Classical Music News of the Week, November 2, 2019

Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra to Embark on Tour to South Korea and Vietnam

Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns announced that Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will embark on a tour to South Korea and Vietnam in June 2020, continuing its legacy of musical diplomacy and mounting one of the signature events of Vänskä's final three years as the Orchestra's music director.

Vänskä and the Orchestra, at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam, will perform in Hanoi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of restored diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. The Orchestra will additionally perform in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and participate in engagement activities with students in both cities. The tour, which will run from June 21 to July 3, will open with a performance on June 24 in South Korea at Seoul's Lotte Concert Hall, creating an opportunity to foster connections with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, where Vänskä was recently appointed music director. Tours centered around cultural exchange have become a hallmark of the Minnesota Orchestra during Vänskä's tenure, with the ensemble traveling recently to South Africa and Cuba.

For further information, visit https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Jon Manasse Returns To Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony (PACS) start their 20th anniversary season in fine style on 23rd November, resuming their partnership with InsideOut Concerts to present American musical masterpieces in immersive, experiential fashion - as the audience are seated right amongst the musicians! The music of Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland will swirl around them, as they experience close proximity to one of the world's foremost clarinettists, Jon Manasse, and stunning specially-created visuals from WQXR's Elliott Forrest!

Held at the DiMenna Center for Music, New Yorkers can choose between a 2 p.m. family event of excerpts - young children welcome and the concert followed by an Instrument Zoo in association with the Lucy Moses School  - and a 5 p.m. full works concert.

The program begins with Samuel Barber's iconic and elegiac Adagio For Strings, followed by another of the best-loved of all American works, Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring--featuring a specially-created visual montage by WQXR's Elliott Forrest. Copland's stunning yet rarely-heard Clarinet Concerto will be played by the great Jon Manasse (who will also be recording the work with PACS for future release), an old friend of PACS who played in their first-ever appearance at Lincoln Center.

Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story is once again the talk of the town, with Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated new film version on the way, and a new Broadway production of the musical on the cards. PACS audiences can reacquaint themselves with Bernstein's fabulous melodies through his Symphonic Dances From West Side Story (and of course, thanks to the InsideOut format, audience members will be right in the middle of those famous Latin rhythms and soaring, romantic melodies).

To book tickets for the family event click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sounds-of-america-the-family-insideout-concertstm-experience-tickets-61651037914

To book tickets for the full works event click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sounds-of-america-the-full-insideout-concertstm-experience-tickets-61650296697

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

OPERA America Kicks Off Nationwide Celebration in 2020
"I am very optimistic about opera in America," says OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca. "When I entered the industry decades ago, new American operas were rarely commissioned or performed. Today, the flow of creativity from American composers, librettists, directors and designers has generated an American opera repertoire that spans the gamut of styles and subject matter."

The wellspring of creative talent in the United States over the past 50 years has been fostered by OPERA America, the national champion for opera in America, which has provided financial support, mentorship and connections between thousands of companies and artists. Founded in 1970 as a collaborative agency by mid-sized opera companies, OPERA America now comprises 500 professional companies, conservatories, training programs and other related businesses, as well as nearly 2,000 individual artists, administrators, trustees and operagoers. Its impact extends internationally in scope: OPERA America provided the model for the development of Opera Europa, Ópera Latinoamérica and Opera.ca in Canada, which approaches its 20th anniversary next year.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 2020, OPERA America will embark on a yearlong celebration of 50 years of opera in America. The organization will commemorate a half-century of opera's progress with a variety of initiatives, including an Opera Hall of Fame, Oral History Project and series of national events. It will also rally members of the opera industry to participate in a national promotional campaign, #meetopera, to inspire curiosity in the art form.

For complete information, visit https://operaamerica.org/content/50th/50thanniversary.aspx

--Beth Stewart, Verismo Communications

Gordon Getty Receives European Culture Award
Bay Area composer and philanthropist Gordon Getty received the prestigious European Culture Prize on Sunday, October 20 during a gala evening at the Vienna State Opera House in Austria. With some of the world's most influential artists and dignitaries in attendance, Mr. Getty's award was presented by the internationally renowned violinist and New Century Chamber Orchestra Music Director, Daniel Hope. Mr. Hope also performed Gordon Getty's composition The Fiddler of Ballykeel during the televised event.

Gordon Getty was honored alongside luminaries of the arts and music world, including film legend Sophia Loren, soprano Nina Stemme, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and baritone Thomas Hampson. In commemoration of the Vienna State Opera House's 150th anniversary, the star-studded evening included performances by the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Simone Young, as well as violinist Daniel Hope and Austrian singer-songwriter Ina Regen. The evening also included a surprise appearance by the legendary mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, who presented an award to Nina Stemme.

For more information, visit https://europaeischer-kulturpreis.de/

--Brenden Guy Media

Musica Camerata Montréal's 50th Season
As part of their 50th anniversary, Música Camerata Montréal, one of Canada's foremost chamber music ensembles is presenting a concert featuring "Three Trios: Beethoven, Chausson and Schumann''. The date for this exceptional event is November 16th at 6PM at la Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, 100 Sherbrooke E, in Montreal.

The artists for this occasion are Berta Rosenohl, piano; Luis Grinhauz, violin and Joshua Morris, cello. They will share the stage to interpret three lesser-known trios by these great composers.

The program:
Beethoven: Variations on 'Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu,' op 121a
Chausson: Trio in g minor, op 3
Schumann: Trio in g minor, op 110

Saturday November 16th, 2019 at 6PM
Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur, 100, Sherbrooke East, Montreal
Tickets: $40 (adults), $30 (seniors and students)

Information and reservations: call 514-489-8713 or visit www.cameratamontreal.com

--France Gaignard

Jazz, Classical Nutcrackers Combine for "Duke It Out"
Classical music, jazz, and dance combine when the Music Institute of Chicago collaborates with Dance Chicago to present a family concert, "Duke It Out Nutcracker," Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

This Nutcracker performance, curated by Dance Chicago, pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite, performed by professional brass and woodwind quintets. In tribute to Dance Chicago's 25th anniversary, the Music Institute is featuring new material this year, including "Chocolate (Spanish Dance)." The performance is a family-friendly 60 minutes.

The Music Institute's 2019-20 season continues with "From the Heart," a Valentine's Day-themed concert performed by Music Institute faculty February 15; "Piano Giants" featuring the Marcus Roberts Trio March 14; a tribute to Art Blakey March 28; and the Formosa Quartet April 4.

"Duke It Out Nutcracker" takes place Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Il.
Tickets are $10 general admission, available at nicholsconcerthall.org or by calling 847.448.8326.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Concerts at Saint Thomas Celebrates the Holiday Season
Concerts at Saint Thomas will celebrate the Holiday season with a series of programs this December, featuring Handel's Messiah, a mainstay at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, NYC, on December 10 and 12, and a performance of Benjamin Britten's contemplative A Ceremony of Carols on December 19.

Joined by New York Baroque Incorporated, the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys continue their annual Christmas tradition with a performance of Handel's Messiah, which the New York Times named "one of the most prominent and special [Messiahs] of the city." Conducted by Saint Thomas Organist and Director of Music, Jeremy Filsell, the performance of Handel's Messiah will include guest soloists soprano Sherezade Panthanki, alto Roger Isaacs, tenor Rufus Müller, and bass Jonathan Woody.

The holiday festivities continue on December 19 with Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. Harpist Sara Cutler returns with the Boys of the Saint Thomas Choir to perform the contemporary sequence of carols composed in the 1940s. The concert will also feature Peter Hallock's I Am Wisdom, and Mary Caldwell's In the Bleak Midwinter under the direction of Jeremy Filsell.

For more information, visit https://www.saintthomaschurch.org/music/concerts

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Heartbeat Opera Presents a Radical Take on Weber's Der Freischutz
Heartbeat Opera--the daring young indie opera company whose unconventional orchestrations and stagings of classic operas have been called "a radical endeavor" by Alex Ross in The New Yorker--presents a modern American rendering of Carl Maria von Weber's masterpiece of German Romanticism, Der Freischutz. Eleven performances take place December 4 through 15, 2019 at Baruch Performing Arts Center, NYC.

Rarely performed in the U.S., Der Freischütz will come to life in Heartbeat's explosive adaptation. Immersive staging and unique instrumentation will turn Baruch Performing Arts Center into a vertiginous landscape full of sound and fury and strange encounters. Replete with raunchy drinking songs, sublime arias, and in the daughter's character one of the boldest embodiments of female desire in all of opera, this version will be sung in German but with newly translated English dialogue, electronics, and a Butoh dancer.

For complete information, visit https://www.heartbeatopera.org/der-freischutz

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Watch a Video Preview of ABS's "Handel's Messiah in Grace Cathedral"
American Bach Soloists' December concerts begin with three performances of Handel's treasured masterwork, Messiah, in San Francisco's resounding Grace Cathedral. Jeffrey Thomas will conduct the ABS period-instrument orchestra, the acclaimed American Bach Choir, and an outstanding quartet of soloists.

To watch a video preview of the performance, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UGKEWJoFCc&feature=youtu.be

To order tickets to this event, visit https://americanbach.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=1126571

--American Bach Soloists

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians November Newsletter
On October 3rd, FAYM presented the violins to the students at the East Las Vegas Library.
They had completed 3 weeks of lessons and made lots of progress. Congratulations to them for their hard work.

On October 12, ELVCC celebrated Nuestra Herencia Hispana, where we had an opportunity to promote our organization. Thank you to Elliot Gorlin, Art Ochoa and Claudia Rivera who took the time to run our booth. At the event Bill Gonzales, a candidate for Judge in Clark County was in attendance.We wish him good luck and thanks for his support of FAYM.

On October 13, the Las Vegas chapter of The Society, Inc. celebrated its annual event organized by their president Quinn Rivers. Their mission is to support and stimulate young people in the development of the fine arts. At this event they recognized the hard work by one of our found, Art Ochoa. Congratulations Mr. Ochoa.

To read more FAYM news and to donate to FAYM, visit https://www.thefaym.org/

--Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

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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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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