Classical Music News of the Week, September 8, 2018

The Angel's Share Presents Gregg Kallor's Frankenstein and The Tell-Tale Heart

The Angel's Share, a new concert series by Unison Media and The Green-Wood Historic Fund, which features opera and chamber music concerts in Green-Wood's remarkable Catacombs, will close its first season October 10-12 with an operatic double bill from composer and pianist Gregg Kallor, including the world premiere of his setting of sketches from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (celebrating the 200th anniversary of the book's publication) – the heartbreaking story of a living, feeling creature, brought into the world only to be forsaken by his creator and left to fend for himself – as well as a reprise of his acclaimed setting of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Tell-Tale Heart.

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano will perform the monodrama, The Tell-Tale Heart, as well as the role of Elizabeth Frankenstein, baritone Joshua Jeremiah will sing The Monster, and tenor Brian Cheney will sing Dr. Frankenstein. Sarah Meyers will direct both pieces, and Kallor will lead from piano, accompanied by Joshua Roman on cello.

Kallor will also release a new recording of The Tell-Tale Heart and other songs on October 5, with soprano Melody Moore and Joshua Roman on cello, to coincide with the performances.

Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Wednesday, October 10, Thursday, October 11, and Friday, October 12
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians: Newsletter, September 2018
It is very exciting to begin the 2018/2019 school year. We had student/parent orientation
meetings at the Pearson Center and at the East Las Vegas Community Center. There were 99 online registrations and 46  paper registrations. This does not include students who will be in the orchestras or mariachi. I had received communications from several parents that their student's school open house was scheduled for the same day and time so several returning students will probably show up on the first days of classes.

It was my pleasure to welcome back many returning students and to meet new (beginning) students. Mr. Thomas, Mr. Weller, and I met with teachers on August 23 to discuss and plan instruction for this year. We had a few staff changes and additions so it was critical that we all start out with a clear understanding of our goals and instructional methods

I am filled with enthusiasm at what I have seen thus far and am looking forward to the 2018/2019 year!

For complete information about the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians, visit

--Arturo Ochoa, President, FAYM

The Crypt Sessions Presents ROCO, October 18
Unison Media's acclaimed concert series The Crypt Sessions continues its third season on October 18, with the NYC chamber music debut of Houston's ROCO, an ensemble that flexes in size from 1 to 40 players based on the type of performance, whether it be as a brass quintet in a brewery, a theatrical version of Peter and the Wolf in a zoo, or as a 40-piece chamber orchestra in a concert hall.

ROCO has premiered over 75 commissions from living American composers, and for their Crypt Sessions, an ensemble of five musicians will perform a program made up of New York premieres of works by Reena Esmail, Alyssa Morris, Erberk Eryilmaz, Kevin Lau, and Heather Schmidt, as well as Anthony DiLorenzo's Anthem of Hope: Houston Strong, a piece commissioned in response to the city's resilience in the face of Hurricane Harvey's devastation.

One of the most forward-thinking groups in America, ROCO will be presenting a female composer, soloist, and/or conductor on every concert during their 2018-19 season. The group's groundbreaking ROCOrooters initiative offers childcare during concerts, with children receiving a music lesson, pizza, and a movie, while parents enjoy the concert and dinner. They have pioneered live-streaming their concerts, and were the first to incorporate live program notes for performances via a smartphone app.

The Crypt Sessions Presents: ROCO, October 18, 2018.
Wine & Food Tasting: 7PM. Show 8PM.
Tickets: $80, including Wine Tasting & hors-d'oeuvres.

For complete information and tickets, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Sparks & Wiry Cries Announces the First-Ever SongSLAM Festival
On January 17-20th, 2019, the New York-based global art song platform Sparks & Wiry Cries will present their first-ever songSLAM Festival, a reimagination of the organization's popular songSLAM events held in New York and around the world presenting new art song by composer, pianist and vocalist teams. Sparks & Wiry Cries will also co-produce songSLAMs in seven cities in the US, Canada and Europe throughout the 2018-19 season.

Sparks & Wiry Cries founders Erika Switzer and Martha Guth aim to actively engage current conversations through contemporary art song with insightful publishing, programming, and commissioning initiatives. The Sparks & Wiry Cries songSLAM – which gets its name from the Poetry Slam concept – is an innovative competition featuring performances of 10-12 art song premieres by emerging composer/performer teams. Audiences will vote for their favorite new work and winners receive cash prizes.

Sparks & Wiry Cries also announces regional songSLAMs to be co-hosted throughout the 2018-19 season with art song organizations in seven cities and three different countries, resulting in almost 100 world premieres.  Cities include: Ann Arbor, Chicago, Denver, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Minneapolis, New York City, and Toronto (Canada).  "Sparks & Wiry Cries is an essential voice in sharing the beauty and relevance of this genre of concert music," says Eapen Leubner, Founder of Denver Art Song Project. "They have been an ally and partner to organizations like my own and their work inspires us to keep moving, keep innovating and keep singing."

January 17-20, 2019, 8:00pm
Dimenna Center for Classical Music, Cary Hall
450 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018

For more information, visit

--Rebecca Davis PR

Peter Sellars Directed Production of Lagrime di San Pietro to Tour Worldwide
A performance at the Ravinia Festival in Illinois on September 13 will be the first date in the Los Angeles Master Chorale's wide-reaching tour of its acclaimed production of Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) directed by Peter Sellars. The tour will feature 21 Master Chorale singers conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, and Jenny Wong, Associate Conductor.

Following the Ravinia Festival, the Master Chorale and Gershon will make a stop at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on September 15 before the group embarks overseas with dates at the Melbourne International Arts Festival in Australia on October 5 and 6 conducted by Associate Conductor Jenny Wong. The tour will then travel to Mexico for performances at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato on October 11 followed by a performance at the historic Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City on October 13.

The production will then return to California with two performances at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on October 20 and 21. The tour continues in 2019 with January performances for UMS at the University of Michigan (Jan 20) and Carolina Performing Arts at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Jan 22). Spring will see a performance in Berkeley presented by Cal Performances (May 17) before three European engagements at The Barbican Centre in London (May 23), Sage Gateshead in Gateshead, England (May 25), and the Cité de la Musique in Paris (May 27). Upon its return to the U.S., the Master Chorale will take the production to the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico (May 31).

For more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

Cantus Explores What it Means to Connect in the Modern World
This season, the acclaimed men's vocal ensemble Cantus presents "Alone Together," a program featuring a new commission by Libby Larsen exploring the struggle to build meaningful connections in a world that has never been more connected. Cantus will perform this program on tour in 2018-19 in three dozen cities throughout North America. The ensemble will also present their innovative take on an age-old Christmas tradition, called "Lessons and Carols for Our Time," during the Holiday season. Additionally, the ensemble will collaborate with the women's vocal ensemble Lorelei in a one-night-only performance event at the Ordway in St. Paul Minnesota to be broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio.

For more information, visit

--Rebecca Davis PR

Cendrillon on "Great Performances at the Met"
Laurent Pelly's imaginative production brings Massenet's operatic take on the classic fairy tale Cinderella to life. Bertrand de Billy conducts. Ailyn Pérez hosts.

New videos are available from "Great Performances at the Met: Cendrillon," starring Joyce DiDonato as the titular heroine and Alice Coote as Prince Charming alongside Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother and Stephanie Blythe as Madame de la Haltière. The season 12 finale airs Sunday, September 9 at 12:00 p.m. on PBS.

Joyce DiDonato talks about Laurent Pelly's production:

Joyce DiDonato talks about Cinderella:

YouTube Link:

--Doreen Rose Pugh, WNET

Soprano Camille Ortiz Brings Her Strength and Compassion to PBO Season Opener
Just a year ago guest artist soprano Camille Ortiz was still basking in the seemingly endless accolades from her Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra debut in Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire. But on September 20, Hurricane Maria hit her home country of Puerto Rico, where Camille grew up and studied at the Puerto Rico Conservatory. While Camille now lives in Florida and performs throughout the world, most of her family still resides in Puerto Rico.

"Mom and I were just starting to recover from Hurricane Irma in Florida and then Maria wreaks havoc in Puerto Rico. My father, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins...I heard nothing for four full days and it was the longest four days ever. Finally, I got a phone message from my aunt and she said they were safe. My heart broke when I learned what everyone was going through," says Camille.

During the aftermath, Camille participated in several concerts in both Naples and Miami to raise funds for hurricane victims of both Maria and Irma. "Many musicians came together to raise funds. I had some really wonderful colleagues who also contributed financially directly to my family and to disaster relief funds on the island. Through the worst of times, I felt lots of love and support."

Nearly a year later, Camille's family is doing well. "I was able to visit this last April. It was a very special trip for me, seeing my family AND the island for the first time after the hurricane. Slowly things are becoming green again."

As hope steadily returns to her home island, Camille Ortiz prepares to bring her talent, compassion, and strength of character to the stage when she returns for PBO's season opener, Mozart Magnified. You will not want to miss her passionate performances of Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate with PBO this October.

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

WinterMezzo Tickets on Sale Now
Festival Mozaic's internationally-renowned artists present chamber music concerts in spectacular venues on the California Central Coast in the fall and winter. This season, Music Director Scott Yoo and friends presents two weekends of great works of chamber music and offers three sequential ways to connect to the music and the musicians. We encourage you to attend all events in each weekend, and experience the special connections to the composers, the musicians, and this beautiful place.

Tickets for our 2018-2019 WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series are on sale now. Call our office at (805) 781-3009 or buy tickets online at

--Festival Mosaic

JACK Quartet Announces Its 2018-19 Season
The JACK Quartet is excited to announce their 2018–19 concert season, taking them to 27 cities in 9 countries across 2 continents, performing numerous world premieres from a diverse selection of composers. The new music ensemble will continue to grow their presence in the UK and Europe with their debut at the Berlin Philharmonie, a return to Wigmore Hall in the UK, and concerts in Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The rest of the season will be in North America with performances in Canada, Mexico, and across the United States, including 9 educational residencies.

With world premieres by Cristina García Islas, Michel Roth, John Zorn, Miya Masaoka, Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin, and dozens of student composers, the JACK Quartet is set to feature a diverse body of new work. Performances will include works by Zosha Di Castri, Sabrina Schroeder, Liza Lim, Marcos Balter, and Andreia Pinto Correia, along with a special focus on the works of John Zorn, Tyshawn Sorey, Chaya Czernowin, and the complete quartets of Elliott Carter.

The season started September 8 and runs through May 14-19, 2019. For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Young People's Chorus of New York City Celebrates 30th Anniversary With "YPC Big Sing"
Founded on a mission of diversity, artistic excellence, and education, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) reaches its landmark 30th anniversary on Saturday, September 22, and in celebration the chorus presents its first-ever "YPC Big Sing," in which YPC choristers invite audience members to sing along with them at Symphony Space at 3:00 p.m. in appreciation of the community's many years of support.

Tickets are priced $15 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under (children 2 and under may attend for free if seated on laps), with all proceeds going towards YPC's commissioning programs, which contribute to the education of young people and the future of music. Tickets will be available at the Symphony Space box office and online from

--Shuman Associates PR

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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