Classical Music News of the Week, December 8, 2018

Make Your ABS New Year's Eve Plans Now

"A Baroque New Year's Eve at the Opera"
Monday December 31 2018 4:00 p.m., Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, featuring Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor, and Mary Wilson, soprano, with the American Bach Soloists Orchestra, Jeffrey Thomas, conductor.

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. The 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Young Artists Award Winner, former Merola Opera Program participant, 2018 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, and ABS Academy alumnus has been capturing the hearts of opera lovers around the world.

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen will perform arias by Handel and Gluck. Joined by the incomparable soprano Mary Wilson, and along with a delightful program of instrumental music from opera and concert, this early night on the town will joyfully ring in the New Year in elegant style.

Tickets on sale only through City Box Office:
(415) 392-4400
City Box Office

Online: or

--Amercan Bach Soloists

Esa-Pekka Salonen Announced as Next Music Director of SF Symphony
San Francisco Symphony President Sakurako Fisher and Chief Executive Officer Mark C. Hanson today announced that Esa-Pekka Salonen will become the Orchestra's next Music Director, beginning in September 2020.

As the San Francisco Symphony's 12th Music Director in its 107-year history, Salonen will succeed Michael Tilson Thomas, who concludes his 25-year tenure as Music Director in July 2020. One of the most influential and creative forces in music, Salonen has, through his many high-profile conducting roles, work as a leading composer, and as an advocate for accessibility and diverse musical voices, shaped a unique vision for the present and future of the symphony orchestra.

Assuming his role as Music Director Designate immediately, Salonen will lead the SFS January 18–20, 2019 in a program featuring the SFS premiere of Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Metacosmos, Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Sibelius's Four Legends from the Kalevala. He will return as Music Director Designate in the 2019–20 season to conduct at least two weeks of programs. In September 2020, Salonen begins his tenure as Music Director with an initial five-year contract, conducting the SFS in six subscription weeks and on a tour of Asia. Beginning in the 2021–22 season, Salonen will conduct 12 to 14 weeks each season. He will conclude his tenure as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor for London's Philharmonia Orchestra in 2021.

For more information, visit

--Oliver Theil, SFS Director of Communications

Celebrate the Season with YPC
"Winter Wonder: A Festive Winter Concert"
Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, NYC

Young People's Chorus of New York City culminates its 30th anniversary year with "Winter Wonder," a holiday concert featuring the artistry and showmanship of YPC's young choristers and special guest, Time for Three, in a program of new music and fresh arrangements of holiday favorites. Tickets from $30-$125 on sale now as well as Special $200 Concert Sponsor Prime-Seat Tickets.

"For the Miracles: A Holiday Celebration"
Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum, NYC

YPC and Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez celebrate the holidays at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a program of joyous music that celebrates two holiday traditions.

"New York's Oldest Christmas Tradition"
Sunday, December 16 at 3:00 p.m.
Church of the Intercession, NYC

Assistant Conductor Maria Peña and YPC return to the Church of the Intercession to open the church's century-old holiday tradition: a performance of holiday music, followed by a candlelight reading of Clement Clarke Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

39th Annual "A City Singing at Christmas"
Thursday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m.
St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC

Join YPC, Glen Cove High School Select Chorale, St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir, The Cathedral Organs, and New York Symphonic Brass for a free program of traditional and contemporary Christmas hymns and carols in the majesty of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Come early for the best seats!

For complete information, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

White Wigs to Unruly Locks Gave Way
"In the Wake of the Marseillaise: Songs of Love. Loss and Triumph from the Age of Emancipation"
Pascal Valois, early Romantic guitar; Jessical Gould, soprano
Thursday, December 13th, 8:00pm
The Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South, NYC

The Ghetto drowned in the wake of the Marseillaise.

Napoleon's conquering armies marched through European capitals, and ancient hierarchies crumbled to the tune of "Liberté, Égalité, et Fraternité." Tumbling bricks followed rolling heads, and the Ghetto wall that had separated Jew from Gentile collapsed to dust.

At least until it rose again.

For complete information, visit

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

Deutsche Grammophon Celebrates 120 Years
Deutsche Grammophon is marking the 120th anniversary of its company foundation on December 6, 1898 with a carefully curated global program of DG120 live concerts, special events, record releases and much more. The world's oldest and best-known classical label will use its anniversary year to continue building a lasting legacy. The company's unprecedented DG120 program has been designed to reach existing fans worldwide, attract new followers in Asia and beyond, and share its peerless catalogue with as many people as possible.

The birthday celebrations began with the spectacular DG 120 – The Tokyo Concert, held at Tokyo's legendary Suntory Hall last night, December 5, in the presence of the Japanese imperial family. Anne-Sophie Mutter joined Seiji Ozawa, Diego Matheuz and the Saito Kinen Orchestra for a program of works by Bach, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky.

In Korea, Seong-Jin Cho marks Deutsche Grammophon's actual birthday in style today with DG120 – The Seoul Anniversary Concert, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor K.466 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Lionel Bringuier at the Seoul Arts Center. Anne-Sophie Mutter joins the Seoul party tomorrow, Friday, December 7, opening the evening's program with Bruch's evergreen First Violin Concerto.

The celebrations continue well into 2019.

For more information, visit

--Julia Casey, Universal Music

West Edge Announces the 2019 Snapshot Program
Inaugurated in 2017 and now entering its third year, Snapshot is a collaboration between West Edge Opera and Earplay dedicated to getting new operas on their feet and giving audiences peeks into developing works from West Coast composers and librettists.

This year's program will feature celebrated soprano Marnie Breckenridge singing Nathaniel Stookey's haunting monodrama, Ivonne, with libretto by Chicago playwright Jerre Dye. Inspired by an abandoned Sears building, the opera follows the head secretary of a steno pool as she prepares for yet another day at the office. Her preference for order and structure is upended by a co-worker's medical emergency that threatens to shatter her well-groomed exterior.

The performances will take place on Saturday January 19th, 2019 at 8:00PM at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall, 2288 Fulton St, Berkeley, CA 94704 and Sunday January 20th, 2019 at 3:00PM at the Taube Atrium Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102. Tickets are $40.00 and can be purchased from the West Edge web page at

--Mark Streshinsky, General Director

F.A.Y.M. December 2018 Newsletter
The first 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!

Visit us at

--Arturo Ochoa, Board President

50th Anniversary Cruise Deposit Deadline is 12/14/18
Usher in Festival Mozaic's 50th Anniversary on a Specially-Curated Danube River Cruise!
To celebrate Festival Mozaic's momentous 50th Anniversary in 2020, we have asked Amadeus Cruises to curate a concert-filled river cruise. The itinerary along the Danube will include private classical concerts that will be exclusive to our group, in spectacular venues such as the Salburg Mozarteum, Melk Abbey, and Duna Palace.

But there's a catch: If we do not have at least 35 committed passengers, Amadeus Cruises will not be able to make this very exclusive, concert-filled itinerary available to us after December 14, 2018.
This cruise is a fundraiser for Festival Mozaic, so a portion of the cost of the cruise is tax-deductible. In recognition of the 50th Anniversary, we are limiting space to only 50 classical music fans. Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience! Join your fellow Festival Mozaic enthusiasts for this extraordinary 50th Anniversary cruise on the Danube, with an itinerary that is designed especially for classical music lovers.

Learn more at

--Festival Mozaic

42nd Festival de Lanaudière
Renaud Loranger, the new artistic director, announces partial programming for the 42nd Festival de Lanaudière. Guest artists include Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kent Nagano, Marc-André Hamelin, Veronika Eberle, and Seong-Jin Cho.

The 42nd season of the Festival de Lanaudière will feature two renowned Montreal orchestras: the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) and the Orchestre Métropolitain (OM).

Just six weeks after coming on board, the Festival's new artistic director, Renaud Loranger, is prepared to announce four programs with two famous ensembles: "It is an honor to offer music lovers these two great Montreal orchestras as part of the same season," he states with pride. "The OM and OSM always take great pleasure in returning to the Fernand Lindsay Amphitheatre to perform for Festival audiences."

Tickets for these four exceptional concerts will go on sale at noon on Friday, December 7 at, at the Place des Arts box office (514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112), and at

--France Gaignard Public Relations

Bay Area Musicals' Holiday Fundraiser
Bay Area Musicals (Matthew McCoy, Founder & Artistic Director, and AeJay Mitchell, Managing Director) has announced the line-up of performers for the Company's first annual Holiday Benefit Fundraiser, "Once Upon a December"--an evening celebrating family, community, and the Holiday season.

This merry and bright holiday cabaret will star some of the San Francisco Bay Area's best musical performers, including Jenny Angel ("Seussical"), Alissa Sanchez ("The Wedding Singer"), Jesse Cortez ("Crazy for You"), and Jack O'Reilly ("La Cage Aux Folles," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"), among many others (and perhaps even a special appearance by Mr. Claus himself)!

 Audiences will enjoy beautiful renditions of Yuletide and show tunes, while food and cocktails will be available to purchase. "Once Upon a December" will perform on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a second show on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. On both evenings, cocktails will be available prior to the performance (beginning at 6:30 p.m.), and both evenings will conclude with a post-performance after-party.

Both performances will take place at San Francisco's Gateway Theatre (215 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111). Tickets range from $25 - $45 and can be purchased online at

--Jonathan White 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 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