most collaborative season to date, including partnerships with GEMAS (Gotham Early Music / Americas Society), ClassicalCafé, Brooklyn Art Song Society, New York Festival of Song, and the LGBT Center ("The Center").

For complete details, visit

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

The Crypt Sessions Presents Lawrence Brownlee
Unison Media's acclaimed concert series The Crypt Sessions continues its third season on July 24, with a one-of-a-kind performance by tenor Lawrence Brownlee, accompanied by three of today's top pianists: jazz giant Jason Moran, leading classical accompanist Myra Huang, and gospel great Damien Sneed.

Showcasing Brownlee's broad musical range and tastes, the wide-ranging program will include spirituals, standards, arias, songs from Schubert's Dichterliebe, and a movement from Cycles of My Being, the acclaimed song cycle composed for Brownlee by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes.

Each Crypt Session will feature a pre-concert reception of food and wine, included in the ticket price, before descending together into the Crypt.

All proceeds from ticket sales of The Crypt Sessions are donated to the Church of the Intercession, NYC, where the Crypt is located.

For further information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Free Events at the American Bach Soloists Festival
Free is good! Especially when considering all the ABS Festival activities that are free and open to the public, like Public Colloquia, Baroque Marathon, Lecture Series, and Master Class Series.

All free events will take place in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, so mark you calendars now for interesting, informing, intriguing, and inspiring interactions with our Festival & Academy participants.

View the Festival schedule:

--American Bach Soloists

World Premiere of Francisco J. Nunez's "Liminality" at Carnegie Hall
Sunday, June 24 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Choristers from the Young People's Chorus of New York City will be joined by young singers from 15 other youth choruses from China, Finland, Ireland, and six U.S. states for a DCINY 10th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall. The concert will be highlighted by world premiere works composed and conducted by Francisco J. Núñez, artistic director/founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City, and Venezuelan composer/conductor Cristian Grases.

Mr. Núñez conducts the world premiere of "Liminality," a meditation on time and human awareness, along with several of his other works:  "Forever is My Song," "Naturaleza," and "Es Tu Tiempo."

"Liminality" is a DCINY Premiere Project composition.

For complete information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

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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 ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine 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