Classical Music News of the Week, February 9, 2019

On Site Opera Presents the World Premiere of Murasaki's Moon

On Site Opera will present the World Premiere of Michi Wiancko and Deborah Brevoort's new opera, Murasaki's Moon on May 17, 2019 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Astor Chinese Garden, NYC. Made possible by Opera America's 2018 Female Composer Grant, the work was commissioned by On Site Opera, MetLiveArts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Lyric Theater.

Murasaki's Moon tells a dramatic tale inspired by the life and work of Lady Murasaki, a member of the Japanese Imperial Court in 11th century Japan. Granddaughter of a writer and daughter of a scholar, Lady Murasaki was well known in her time for her poetry and story-telling, and is historically famous for authoring what many scholars consider the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji.

Friday, May 17 at 4:00pm & 6:30pm
Saturday, May 18 at 2:00pm & 6:00pm
Sunday, May 19 at 11:00am & 3:00pm

Astor Chinese Garden Court
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

For complete information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Free Performance of Rossini's "Petite Messe Solennelle"
The Princeton University Chamber Choir offers a free performance of Gioachino Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle ("Little Solemn Mass") on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7:30PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.

One of only a handful of larger works that Rossini did not write for the opera house, the 80-minute composition is both heart-warming and celebratory, full of Rossinian quirks and bursting with humor, charm and sincerity.

Scored modestly for small choir, two pianos and harmonium, the unusual instrumentation of the work is a reflection of the intimate salon setting for which it was written -- a trait that will translate beautifully into the intimacy of Richardson Auditorium.

Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7:30PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton, NJ.

Tickets for this performance are FREE, available at or by calling
Princeton University Ticketing at 609-258-9220.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Join Us for YPC's Annual Gala on March 12
Young People's Chorus of New York City Annual Gala Benefit Concert and Dinner:
Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall.
Dinner immediately following at the Mandarin Oriental.
Please join us for a gala evening at Jazz at Lincoln Center benefiting the 2,000 children of the award-winning Young People's Chorus of New York City.

For more information, please contact our Gala Coordinator at (212) 289-7779 ext. 16 or

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

PBO's Winter Gala Honors Anne Sofie von Otter and Caroline Shaw
On March 1, 2019, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) will host its annual Winter Gala & Auction at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, chaired by Melanie Peña, and honoring legendary mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.

Von Otter, who will be honored for her outstanding commitment to early music, is a versatile performer who has never been shy about expressing her affinity for music from all historical eras, from Baroque to pop. She has full command of the operatic canon, including many seminal early operas by Handel and Monteverdi, but she has also recorded the music of Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, Bjork, and Brad Mehldau on her 2016 album "So Many Things" with string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

--Dianne Provenzano, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Naxos to Launch "The Music of Brazil"
On February 8, 2019 Naxos--the repertoire label--launched "The Music of Brazil," a series which is part of the project Brasil em Concerto, developed by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to promote music by Brazilian composers. Naxos has a long recording history in Brazil, having already recorded the Villa-Lobos symphonies. This new project builds significantly on this recorded legacy, and is to eventually include 30 albums featuring 100 orchestral works from the 19th and 20th centuries by composers such as César Guerra-Peixe, Alberto Nepomuceno, Cláudio Santoro, Bïa Krieger, Antônio Carlo Gomes, Leopoldo Miguez, Marcus Siqueira, Camargo Guarnieri, and many others. It will also include the songs and concertos of Villa-Lobos. The music will be performed by the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra, the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.

The first release focuses on the music of Alberto Nepomuceno, one of the first composers in his country to employ elements of folklore in his composition. Performed by the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra led by music director and principal conductor Fabio Mechetti, the album includes Nepomuceno's Prelude to O Garatuja; Série Brasileira; and his Symphony in G Minor.

In announcing this project, Naxos founder Klaus Heymann commented: "This new 30-album project, "The Music of Brazil," introduces the general public to a wide range of often unknown composers and orchestral works. The project is a continuation of my longstanding interest in the classical music of Brazil.

--Paula Mlyn, A440 Arts

Will Crutchfield's Teatro Nuovo Announces Its Second Annual Bel Canto Season
Teatro Nuovo, the cutting-edge Bel Canto ensemble launched last summer by Will Crutchfield, is pleased to announce its 2019 summer season, with performances in The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, and The Church of the Heavenly Rest on Manhattan's Upper East Side, NYC.

The ensemble will present semi-staged productions of Bellini's La Straniera (July 13 at The PAC; July 17 at Rose) and Rossini's La Gazza Ladra (July 14 at The PAC; July 18 at Rose). These will be preceded by a June 27 pairing of Rossini's Stabat Mater with a first New York hearing of Donizetti's Symphony in E Minor at Heavenly Rest (1085 Fifth Avenue). Additional chamber-music events are to be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Meany Center's Creative Fellowships Initiative Announces Full Roster
The University of Washington has announced the complete roster of artists who have been selected as Creative Research Fellows as part of its first three-year Creative Fellowships Initiative. Funded by a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the interdisciplinary initiative will advance the field of performing arts by supporting artists in the development of new works and by integrating the performing arts disciplines into a broader context--academically, artistically, and socially.

"Research is absolutely imperative in the arts, as it is in the sciences," says Catherine Cole, Divisional Dean for the Arts. "The Mellon Creative Fellowships Initiative is an exceptional opportunity for the University of Washington to create and hold space for the kind of interdisciplinary, open-ended arts research, which is the lifeblood not only of arts advancement, but that also has the potential to have unique implications in the scope of a major research institution like UW."

The Initiative, a partnership between the Department of Dance, Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXArts), the Schools of Music and Drama, and spearheaded by Meany Center for the Performing Arts, supports exploration by guest artists in the fields of dance, theater and music through one- to three-year residencies, which incorporate a multitude of commissions, collaborations and performances.

For more information, visit

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Paul Barnes Premieres Bond, Performs Liszt, Glass
Pianist and chanter Paul Barnes brings "Love, Death, and Resurrection in the Musical Vision of Philip Glass, Victoria Bond, Franz Liszt, and Orthodox Chant," along with a premiere commission by Victoria Bond, to Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m., presented by the Music Institute of Chicago.

During the summer of 2017, Barnes lost many close friends to cancer. One of the ways he processed his grief was developing this powerful musical meditation exploring love and death. Beginning with the story of Orpheus, the program connects the music of Glass, Liszt, Bond, and byzantine chant. Glass and Bond have written multiple pieces for him in the past, many based on byzantine chant. He has also specialized in Liszt, particularly in terms of religious symbolism in his piano music.

Admission is $50 for VIP seating, $40 for adults, $25 for senior citizens, and $15 for students.
Tickets are available at or by calling 800.838.3006. For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

GALA 2019 to Reveal New Commission from Artist Doug Aitken
The Los Angeles Master Chorale--the country's preeminent professional choir and choir-in-residence at Walt Disney Concert Hall--will reveal a new collaboration with acclaimed artist and filmmaker Doug Aitken at GALA 2019 on Saturday, March 23. The Gala will be held at the Marciano Art Foundation at 4357 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA from 5:30PM - 10PM, providing guests with a rare opportunity to enjoy exclusive evening access to the contemporary art gallery's collection and exhibitions in addition to a special preview performance of the commission from Doug Aitken performed by the Master Chorale conducted by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director.

Aitken will be honored at the black tie event for his visionary work across multiple genres and media alongside fellow honoree, prominent California philanthropist Lillian Lovelace, who will be celebrated for her extraordinary support of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

For more information, visit

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

Nashville Symphony Announces 2019/20 Season
The Nashville Symphony has announced the lineup for its 2019/20 season, which kicks off in September and features an extensive variety of classical, pops, jazz and family concerts, including top-flight guest artists, film favorites with live orchestral accompaniment, unique speaker events and much more. At the heart of this concert programming, Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero will lead the orchestra in its flagship Classical Series, which includes everything from masterworks by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Berlioz, and Beethoven to boundary-pushing contemporary American works.

For a full listing of the Nashville Symphony's 2019/20 lineup, visit

Season ticket packages are now available for all 2019/20 concerts and may be purchased at, by phone at 615.687.6400, or in person at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office. Season ticket holders enjoy a long list of benefits, including priority seating, bonus tickets, free unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking and much more.

--Rebecca Davis Public Relations

Chicago's Bach Week Festival Announces 2019 Season April 26-May 3
The Chicago area's Bach Week Festival has announced its 46th annual concert programs, with performances in Evanston, Illinois, and Chicago April 26 to May 3, 2019, featuring several Johann Sebastian Bach works never before heard at the festival; the return of pianist Sergei Babayan, praised by The New York Times for his "consummate technique and insight"; and a first-time collaboration with gifted pre-college musicians of the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago.

J. S. Bach works to be performed for the first time at Bach Week include the Prelude and Fugue in B Minor, BWV 544; celebratory wedding cantata "O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit," BWV 210; and church cantata "Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens," BWV 148, according to Richard Webster, Bach Week's long-time music director and conductor. Webster performed in and helped organize Evanston's inaugural Bach Week in 1974 and has been music director since 1975.

Other new programming twists, Webster says, include opening the festival with Spanish Baroque composer Antonio Soler's fiery Fandango for harpsichord and including in the festival lineup, for variety and contrast, a concerto for woodwinds, brass, and strings by Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi and a well-known instrumental suite for recorder and strings by Bach's German contemporary and rival, Georg Phillip Telemann.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone, (800) 838-3006. For general festival information, phone 847-269-9050 or email

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. 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