Classical Music News of the Week, June 15, 2019

Scott Yoo to Host New Television Program, "Now Hear This"

Festival Mozaic is proud to share the news that music director Scott Yoo is set to host a new television program on PBS titled "Now Hear This," slated to air this fall on PBS.

"Now Hear This" will be the first classical music series on U.S. prime time television in nearly 50 years. Through travel, adventure, humor and surprising performances, "Now Hear This" aims to build a new generation of classical enthusiasts, while giving existing fans new ways to love their music.

The series is projected to reach 35 million viewers in Season 1 through PBS, international public TV, free online streaming, and a companion public radio show. The show is hosted by Festival Mozaic's own Scott Yoo, also Chief Conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic and one of the world's leading violinists, and created by Emmy-winning producer, writer and director Harry Lynch.

Season 1 of "Now Hear This" will air as part of PBS's Great Performances series on Fridays in September 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

For an informative video, visit

--Festival Mozaic

Documentary on Choral Music Conductor Robert Shaw on PBS
American Masters presents the story of one of the greatest choral music conductors, Robert Shaw – Man of Many Voices, premiering nationwide Friday, June 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

Narrated by David Hyde Pierce, the documentary traces the journey of the self-taught choral conductor who became known as the "dean of American choral singing."

Shaw sold millions of recordings and received 16 Grammy Awards, a George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America, a Guggenheim fellowship and a National Medal of the Arts.

The documentary follows his unlikely career trajectory, from his early days working with band leader Fred Waring, to his advocacy for integrated ensembles and audiences during the civil rights movement, to his decades-long tenure at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

--Ava Tews, WNET

Frogs, Crickets, Forests, and Seasons
Throughout the centuries, composers have been fascinated by the deep-rooted relationship between Nature and Music. Music can imitate the sounds of nature, and the voices of nature have played a prominent role in music that we love, from madrigals to Mahler.

American Bach Soloist's 10th Annual Festival and Academy opens with a concert all about the magical sounds of Nature as transformed into musical works by Telemann, Vivaldi, and Geminiani.

The headliner of the program is Vivaldi's inimitable and irresistible set of four violin concertos known as "The Four Seasons," with additional music by Telemann, Vivaldi, and Geminiani.

Hear these extraordinary works on the Opening Day of the ABS Festival, Sunday, July 28, 2019, 4:00 p.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA.

For complete information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

The 21st Edition of La Fête de la Musique de Tremblant
The 21st edition of la Fête de la Musique de Tremblant: a family-friendly event not to be missed!
Jean-Pierre Ferland will be the special guest of Angèle Dubeau.

For its 21st edition, La Fête de la Musique de Tremblant is honoured to announce that Jean-Pierre Ferland, a Canadian music legend, will be Angèle Dubeau's special guest at the Angèle Dubeau & Friends concert. An evening of music, poetry and love, which promises to be a majestic!

Angèle Dubeau, founder and artistic director of the event, invites all music lovers to join her in the magnificent setting of Tremblant, during the Labor Day weekend from August 30th to September 2nd, for the opportunity to attend more than thirty free concerts by renowned Canadian musicians.

The family-oriented event, attended each year by tens of thousands of music lovers, will propose this year a musical trip around the world. The complete music programming of La Fête de la Musique de Tremblant will be announced on August 14.

For more advance information, visit

--France Gaignard

2019 Midsummer Mozart Festival, July 11-15
Dedicated to fresh interpretations of the composer's most enduring masterworks, the 2019 Midsummer Mozart Festival includes an opening night piano recital featuring local pianists Daniel Glover and Thomas Hansen (July 11 in Berkeley, CA); an evening of words, wine and music featuring anecdotes from Marrying Mozart author Stephanie Cowell, arias sung by soprano Christina Major and string quartets performed by the Midsummer Mozart Festival Chamber Players (July 12 in San Francisco, CA); and three orchestral performances with guest artist soprano Christina Major performing "Exsultate Jubilate," K. 165 and selected arias from Idomeneo and Don Giovanni (July 13 in San Jose, CA; July 14 in Sonoma, CA; and July 15  in Cazadero, CA).

For details, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

West Edge Opera Announces $19 Tickets for Their Upcoming Festival
West Edge Opera is offering $19 tickets for all performances in their upcoming summer festival, including the highly anticipated San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's adaptation of the Lars von Trier film Breaking the Waves. True to our East Bay roots, we have long been committed to presenting world class opera in unconventional locations and to an often overlooked audience. By offering tickets at only $19, we hope to erase any barrier that would keep patrons from experiencing the drama and intensity of fully produced opera.

The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht opens the season with performances on Saturday, August 3 at 8:30 with repeat performances on Sunday, August 11 at 3:00 and Thursday, August 15 at 8:30.

Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo & Euridice opens Sunday, August 4 at 3:00 with repeat performances Friday, August 9 at 8:30 and Saturday, August 17 at 8:30.

The final opera of our festival will be the West Coast Premiere of Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek with performances on Saturday, August 10 at 8:30, Friday, August 16 at 8:30 and Sunday, August 18 at 3:00.

3-Opera series tickets are priced from $129 to $339. Series ticket holders enjoy priority seating and a discount as well as easy exchanges. Single tickets are priced at $19-$125. All tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (510) 841-1903 (with the exception of the $19 Bronze tickets, which can only be purchased online.)

All performances are at The Bridge Yard: 210 Burma Road, Oakland, CA.

Information and tickets at

--West Edge Opera

Free Outdoor Concerts at the Foot of Mount Royal
Free outdoor concerts at the foot of Mount Royal. The mountain goes vintage on five summer Thursdays.

In the tradition of popular summer concerts in public parks at the beginning of the 20th century, Harmonie Laval and various ensembles will offer five free performances at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, July 4, 11 and 18 and August 1 and 8.

Music lovers will be transported back to a time when people gathered to hear beautiful music under the summer sky. The concerts will be held at the Mordecai Richler gazebo on Park Avenue, a stone's throw from the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier monument, rain or shine (unless there is a storm). No reservation required. Just bring your chair.

Please note that three of the performances (July 11, 18 and August 1) will bring together professional and amateur or student musicians. The pros will act as coaches to enrich the experience for the others.

July 4 - Big Band Intersection
Come and discover this jazz band created in Laval in 2005. The Beatles' music will take the spotlight under the direction of Louis Lemay.

July 11 - The sound of the flute
A unique opportunity to hear a flute ensemble made up of professional, amateur and student musicians from Laval and the surrounding area. They'll present a captivating program that will charm everyone.

July 18 – Spotlight on brass
A double program with the amateur brass quintet La musique civique de Montréal and an up-and-coming ensemble. Music for all tastes—Hockey Night in Canada, military tunes, and more!

August 1 – Saxophone soirée
The Ensemble de Saxophones de Montréal brings together 10 saxophonists, most of whom are both musicians and teachers. Four members of the group will perform with amateur and student saxophonists presenting a program of eclectic music for all tastes.

August 8 - Harmonie Laval, conducted by Catherine Parr
To end the concert series, Harmonie Laval will perform works from film and popular music.

--France Gaignard

Daily Schedule Announced for Bang on a Can's new festival LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA
Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA announce the daily schedule today for a new, three-day music festival, LOUD Weekend, presented for the first time from Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4, 2019, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, located in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts (1040 MASS MoCA Way). Over the three-day period, more than 30 concerts will take place in the museum's vast galleries and throughout its stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues.

LOUD Weekend is an expansion of Bang on a Can's long-running Bang on a Can Marathon, tripling that inclusive and ambitious programming from one day, to three days. Of the new project, Bang on a Can co-founders and artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe say:
"12 hours is not enough!  We are revving up the Marathon format so you can feel the full range of revolutionary curiosity in the music world today. We call it LOUD Weekend."

Festival Passes include museum addition to MASS MoCA's 250,000 sq. ft. of art, including installations by Annie Lennox, a major survey of Cauleen Smith, and the largest-ever exhibition of Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, in addition to virtual reality experiences by Laurie Anderson, nine immersive installations by James Turrell, two large galleries filled with the handmade instruments of musicologist Gunnar Schonbeck, and more. Performances will take place throughout the museum grounds in venues including the Hunter Center, Club B10, Building 6 Event Space, Wardwell Gallery, The Chalet, Building 5 Gallery, and more.

Gallery admission is $20 for adults, $18 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation's Anselm Kiefer exhibition will re-open on May 25. For additional information: 413.662.2111 x1 or visit

Bang on a Can LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, Massachusetts.

General Admission 3-Day Pass $70; Preferred 3-Day Pass $95
Available at 413.662.2111 or
Information on Accommodations:

More information:

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Academy Alumni Take Top Prizes in Int'l Competition
Two alumni of the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players have placed first and second in the prestigious and widely respected 10th International Violin Competition Leopold Mozart in Augsburg, Germany.

Joshua Brown, who moved to Gurnee, Ill. from Washington DC to study with Academy faculty Almita and Roland Vamos for five years, earned first prize; he also won the Kronberg Academy's Special Prize, which provides a scholarship for active participation in a master class at the Academy, and Prize by Jury Chairman Benjamin Schmid, which includes a personal invitation from Schmid to perform at the International Chamber Music Festival Kempten 2019.

Karisa Chiu, from Palatine, Ill., took second prize. While at the Academy, she studied with Almita Vamos for five years. She has won top prizes at numerous other national and international competitions, including the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, the Stulberg String Competition, the Cooper International Competition, and the Walgreens National Concerto Competition.

For more information, visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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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