Classical Music News of the Week, January 5, 2019

International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Spring 2019 Concerts

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) announces their spring 2019 season concerts. Engagements this spring include performances of Tyshawn Sorey's Perle Noire: Meditations For Joséphine featuring rising soprano Julia Bullock at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Miller Theatre Composer Portraits of Wang Lu and Tyshawn Sorey, three performances at the 2019 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, and Silent Voices: Lovestate with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at The New Victory Theater in NYC. The Ensemble also continues its partnerships with the New York Public Library and Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology throughout the spring.

The International Contemporary Ensemble opens its 2019 spring season with two performances of Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine on Wednesday, January 16 and Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 8:00pm at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 8:00pm, ICE joins Yarn/Wire for a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait of composer and pianist Wang Lu.

ICE returns to the 2019 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 10:00am and Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 11:00am. ICE's programs include works by Carla Kihlstedt, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Ellen Reid, and Ashley Fure.

ICE returns to the lauded Miller Theatre Composer Portrait series for a portrait of composer Tyshawn Sorey on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 8:00pm.

In five performances from May 2-5, 2019, ICE partners with the acclaimed Brooklyn Youth Chorus for Silent Voices: Lovestate at The New Victory Theater in New York City.

And in spring 2019, ICE performs in Reich Richter Pärt at The Shed.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Fully Staged Version of Mozart's Early Opera from Princeton University Concerts
Princeton University students will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's lighthearted early opera Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe ("The Pretend Garden-Girl"), K. 196 in a FREE, fully staged production in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall on Friday & Saturday, January 11-12, 2019 at 7:30PM.

These performances are the culmination of a semester of preparation of the Singspiel version of the composer's La finta giardiniera by R & L Berger (1917) in the course MUS214: Opera Workshop course.

Sung in German with English dialogue, the production offers a modern setting of the comic tale, as directed by Princeton University Performance Faculty member David Kellet. Ruth Ochs conducts the Princeton University Sinfonia, and Sarah Pelletier has provided vocal coaching.

For more information, visit

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Happy New Year from YPC!
This week YPC culminates its 30th anniversary year, and we would like to share with you—our families, friends, and colleagues—some YPC highlights over the past 12 months. It is so exciting for us to watch our young people grow as artists from year to year, and we continue to be amazed by their accomplishments.

2018 was a momentous year for the Young People's Chorus of New York City. Now, as we set out on YPC's fourth decade, all of us at YPC are energized and looking forward ever greater accomplishments in the days and years ahead.

For more information about YPC, visit

With appreciation and very best wishes for a very happy holiday and new year,

--Francisco J. Núñez, Founder/Artistic Director

Gratitude for 2018 – YOU Make It Happen!
As we come to the end of 2018, I do so with great pride and gratitude. We at Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale have concluded a year of glorious music and continued artistic excellence in historically informed performance.

Just this past fall, we:
Marveled at the splendor of Mozart's sacred choral works.
Enjoyed the fruits of our collaboration with The Juilliard School in a magnificent performance by recent Juilliard alumni and their PBO teachers.
Explored two distinct Bach cantatas alongside other Baroque choral delights.

Thanks to you, PBO is bringing historically-informed performance to audiences and students here in the San Francisco Bay Area and well beyond. I invite you to make one more gift of any amount before we ring in 2019 so that we can continue to deliver passionate, brilliant, and original music through our innovative concerts, tours, recordings, broadcasts and education programs.

Whether you've been a longtime supporter or just bought your first ticket, I am forever grateful to you—our PBO family.

For more information on Philharmonia Baroque, visit

With warmest New Year greetings and gratitude,

--Courtney Beck, Executive Director

FAYM January 2019 Newsletter
Dear friends of FAYM:
Our christmas recital for the 2018/19 school year was held on December 8 at the East Las Vegas Community Center. This year's beginning students had the pleasure to take the stage for the first time; they did a great job. The audience was really excited for them.

We had some of the parents and siblings of the students perform alongside our Mariachi Estrellas de FAYM. Our FAYM parents work together to assure that our program had a great Christmas recital. They got together and organized a great meal for everyone to enjoy after the recital.

Looking forward to the New Year,

Claudia Rivera, President

Golden Violins:
FAYM has been teaching our youth to play the violin for 11 years.  In this time we occasionally run across a student that seldom misses class, always comes to class prepared, and based on the way they play the violin, they have practiced on a regular basis at home.  In order to reward their commitment to learning, we developed the Golden Violin Program.  This is set up so that a student can earn a better quality violin than the standard low cost beginner instruments we loan our students.  There is a process including writing an essay as to why they feel they have earned the Golden Violin, volunteer hours helping less experienced students, assisting teachers, and demonstrating their musical proficiency by auditioning in front of a panel consisting of Mr. Tim Thomas, our Project Coordinator, Mr. Hal Weller, Founder of FAYM and myself, Arturo Ochoa, Co-Founder of FAYM.  The audition is the final step and if they pass the audition, their beginning instrument is replaced with a violin that has a retail of over a thousand dollars!

Additionally, if they remain with FAYM and continue their commitment to learning, after two years the Golden Violin becomes the property of the student!  For a more detailed explanation of the process, check our Web site:

--Foundation to Assist Young Muscians

Happy New Year from AOP!
AOP wishes you, our irrepressibly supportive community, a warm, safe and joyous new year!
In 2018, AOP celebrated 30 YEARS of redefining opera. As we head into 2019 please consider a gift that will help us train emerging artists, create new masterpieces and engage new audiences.

AOP's 2018 included world premieres of The Echo Drift and Six. Twenty. Outrageous and a new production of the critically lauded As One in Chautauqua, NY. In November we remounted Savage Winter (a co-production with Pittsburgh Opera) for the 2018 BAM Next Wave Festival. And throughout the year we trained opera creators, engaged communities via free pop-up operas and concerts and workshopped projects next in line for world premiere. Come along with us in 2019, our 31st season. Thank you for you for being part of the AOP family.

American Opera Projects is a registered 501(c)(3). Donations are tax-deductible to the full amount as allowed by law.

Checks may be mailed to
American Opera Projects
138 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

For more information, visit

--American Opera Projects

Naxos Music Group Acquires ARC Music Productions International
Naxos is happy to announce its acquisition of ARC Music Productions International. Established in 1976, the main goal of ARC Music is to preserve the ethnic music of world cultures, and to spread traditional and original music with a positive message. Their unrivaled repertoire comprises hundreds upon hundreds of albums from over 120 countries and cultures the world-over.

The Naxos Music Group has been distributing the ARC label digitally worldwide and physically in several key markets for a significant time. Naxos is also operating the only dedicated world music subscription streaming platform, Naxos Music Library/World, which offers access to more than 12,000 albums through a dedicated search engine. Klaus Heymann, founder and CEO of Naxos Music Group, and Julia Beyer, Executive Director and Head of A&R at ARC Music, feel that their partnership, along with the physical/digital distribution infrastructure Naxos provides, will enable a very successful union.

For more about ARC Music, visit

--Mara Miller, Naxos Music Group

Celebrate 100 Years of The Cleveland Orchestra on "Great Performances"
Great Performances is proud to present The Cleveland Orchestra Centennial Celebration on Friday, January 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Conducted by music director Franz Welser-Möst, this gala concert commemorates the centennial of the orchestra's founding and features works touching on more than a century of Viennese musical traditions. World-renowned, Grammy-nominated pianist Lang Lang joins the orchestra in a special performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24.

Don't miss Orphée et Eurydice from Lyric Opera of Chicago (January 18), Aida (January 20), Doubt from Minnesota Opera (January 25) and Marnie (February 1) on Great Performances this month.

--Dorean Rose Pugh, WNET

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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