Classical Music News of the Week, September 29, 2018

An Announcement from Festival Mozaic Board President Jo Anne Miller

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Festival Mozaic, it is with mixed feelings that I share the news that Festival Mozaic Executive Director Bettina Swigger has accepted a position as the Chief Executive Officer of Downtown SLO, a 501(c)6 organization advocating for the economic vibrancy and cultural relevance of downtown San Luis Obispo. While we are very sorry to see her leave the organization that she has led successfully for the past 8 years, we are proud that she will continue to serve our community and look forward to continuing to work with her to champion the entire region as a place where the arts can flourish.

 This is an exciting time for Festival Mozaic. Having just completed our 48th consecutive Summer Season, Festival Mozaic is poised for continued growth and increased impact throughout San Luis Obispo County. The WinterMezzo Chamber Music series, featuring two weekends of great performances by visiting artists is set for October 24-27, 2018 and February 22-24, 2019. The Board of Directors has recently approved a new strategic plan which will guide the organization's work through its 50th anniversary celebration in 2020 and well beyond. Our Music Director, Scott Yoo, has recently been informed that his new PBS TV Series, "Now Hear This," will be premiering during Spring 2019 as part of Great Performances. Scott expects that Festival Mozaic will become a recurring character in the show in season two.

 Says Scott Yoo: "The festival is in an enviably strong artistic position and I have never been more optimistic about its future. Bettina Swigger's leadership, hard work and eye for detail has elevated Festival Mozaic into a world-class performing arts organization. We have a life-long friend in Bettina, and wish her nothing but the very best as she joins Downtown SLO." Bettina's last day with Festival Mozaic will be September 30, 2018.

The Board of Directors of Festival Mozaic has initiated the process of a nationwide search for a new Executive Director, who will help us reach exciting new heights in the next phase of development for this outstanding musical organization. We anticipate introducing the new Executive Director to the community well before the 2019 Summer Festival.

Tickets are currently on sale for the 2018-2019 WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series and Music Director Scott Yoo is busy planning a wonderful 2019 Summer Festival, which will take place July 24 - August 4. Don't miss it!

For complete information about Festival Mozaic, visit

--Jo Anne Miller, Festival Mozaic

Off to the Hunt!
The opening concerts of American Bach Soloists' 30th All-Bach Season will feature the sonorous corno da caccia or "hunting horn" in two works that reveal Bach's playful dispositions while employed in Weimar and Cöthen.

Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major brings the Baroque horn to the foreground in some of Bach's most robust instrumental music, and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major for three groups of string instruments matches violins, violas, and 'cellos in a rally of friendly competition, a tour de force volley of virtuosity.

The joyful "Hunting Cantata" "Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!" ("What pleases me is the lively hunt!") is Bach's earliest surviving secular cantata, composed for the 31st birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels whose wise governance and adept hunting skills are allegorically praised in song. A truly splendid and entertaining work that celebrates Love and Nature, the cantata is filled with captivating arias including the famous and beautiful "Sheep may safely graze." A superb vocal quartet and colorful instrumentation including horns, oboes, bassoon, and strings--featuring the brilliant ABS orchestra under the enlightened direction of Jeffrey Thomas--will bring this music to life.

Friday October 19 2018 8:00 p.m.
St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA

Saturday October 20 2018 8:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA

Sunday October 21 2018 4:00 p.m.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA

Monday October 22 2018 7:00 p.m.
Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For more information and tickets, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Bowie Symphonic U.S. Tour Featuring Cellist Maya Beiser
This fall, cello soloist Maya Beiser and composer/conductor Evan Ziporyn embark on a U.S. tour with Ziporyn's Ambient Orchestra, bringing Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar to the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA (Friday, October 12); the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT (Saturday, October 13), Bass Concert Hall presented by Texas Performing Arts in Austin, TX (Thursday, November 1), and Bing Concert Hall presented by Stanford Live in Stanford, CA (Wednesday, November 7).

Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar is a startling and soaring new version of David Bowie's entire last album Blackstar for solo cello and orchestra. Arranged for Beiser by Ziporyn, who will also conduct Ambient Orchestra, Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar has been performed to capacity audiences in Boston, Barcelona, and New York City's Central Park SummerStage. For the fall tour, Ambient Orchestra is joined by musicians from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

The Boston Globe recently described internationally renowned cellist Maya Beiser as "a force of nature," and wrote of the performance of Blackstar in Boston last year, "The orchestra's approach took advantage of the rich, jazz-infused harmonic palette of 'Blackstar.' As the rest of the strings rose up in deep menace and then flitted away like shadows, Beiser's cello replaced the vocals of 'Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)' with a shivering panic. . . 'Lazarus' reached further down into the grave and further up toward the stars all at once."

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen Artists

Salon/Sanctuary Tenth Season
"A Decoration of Silence"
Nigel North performs works of Francesco da Milano
Monday, November 5th 8:00pm

"Giulio il Romano"
Ensemble Ricercare Antico with tenor Riccardo Pisani performs works from the dawn of opera
Friday, November 9th 8:00pm

Both concerts at the Library of the House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95th Street, NYC.

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Ariel Quartet Performs in NYPhil's Inaugural "Nightcap" Series
The highly-acclaimed, young Ariel Quartet returns to New York City in the fall of 2018 with two captivating performances: as a part of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's Nightcap series, as well as the Aspect Foundation for Music & Arts series, based at The Italian Academy of Columbia University.

New York Philharmonic
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, NYC
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10:30PM

Beethoven: Intimate Letters
Aspect Foundation for Music & Arts
The Italian Academy - Columbia University, NYC
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7:30PM

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

SF Girls Chorus Opens 40th Anniversary Season
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) and Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe open the organization's 40th anniversary concert season on Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Herbst Theatre with "Mademoiselle: An American Inspiration."

Saluting the influence of French composer Nadia Boulanger on some of the most important composers in American history, the program will showcase works by Nadia and the music of Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Virgil Thompson, David Conte and Louise Talma. Also featured is a selection of works by her sister, Lili Boulanger, in honor of the centennial anniversary of her tragic death. Lyric tenor Nicholas Phan makes his SFGC debut performing songs by Nadia and Lili Boulanger, Copland, and Bernstein.

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

First Annual Andrew Park Composition Prize Winners Announced
The Andrew Park Foundation has named composers June Young Kim (South Korea) and Joseph Lee (USA) prize-winners in the Foundation's first annual Andrew Park Composition Prize. Messrs. Kim and Lee will each receive a cash prize valued at $1,500 and will have their new works premiered at New York's Merkin Concert Hall on Sunday, December 16, 2018, 3 p.m.

The purpose of the Andrew Park Composition Prize is to build a broader understanding of the connections between the traditions of the West and East through music and poetry. In the past, Toru Takemitsu and Isang Yun produced some of the most important works of Asian modernism, combining their experiences of their own and Western cultures. The Foundation encourages composers to continue in this spirit, bridging differences and forging stronger ties.

Applications for the 2019 Andrew Park Composition Prize will be available in February, 2019. For more information please visit

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Young People's Chorus of New York City Introduces Vocal Currents New Music Series
Over its 30-year history, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) has been at the forefront of commissioning today's leading composers to explore the distinctive quality of children's voices, and it continues this mission with the latest YPC concert and commissioning series, "Vocal Currents: Music in our Changing World."

The series' inaugural concert, featuring YPC commissions and world premieres, takes place at Merkin Concert Hall on Saturday, November 3 at 8:00 p.m. and is hosted by radio personality John Schaefer, host of WNYC's Soundcheck. YPC's Vocal Currents series challenges composers to express in music for young people the currents of thought and feeling that animate our lives today, while challenging YPC choristers with new and innovative works that reflect the world they live in. YPC will also share these works, as well as future Vocal Currents commissions, with children's choirs in communities and schools around the world, so that all can benefit from these important additions to the repertoire.

Tickets priced at $25 (students: $15) will be on sale shortly from

For more information, visit

--Shuman Associates PR

Nu Deco Ensemble Announces Its 2018-19 Season
Miami's Nu Deco Ensemble is proud to announce its fourth season, continuing its forward-thinking programming and genre-bending performances throughout 2018-19, with concerts at Miami's premiere music venues: New World Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wynwood's The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, and the North Beach Bandshell. The orchestra's singular mix of core classical repertoire, contemporary music and commissions, and collaboratively-arranged suites of popular music, has built a devoted fan base of next-generation music lovers throughout the South Florida area, with sold-out crowds and critical acclaim.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Fischoff Champions Callisto Quartet Perform at Music Institute
Fresh from their Grand Prize-winning performance at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Callisto Quartet makes its Nichols Concert Hall debut November 10 at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Music Institute of Chicago. Nichols Concert Hall is located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in downtown Evanston, Illinois.

Callisto's program features the Chicago premiere of Cantos by one of Spain's most prestigious young composers, Francisco Coll. The Quartet also performs Schubert's String Quartet in C Minor, D 703; Bartók's String Quartet No. 6; and Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 59, No. 2.

For more information, call 800.838.3006 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Kate Soper Composer Portrait at Miller Theatre
The "sublimely exploratory" (The Chicago Reader) Wet Ink Ensemble continues its 20th anniversary season on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 8:00pm with a staged production of Wet Ink-member Kate Soper's IPSA DIXIT, part of Miller Theatre at Columbia University's Composer Portrait: Kate Soper.

IPSA DIXIT ("She, herself, said it") is a genre-defying work of chamber music theatre that explores music, language, and meaning through blistering ensemble virtuosity and extended vocal technique. Developed over six years of collaboration with the Wet Ink Ensemble, IPSA DIXIT uses elements of monodrama, Greek tragedy, and performance art to skewer the treachery of language and the questionable authenticity of artistic expression. IPSA DIXIT, called "Comprehensively astounding .... a twenty-first century masterpiece" by The New Yorker, was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music. The composer, herself, performs the virtuosic score alongside members of the ensemble Wet Ink in this evening-length tour de force.

For more information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Festival Mozaic Brings Chamber Music to San Luis Obispo County
Festival Mozaic's WinterMezzo Series runs October 25-27, 2018 with three days of music, food, wine and education. Well-known for its popular summer music festival, Festival Mozaic brings world-class chamber music performances to scenic San Luis Obispo County, California, throughout the year with its WinterMezzo series.

Scott Yoo, the Festival's Music Director, curates the WinterMezzo series, which showcases exceptional artists performing in intimate venues. Yoo will perform as violinist in these programs along with featured artists. Yoo is in residence in San Luis Obispo six weeks annually; he serves as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic and he recently conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in two recording projects. Yoo is also the host and co-executive producer of Now Hear This, a music and travel television program slated to air as part of Great Performances on PBS in Spring 2019.

For more information, visit

--David George, Festival Mosaic

IDAGIO Launches in North America
IDAGIO, the leading streaming service for classical music is now available in North America. To support the launch and further internationalisation, the Berlin based streaming service successfully secured an internal funding round of EUR 10 million with existing investors. With its North American launch, IDAGIO enters the most important market for audio streaming. The internal funding round brings the total raised by the service to over EUR 20 million since its foundation in 2015.

For further information, visit

--Elias Wuermeling, IDAGIO

New York String Orchestra Celebrates 50th Year
On the morning of Wednesday, December 19, sixty-four of the nation's most gifted music students between the ages of 16 and 23 will meet for the first time under the baton of conductor Jaime Laredo to form the 50th New York String Orchestra, a program under the auspices of The New School's Mannes School of Music.

Over the course of the 10-day program, the young artists will perform two concerts presented by Carnegie Hall with internationally acclaimed soloists including Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, and program alumnae violinists Pamela Frank, Kyoko Takezawa, Bella Hristova, and Jinjoo Cho.  Alumna and guest-conductor Karina Canellakis will lead the orchestra in George Walker's Lyric for Strings, in a celebration of the beloved, recently deceased, African-American composer. Two dozen program alumni, now concertmasters and principal players in orchestras across the country, will join the students on December 28 in a performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6.

For complete information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Upcoming EXO Concerts
Experiential Orchestra has the following upcoming events, both in NYC and DC:

Thursday October 4 from 5-8:30pm (Washington, DC): In partnership with The Outrage, EXO performs at the renowned Phillips Collection as a part of their Phillips After 5 series.

Saturday November 17 (Washington, DC): EXO presents Sine Nomine at the Katzen Arts Center at American University, a concert that is designed to complement the exhibit Without Provenance.

Saturday December 1 (NYC): EXO invites you to experience our Nutcracker Dance Along!

For complete information, visit

--Experiential Orchestra

Soprano Anna Lucia Richter Signs to PENTATONE
PENTATONE is delighted to announce the signing of an exclusive, multi-album agreement with German soprano Anna Lucia Richter, one of the brightest stars on today's vocal firmament.

Noted for her interpretations of the great canon of German song literature, she is equally at home in the music of the Baroque, in Mozart and Romantic fare, the breadth and versatility of which will be reflected in her plans with the label. Together with master pianist Gerold Huber, she took to the recording studio earlier this year and documented a selection of heart-wrenchingly beautiful songs by Franz Schubert, including some of his most famous melodies, which will be released in February under the title "Heimweh."

For more information, visit

--Sylvia Pietrosanti, PENTATONE

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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