Classical Music News of the Week, June 22, 2019

Resonant Bodies Festival Kicks off NYC Concert Season

"In equal measures intelligent, playful, ambitious and moving, the program illuminated the shape-shifting power of the human voice." That intoxicating New York Times review of the inaugural Resonant Bodies Festival in 2013 marked its arrival as an immediately valuable contributor to the city's music scene. The festival has since evolved into something akin to New York Fashion Week for the new music set, offering a chance for buck-the-trendsetters to experience the high-energy epicenter of experimental vocal music.

The flagship festival returns to Roulette this September 3-5, kicking off the concert season with three fast-paced nights of vocal luminaries and artistic renegades converging in the best "see and be seen" creative energy New York has to offer.

"We bring together people who light each other up," said festival founder Lucy Dhegrae. "The palpable camaraderie among the nine featured artists – many of whom have never met – creates an incredible energy, and that transfers to the audience. The level of artistry, the distinctive projects, the flow between pools of sound – audiences can expect an unforgettable concert experience, unlike anything else in the world."

For complete information, visit

--Beth Stewart, Verismo Communications

Support YPC and Double Your Impact Today!
Young People's Chorus of New York City reaches 2,000 children every year and we continue to grow. We are thankful to have such a strong network of choristers, alumni, families, friends, and supporters who are part of our YPC family. Your contributions give them the essential support they need every step along the way -- from chorister to college student!

Please help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 to support YPC's Scholarship Fund! All gifts made between now and June 30th will be DOUBLED by a matching grant.

Join our Text-to-Donate campaign by texting the code "YPC19" to 443-21.

Or donate here:

--Young People's Chorus of NYC

Bach Festival & Academy: Treasures from Lyon
Friday August 2 2019 8:00 p.m.: Pergolesi and Handel in France.
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA.

Three hundred miles to the south of Paris lay France's second largest city, Lyon. It had a thriving concert society, founded in 1713, with a beautiful concert hall designed by a famous royal architect.

Our Festival program titled "Treasures from Lyon" will present musical works from Italy and England that were found in the important library of the Concert de Lyon, a rival to the Concert Spirituel series that was flourishing in Paris at the same time.

For tickets and information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Upcoming at the Miami Classical Music Festival
The Magic Flute
June 27 & July 25 | 7:30 p.m.
June 30 & July 28 | 1:00 p.m.
Temple Emanu-El Synagogue

Join us as we present this iconic work in Miami Beach's Historic Temple Emanu-El. Our mission is to find new ways of presenting opera in non traditional spaces, bringing performances directly to the public. This production is created specifically for young children. Families are invited to participate in free supplementary activities for children. Allow your children to experience opera and live theater in a family-friendly setting.

For tickets and information, visit

The Marriage of Figaro
June 28, 29 | 7:30 p.m.
July 26, 27 | 7:30 p.m.
Miami Beach Senior High

One of Mozart's most beloved works gets a classic retelling, bringing to Miami the music and characters that have captured the hearts of opera lovers the world over. Servants Figaro and his promised Susanna prepare for their upcoming wedding, only to find that his employer the Count has impure intentions for her as well. The classes battle in a light-hearted comedy sung in Italian by the MMF Opera Institute, which features some of Mozart's most beautiful melodies ever written.

For tickets and information, visit

--Miami Music Festival

Orion Announces 2019-20 Season of Discoveries
Orion offers a "Season of Discoveries" in 2019-20. Guest musicians, classical mixed with contemporary, new Aurora venue plus downtown Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.

The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, announces its 27th season, featuring chamber works from the 18th, 19th 20th and 21st centuries; respected guest artists, including violinist/violist Stephen Boe on all four concerts, marimbist Josh Graham and violinist Mathias Tacke; and the widely praised musicianship of its core members: clarinetist Kathryne Pirtle, violinist Florentina Ramniceanu, pianist Diana Schmück and cellist Judy Stone.

Orion performs each concert program at venues spanning the Chicago area, including the PianoForte Studios in downtown Chicago, the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and, new this season, New England Congregational Church in Aurora.

For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Berkeley Symphony Announces 2019-2020 Season
Music Director Joseph Young and Berkeley Symphony announced today its 2019-2020 season including four Symphonic Series subscription concerts and five Chamber Series subscription concerts.

Recently appointed as the orchestra's new Music Director, Maestro Young will lead a season that includes world premieres by Chinese composer Xi Wang and Los Angeles-based composer Derrick Spiva Jr.; the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Bryce Dessner's Voy a Dormir featuring the return of mezzo soprano Kelley O'Connor; the Bay Area premiere of Mary Kouyoumdjian's Become Who I Am in collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus; a debut appearance by trumpeter Sean Jones in two Bay Area premieres including Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Trumpet Concerto and Gunther Schuller's Journey into Jazz with the Berkeley High Jazz Combo; a rare performance of Shango Memory by former UC Berkeley professor and ground-breaking composer Olly Wilson; and the return of pianist Conrad Tao performing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major. And much more.

Berkeley Symphony opens the 2019-2020 season on Thursday, October 24, 2019. For complete information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

Leslie Howard signs to JIMC
Not many pianists can boast a discography of more than 130 recordings;indeed, probably no pianist can, aside from Leslie Howard. And he is far from just any pianist. Best-known for his peerless knowledge and skill in the music of Franz Liszt, his 100-CD collection of Liszt's piano music for the Hyperion label is generally considered to be one of the most momentous and consequential recording projects since the invention of the gramophone ("This box, from the hands of a master, is without question the main event of Liszt's centenary year" - The Independent). It also won him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Yet there is far more to Leslie Howard than Liszt, staggering and famous though his achievements there are, as his concerts and recordings (almost all for Hyperion) of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and others show. He is also greatly in demand internationally for his masterclasses, alongside his recitals, and serves on the juries of many prestigious competitions. BBC Music Magazine has called him "the finest living exponent of Liszt", the New York Times noted "some of the most exciting pianism of the season," while the New York Sun stated admiringly, "Leslie Howard sometimes seems more myth than man"!

James Inverne Music Consultancy is assume to become general management for Leslie Howard. James Inverne says, "From my days as the Editor of Gramophone I was aware of Leslie's reputation as Liszt's representative on Earth, and his consummate talent reaches into the music of many schools, many composers. It is a delight to work with him, and to bring him to even more audiences around the world."

Leslie Howard said, "It is a pleasure to be associated with James and his colleagues. He has some exciting plans and I look forward to being part of them, to my upcoming performances and to more exciting adventures with my dear label, Hyperion."

Watch Leslie Howard play Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 here:

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Alain Lefèvre To Unveil New Compositions for the Benefit of Les Foyers de la Création
The acclaimed pianist Alain Lefèvre will unveil his new compositions at a concert for the benefit of Les Foyers de la Création. This event will be held under the honorary chairmanship of Isabelle Brais, First Lady of Quebec. The event will take place on Saturday, September 28 at 7:30 pm at Saint-Pierre Claver Church (2000 Saint-Joseph Boulevard East, Montreal, Canada).

Les Foyers de la Création is a permanent shelter and respite center working with adults with autism and intellectual disabilities. Since its founding in 2012, it has helped more than 200 people and families by offering both a residential service and a day center.

During this very special evening, Alain Lefèvre will present new pieces from his next album of compositions entitled OPUS 7, to be released on the Warner Classics label. To purchase tickets and attend this unique event, call 514-903-9761, ext. 104. Online ticket purchase is also available at

--France Gaignard

Renowned Composer Rob Simonsen Signs to Sony Music Masterworks
With an impressive resume of film scores under his belt while having created a living legacy in the Los Angeles "new music" world via The Echo Society, composer Rob Simonsen launches a new chapter in his already successful career by signing to Sony Music Masterworks as a recording artist, with his label debut album set for a Fall 2019 release. To celebrate his signing, he's shared a new video from Spectre that he self-directed, featuring some unforgettable imagery that begins to frame up his thought-provoking modern compositions amongst a living and breathing natural aesthetic -- watch here:

"Spectre is about mystery, melancholy and wonder, " Rob describes. "The feeling of awakening from a dream, or waking into a dream. It was created entirely in Studios Les Saint Germain in Paris, France, with my co-producers Raphael Hamburger and Stan Neff. I wanted to use the colors of brass, cellos, choir, an ondes martenot, and piano. We brought in brilliant players who gave it great life and vibe. It is the first installment of a trilogy of music videos I directed, which starts with the awakening of a being and the journey they embark on."

Having learned to play the piano at a young age and with an educational background in jazz, electronic and traditional orchestral music, Simonsen has lent his scoring talents to a wide range of film projects.  Since the early 2000s, he's worked on an expansive list of film soundtracks, among them The Front Runner, Love, Simon, Nerve, Foxcatcher, The Way, Way Back, and The Spectacular Now.  He also provided additional music with his mentor Mychael Danna for scores such as Moneyball and Ang Lee's Life of Pi.

For more information about Rob Simonsen, visit

--George Corona

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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