Classical Music News of the Week, August 25, 2018

LA Master Chorale to Open 2018/19 Season with the Mozart Requiem

The Los Angeles Master Chorale will open its 2018/19 concert season in Walt Disney Concert Hall with two performances of the Mozart Requiem on Saturday, September 22 at 2 PM and Sunday, September 23 at 7 PM.

The performances will feature the full 100-voice Master Chorale and Orchestra, and will be conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director. Guest soloists for the Requiem are Liv Redpath (soprano), J'Nai Bridges (mezzo-soprano), David Portillo (tenor), and Rod Gilfry (baritone). The concerts will open with Shawn Kirchner's Songs of Ascent--a setting of the Psalms sung by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem--commissioned and premiered by the Master Chorale in 2015 when Kirchner was the Swan Family Composer-in-Residence. These performances will include three Psalms Kirchner has since added to the piece.

Mozart's Requiem--the last piece of music he composed and infamous for its mysterious origins and posthumous completion--has been performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under each of its directors. It was last performed by Gershon and the Master Chorale in 2009, and the choir most recently performed it with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2017. There have been several versions of the Requiem published. Gershon and the Master Chorale will perform the Franz Xaver Süssmayr version. Süssmayr (1766-1803) is the Austrian composer and conductor credited with completing the Requiem after Mozart's death in 1791.

Tickets are available now, starting from $29:
Phone: 213-972-7282
Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office Monday – Saturday,
10 AM – 6 PM

The Master Chorale's 2018/19 concert season continues through May 2019, including its popular Christmas concerts in December. Full details of the season can be found here:

--Jennifer Scott, LA Master Chorale

Thank You for Season 29
The reverberation of our final performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor has barely stopped ringing through the Conservatory hall on the 9th annual American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy, and as I write this on a typically wonderful foggy San Francisco summer morning, I'm reflecting on the past twelve months and all that ABS has accomplished because of you, our dedicated donors and patrons. We have done so many great things. Thank you!

--Don Scott Carpenter, ABS Executive Director

Robert Trevino Announced as Chief Conductor of the Malmo Symphony Orchestra
American star conductor Robert Trevino has been confirmed as the new chief conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra (MSO), taking up the post in autumn 2019. The highly-gifted and in-demand Trevino is in his second season as Music Director of the Basque National Orchestra (which recently extended his tenure to 2022) and is a regular collaborator with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and many others.

The now 34-year-old Robert Trevino conducted his first concert as a 16-year-old, with his major international breakthrough coming in December 2013 when he stepped in at short notice to conduct Verdi's Don Carlos at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. With a euphoric audience and glowing reviews behind him, he went on to conduct leading orchestras around the world.

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Cendrillon on "Great Performances at the Met"
 Season 12 of "Great Performances at the Met" concludes on Sunday, September 9 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Cendrillon, Massenet's operatic take on the classic fairy tale Cinderella, starring Joyce DiDonato as the titular heroine, Alice Coote as Prince Charming, Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother and Stephanie Blythe as Madame de la Haltière.

Laurent Pelly's imaginative production takes place in a storybook kingdom. After Cendrillon is forbidden from attending the ball at the palace, her Fairy Godmother appears and gifts her with a coach, a gown and glass slippers that will hide her true identity. At the ball, Prince Charming's mood suddenly changes when Cendrillon arrives, and the two immediately fall in love, but as midnight approaches, Cendrillon hurries away and leaves behind a glass slipper. Bertrand de Billy conducts. Ailyn Pérez hosts.

For more information, visit and

--Dorean Rose Pugh, WNET

San Francisco Girls Chorus Announces 40th Anniversary Season
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) announced its 2018-2019 40th anniversary season. Led by Valérie Sainte-Agathe in her first season as Artistic Director, SFGC will present four subscription programs starting October 18, 2018 in venues across San Francisco and Berkeley and collaborate with ensembles from the Bay Area and Denmark.

Program highlights include world premiere performances of SFGC commissions by Fred Frith, Richard Danielpour, and Aviya Kopelman; debut performances by tenor Nicholas Phan, contralto Kirsten Sollek, and Persian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat; the audience-favorite holiday concert at Davies Symphony Hall featuring Kronos Quartet and women's chorus Musae; and a five-performance summer tour to England and France in July 2019. This season's repertoire encompasses a breadth of works from ten prominent women composers that span eleven centuries, including Hildegard von Bingen, Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Talma Louise, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Reena Esmail, Kaija Saariaho, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Mahsa Vahdat and Aviya Kopelman.

For complete information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Yo-Yo Ma Introduces New Amazon Alexa Skill
Following the Friday premiere of Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites, Yo-Yo Ma brings his voice to all Amazon Alexa-enabled devices with Yo-Yo Ma's "Musical Moments." In 36 short episodes, Ma will take listeners on a journey through the music of J.S. Bach, sharing snippets from Six Evolutions and stories from a lifetime of playing Bach's legendary cello suites. A first-of-its-kind for any classical artist, this conversation with Yo-Yo will be available as an Alexa Skill and on Sony "Classical's Today" in "Classical Flash Briefing" on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

As classical music continues its tremendous growth in streaming on voice-enabled devices, Yo-Yo Ma's "Musical Moments" gives Amazon Alexa users even more ways to explore the genre. The content is designed for anyone who is curious about classical music and its contemporary significance, providing thoughtful commentary from one of our best-known performers. Users can access the skill with the simple voice command, "Alexa, open Yo-Yo Ma's Musical Moments" or by adding "Today in Classical" to their "Flash Briefing" in the Amazon Alexa app, and then saying, "Alexa, what's my Flash Briefing?"

For more information and a step-by-step guide on how to access the skill and Flash Briefing, please visit

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music Masterworks

A Leonard Bernstein 100th Birthday Celebration
Sony Classical honors the great Leonard Bernstein with a celebration of what would have been the cultural icon's 100th birthday. Bernstein, an American composer, conductor, pianist, writer, humanitarian, and twentieth-century pop-culture icon will be celebrated with a two-month social media and streaming campaign built around a new rollout of his popular legacy of recordings that are part of Sony Classical's library.

Sony Classical's global campaign will feature eight playlists curated especially for the centennial, that explore Bernstein as composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, Broadway icon, and visionary advocate for the music of Gustav Mahler. Sony Classical will also share a wealth of rarely seen photos, new video interviews with Bernstein's daughter, Jamie, as well as longtime New York Philharmonic archivist, Barbara Hawes.

For updates and access to Leonard Bernstein's archival videos and images, be sure to follow Sony Classical on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To stream their specially curated Leonard Bernstein playlists and more, visit

--Colin Yost, Sony Music

The First Cellist Signed by Deutsche Grammophon in 40 Years
We are absolutely delighted to share the exciting news that Franco-Belgian star cellist Camille Thomas has joined the Frank Salomon Associates roster for North American representation. We were drawn to Camille's elegant, passionate musicality paired with an effortless virtuosity and are thrilled to have the opportunity to share her artistry with audiences on this side of the ocean.

Camille comes to us as one of the most exciting young artists in Europe. Her numerous accolades and awards include being Deutsche Grammophon's first-ever female cellist (and first cellist in over 40 years); being listed on Forbes' 30 under 30 for European Art & Culture; and being selected as the European Broadcasting Union's "New Talent of the Year" in 2014.

For more information, visit and Deutsche Grammophon:

--Frank Salomon Associates, Inc.

YPC's Choristers Bring Harmony to Audiences in North America and Across the Ocean
From sold-out concert halls throughout Japan and an international choral competition in British Columbia to performances with Lincoln Center and The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Young People's Chorus of New York City is making the most of its 30th Anniversary summer.

With a full schedule of workshops, cultural exchanges, and concerts conducted by Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez, YPC's choristers recently returned from bringing their extraordinary tour program of music and dance to audiences in 15 Japanese cities. The concert-goers were so spirited that in Osaka, the audience members would not let the singers leave the stage until they had performed a record-breaking six encores!

We are very excited that we are able to share this YPC tour experience with you. NHK Global, Japan's largest broadcasting organization, has created a documentary about Francisco and this YPC tour. The segment aired on Friday, August 3, and is now available on the NHK website. Visit our Summer Tour page for more information:

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

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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