Classical Music News of the Week, July 13, 2019

Concerts at Saint Thomas Announces its 2019-2020 Season

Concerts at Saint Thomas announces its 2019-2020 season, which will celebrate the start of Jeremy Filsell's tenure as the new Organist and Director of Music, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Saint Thomas Choir School.

The season will begin with Filsell performing the first of five Grand Organ Series concerts on September 27, with a program reflecting the Saint Thomas legacy he inherits while highlighting some of the French twentieth-century virtuoso repertoire for which he has become best known. The Grand Organ Series will continue on October 19 with a performance by Christophe Mantoux, the current organist at the Church of Saint-Séverin in Paris.

Concerts continue from Sept. 27 to May 7. For complete listings, visit

All concerts take place at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue at One West 53rd Street, New York City.

Tickets may be purchased at, by calling the Concerts Office at (212) 664-9360, by email at or in person at the Concerts Office at One West 53rd Street at Fifth Avenue (enter through the Parish House).

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

American Bach Soloists: "Les Goûts Réunis"
In the 18th century, both Italy and France had their own unique ways of composing and performing music. It became a widely held opinion that the unification of these two styles would amount to no less than the perfection of music. François Couperin's two musical apotheoses, intended to deify the leading exponents of each of these opposing styles, frame a program that draws attention to this "perfection" through the music of composers from both sides of what was a passionate discourse.

Goût, or "taste," was a matter of great social, and sometimes political, import in 18th-century France. A preference for the quintessentially French music of Couperin, for example, marked one as a supporter of Bourbon King Louis XV, whereas the proponents of Italian opera (which was barred from the stage of the Paris Opéra for almost a century) were often loyal to the rival House of Orléans. A number of this year's Festival events will focus on the ways that the factions sometimes met in the middle: the goûts-réunis ("blended taste"). Hear the sonorous results of two national styles and tastes being joined together!

Saturday August 3 2019 7:00 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA.

For complete information, visit

--American Bach Soloists

Opera Maine Presents a New Production of The Magic Flute
To celebrate its 25th Anniversary–-and the magic of opera–-Opera Maine presents its first-ever production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The magnificent music and captivating story create a fantasy world, where a prince and a bird catcher set out on a trial-filled journey to rescue a beautiful princess. Armed with a magic flute and enchanted bells, they confront bewildering forces of good and evil and discover enlightenment and the power of love. The twisting tale has enthralled young and old alike since the opera's premiere in 1791, less than three months before Mozart's death.

Opera Maine's production of The Magic Flute will be presented at Merrill Auditorium on Wednesday, Portland, Maine, July 24 and Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. The opera will be sung in German, with English dialogue and supertitles.

Tickets: $31 – $131 (includes service fees): (207) 842-0800 or

--Kristen Levesque PR

SF Choral Society Presents David Lang World Premiere Commission
The San Francisco Choral Society continues its 30th anniversary season with a semi-staged version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and the world premiere of teach your children by David Lang, a new choral work commissioned by the organization in celebration of its milestone year.

Led by Artistic Director Robert Geary, the program will be presented twice at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, August 17, 2019, at 8 p.m. and features a selection of guest artists and ensembles including soprano Marnie Breckenridge, tenor J. Raymond Meyers, bass baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, California Chamber Symphony and the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir.

--Brenden Guy PR

New York's Concerts at St. Ignatius Announces 2019-20 Season
Formerly known as Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the series based at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola marks its 31st season with choral works by Verdi and Rossini and special guests including the Tallis Scholars, Paul Jacobs, and Amjad Ali Khan.

For three decades, the magnificent Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (980 Park Avenue) has presented choral masterworks, recitals on its N.P. Mander Organ, and guest artists from around the world on the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series. The newly-rechristened series Concerts at St. Ignatius continues the legacy of excellence of both its own choir and orchestra led by Artistic Director K. Scott Warren, as well as in the exemplary roster of guest artists performing during this 31st season.

On its Choral Classics series, Concerts at St. Ignatius celebrates and explores the deep friendship and musical relationship between two pillars of Italian classical music: Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi, through three concerts highlighting its own Choir and Orchestra under the direction of K. Scott Warren.

For complete season information, tickets, and additional info on Concerts at St. Ignatius, call 212-288-2520 or visit

--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet

Frank Winkler Guest-Conducts Music Institute Chorale
Music Institue faculty Frank Winkler conducts Music Institute Chorale July 24, and looks back on a rewarding career.

Recently retired piano and conducting faculty member Frank Winkler has performed and taught a wide range of musical styles, from the classic to the contemporary, but he has found the people, from professional musicians to teaching colleagues to students of all ages, the most rewarding aspect of his career.

"The best thing about my conducting and performing experiences has been the interaction with the musicians," he said. "I may have been standing in front of them when I was conducting, but I also learned from them, and it was exciting to share the repertoire with them. As for my students, I benefited as much from their contributions as they did from mine."

Winkler spent 20 years at the Music Institute teaching piano and conducting. At various times during his tenure, he led as many as nine adult and student ensembles, including the Philharmonic and Honors Chamber Orchestra for youth and Community Symphony and Quartet Strings for adults. He has conducted the Grant Park Symphony and the Orchestra of Illinois and made a cameo appearance as the orchestra conductor in the movie Home Alone II. He is the founder of the Symphonic Pops Orchestra of Chicago, which performed in Taiwan under his direction in 2000. For 20 years he was the director of the Harper Symphony Orchestra. Formerly a member of the Grant Park Symphony Chorus and the Chicago Symphony Chorus, he has been director of the Elgin Choral Union and numerous church and community choruses. He has performed as pianist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Royal English and Bolshoi Ballets, and in a series of jazz concerts in Bombay, India.

Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. Participation is $10. Audiences pay $10 at the door. An optional free rehearsal for participants takes place Tuesday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall. Call 847-905-1500 with questions or to reserve a copy of the score. Information about Chorale auditions and more is available at

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

49th Annual Summer Festival Is Just Weeks Away
Festival Mozaic is just two weeks away!

Join us for our 49th annual summer festival, Music of the Old World, July 24 - August 4, featuring 30 events in 19 different venues in beautiful San Luis Obispo County, California.

For complete information, visit

--Festival Mosaic

ROCO Announces ROCO Resound - a New Commissioning Consortium
In celebration of their 15th anniversary season, ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra) has announced a new commissioning consortium known as ROCO Resound. The consortium, which supports ROCO's commissions, offers the opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together to invest in and contribute to the creation of new music.

Through membership in ROCO Resound, contributors will have the opportunity to interact with diverse, living composers, and to have their names printed on each commissioned score and musicians' parts, in honor of the impact of their gift.

ROCO has commissioned and performed the world premiere of nearly 80 new works since its formation, making it the 3rd highest commissioner of new music in the United States. By the end of its 15th Anniversary Season, ROCO will have performed 100 world premiere commissions.

Membership in the consortium is open to the public worldwide. Additional information on ROCO Resound can be found on their website:

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Tennessee Kick-Off for National Choral Organization
This past spring, Francisco J. Núñez, artistic director and founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), announced the newest milestone in the chorus's renowned 30-year history:  the formation of  YPC National, Inc. an independent non-profit organization to support and inspire youth choruses across the country with a program of artistic excellence, diversity, and education modeled on YPC. 

The first activities of YPC National take place this month in Cleveland, Tennessee at Lee University, where YPC choristers will be joined by young singers from New Jersey, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Georgia for YPC National Lab workshops and rehearsals in preparation for their debut as Concinamus, the YPC National choral ensemble comprising the combined choristers. 
Concinamus will give two free concerts:  on July 25 in Cleveland and on July 26 in Murfreesboro, where Concinamus is the invited guest of the Tennessee American Choral Directors Association conference.

Find more information at

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet stands apart in the history of string quartets with over four decades of an unparalleled list of achievements: more than thirty acclaimed recordings, nine Grammys (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, Musical America's "Ensemble of the Year," and collaborations with many of the greatest artists of our time. With a repertoire that spans three centuries of chamber music, the Emerson also looks towards the future by collaborating with today's most esteemed composers and premiering new works, thus proving their commitment to keeping the art form of the string quartet alive and more relevant than ever.

The coming season, beginning with a seven-city tour in Australia, reflects all aspects of the Emerson's venerable artistry with high-profile projects, collaborations and tours.

For complete information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

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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 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 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