Classical Music News of the Week, September 15, 2018

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Opens Season with "Mozart Magnified"

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale opens its 2018/19 "Transcendence" season on the wings of sacred vocal works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Oct. 3, 2018. Joining Music Director Nicholas McGegan are four returning guest artists, among them Puerto Rican soprano Camille Ortiz, who received an exuberant reception in PBO's operatic production of Rameau's Le Temple de la Gloire in 2017.

The program highlights as its centerpiece the "Exsultate, Jubilate," featuring the Orchestra and soprano Ortiz. Hailed for her agile technique, pure tone and vocal color throughout her range, Ortiz's sound complements the detailed delivery and richness of PBO's period instruments.

To open the program, McGegan leads the Orchestra & Chorale through the graceful "Litaniae Lauretanae." Chorale Director Bruce Lamott's steep command of the language of the Classical era informs the ensemble's fluent articulation so vital to upholding the work's subtlety. Closing the performance with the "Coronation" Mass No. 15 in C major, the under-thirty-minute masterpiece captures the fulsome spirit of a season of transcendent music with PBO.

PBO's season opening performance, "Mozart Magnified," takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford; Friday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco; Saturday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m. both at First Congregational Church in Berkeley.

Single tickets for the 2018/19 Season are on sale at City Box Office and Stanford Live. Subscription details can be found online at Look for Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Classical KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale. KDFC broadcasts an unreleased live Philharmonia concert recording the second Sunday of every month from 8-9 p.m.

For more information, visit

--Dianne Provenzano, PBO

Breakthrough New Work
Composer and master bandoneón player JP Jofre joins the ranks of those who have ventured into new musical spheres by writing the first-ever double concerto that couples his devilishly difficult instrument and the violin in a breakthrough chamber music work commissioned by violinist Michael Guttman, music director of the Symphony Napa Valley. The recording of the Double Concerto for Violin and Bandoneón, No. 1 features Jofre, Guttman and the acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. It was made available September 14th on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

In writing the double concerto, Jofre wanted to bring an orchestral perspective to the music of his native Argentina. While steeped in the world of tango and Argentinian folk music and dance, the piece reflects Jofre's respect for the classical canon. He counts as his influences Bach, Bartok, Stravinsky, and of course his fellow countryman, nuevo tango legend Astor Piazzolla, among others. The double concerto is a conversation not only between the bandoneón and violin, and the soloists and orchestra, but also between the traditional and the modern. The concerto form is classic, the execution pure Jofre.

Jofre's creativity and expressiveness as an artist and composer were extolled in a New York Times profile when his first CD was released:

--Diane Blackman, BR Public Relations

Georgian Pianist Nicolas Namoradze Wins 2018 Honens International Piano Competition
Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze (age 26) has been named Prize Laureate of the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition. He wins the world's largest prize for piano $100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half-million dollars. Finalists Han Chen (Taiwan / age 26) and Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (United States / age 21) each received Raeburn Prizes of $10,000 (CAD), and for the first time in Honens' history an Audience Award of $5,000 (CAD) was presented to Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner.

"What a wonderful thing for Honens ... what a wonderful thing for Nicolas Namoradze!" says Neil Edwards, Honens' President & CEO. "The journey that began with receipt of his application and ended tonight is merely the first leg of an exciting multiyear trek and we look forward."

The Competition's Jury included Alessio Bax (Italy / USA), Ingrid Fliter (Argentina / Italy), Wu Han (Taiwan / USA), Annette Josef (Germany), André Laplante (Canada), Asadour Santourian (USA), and Minsoo Sohn (Korea).

"Over the past two weeks, our jury and devoted audiences have experienced world-class pianism of the highest possible level," adds Jon Kimura Parker, Honens' Artistic Director. "The Honens International Piano Competition has brought artistry, emotion, virtuosity, and creativity to Calgary and to the world. We offer our warmest congratulations to all of the pianists and special congratulations to the 2018 Honens Prize Laureate, Nicolas Namoradze."

In addition to the $100,000 (CAD) prize, the Honens Prize Laureate is awarded a comprehensive three-year Artist Development Program, which includes debut recitals in some of the world's leading concert houses, concert opportunities with leading orchestras, professional management, residencies, and recordings.

For more information, visit

--Shear Arts Services

Celebrate with Us at the YPC Big Sing!
Saturday, September 22 at 3:00 p.m.
Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

Join Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, and special guests Rollo Dilworth, Mark Shapiro, and Sesame Street's Bob McGrath, in the first-ever Young People's Chorus Big Sing!

For more information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Heifetz Institute Names Nichols Kitchen of the Borromeo Quartet as New Artistic Director
The Heifetz International Music Institute today announced the selection of solo violinist, chamber musician, teacher, video artist, technology innovator and arts administrator Nicholas Kitchen as its new Artistic Director.

Kitchen, a faculty member of the New England Conservatory, is also the first violinist of the Conservatory's resident Borromeo String Quartet, an ensemble acclaimed for its "edge-of-the-seat performances" by the Boston Globe. The Borromeo Quartet, co-founded by Kitchen and his wife, cellist Yeesun Kim in 1989, is also the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Heifetz Institute, as well as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the Taos School of Music in new Mexico.

Nicholas Kitchen will succeed Daniel Heifetz, who founded the Institute that bears his name in 1996. Mr. Heifetz will continue his association with the Institute as the organization's Artistic Director Emeritus. Heifetz stated, "I am thrilled with the decision of the Heifetz Institute's Board of Directors to name Nicholas Kitchen as my successor.

For more information, visit

--Dworkin & Company

Award-Winning Guitarist Sharon Isbin
Multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin will appear at the Herbst Theatre for San Francisco Performances on Saturday, October 13 at 7:30pm with Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo and with the Santa Rosa Symphony performing Heitor Villa-Lobos's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra on November 3 & 5 at 7:30pm and November 4 at 3pm at the Green Music Center's Weill Hall.

Brazilian jazz guitarist and Latin Grammy winner Romero Lubambo, who was Isbin's guest on her Guitar Passions release and tour, and included in the award-winning documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, share a lyrical sensibility that makes their duets a natural extension of improvisation, classical music, and cross-cultural exploration. Their most recent New York performance for an audience of 1400 this spring was recognized by the press hailing, "the audience was amazed at the pair's sensitivity, technique and chemistry."

The program will feature works by Albéniz, Granados, de Falla, Rodrigo, Sávio, Lauro, Jobim, Mangoré, York and Montaña. Tickets are $60-$40 and available at

For complete information, visit

--Genevieve Spielberg Inc.

SOLI's Milestone 25th Anniversary Season is Here
Monday, October 1, 2018. 7:30 PM. Jazz TX
Tuesday, October 2, 2018. 7:30 PM. Ruth Taylor Recital Hall, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas

SOLI (Soli Chamber Ensemble) kicks off its 25th anniversary season with spectacular music and great friends. Music by Jennifer Higdon, Caroline Shaw, Natalie Draper, Kareem Roustom, and no season would be complete this year without giving nod to one of America's most beloved and celebrated composers, Leonard Bernstein.

San Antonio Symphony's Associate Concertmaster Sarah Silver Manzke, and internationally esteemed violist Rita Porfiris, will be our guest artists.

For complete information, visit!traces/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Kevin Puts's Pulitzer Prize-winning Opera, Silent Night, Will Be Performed by Nine Different Companies in 2018-19
Kevin Puts's Silent Night, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music with libretto by Mark Campbell, will be performed throughout the 2018-19 concert season by multiple ensembles in commemoration of the centennial of the signing of the armistice of WWI.

The opera has already been performed throughout July and August at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, and eight other leading opera companies across three different countries are scheduled to perform Silent Night in the coming year. A new orchestral suite, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and co-commissioned by the Indianapolis and St. Louis Symphonies, will be premiered in October of 2018 and performed again in May of 2019.

Commissioned by Minnesota Opera with co-producer Opera Philadelphia, Silent Night premiered in 2011 and received widespread critical acclaim throughout its original run. The opera is based on the true story of momentary, holiday peace on Christmas Eve between Scottish, French, and German soldiers, and includes songs in English, German, French, Italian, and Latin.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Violinist Jennifer Koh Comes Home Sept. 15
Music Institute alumna and Glen Ellyn native brings a solo violin concert program to Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago, September 15.

Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for commanding performances delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists from multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She has premiered more than 60 works written especially for her and has made 11 recordings for the Cedille Records label.

Her concert program for the Music Institute includes repertoire from two recent initiatives: "Shared Madness," a project comprising short works for solo violin that explore virtuosity in the 21st century, written by more than 30 of today's most celebrated composers, and "Bach and Beyond," a recital series that traces the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas to 20th and 21st century composers. Koh is Musical America's 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. For more information and her complete biography, visit

Jennifer Koh performs two solo works by Bach juxtaposed with a contemporary piece for solo violin on Saturday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.
Tickets are available at 847-448-8328 or

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

SF Girls Chorus Announces Partnership with Tokyo Gamine
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) today announced, as part of its 40th Anniversary, 2018-2019 Concert Season, an innovative new partnership with leading San Francisco fashion impresario Yuka Uehara and her company, Tokyo Gamine.

Under this new partnership, Uehara will dress SFGC's GRAMMY Award-winning Premier Ensemble for all concerts and touring projects. With her trailblazing work as a fashion designer, visual artist, and young female entrepreneur, Ms. Uehara will feature prominently throughout SFGC's season.

For more information, visit and

--Brenden Guy PR

Nimrod Borenstein, Six Premieres to the End of the Year
Composer Nimrod Borenstein measures his year in premieres - six to go before the end of 2018! Six premieres will bring first performances of Borenstein's music to five countries and four continents during the coming months

Each year seems to be busier these days for Nimrod Borenstein, the London-based composer. Already this year has seen projects with El Sistema Greece and Carnegie Hall, a US tour, a world premiere with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and multiple performances across Europe. And the rest of 2018 shows no sign of slowing down.

Between now and the end of the year, Borenstein will oversee six premieres of his music. The performances will range from a Kaddish for solo violin and a piano quartet in the US; to a tour of Israel with the symphonic The Big Bang and Creation Of The Universe; to a piano quintet at the Schiermonnikoog International Chamber Music Festival (in the Netherlands); to a work for the Kugoni Trio in Belgium; to a Piano Etude in Japan.

For complete information, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Other Minds Announces 25th Anniversary Season
Other Minds and Artistic Director Charles Amirkhanian have announced the lineup for their 25th anniversary 2018-2019 season, including two unique programs and a three-concert festival.

Now in its 25th year, Other Minds continues its dedication to shining a light on contemporary and experimental music with a season that includes an evening dedicated to the piano works of Terry Riley featuring Grammy Award-winning pianist Gloria Cheng and the composer; rare performances of Shostakovich arrangements for two pianos including the West Coast Premiere of his Symphony No. 4 and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms featuring frequent duo collaborators Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa; and two co-presented programs at Berkeley's David Brower Center that explore the music of composers Linda Bouchard and Anne Guthrie as part of the center's series "The Nature of Music."

Single tickets range in price from $35 to $45 with discounted $15 student tickets.

Single tickets for December and June performances will go on sale September 17 and March 2019, respectively, and will be available for purchase online at

Single tickets for February and March performances will go on sale November 1 and will be available for purchase through

Single tickets for the Nature of Music Series range in price from $12 to $15 and are available online through

For further information on Other Minds, please visit

--Brenden Guy PR

New Artistic Leadership at Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & School
Grammy and Juno-Award winner and internationally acclaimed conductor, composer, and pianist Bramwell Tovey joins the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School effective immediately as Artistic Advisor. Described as the model of a modern orchestral maestro, Tovey's prolific career has earned him distinction on the stage, and in the classroom and community. He creates exceptional concert experiences, commissions and composes music for and of his community, and believes orchestras have a responsibility for providing and encouraging access to music education of the highest quality. Tovey is a true champion of connecting orchestras and the communities they serve.

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

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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 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