Classical Music News of the Week, January 19, 2019

American Opera Projects Names New Leadership Beginning 2019-2020

American Opera Projects' (AOP) Board of Directors announced today the appointment of two new inspiring, artistic leaders who will continue the organization's 30-year legacy of creating contemporary opera in the US. Effective July 1, 2019, Matt Gray, who currently serves as AOP's Producing Director, will become General Director, and Mila Henry will join the company as Artistic Director.

Sarah Moulton Faux, of the AOP Board of Directors, said, "It was a unanimous decision on the part of the Board to appoint Matt as the next General Director both for continuity of AOPs mission but also for his innovative vision to keep the organization at the cutting edge as we move into the future. Both he and Mila have been incredible assets to the AOP team under Charles Jarden's skilled leadership, and we look forward to continuing AOP's legacy of groundbreaking new works."

Matt Gray will be the third General Director in the Brooklyn non-profit's 30-year history, following Grethe Barrett Holby, who founded AOP in 1988, and current General Director Charles Jarden who has led the company since 2002. Jarden will help guide the organization's leadership transition in the newly-created role of Director of Strategic Partnerships. Mila Henry will be the company's first Artistic Director since Steven Osgood held the position from 2002-2008.

For more information, visit www.aopopera.org

--American Opera Projects

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale Announces New Music Director Richard Egarr
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) Board President Kay Sprinkel Grace and Executive Director Courtney Beck announced today that Richard Egarr has signed a five-year contract to be the next Music Director of the ensemble. Egarr will be the second Music Director in PBO's nearly 40-year history; he succeeds Nicholas McGegan, who will have held the position for 35 years at the end of the 2019/20 season. Egarr will join PBO at the start of the 2020/21 season, at which time his title will be Music Director Designate, due to his continuing work as Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music. He will assume the title of Music Director beginning in the 2021/22 season.

"I am delighted to name Richard Egarr as Philharmonia's new Music Director," said Executive Director Courtney Beck. "Nic McGegan has laid an extraordinary foundation from which Richard can build. Richard is an exceptional and unique conductor who has incredible command of the baroque, classical, and early romantic repertoire and enthusiastically embraces PBO's new music initiative. Audiences will sometimes see Richard conducting from the harpsichord; I am certain we will also see him in recital in coming seasons, perhaps with other well-known collaborators.

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/press-release-richard-egarr-named-music-director/

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

New Century Chamber Orchestra Presents "Recomposed": February 7 through 10
New Century Chamber Orchestra presents upcoming performances of "Recomposed" February 7 through 10, featuring Daniel Hope in his first appearances as Music Director. Four performances will be given around the San Francisco Bay Area in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and San Rafael.

Exploring the theme of "recomposition," Hope will appear as soloist for the San Francisco Premiere of Max Richter's Recomposed: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons from his 2012 bestselling Deutsche Grammophon album. Also featured are Britten arrangements of works by Schumann and Purcell, as well as Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Performances:
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7:30 p.m., First Congregational Church Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Friday, February 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Oshman JCC, Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, February 9, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Taube Atrium Theater at Wilsey Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Sunday, February 10, 2019, 3:00 p.m., Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael, CA

For more information, visit https://www.ncco.org/

--Brenden Guy PR

Saratoga Performing Arts Center Announces 2019 Classical Season
Saratoga Performing Arts Center announces 2019 classical season, featuring the New York City Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

The New York City Ballet residency is highlighted by three SPAC Premieres from 21st century choreographers; story ballet Coppélia, and a Gala program featuring Balanchine's Apollo.

The Philadelphia Orchestra season features nineteen SPAC premieres of iconic masterpieces including works by Copland, Piazzolla, and Debussy and innovative newer works including compositions by Higdon, Clyne, Lopez, and Bates.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will return to lead the orchestra for two weeks, including the season finale featuring the SPAC premiere of Mozart's Requiem.

The "Cinema Series at SPAC" returns with "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert," Disney/Pixar's "Up in Concert," and Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights in Concert."

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performs six programs with twenty-three works never before performed by CMS at SPAC.

For complete information, visit www.spac.org

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Yo-Yo Ma Debuts New Music Video from Bach
Kicking off 2019 with the announcement of new locations for his globe-spanning Bach Project, YO-YO MA has premiered a music video that explores the enduring resonance of Bach through user-generated footage. The new video integrates Ma's performance of the Prélude from Cello Suite No. 1 with footage contributed in response to the prompt "Show the world how you express yourself and what brings your community together." It is another step towards answering the question posed by the Bach Project: how does culture connect us, and help us to imagine and build a better future?

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1prweT95Mo0&feature=youtu.be

The new video marks the start of the next chapter of Ma's two-year-long Bach Project, which brings his performance of Bach's suites for solo cello to 36 places around the world, locations that provide a window on our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the issues of peace and understanding shaping our future. Alongside each concert, Ma and his team partner with artists and culture makers, cultural and community organizations, and leaders from across sectors to design Days of Action — conversations, collaborations and performances that ask how culture can help us to imagine and build a better future.  At the heart of the undertaking is Ma's unwavering faith in culture—expressed viscerally for him in Bach's music—as a powerful uniting force during divisive and difficult times.

For more information, visit http://bach.yo-yoma.com/

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music

American Bach Soloists Return to Their Roots with a Program of Favorite Bach
Nearly 30 years ago, the American Bach Soloists established their initial and primary focus on the rich repertoire of Bach's more than 200 cantatas. Each one is an amalgam of dramatic rhetoric and musical inventiveness, flawlessly and expertly combined by the genius composer who is still, to this day, the most important influence on generations of composers since.

For decades, ABS has invited audiences to participate in their performances of cantatas by encouraging all to sing the final chorales of each cantata, the movement that was meant to capsulize the essence of each cantata's meaning and purpose.

We've been thrilled to see other San Francisco Bay Area musical organizations take up the same idea, and in February we invite you to join us again through your own musical contribution as we celebrate 30 years by looking back to the beginning (or, "Bach" to the beginning!) with a program of four cantatas that helped establish the solid reputation of ABS as California's leading Bach ensemble. In fact, ABS's acclaimed recording of "Favorite Cantatas" is at the core of February's programs, complemented by Bach's German setting of the Magnificat text, "Meine Seel erhebt den Herren" ("My soul magnifies the Lord").

Friday February 15 2019 8:00 p.m. • St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere, CA
Saturday February 16 2019 8:00 p.m. • First Congregational Church, Berkeley, CA
Sunday February 17 2019 4:00 p.m. • St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Monday February 18 2019 7:00 p.m. • Davis Community Church, Davis, CA

For complete information, visit americanbach.org

--American Bach Soloists

Aida Kicks off Season 13 of "Great Performances at the Met"
"A Symphonic Winter" with Great Performances continues with the season 13 premiere of Great Performances at the Met featuring Verdi's grandest of grand operas, Aida. Conducted by Nicola Luisotti, catch the opera this Sunday, January 20 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Aida stars vocal powerhouses Anna Netrebko in the title role and Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris as they go toe to toe in this classic love story featuring a number of Verdi's most celebrated arias. Aleksandrs Antonenko, Dmitry Belosselskiy, and Ryan Speedo Green round out the cast. Isabel Leonard hosts.

--Dorean Rose Pugh, WNET

Nu Deco Ensemble to Perform Program of All Female Composers
Nu Deco will continue their fourth season with a program of all female composers at The Light Box, 404 NW 26 St., Miami, FL, February 14–16.

The concerts will feature new works by Nu Deco violist Jessica Meyer and Nu Works Initiative winners Holly Harrison and Tanner Porter, as well as a collaboration with special guest artist Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter Tei Shi, a mercurial artist whose multimedia approach to music-making has turned heads in recent years. The new symphonic suite explores the music of "High Priestess of Soul" Nina Simone, who challenged societal norms and musical compartmentalization through her highly political, categorically ambiguous works.

For complete information, visit https://www.nu-deco.org/concert-4-feb-1416/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

World Premiere of Eric Whitacre's "The Sacred Veil"
Three years ago, after a visit from his longtime collaborator and friend, lyricist and poet Charles Anthony (Tony) Silvestri, composer Eric Whitacre found a poem Silvestri had left for him sitting on his piano. Silvestri had lost his wife to cancer 12 years previously, losing his soul mate and leaving him to bring up their two young children. He had not been able to write about the experience for a long time. The poem he left for Whitacre was called "The Veil Opens," and Whitacre immediately sat down and began to set it to music.

The resulting piece is part of a broader work based on Silvestri's poetry addressing all stages of life and death called "The Sacred Veil" that will receive its world premiere by the Los Angeles Master Chorale conducted by Whitacre in Walt Disney Concert Hall,111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA, Saturday, February 16 at 2 PM and Sunday, February 17 at 7 PM.

For more information, visit https://lamasterchorale.org/eric-whitacre-the-sacred-veil

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

Richardson Chamber Players Celebrates PUC's 125th Anniversary
The Richardson Chamber Players, Princeton University Concerts' ("PUC") resident ensemble of performance faculty, pay tribute to PUC's 125th anniversary season in a special Sunday afternoon chamber recital on February 10, 2019 at 3PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton, NJ.

The program will feature mixed chamber works written during PUC's inaugural season (1894-1895) paired with contemporary compositions. Performance faculty pianists Geoffrey Burleson and Margaret Kampmeier, cellist Susannah Chapman, soprano Rochelle Ellis, violinist Anna Lim, and clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg will offer works by Camille Saint-Saëns, Richard Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Eric Nathan, and Anton Arensky. This concert will be the last in the Richardson Chamber Players' 2018-19 season.

Tickets are $15 General/$5 Students, available by phone at 609-258-9220, in person two hours prior to the concert at Richardson Auditorium, or online at princetonuniversityconcerts.org.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

The Summer Festival Mosaic Pre-Sale for Donors Is Coming Soon
It's a new year! And that means the annual Festival Mosaic Summer Festival subscription pre-sale period, exclusively for donors, is almost here. Early ticket-buying privileges is one of the most popular and valuable benefits of becoming a Festival Mozaic donor. Consider making a contribution of $100 or more to gain access to this perk. Purchasing your Summer Festival subscription as a donor during the pre-sale period provides you with a number of exclusive benefits, including:

Early ordering access in advance of the general public.
The best selection of events and seats.
15% discount when you purchase 6 or more events.

On top of this, all donors of $100 or more are acknowledged in our souvenir program book.

Make a donation today at http://www.festivalmozaic.com/donate

--Jeri Corgill, Interim Executive Director, Festival Mosaic

Miller Theatre Early Music Series Presents "Music from Over the Alps"
The four voices of the celebrated ensemble New York Polyphony return to take audiences on a journey over the Alps to explore the Flemish composers who traversed the mountains to work in Italy. Encompassing works by well-known composers Orlande de Lassus and Palestrina, alongside gems by Philippe Verdelot, Cipriano de Rore, and others, the rich and varied program highlights the flourishing of the polyphonic style in the region.

Saturday, February 16, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin, NYC

Tickets $30–$45; Students with valid ID: $7–$27

For more information, visit https://www.millertheatre.com/events/new-york-polyphony

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Company

The Chelsea Symphony's January Concert Features Jean Sibelius's Symphony No 2
The Chelsea Symphony, featured in the hit Amazon show "Mozart in the Jungle," begins 2019 with a concert on January 25 and 26 featuring Jean Sibelius's Symphony No 2, famously called by the composer "a confession of the soul."

Also on the concert is the World Premiere of Four Miniatures for a Dark Age by Aaron Dai, Ballade for Flute and Orchestra by Frank Martin with flutist Kim Lewis (1/25 only), Violin Concerto in D minor by J.S. Bach with violinist Béa Naumann (1/25 only), and Carl Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto with clarinetist Sarah Koop McCoy (1/26 only). This concert is conducted by Matthew Aubin and Nell Flanders.

Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26 at 8:00 PM
The Chelsea Symphony, conducted by Matthew Aubin and Nell Flanders
St. Paul's Church, New York, NY

For more information, visit www.chelseasymphony.org

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

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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

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa