Classical Music News of the Week, June 9, 2018

American Classical Orchestra Announces 2018-2019 Season

American Classical Orchestra (ACO) today announces its programming for the 2018-19 season, the orchestra's 34th year of presenting historically accurate, engaging, and educational concerts led by Artistic Director and Founder Thomas Crawford. ACO performs four concerts presented in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and two salon concerts in a private venue. ACO is joined this season by an illustrious group of acclaimed period-performance soloists including violinists Krista Bennion Feeney and Aisslinn Nosky, pianist Christian De Luca, and flutist Sandra Miller.

American Classical Orchestra continues its innovative Concert Preview that brings listeners closer to the music. Before conducting the programmed works, Maestro Crawford delivers an introduction, using the full orchestra on-stage to illustrate and perform excerpts from the evening's program. Crawford's engaging narratives, along with the live music, give audiences greater insights into what they're about to hear, resulting in a more enriched musical experience.

ACO kicks off its 2018-19 season on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 8:00pm in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center with Mozart Serenade, featuring festive music by Mozart. ACO is joined by violinist Krista Bennion Feeney in Mozart's Haffner Serenade, an hour-long work performed interspersed throughout the evening, as it would have been done in the 1700s. Pianist Christian De Luca, a virtuosic Juilliard historical performance masters student, makes his Lincoln Center debut on fortepiano in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major.

From there, ACO features four concerts at Lincoln Center and two salon concerts,
in collaboration with acclaimed period violinists Krista Bennion Feeney and Aisslinn Nosky,
fortepianist Christian De Luca, and flutist Sandra Miller.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

American Bach Soloists 30th Season
The American Bach Soloists 30th Season commemorates the core of ABS's rich history through stunning performances of works that represent the finest of the Baroque era. Grand special events including the "Sparkle 2018 Gala" and "A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera," a glamorous evening of stars in San Francisco's Herbst Theater, make this an unparalleled celebratory season of the organization's past, present, and future.

For three decades, a synthesis of the musical and expressive gifts of some of the world's most distinguished Baroque music experts and new generations of young virtuosi has inspired audiences far and wide through polished, insightful, and revelatory performances. Together, and through the mentoring and curatorship of Jeffrey Thomas, American Bach Soloists have cultivated an internationally appreciated and cherished ensemble of extraordinary musicians.

For complete information about American Bach Soloists and their new season, visit

--Jonathon Hampton, American Bach Soloists

Sharon Isbin's 2018 Grammy Honor, Season Highlights
Columbia Artists is proud to announce multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin's summer highlights include performances at Caramoor,  the Aspen Music Festival, and Chautauqua's Ampitheater where she will perform the concerto written for her by John Corigliano.

She returns to the studio to record a disc of world premiere recordings of works commissioned for her including the "thoughtful, emotionally complex, and technically extraordinary" new concerto by Chris Brubeck, and a recording with the Pacifica Quartet. The 2018/19 season features solo and concerto appearances, and chamber concerts with the Pacifica Quartet, Latin Grammy-winning Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo, and her Guitar Passions trio with jazz icon Stanley Jordan.

For more information, visit

--Genevieve Spielberg Artists

An Enjoyment of Novelty
Statistics demonstrate how limited the repertoires of our major orchestras are, and how much they mirror one another. We believe this is a contributing factor in the decline in subscription sales at many symphony orchestras.

When faced with this information, one reader suggested that it could make sense for orchestras to program more unfamiliar works of favorite composers--with the goal of creating an "enjoyment of novelty" that might make audiences more receptive to composers with whom they are less familiar--such as Meyerbeer and Spohr, or composers of our time. Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart wrote great quantities of music, much of it magnificent, that is hardly ever heard in symphony programs. Were "fringe" items such as these offered more frequently, audiences might well become more receptive to a broader range of sound worlds.

What do you think? We at Classical Music Repertoire Project would be curious to know what ideas you have for encouraging orchestras to expand their repertoires, and for reassuring them that audiences will support the effort.

Send us an email at

--Douglas Schwalbe, Classical Music Repertoire Project

St. Charles Singers to Premiere New Work
The St. Charles Singers, conducted by founder and music director Jeffrey Hunt, will present the world premiere of a new work written for them by revered English composer and choirmaster John Rutter when the professional chamber choir performs June 21, 2018, in a concert hosted by Chorus America, a choral music association, during its national conference in Chicago, IL.

The concert, which will showcase three Chicago-area choral groups, will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, at Old St. Patrick's Church, 700 W. Adams St., Chicago. In addition to the St. Charles Singers, Anima-Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus, and Cantate Chicago also will perform. Tickets, available to the public, are $20 and can be purchased online at or by calling (630) 513-5272.

Rutter, a superstar in the choral music world, is a friend and fan of the St. Charles Singers and has conducted the choir on several occasions in the U.S.

The new piece, for unaccompanied mixed-voice choir, is a setting of William Shakespeare's romantic Sonnet No. 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"

For more information, visit

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Coming Soon to the Miami Music Festival
Dido and Aeneas and The Medium (Double Bill)
June 21 and 22
Broad Auditorium - Barry University

Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell
The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti

Enjoy a double bill evening with two one-act classic operas: Dido and Aeneas, based on the legendary love story between the Queen of Carthage, Dido, and the Trojan prince, Aeneas; and The Medium, a modern work about Baba, a psychic who hosts seances that trick bereaved parents into spending their money.

For full information and tickets, visit

--Leticia Rivera, Miami Music Festival

Miami Music Festival Announces Official 2018 Program Lineup
Miami Music Festival (MMF), an intensive training program for the next generation of classical musicians to work with mentors and gain performing experience, announces the lineup for the 2018 season from June 5 through July 29, 2018 at various venues in Miami. Going into its fifth season, MMF will host young artists from around the world selected from top conservatories and universities.

This season will include musical milestones such as the return of MMF's POPS Concert and Independence Day Celebration after a successful first year and the directorial debut of Antoine Wagner, great grandson of famed German composer Richard Wagner, as the MMF critically acclaimed Wagner Institute stages complete Acts from Lohengrin and Die Walk├╝re.

The Festival will present over 45 public events this summer including the MMF Wagner Institute, full opera productions, symphonic concerts, piano performances by guest artists, numerous piano recitals and chamber music performances by MMF participants, Opera Aria Nights, Zarzuela in the Summer Nights, Broadway Nights, Faculty Chamber Series, more than 30 masterclasses, and more.

For complete information, visit

--Juliana Gutierrez, JWI PR

Young People's Chorus of New York City Presents The Glass Box
Young People's Chorus of New York City and Yale Choral Artists come together for a compelling concert at Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Concert Hall. The program is highlighted by the world premiere of Borderless, a YPC commission from six-time, Grammy-winning Latin jazz composer Arturo O'Farrill featuring the Haven String Quartet, and New York premiere of The Glass Box, a YPC-Yale Choral Artists co-commission from the visionary composer/impresario Paola Prestini and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Royce Vavrek, set to dramatic visuals by Kevork Mourad.

Monday, June 18 from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

For complete information and tickets, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Long Yu and Shanghai Symphony Join Deutsche Grammophon
Long Yu, China's pre-eminent conductor on the international scene, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) have signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.

The new partnership is set to build on Long Yu's critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the SSO and help promote the orchestra's powerful blend of tradition and ambitious future vision. It will also enhance the SSO's "Music Connecting Worlds" ethos. Their first DG recording, an album of works from the Chinese and Russian repertoires, will be released in 2019 to mark the SSO's 140th anniversary and celebrate its status as China's earliest symphony orchestra. In addition to making new albums with the orchestra, Deutsche Grammophon will also release earlier recordings from the SSO's existing catalogue.

--Julia Casey, Universal Music

PBO Season Wrap
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's 2017/18 season was outstanding from beginning to end. We experienced dramatic performances by virtuosic concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock who led a program of fast-paced Vivaldi violin concertos, Nic brought his interpretation of Handel's rarely-heard Joseph and his Brethren, violoncellist Steven Isserlis wowed us with a dramatic program of Haydn, and guest maestro Richard Egarr took us a journey of works by Corelli and Handel. And Nic brought the season to a spectacular Beethovenian finish! Thank you for being a part of this past year's musical journey.

In addition to our regular concerts, PBO also presented three PBO SESSIONS programs. We began with Female Composers and the Women Who Bring Their Music to Life with Caroline Shaw, followed by Jewish Songlines, an exploration of Jewish music and heritage at the Contemporary Jewish Museum with Steven Isserlis and Francesco Spagnolo of the Magnes Collection at UC Berkeley. And finally, maestro Richard Egarr took us on a guided tour of music by Arcangelo Corelli and his influence on Handel in "Corelli the Godfather" at ODC.

The 2018/19 Season is on sale now! You only need 3 concerts to become a subscriber and pricing starts at just $91. There's no better way to experience Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale than as a season subscriber.

For complete information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

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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