Classical Music News of the Week, January 4, 2020

Bang on a Can Launches New 3-Day Music Festival

Bang on a Can announces the launch of LONG PLAY, a new, three-day destination music festival, presented for the first time from Friday, May 1 through Sunday, May 3, 2020. Featuring dozens of concerts, LONG PLAY also showcases a dense network of pioneering music venues in Brooklyn – with performances at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Roulette, Public Records, ShapeShifter Lab, Littlefield, Brooklyn Music School, BAM Lepercq Space, outdoor events at The Plaza at 300 Ashland, and more. Festival passes and special early bird offers will be available starting on December 16, 2019 at

Bang on a Can's Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, say of the new festival: "For over 30 years, Bang on a Can has dedicated itself to working the frontier--bringing together the most innovative voices in music and building new audiences for new work. Right now--this minute--is an amazing time to be a musician. Musicians from every corner of the music world are pushing beyond their boundaries, questioning their roots, searching and stretching for the new. There has never been a time when music contained so much innovation and diversity, so much audacity and so much courage. And we want to show you all of it. With the creation of LONG PLAY we are presenting more kinds of musicians, playing more kinds of music, bending more kinds of minds. LONG PLAY expands and enlarges our scope and our reach, and puts more new faces on stages than ever before. It's a lot of music!"

Fueled by more than three decades of Marathon concerts, LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA, countless world tours and staged productions, Bang on a Can's LONG PLAY is a supercharged ride through right now--for musicians and audiences alike.

LONG PLAY Highlights (additional artists and more details to be announced in January 2020) include Steve Reich: "All Live," Art Ensemble of Chicago, Brian Eno: "Music for Airports," Meredith Monk: "Memory Game," Ashley Bathgate: "Ash," Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, The Ken Thomson Sextet, Bearthoven plays Scott Wollschleger, Horse Lords, Jenny Lin plays Galina Ustvolskaya, John Luther Adams: "Strange and Sacred Noise," Arvo Pärt: "Kanon Pokajanen," Vox Clamantis: "Estonian Voices," Gerard Grisey: "Vortex Temporum," Synaesthesis: "Another Point of View,"
Tristan Perich, Zoë Keating, and much, much more.

For complete information, visit

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

FAYM January 2020 Newsletter
Winter Recital
This past December 14th, 2019 Foundation to Assist Young Musicans proudly conducted its final recital of 2019. This was a free concert from FAYM's "Violins for Kids" program. As in other years, this Recital was amazing!  The music was just "breathtaking." The musical instruments in the hands of our talented students sounded distinguishably special and was just amazing. Project Coordinator Tim Thomas, teachers and students from all grades and groups performed and played their instruments beautifully. The atmosphere was exciting; it managed to embrace our senses with unique sounds from well-tuned up instruments and skilled talented hands. We also enjoyed special musical numbers performed by FAYM instructors. They too, managed to captivate our minds with a magisterial performance; demonstrating once again that they are great, amazing teachers. We are privileged to have them teach our kids, a future generation of potential teachers and performers.  Teachers and parents were involved in every moment of this special event.

The Raffle
We also would like to express gratitude to all of those who participated in buying tickets for the two Christmas baskets which were donated by our special friend and mother of two FAYM students, volunteer Mayra Gema.  We congratulate the two winners of the baskets for their good fortune.  We are also happy to let you know that $190.00 dollars was collected from the raffle.  This money will go to the continuation and support of the: FAYM program for Kids.

Special Thanks
We would like to express sincere gratitude to the founder Mr. Harold Weller, Co-Founder Mr. Arturo Ochoa, and to our Board President, Mrs. Claudia Rivera among others, for making possible such an amazing event. We would like to give our most gracious thanks to our sponsors for this event; Soto Violins and Violin Outlet for financially supporting the presentation of Christmas gifts to every student after this year's recital.  Also, we would like to give thanks to Fire Force Comics for really making a difference this year with our kids. Fire Force Comics gave us incredible prices on the gifts by only charging us their costs. This was an altruistic act which made every one of our FAYM students happy when they received their Christmas gift this year. We would also like to give special thanks to the volunteers, who unselfishly gave their time and resources for such a great event. They not only donated their time, but all the food that was shared with all, after the recital.  President Claudia Rivera, with other volunteers, such as, Mayra Gema, Esmeralda, Johaida Beltrán among others, made sure everyone who came to the event were taken care of. On behalf of our FAYM family, we would like to wish all our readers, a Merry Christmas and a Prosper New Year 2020.

Please join the Family of FAYM
You can donate directly online or by mailing your check to: FAYM:  PO Box 1993; Las Vegas, NV 89125-1993.

For more information, visit

--Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

Happy New Year from Festival Mozaic
From all of us at Festival Mozaic, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year in 2020!
As we at the Festival look ahead to the coming summer season - our 50th Anniversary Celebration - we hope you will join us in our commitment to bringing world-class performances and musical events to San Luis Obispo County.

By renewing or making a donation today, you are helping to ensure that the Festival reaches many more milestones still to come. All donations made to any eligible non-profit organizations, including Festival Mozaic, are fully tax deductible to the fullest extend of the law.

Please renew your support today! Each gift matters, and every dollar counts.

For more information, visit

--Lloyd Tanner, Executive Director, Festival Mozaic

Miller Theatre Launches New "Bach from the Piano" Series
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts launches the three-concert series "Bach from the Piano," curated by Simone Dinnerstein with Bach Sonatas.

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Miller Theatre (116th St. and Broadway, NYC).

Tickets starting at $30; Students with valid ID starting at $7.
Series tickets from $72 for three concerts.

C.P.E. Bach called his father's six sonatas with harpsichord (BWV 1014–1019) among his finest compositions, possibly due to the juxtaposition of a through-composed keyboard part against the 'solo' instrument, which was novel at the time. Each of the pieces on this program exemplify this fresh approach, featuring both instruments as equal partners with exhilarating results.

Christina Jennings, flute
Rebecca Fischer, violin
Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

(Upcoming concerts are Bach Concertos 2/13 and Bach Collection 3/12)

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Pianist Jonathan Biss Presents Final Lectures in Free Online Course
Pianist Jonathan Biss presents the final lectures in his free online course exploring Beethoven's piano sonatas, available via Corsera, Monday, January 6.

Part 6 lectures complete seven-year survey of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, one of many projects pursued by Mr. Biss as part of his decade-long immersion in the composer's music.

In addition to highlighting Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in performance cycles and a recently completed, nine-volume recording collection, pianist Jonathan Biss has engaged more than 150,000 students worldwide with these works via his free online course Exploring Beethoven's piano sonatas, which was launched via online learning platform Coursera in 2013 and finishes its survey of this repertoire on Monday, January 6, when registration opens for the sixth and final installment of lectures. He devotes one lecture to four of Beethoven's shorter sonatas—Nos. 9 and 10 in E and G major, Op. 14, and Nos. 19 and 20 in G minor and major, Op. 49—while the remaining three lectures focus on No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31, No. 3 ("The Hunt"); No. 22 in F major, Op. 54; and Beethoven's final piano sonata, No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111, respectively.

All lectures may be accessed via

For more information, visit

--Shuman Associates

ROCO Presents Its First Concert to Offer Enhanced Accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra is excited to announce their first enhanced accessibility concert for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on January 11 in collaboration with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where they'll present Peter and the Raptor, a reimagining of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. The performance will feature American Sign Language interpretation of the text from Kelly Kurdi, and will also include special seating close to the instrumentalists in order to allow for audience members with hearing impairments to feel the vibrations during the show. In addition to ASL interpretation, the performance will also be lit under sensory-friendly lightning to accommodate guests with sensitivities to light.

ROCO's founder and principal oboist, Alecia Lawyer, expressed, "Founded on access for all people, ROCO keeps exploring more ways to invite everyone into a relationship with our musicians and artists. HMNS is a beacon for inclusion in Houston and incorporating music and acting into the spaces is an ideal way to broaden all of our experiences."

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

'Where Bach Meets Bon Jovi'
Stuffy. Old-fashioned. Boring. None of these words describe the style of classical music the Dallas String Quartet (DSQ Electric) excels at. For those who have always preferred pop music over Prokofiev, DSQ adds a classical twist to your favorite Top 40 hits. If you like Spinphony or Lindsey Stirling... you'll LOVE DSQ Electric!

DEQ Electric will perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC), Vail Valley Foundation, Colorado on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $48 [$25 student] and are available now at the VPAC box office (970-845-8497; DSQ Electric is part of a brand-new VPAC program this year where you can "Pay Your Age" (18-30 years). To purchase you must do in person at the VPAC box office with valid proof of ID.

Describing themselves as "where Bach meets Bon Jovi," DSQ plays a combination of classical and contemporary music on both traditional and electric strings. This fusion results in an exciting take on recent smash hits like Luis Fonsi's "Despacito," as well as beloved pop classics like the Beatles' "Yesterday."

The string quartet's mission is "to disturb and innovate an industry and a style of music that has been done the same way for centuries," said violist Ion Zanca in an interview with the Dallas Observer.

In addition to touring internationally, DSQ has performed at the White House for former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as at events for the NBA, the NFL and the NCAA. The quartet has sold out venues like the House of Blues and played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Josh Groban. Along with Zanca, DSQ features violinist Eleanor Dunbar, jazz bassist Young Heo and Melissa Priller on electric violin.

At a DSQ concert, audiences often have no idea what the quartet will play next. It could be a mashup of Sibelius and Led Zeppelin, or a classical take on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" followed by a rockin' version of Maroon 5's "Moves like Jagger." Classical music fans will enjoy listening to these prize-winning players strut their strings, while pop aficionados will get to hear songs they love in a whole new way. See DSQ Electric at VPAC on Thursday, Jan. 9.

--Ruthie Hamrick

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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