Classical Music News of the Week, May 25, 2019

Three Works by Gordon Getty To Be Performed at Festival Napa Valley, July

Three works by American composer Gordon Getty will be performed in July 2019 at Festival Napa Valley, an annual 10-day event in California's Napa region attracting more than 12,000 guests.

The performances are as follows:
July 11, time and place to be announced - Kathy, a trio based on themes from Gordon Getty's new opera, Goodbye Mr. Chips, will be performed as part of the Festival Live! chamber music series. Kathy is a short, three-movement piece written in a classical style for piano, violin and cello, named for a character in the opera who plays the cello.  The second movement was taken directly from Goodbye Mr. Chips; the first and third were written to accompany it. The trio was given its premiere on March 12, 2019 by members of the Chamber Orchestra of Havana at the Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, Cuba.

July 17, 6:30 p.m., Castello di Amorosa courtyard - Getty's The Fiddler of Ballykeel, for string orchestra and violin, will be performed by British violinist Charlie Siem with the Blackburn Music Academy Orchestra conducted by Joel Revzen.  This is the first of Getty's Four Traditional Pieces. About this work, Gordon Getty writes: "Fiddler is a strictly diatonic piece throughout. Since the tunes seemed Irish when they occurred to me, I harmonized them mostly in fourths and fifths. Then I needed a title. My own patronymic ancestors appear to have come from a suburb of Belfast called Ballymoney. Since The Fiddler of Ballymoney by Getty might raise unintended nuances, I moved my ancestors a few miles away to Ballykeel."

July 20, 5:30 p.m., Lincoln Theater - Getty's choral work The Old Man in the Night will be performed as part of "Song to the Moon," a concert commemorating, to the day, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The Festival Orchestra NAPA will be conducted by Joel Revzen. (The program will also include Gustav Holst's The Planets, Antonin Dvorak's aria "Song to the Moon" with Canadian soprano Andriana Chuchman, and the opening of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra.)

Festival ticket information can be found by contacting boxoffice@festivalnapavalley.org, 1-888-337-6272, or by visiting https://festivalnapavalley.org/events-calendar-summer/?categoryid=F4C67ABD-C383-7BEB-8C86980C870D79CB.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

10th Annual ABS Summer Festival, July 28-August 11
In its 10th season, our Summer Festival & Academy now includes an additional weekend of performances and more free public events to bring you closer to the excitement that surrounds our annual Academy along with stunning programs of absolutely sensational musical works and ventures into new and imaginative territory. New this summer: a "Coffee House Concert" featuring our amazing Academy musicians and "Bach Explorations" including "Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond!"

Of course, the focus on major works from the Baroque is still at the core of our Summer Festival. All-time favorites including Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach's Mass in B Minor will be presented with Handel's Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate and Terpsicore, Lotti's "Mass for Three Choirs," Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (in an important newly researched version), Geminiani's imaginative and picturesque Enchanted Forest, and endearing concertos about frogs and crickets by Telemann.

For the full festival schedule, visit https://americanbach.org/sfbachfestival/schedule.html

--American Bach Soloists

SOLI's Spectacular 25th Anniversary Season Finale
"The Clearing in the Forest": A New Theater of Music about displacement, refuge, and home by American composer Scott Ordway. Sunday, June 2 @ 3:00 PM, Leeper Auditorium, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

Ordway, whose multidisciplinary work has been called "exquisite" by The New York Times and "a marvel" by The Philadelphia Inquirer, will join forces with Boston-based scenic designer Erica Eliot to create a work that blends chamber music, experimental theater, and visual art installation. The 90-minute piece explores themes of displacement, immigration, refuge, and home through the distinctive medium of staged chamber music.

$25 "Suggested Donation" at the Door

For ticket information, visit https://ordway.brownpapertickets.com/
For more information, visit http://www.solichamberensemble.com/#!thhe-clearing-the-forest/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

International Contemporary Ensemble Announces New ICEcommons Composer Residency
The International Contemporary Ensemble announces six composers chosen to be the first ICEcommons Artists-in-Residence: Helga Arias, Kate Gentile, Murat Çolak, Ylva Lund Bergner, Fernanda Navarro, and Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir. Represented by a diversity of backgrounds and musical styles, the cohort was selected by a panel of ICE musicians and outside experts who, over the course of six weeks, became familiar with more than 700 composers who submitted their creative work for consideration via a new "call for scores" on the ICEcommons web portal.

ICEcommons Artists-in-Residence will receive a paid commission, collaborative workshop opportunities, promotional support, and world premiere and repeat performances, as well as video and audio documentation throughout the entire creative process. The residency will include the support of ensemble musicians, rehearsal time, video and audio documentation, marketing support, and a paid commission all alongside performances of their pieces. Instead of creating a single concert with all six work, instead each work will be integrated into the Esnemble's concert season. The residency program is a continuation of ICE's 2010-2014 ICElab program, which developed new works with exciting emerging composers such as Tyshawn Sorey, Suzanne Farrin, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and giving promising talent a platform.

Read more at www.iceorg.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Box Office Is Open for YPC's Spring Concert
Join Young People's Chorus of New York City for the annual Spring Celebration! In this special performance, 425 outstanding singers and a dynamic orchestra featuring a diverse and vibrant repertoire from around the globe is led by Artistic Director and Founder Francisco Núñez along with Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, Conductors Sophia Papoulis, Maria Peña, and Sonny Willis, and Choreographer Jacquie Bird. Bring your friends and family for an evening of powerful music and dance that will inspire, ignite, and thrill your mind.

The box office is now open for YPC's spring celebration. June 1, 2019 at the United Palace at 7:30pm
Broadway at 176th Street, NYC.

For more information, visit https://www.unitedpalace.org/product/young-peoples-chorus-of-new-york-city/

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

Music Institute Academy Grads Excel
Seven Chicago-area student musicians enrolled in the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players have graduated from high school and are moving on to prestigious institutions to continue their education.

Music Institute of Chicago Academy alumni have gone on to prestigious careers, among them Matthew Lipman, a violist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Hannah Selonick, director of product development at artificial intelligence startup NexLP, who was just named one of Crain's Chicago Business's "20 In Their 20s"; Gabriel Cabezas, a cellist with the yMusic Ensemble, who also recently played backup for Paul Simon; and Leah Ferguson, a violist with the New York Philharmonic.

The Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago is a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players that provides a comprehensive music education for students who aspire to be professional musicians. Conveniently located just 30 minutes north of Chicago on the beautiful Ravinia Festival grounds, the Academy is a musical community of faculty, staff, and students who come together for an intensive 30-week program, September through May each Saturday. The program focuses on providing a comprehensive musical education that includes private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra experience, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard history and literature, improvisation, and keyboard skills in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the weekly master class when students perform for and observe acclaimed musicians and educators who share their knowledge. The Academy faculty, members of teaching faculties at some of the most prestigious conservatories and schools of music in the country, are a carefully assembled group with a passion for developing young talent and an established track record of student achievement. Academy students are national prize winners who matriculate to the nation's top conservatories and universities.

For more information, visit musicinst.org

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

An Enchanting Evening in Old Spain!
Celebrating the culture, dance, landscape, and music of Spain and the musicians who were inspired by that beautiful country, the 17th Annual ABS Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner begins with an exclusive concert featuring soprano Hélène Brunet, hailed by the critics as a "singer of tremendous quality" with "a voice of perfect beauty" and "sincere expression." Hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction—featuring travel, wine, art, concert tickets, and our much sought-after "ABS Exclusives"—are followed by a delicious dinner and live auction that will raise important funds to support American Bach Soloists.

17th Annual Gala Auction, Concert, and Dinner
September 28, 2019, 5 p.m.
James Leary Flood Mansion
2222 Broadway, San Francisco

Concert: 5 p.m.
Telemann: Burlesque de Quixotte
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in D Minor "La Folia"
Purcell: Incidental songs for The Comical History of Don Quixote

Hors d'oeuvres and Silent Auction: 6 p.m.
Dinner and Live Auction: 7:15 p.m.

For more information, visit americanbach.org

--American Bach Soloists

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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa