Classical Music News of the Week, August 10, 2019

Uzbek Pianist Behzod Abduraimov Delights Audiences and Critics Alike

The young Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov continues to delight audiences and critics alike, enjoying a growing chorus of acclaim rarely bestowed on a 28-year-old. He has justly been called "the most perfectly accomplished pianist of his generation" (The Independent, UK), and he will accomplish this season what many pianists fail to achieve over the course of a lifetime: two concerts at Carnegie Hall, both in the majestic Stern Auditorium. He has earned that privilege with performances that display immense musicality, phenomenal technique and breath-taking delicacy, exciting audiences in large halls and bringing a fresh perspective to each program. NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands was not engaging in hyperbole when they wrote, "Abduraimov can do anything,… His secret: authenticity, control and a velvet pianissimo."

For his first concert this season at Carnegie, in October, he joins the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Valery Gergiev, for Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #1 (a piece he recorded on Decca Classics with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai under Juraj Valcuha), and appears with them again two days later at NJ PAC in Newark. In December, Abduraimov returns to Carnegie Hall for a solo recital in Stern Auditorium with a program of music by Chopin, Debussy, and Mussorgsky.

In 2009, Abduraimov won First Prize at the London International Piano Competition, and his debut recital CD in 2012 won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason De´couverte. In 2018, his impressive debut at the BBC Proms with the Munich Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev was released as a DVD, and more recordings are due out this season.

In addition to having performed dozens of times with Valery Gergiev, Abduraimov performs regularly on the world's major concert stages as a recitalist and with premier orchestras, including Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl.

For complete information, visit

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

Following Israel Philharmonic Jump-in, Tom Borrow Signs to James Inverne Music
Being named "the very definition of a 'one to watch''' in a two-page International Piano magazine feature at the tender age of 18 might be considered a dramatic development. But fast-rising Israeli pianist Tom Borrow knows all about drama.

Earlier this year he received a dramatic phone call from the Israel Philharmonic; Khatia Buniatishvili was ill. Could he step in to play the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, in an entire subscription series of 12 concerts under the baton of Yoel Levi? The first concert was in 36 hours. Despite not having the concerto 'in his hands' at that moment, nor having performed with the IPO before, Tom of course accepted - his debut was a sensational success. Israel's main radio reviewer Yossi Schifmann opined, "Brilliant...outstanding...Tom Borrow is already a star and we will all surely hear more about him." Overnight Tom Borrow was the great young hope of Israeli pianists.

Tom Borrow says, "I already know how crucial it is to have good people, who care, around you. James was recommended to me very highly and we immediately struck up a great relationship, which is already yielding some great things - not least my London Philharmonic Orchestra debut next year. I am very excited to have James and his colleagues by my side for this journey."

Watch Tom Borrow play Ravel's Piano Concerto in G (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra / Yoel Levi) here:

For more, visit

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

West Edge Opera Announces Lineup for 2020 Festival
West Edge Opera is thrilled to announce its 2020 festival lineup, a provocative trio of works spanning 350 years of operatic thought. The festival will occur a week earlier than prior seasons, spanning July 25-August 9, 2020.

2020 will mark the return of celebrated bay area soprano Carrie Hennessey in Leoš Janácek's Kátya Kabanová, a passionate work inspired by the composer's unrequited love, late in life, for a much younger woman, Kamila Stösslová. Ms Hennessey was last seen with West Edge in Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair in 2014.

Representing contemporary opera will be Elizabeth Cree, from the pulitzer winning team of composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell. This darkly comic chamber opera follows the life of an orphaned, impoverished young girl as she finds notoriety.

Rounding out the festival will be Eliogabolo by early Baroque composer Francesco Cavalli. Composed in1667, banned in Cavalli's lifetime, and in fact never performed until 1999.

For complete information, visit

--West Edge Opera

Miller Theatre Announces the Fall 2019 Season
Pop-Up Concerts: A musical happy hour with the audience onstage.

Tuesday, September 10:
Stephen Gosling
Music of John Zorn

Tuesday, October 29:
Music of Jessica Meyer

Tuesday, November 26:
TAK Ensemble

Tuesday, December 10:
Bridget Kibbey

Free admission. Doors open at 5:30pm, music at 6:00pm at Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street, NYC).

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Nashville Symphony Welcomes Five Rising Composers
The Nashville Symphony has selected five promising young composers from across the country to participate in the third edition of its Composer Lab & Workshop, a unique initiative designed to discover and cultivate the next generation of great American composers.

The five composers – Jack Frerer, SiHyun Uhm, Brian Raphael Nabors, Niloufar Nourbakhsh and Jared Miller – will be in Nashville on September 3-5 to take part in the comprehensive program, led by Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. During their three-day visit to Nashville, each composer will showcase their music and gain firsthand insights into working with a major American orchestra.

The centerpiece of the program will be an open rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4, when the Nashville Symphony will perform works by all five Composer Lab & Workshop participants at Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Admission is free and open to the public, but a ticket is required for entry. Tickets are available at

--Rebecca Davis PR

Third Coast Baroque to Bask in Handel, Vivaldi, and Gallic Greats
Third Coast Baroque, Chicago's newest early music ensemble, has announced its 2019–2020 concert season, which will feature music of George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and French Baroque masters at performances in Chicago and suburbs.

This season, the flourishing arts organization increases its subscription concert series from two to three distinct programs. Under the artistic direction of Rubén Dubrovsky, "Chicago's most accomplished period instrumentalists and singers" (Chicago Tribune) will perform concerts spotlighting heroines of Handel cantatas, 18th-century instrumental masterworks by Francois Couperin and Jean-Marie Leclair, and arias from Antonio Vivaldi's opera Orlando furioso.

Concerts are 7:30pm Friday, September 6, 2019, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston; and 5:00pm Saturday, September 7, at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple 77 W Washington Street, Chicago, Il.

Audience members are invited to attend a post-concert discussion with Maestro Dubrovsky, the artists, and partners from local organizations that provide support for women.

Tickets can be purchased in advance ($10-50) online at or by calling 847-216-1859. Tickets may also be purchased at the door ($10-60). Season passes also are available ($56.25-$135). Special pricing is available for seniors (65+), students (with valid ID), and patrons under 35.

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

On the Road with YPC National
Early on the morning of Tuesday, July 16, forty Young People's Chorus of New York City singers, along with their Artistic Director/Founder Francisco J. Núñez, YPC conductors, and staff began a new chapter in the 30-year history of the award-winning chorus. Boarding a plane bound for the Dominican Republic, they were on their way to the first leg of the YPC National maiden tour, which over the next two weeks, would feature three inaugural concerts heralding the debut of Concinamus, the YPC National choral ensemble.

Sing with YPC:
Saturday, October 19 at Gerald W. Lynch Theater
Save the date for our second annual YPC Big Sing! Back by popular demand, Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, and special guests will lead the audience in a program of songs everyone knows and loves.

For complete information Young People's Chorus of NYC, visit

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

A Look Back on the Outstanding 42nd Edition of the Festival de Lanaudière
The 42nd season of the Festival de Lanaudière has just come to a close with a breathtaking weekend to crown this memorable edition. "We immediately felt the public's confidence in this first season entrusted to Renaud Loranger. This paves the way for a bright future," points out François Bédard, the event's executive director.

The Festival has rekindled its founder's original vision: to share classical music with a large public and to shine a spotlight on talent from around the world. Powerful pieces, stunning performances, wonderful discoveries, international stars from the world of classical music, several Canadian and Quebec debuts, and a very enthusiastic response from the public. "At the Festival, we breathe, listen to and watch music differently," expresses Renaud Loranger, artistic director.

For complete information on the Festival de Lanaudiere, visit

--France Gaignard

The Angel's Share Presents Adam Tendler and Jenny Lin
The Angel's Share returns this Fall from September 24-27, with boundary-pushing pianists Adam Tendler and Jenny Lin taking a tag-team approach to Liszt's towering ten-movement ode to transcendence, the Poetic and Religious Harmonies, in the Catacombs of The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

The performances will also feature a specially-made mirror installation above the piano, allowing audiences to get the chance to look down on the strings and keys of the piano. There will also be an intermission (with additional whiskey) at the half point of the program.

The Angel's Share series takes its name from the distiller's term for whiskey that evaporates while maturing in the barrel, thus going to the angels. Accordingly, each performance will begin with a pre-concert reception with food, drinks, and a whiskey tasting overlooking the Manhattan skyline and the New York Harbor at sunset. At dusk, guests will then follow a candle-lit pathway down to the Catacombs for the performance.

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Copland House 2019 Residency Awards Announced
A wide-ranging group of twelve composers has been selected to receive this year's coveted Copland House Residency Awards. Ranging in age from 25 to 55 and coming from ten states and varied backgrounds, these gifted artists have pursued diverse creative interests and idioms, ranging from concert music to jazz, acoustic to electronic, fully-notated to improvisatory, socially-engaged to abstract.

Artistic and Executive Director Michael Boriskin announced that Copland House's Residents for the 2019-2020 season will be Lembit Beecher, 38 (New York, NY), Luke Carlson, 35 (Point Lookout, MO), Chen Yihan, 25 (Lawrence Township, NJ), Joshua Hey, 31 (Philadelphia, PA), Amelia Kaplan, 55 (Muncie, IN), Emily Koh, 33 (Norcross, GA), Pascal LeBoeuf, 32 (Princeton, NJ), Joel Love, 36 (Houston, TX), Patrick O'Malley, 29 (Los Angeles, CA), Tawnie Olson, 44 (New Haven, CT), James Romig, 47 (Macomb, IL), and Christopher Zuar, 32 (New York, NY). Beecher and Romig will be returning for their second Residencies, and O'Malley was a Copland House CULTIVATE Emerging Composer Fellows in 2017 and one of its "What's the Score?" Fellows (for public school commissions) last season.

The new Residents were selected out of over 140 applicants from 25 states, the District of Columbia, and three countries. They were chosen by this year's eminent composer jury, which included Pierre Jalbert (a two-time Copland House Resident), Laura Kaminsky, and James Primosch.

For complete information, visit

--Elizabeth Dworkin, Dworkin & Company

OneBeat Announces 2019 Fellows - Twenty-Five Pioneering Musicians
OneBeat, a cultural exchange initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs produced by Bang on a Can's Found Sound Nation, is among the world's leading music diplomacy programs.  From September 16-October 14, 2019, twenty-five innovative and socially engaged musicians from seventeen countries, ranging from Algeria to Cuba to Madagascar to the United States, will participate in an intense month of musical collaboration, public performances, installations, pop-up events and workshops in Gainesville, FL; Atlanta, GA; and Knoxville, TN.

"It makes so much sense, to use music as a strategy to generate peace and cooperation.  Found Sound Nation, our former Fellows and now our esteemed colleagues, have built through OneBeat a global community of young visionaries, based on a common belief - that music can open hearts, bridge differences and collaboratively create a better world.  We're so fortunate that the U.S. Department of State supports these noble goals," says Pulitzer Prize winning composer and co-founder of Bang on a Can David Lang.

This year's eclectic musicians include: Rodney Barreto, one of Cuba's leading jazz drummers and member of the Chucho Valdes Quintet; Nepalese multi-instrumentalist and film music composer Jason Kunwar; pioneering modular Chinese synth designer and sound-artist Meng Qi; Baltimore-based producer, educator and award-winning entrepreneur Kariz Marcel; and virtuosic young Mongolian Yatga player Oyuntuya Enkhbat.

To read about all the OneBeat fellows, visit

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

New Music Choir, The Crossing, Announces 2019-2020 Season
Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing, with conductor Donald Nally, has announced its 2019-2020 season.

The season, which is centered around how humans use their words and voices to promote change, includes nine performances of Aniara: fragments of time and space in Helsinki presented by the Finnish National Opera; the world premiere of Gavin s Bryars's A Native Hill at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill; The Crossing @ Christmas featuring a world premiere by Edie Hill at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Rittenhouse Square, presented by the Annenberg Center, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, and The Met Cloisters; Knee Plays featuring the music of Philip Glass and David Byrne presented by the Annenberg Center as part of a season long residency; the world premiere of Michael Gordon's Travel Guide to Nicaragua presented by the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia and the New York premiere presented by Carnegie Hall in New York City; "The Month of Moderns 2020" featuring world premieres by Daniel Felsenfeld, Tawnie Olson, and Aaron Helgeson and music by Nicholas Cline, Morton Feldman, and Toivo Tulev; and The Crossing's Annual Residency at Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana, where they continue work on a 24-hour piece of music and film with Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Piano Works by Women, Beethoven Open Orion's Season
The Orion Ensemble, winner of the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, opens its 27th season with a program welcoming guest violist Stephen Boe and celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, along with a collection of piano-focused works. Performances take place at a new venue--New England Congregational Church in Aurora, Illinois--September 29, PianoForte Studios in Chicago October 2 and Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Il, October 6.

The Orion Ensemble's opening concert program of its 27th season takes place Sunday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at its new venue, New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Boulevard in Aurora, Il; Wednesday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago; and Sunday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston.

Single tickets are $30, $25 for seniors (65+) and $15 for students; admission is free for children 12 and younger. A four-ticket flexible subscription provides a 10 percent savings on full-priced tickets. For tickets or more information, call 630-628-9591 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, The Orion Ensemble

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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