Classical Music News of the Week, February 8, 2020

SF Girls Chorus & Berkeley Ballet Theater Present "Rightfully Ours"

San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) and Berkeley Ballet Theater (BBT) continue their 2019-2020 seasons on Saturday, February 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Shield of California Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with "Rightfully Ours," an original fully-staged choral music and dance production.

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the legacy of those who fought to guarantee women's constitutional right to vote, the program will feature eight new pieces of choreography created for BBT's Studio Company set to choral works by eight living composers including world premiere performances of "I Shouldn't Be Up Here" by Angélica Negrón and "Belong Not" by Aviya Kopelman, commissioned and co-commissioned by SFGC with the Israel Institute, respectively. Led by SFGC Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe and BBT Artistic Director Robert Dekkers, more than 25 dancers and 40 singers will share the stage.

Tickets range in price from $28 to $50, and can be purchased through City Box Office online at http//www.cityboxoffice.com or by calling (415) 392-4400.

For more information, visit https://ybca.org/event/sfgc-rightfully-ours/

--Brenden Guy PR

Miller Theatre Continues "Bach from the Piano" Series
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts, NY, continues its "Bach from the Piano" series--curated by Simone Dinnerstein--with two concerts: "Bach Concertos," Thursday, February 13, 2020, 8:00 p.m. and "Bach Collection," Thursday, March 12, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Miller Theatre, 116th St. and Broadway, NYC.

Tickets starting at $30; Students with valid ID starting at $7.

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein is known for her "majestic originality of vision" (The Independent) and her "lean, knowing, and unpretentious elegance" (The New Yorker). Her self-produced recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations in 2007 brought her considerable attention. It reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists.

For more information, visit https://www.millertheatre.com/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

ROCO Partners with Holocaust Museum Houston for "We Were the Music"
River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) continues their 2019-20 season "Coming of Age" on March 5 with "We Were the Music," a program that commemorates the recent reopening of Holocaust Museum Houston's expanded new building with music from Jewish composers.

The concert will feature the world premieres of two ROCO commissions by composer Bruce Adolphe, We Were the Music and Music Is a Dream - part of an overall triptych of works he has written for ROCO's various ensemble sizes to showcase the group's breadth and scope. The works are dedicated to women who performed in the orchestras of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

For complete details, visit https://roco.org/performances/roco-connections-we-were-the-music/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Winter 2020 Call for Scores - PARMA Recordings
A new year can seem like an arbitrary marker in the middle of our days. That being said, any opportunity to pause, reflect, and recalibrate towards one's goals seems worth taking. If your goal is to record new music, or if you've got an idea for a project and are not sure where to begin, the first Call for Scores of 2020 is here to offer you a path forward.

In addition to being recorded, selected submissions will be considered for live performance. Previously accepted scores have been performed in Russia, Croatia, Austria, the Czech Republic, the United States, and more.

We are accepting submissions for:
Works featuring Mezzo-Soprano - Chicago IL
Works for Woodwind Quintet or subset - London UK
Works for Orchestra with or without soloists - Zagreb, Croatia

Guidelines:
Please submit PDF scores and corresponding MIDI renderings or live recordings via our Project Submission form.

Selected scores will be recorded and commercially released by PARMA Recordings. The submitter is responsible for securing funds associated with the production and retains all ownership of the master and underlying composition.

Works should ideally be between 5 and 15 minutes in length, but pieces outside of that range will still be considered.

Deadline for all submissions is 2/21/20. There is no fee to submit.

You will receive a confirmation of receipt for submissions. We will work with the performers and our Sessions, Audio, and A&R Teams to select pieces that could fit these open projects. Should your music be selected, we will reach out to you with more information on pricing, scheduling, and other details.

Project Submission form: https://www.parmarecordings.com/call-for-scores/

--PARMA Recordings

Chicago Duo Piano Festival Presents Winter Mini-Fest
The Music Institute of Chicago's Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) celebrates the joy of two-piano and four-hand piano performance at the CDPF Winter Mini-fest March 6–8 at the Evanston East campus, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Il. Registration deadline is Saturday, February 1, 2020.

In addition to coachings and student recitals available to participants, the Mini-Fest includes a faculty recital, open to the public, Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall. The program and musicians include:

Schubert: Andantino Varié D. 823, No. 2 for Piano, Four Hands, with Maya Brodotskaya and Irene Faliks.
Debussy: Prélude à l'apres-midi d'un faune, with Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem
Lisa Kaplan: whirligig for piano, four hands, with Louise Chan and Susan Tang
Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries, with Katherine Lee, Elaine Felder, Soo Young Lee, Fiona Queen
Lutoslawski: Variations on a Theme by Paganini, with Soo Young Lee and Katherine Petersen
Debussy: Six épigraphes antiques for Piano, with Mio Isoda and Matthew Hagle
Barber: Souvenirs, with Xiaomin Liang and Jue He

The CDPF Winter Mini-fest public concert takes place Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois.

Admission is $50 for early access seating, $25 for advance purchase, and $30 at the door.
Tickets are available at musicinst.org/nch or by calling 847.448.8326.

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

FAYM February 2020 Newsletter
President's Message:
Foundation to Assist Young Musicians would like to welcome our new students and their families, we are looking forward to accomplish many goals together. We also would like to welcome our new music teachers and wish them many successes in their new jobs.

Here at FAYM, we are very happy with the growth we had shown in the past few years and that we continue having today. We are also very excited to see that some parents are joining their children in learning to play the violin together.

With the addition of new classes, we welcome new teachers to our staff.
Ms. Carlene San-Fillipo will teach two new beginners' classes at the East Las Vegas Community Center. These classes are being conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Welcome Ms. San-Fillipo.

Mrs. Erika Syroid is the lead music teacher at the East Las Vegas Library located on E. Bonanza Road and 28th St.  Ms. Syroid is featured in this month's newsletter and Ms. San- Filipo will be featured in the February newsletter. Please welcome both to our FAYM family.

Meet Erika Syroid:
My name is Erika Syroid.  I am currently teaching in my home studio and at FAYM. 

Over the past 50 years I have been teaching EVERYWHERE!  I have taught privately and have taught classes in Montana, Colorado, California, and in Nevada.  Recently, I taught at Violin Outlet with Mara Lieberman.

Music has always been a part of my life.  My father, Walter Syroid inspired me as a child and throughout my life to pursue music. He loved music, created a musical environment, and drove me to lessons and rehearsals and auditions.  There was always violin music playing.

For information about FAYM, visit https://www.thefaym.org/

--Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

Learning, Not Memorizing the CPE Bach "Solfeggio"
Dear colleague,
February 2020 already. Unbelievable! In any case, I'm presenting compositions for you that are learning experiences. We must get away from the idea that musical compositions are to be just "memorized" and "practiced." There is so much music in musical masterpieces that gets ignored by the average piano student. Each week I will offer a work that will be analyzed, along with a video to show what is there. This week is the CPE Bach "Solfeggio." Learn and enjoy!

Visit Issue #7: https://thepianoprofessor.com/

--Ralph Carroll Hedges, Chopin Piano Academy

Utah Symphony Announces 2020-21 Season
Music Director Thierry Fischer and Interim President and CEO Patricia A. Richards today announced the Utah Symphony's 2020–21 season, with highlights including world and U.S. premieres commissioned by the orchestra, as well as a cycle of all five Beethoven piano concertos featuring world-renowned pianists in celebration of the composer's 250th birthday.

American composer Arlene Sierra will be the Utah Symphony's 2020–21 Composer-in-Association, and in addition to having several works premiered or given their first U.S. performances by the orchestra, she will travel to Salt Lake City to engage with the community as an ambassador for contemporary music. The orchestra also welcomes a new Artist-in-Association, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, who performs works by Mozart and Nielsen, as well as a U.S. premiere by Philippe Manoury. Additional highlights include the third season of UNWOUND, which offers a more casual alternative to the traditional concert hall experience, and numerous guest artists making their Utah Symphony debuts.

2020-21 season: https://utahsymphony.org/2020-21-season/

--Shuman Associates

Princeton University Glee Club Presents World Premiere
The Princeton University Glee Club will present one of its most historically significant programs to date on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 7:30PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton, NJ.

Joined by the Antioch Chamber Ensemble, one of the finest professional choral ensembles in the United States, the Glee Club will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Princeton University through "Conversations," a program that contemplates the anniversary through both historic and contemporary works, including a world premiere by Joanna Marsh with text by award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield. Ms. Hirshfield is an alumna of the Class of 1973, the first class of women at Princeton University.

Tickets are $15 General/$5 Student, available at 609-258-9220 and music.princeton.edu.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Announces Free Summer Events for 2020
Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, the longest-running series of its type in the world, announces its 115th season of free summer concerts, running from June 17 to July 21, 2020. Due to the ongoing renovation of the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, NYC, Naumburg Orchestral Concerts will continue its partnership with Temple Emanu-El for all five concerts this season.

Summer 2020's slate of ensembles includes the return of New York-based The Knights and East Coast Chamber Orchestra as well as Boston-based A Far Cry. Two groups make their series debut this season: Ulysses String Quartet with Mark-André Hamelin and Lara St. John, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Find full program information for all five ensembles below.

"As the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts enters its 115th season, we are grateful that Temple Emanu-El has agreed to host our concerts for a second season while repairs to the Naumburg Bandshell continue," said Christopher London, President of the Board of Naumburg Orchestral Concerts. "The audience response to the venue was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope they will join us this summer for more exciting and musically varied programs, from returning and new ensembles to the series."

All concerts will take place at 7 PM at Temple Emanu-El (Fifth Avenue at 65th Street, New York, NY 10065). Tickets are free but reservations are required. For more information, call 212-501-7809 or visit naumburgconcerts.org.

--Caroline Heaney, Bucklesweet

SOLI's "Winds of Change"
SOLI Chamber Ensemble, San Antonio, TX, will sow the stories of our time with the help of an International lineup of composers. The performances will feature music by American composer Jonathan Bailey Holland, Syrian composer/clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Belizean-British composer Errollyn Wallen, Chinese-American composer Chen Yi, and San Antonio's own, American composer Ethan Wickman.

Monday, February 10, 2020, 7:30 PM: Jazz, TX, Pearl Brewery
Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 7:30 PM: Ruth Taylor Recital Hall, Trinity University

For complete information, visit https://www.solichamberensemble.com/windsofchange/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Van Nuys High School Students Write and Perform Oratorio
Requiem: This Earth, Our Home, a timely new oratorio written by Van Nuys High School students for the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within Oratorio Project, will be premiered by students and members of the Master Chorale on Friday, February 28th and Saturday, February 29th in the school's auditorium. The Friday performance will be for fellow students; Saturday's performance at 1:00 p.m. is a free community concert and open to the public.

Every year the Los Angeles Master Chorale's Oratorio Project immerses a group of high school students in the creation of an original oratorio. The text and theme of the work has varied over the years, usually inspired by current political and cultural issues, and this year is no exception. Riding the global, youth-driven wave of momentum, this year's Oratorio Project will be a requiem for climate change--a theme and format chosen by the school--and the urgency to do something about it.

"We asked students for their ideas for possible subject matter for the Oratorio Project," says Lesili Beard, the Master Chorale's Director of Education. "This year the school felt strongly about a requiem for Mother Earth and the subject of climate change was borne out of our conversations. We invited guest speaker Matt Almos from the Climate Reality Project (founded by Al Gore) to come talk with the students as well."

For more information, visit https://www.lamasterchorale.org/oratorio-project

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

PBO Announces 2020-21 Season
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale announces programming for the 2020/21 season, Richard Egarr's first as Music Director.

Highlights include a recreation of Beethoven's epic 1808 concert; the world premiere of The No One's Rose by MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin; the Bay Area premiere of Georg Muffat's Missa in labore requies in a side-by-side gala performance with Juilliard415; Philharmonia's first-ever performances of Tchaikovsky; and much more.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale's (PBO) 2020/2021 season encapsulates the omnivorous musical tastes of incoming Music Director Richard Egarr. Richard has put together a season of programs that challenge performers and audiences alike, with many new-to-PBO works from the Baroque canon, new guest artists and new composers like Britten and Tchaikovsky, and a vital new commission. In Richard's view, historical performance practice can be applied to all eras of music and believes that Baroque at its best can be woven seamlessly into a range of programs that seek to stimulate audiences of all kinds.

Subscriptions to the new 2020/21 season are available to the public. Call (415) 295-1900 to subscribe or visit philharmonia.org/subscribe.

For complete details, visit https://philharmonia.org/

--Stephanie Li, Philharmonia Baroque

Nagano's Final Carnegie Hall Performance with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
As part of Carnegie Hall's "International Festival of Orchestras," Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) returns for its 45th appearance at the hall on March 24th, 2020.

In his triumphant final season with the OSM, Music Director of 16 years Kent Nagano will conduct Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, featuring Mikhail Pletnev in his first piano collaboration with the orchestra. Bass Alexander Vinogradov, 22 bass singers from the OSM chorus (conducted by Andrew Megill), and two men's choruses from the University of Illinois (OSM debut) join the OSM in Shostakovich's wrenching Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar." March 24th marks OSM's second performance of "Babi Yar" at Carnegie Hall; its first was in 1984, and was also the venue's inaugural presentation of the piece.

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

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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

Contact Information

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