Classical Music News of the Week, November 3, 2018

Markus Stenz Conducts Kurtag World Premiere at La Scala

This month at Teatro alla Scala, conductor Markus Stenz leads the world premiere of the highly-anticipated performance of Fin de Partie, the first and only opera by the beloved, visionary composer György Kurtág, composed at the age of 91.

Based on the famous Samuel Beckett play, commonly performed in English as Endgame, the operatic version, to be sung in French, has been more than seven years in the making. At 450 pages, Fin de Partie is by far the largest score ever composed by the reputed "master of the miniature," who has for several decades maintained the desire of writing a musical treatment for the sparse, sardonically existential work. This production is staged by internationally-acclaimed artistic and theater director, Pierre Audi.

November 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 25, 2018
Gyorgy Kurtag: Fin de Partie (World Premiere)
Teatro alla Scala
Frode Olsen - Hamm
Leigh Melrose – Clov
Hilary Summers - Nell
Leonardo Corallazzi – Nagg
Markus Stenz, conductor
Pierre Audi, stage director

Following the world premiere in Milan, Stenz and the full cast bring the production of Fin de Partie to the Dutch National Opera in March 2019.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

PUC Announces Full Schedule of the Gustavo Dudamel Residency
Princeton University Concerts (PUC) is proud to announce a comprehensive schedule of concerts and events centered around its first Artist-in-Residence, conductor Gustavo Dudamel, in his first major academic residency that is at the heart of PUC's 125th Season. The residency will take place over the course of three visits to Princeton's campus in December, January, and April 2018-19 and will include concerts curated and led by Maestro Dudamel, community and educational events, and a series of themed talks, discussions and interdisciplinary exhibits exploring music's relationship to the world around us.

The performances include three chamber concerts curated by Maestro Dudamel featuring ensembles from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as a residency opening musical party with venerated Afro-Venezuelan folk music singer Betsayda Machado and Grammy-nominated cuatro/mandolin virtuoso Jorge Glem. The residency will conclude with Maestro Dudamel conducting two performances of the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club April 26 & 27, 2019, one at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, and the other a newly-announced FREE (but ticketed) concert in Trenton, NJ, at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, which is open to members of the local community and beyond.

For more information, visit princetonuniversityconcerts.or

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Jazz at Princeton University Presents Ambrose Akinmusire
Jazz at Princeton University presents guest artist and Blue Note Records trumpeter Ambrose
Akinmusire in the world premiere of Slightly Left of Sorrow's Song , commissioned by Jazz at
Princeton University to commemorate the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. DuBois' birth.
Akinmusire will perform the 8-movement suite alongside Princeton University students in Small
Group I under the leadership of saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa.

The concert takes place at 8:00PM on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Richardson Auditorium
in Alexander Hall. Tickets are only $15 general/$5 students, available at or
by calling University Ticketing at 609-258-9220. Any remaining tickets will be made available
at the Richardson Auditorium box office two hours prior to the performance.

For more information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

International Contemporary Ensemble Performs Works of Polish Composers
The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) partners with the PWM Edition and Polish Cultural Institute New York to present 100 for 100: Musical Decades of Freedom at Roulette Intermedium on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 8pm. Conductor Steven Schick will lead performances of works by five contemporary Polish composers in celebration of the Polish centennial of independence: Pawel Mykietyn, Tadeusz Wielecki, Lidia Zielinska, Aleksander Nowak, and Agata Zubel. 

Program Information:
100 for 100: Musical Decades of Freedom Presented by the Polish Cultural Institute New York and PWM Edition
Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 8pm
Roulette Intermedium | 509 Atlantic Ave. | Brooklyn, NY

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

American Bach Soloists Next Performances
Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral
December 12-14
Handel's timeless masterpiece will be presented for the 21st consecutive year in the awe-inspiring majesty of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA. Perennially a sold-out event, audience members from far and wide attend this Bay Area favorite that features the superb American Bach Choir and the period-instrument specialists of ABS in one of their largest configurations, under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas.

"A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera"
December 31
This special event, presented in San Francisco's beautiful Herbst Theatre — a cornerstone and jewel among the city's most prestigious venues--will feature one of the opera world's exciting new vocal talents, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.

Phone Orders: 800-595-4TIX (-4849)
No service charges for online orders

New Year's Eve: 415-392-4400
City Box Office service charges applay

Information: 415-621-7900 and

--American Bach Soloists

SOLI's Second Annual "Contemporary Music Open Mic"
If you been toiling away at your instrument and have been waiting for your moment to shine, here's your opportunity!

Twelve to fifteen amateur musicians will be joining us to perform their favorite contemporary pieces for SOLI's highly enthusiastic and friendly audience. Wouldn't you want to be one of the lucky ones?

Click here for more information:!contemporary-open-mic-night/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Miller Theatre Presents The Tallis Scholars
The renowned Tallis Scholars make their annual appearance on Miller's Early Music series with beloved, festive Renaissance favorites including Palestrina's Missa Hodie Christus natus est. The thrilling program features the world premiere of a work commissioned by Miller Theatre for the occasion by sought-after American composer Nico Muhly. Muhly's opera Marnie is currently enjoying a run at The Metropolitan Opera.

Saturday, December 1, 2018, 8:00 p.m.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
145 West 46th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues)

For complete information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Festival Mozaic Names Jeri Corgill Interim Executive Director
Festival Mozaic has named Jeri Corgill, a San Luis Obispo County resident of nearly 30 years and former Festival Mozaic board member, as interim executive director, effective October 1, 2018. With a varied background in finance, public policy, city government, travel/tourism, and nonprofit consulting, Corgill will lead Festival Mozaic until the board's search for a permanent executive director is concluded.

In a statement, she said, "I have long held the belief that the arts can be an important conduit for the betterment – both cultural and economic – of any community.  I look forward to working with Music Director Scott Yoo, the staff and board of Festival Mozaic to ensure a successful transition to the next executive director." Corgill steps in for former executive director Bettina Swigger, who stepped down September 30, to accept the CEO position at Downtown SLO. Swigger was in the executive director role for eight years.

Tickets are on sale for the second weekend of the 2018-2019 WinterMezzo Chamber Music Series, and Music Director Scott Yoo is putting the finishing touches on plans for a delightful 2019 Summer Festival, which will take place July 24 - August 4.

For more information, visit

--David George, Festival Mosaic

Renaud Loranger Appointed Artistic Director of The Festival of Lanaudière
Pentatone congratulates Vice President for Artists and Repertoire Renaud Loranger on his additional role as Artistic Director of the Festival de Lanaudière in Joliette, Canada. Loranger has been developing the Pentatone roster and expanding its international activities since joining the label in 2016. He will remain based in Europe and continue his role at Pentatone further guiding the label's strategic development.

Pentatone's Managing Director, Simon M. Eder, said:
"We are proud and excited for Renaud for being offered to lead one of Canada's flagship musical institutions. We are happy to see him undertaking this new adventure in his hometown in a festival so close to his heart, while he continues being a vital player in our label's expansion."

For more information, visit

--Sylvia Pietrosanti, PENTATONE

Rob Simonsen Signs to Sony Music Masterworks
With an impressive resume of film scores under his belt, composer Rob Simonsen launches a new chapter in his already successful career, signing to Sony Music Masterworks as a recording artist, with new music to be released in early 2019.

Having learned to play the piano at a young age and with an educational background in jazz, electronic and traditional orchestral music, Rob Simonsen has lent his scoring talents to a wide range of film projects.  Since the early 2000s, he's worked on an expansive list of film soundtracks, among them The Front Runner, Love, Simon, Nerve, Foxcatcher, The Way, Way Back and The Spectacular Now. Under the apprenticeship of composer Mychael Danna, Simonsen worked on films like 500 Days of Summer and Moneyball, in addition to collaborating with Danna on his Academy Award-winning score for Ang Lee's Life of Pi.

In addition to his lengthy catalogue of film scores, Simonsen is the founder of The Echo Society, a Los Angeles-based non-profit artist collective.

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music

Callisto Quartet in Nov. 10 Concert
Grand Prize winners at the 2018 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, the Callisto Quartet performs Saturday, November 10 at Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston, Illinois. They are all students at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which also happens to be the alma mater of Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. Formed in 2016, the Quartet—violinist Paul Aguilar, violinist Rachel Stenzel, violist Eva Kennedy, and cellist Hannah Moses—was a prize winner at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and was the only American quartet selected to compete in the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, winning third prize in the Grand Finals.

Mark George conducted a Q&A with the Quartet musicians to learn more about them before the November 10 performance., are all students at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which also happens to be the alma mater of Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. Formed in 2016, the Quartet—violinist Paul Aguilar, violinist Rachel Stenzel, violist Eva Kennedy, and cellist Hannah Moses—was a prize winner at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and was the only American quartet selected to compete in the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, winning third prize in the Grand Finals.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

Dear Friends of FAYM
The first FAYM (Foundation to Assist Young Musicians) recital for the 2018/19 school year was held on October 20 at the East Las Vegas Community Center. This year's beginning students did not perform because they have only had violins in their hands for a few weeks. They will definitely play at our next recital in December.

However, everyone else did get on stage and perform for an excited audience!  We even had a few parents and siblings of our students who have been taking beginning guitar, vihuela, and guitarrón classes take the stage and perform Las Mañanitas along with our Beginning Mariachi and Advanced Mariachi. This combined group did an excellent job in performing a traditional Hispanic song which is played on important days such as birthdays, anniversaries, saint days, etc. I recently had a birthday so I listened to this song as if it were dedicated to me!

On another note, parents of FAYM have been working together to assure that our Violins For Kids program continues for their children.  They have been working on fund raisers such as candy sales, organizing yard sales and are searching for other ways to help bring in money.  It is important that all our wonderful donors that have been helping us over the years know that our families are taking an active role in helping our program grow.  By all of us working together as the 'FAYM Family', we are assuring that our kids get a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn!

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

--Arturo Ochoa, Board President

Last Chance! Buy One, Get One Free for PBO Sessions Nov. 8
Time is almost up to buy one ticket, get one free!

From HIP's rebellious beginnings to today, come hear three recent Juilliard grads and their teachers (PBO Orchestra members) in this dynamic evening of discussion, history, and music. Audiences will learn about the history of Historically Informed Performance (HIP) from Nicholas McGegan, Ben Sosland and Bruce Lamott and experience it for themselves as the musicians perform works by Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli and Geminiani.

Buy one $25 ticket and get one free! Use discount code: HIP18 at checkout. Join us afterwards for complimentary (good) wine and a chance to meet the performers and moderators!

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale

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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