Classical Music News of the Week, March 21, 2020

Festival Mosaic Postpones April Events

It is with a heavy heart that we regret to announce the postponement of our upcoming WinterMezzo Series events scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19. We've continued to closely follow the developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our patrons, musicians, staff, volunteers, and community. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected and our hope is for all to be safe in this uncertain time.

It is our current plan to have the same program and artists with us the weekend of September 11, 12 and 13, 2020. We do not take this decision lightly and we are working in partnership with our local government, community leaders, and state officials to do our part in helping reduce the spread of the virus. The health and safety of our community continue to be our top priority.
For those of you who have tickets, in the next couple of days we will email your new tickets to the events and performances. There is nothing you need to do at this time.

For now, Festival Mozaic's 50th Anniversary Season is still scheduled to take place July 18-August 1, 2020. For 50 years, Festival Mozaic has been an integral part of our community, bringing the finest musicians from around the world to the gorgeous Central Coast of California and partnering with local organizations to produce events for everyone.

From Mozart to mariachi, Beethoven to Broadway, our golden anniversary is a celebration of where we've been and where we're headed. Yet our most essential performers are you — our diverse and enthusiastic audiences.

We are thrilled to announce our 50th Anniversary Summer Festival Season to you today and we invite you to join us July 18-August 1 for orchestra and chamber music concerts, Notable Encounters, the Mozaic Series featuring crossover and celebrity artists, and an expanded series of free community events. Experience The Art of Music in San Luis Obispo County, California.

Explore the season now:

--Festival Mosaic

Jonathan Biss Brings Beethoven's Piano Sonatas to Home Audiences
As more and more of this year's highly anticipated Beethoven celebrations are being curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, renowned Beethoven interpreter Jonathan Biss brings the composer's piano sonatas to listeners in their homes through a free, live-streamed recital (planned for Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. EDT), a newly released set of recordings, an Amazon Kindle Single e-book, and an expansive series of online talks—recently completed and currently available for free via Coursera. Through such projects, which are part of Mr. Biss's decade-long immersion in the composer's music, especially the piano sonatas, audiences around the world may continue celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday this year in a variety of ways outside of the concert hall.

As of January 2020—seven years after its launch—Mr. Biss's Coursera course "Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas" offers lectures on all 32 works, and these lessons serve to complement his complete, nine-disc, nine-year recording cycle of this repertoire.

For more information, visit

--John Hamby, Shuman Associates

Pavel Sporcl Launches New Digital Concerts Series
Pavel Sporcl launches new digital concert series in his home, 'Concerts From the Living Room.'

With a California tour and multiple concerts in the Czech republic cancelled due to the coronavirus, the star Czech violinist has started a new online series - 55,000 watch the first concert, and tickets are selling for the next one

Czech violin star Pavel Sporcl may be the most successful classical musician in the Czech Republic (he records for Universal Music, has sold around 250,000 CDs, and famously plays an iconic blue violin) but, like so many others in the classical music world and beyond, he has faced multiple cancellations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Closed concert-halls, cancelled bookings including an imminent California tour and many concerts - and, as are many of his colleagues, the violinist is all but confined to his home, in Prague, in his country's bid to beat the virus. So he has announced a concert series streamed from his house, "Concerts From The Living Room" which, after an initial free concert, is charging (a nominal amount) for tickets to watch live. Initial signs are that the experiment is a success.

The preview concert-cum-open rehearsal, as he calls it, was watched by some 2,000 people live when it was streamed last Friday, and to date has been seen by more than 55,000, who have left more than 800 supportive comments.

The next 'Music In the Living Room' concert will take place this Wednesday, March 18th, and will feature repertoire including the Bach Chaconne, some of Paganini's Caprices, and Sporcl's own composition Kde domov muj ("Where Is My Homeland?" -- variations on the Czech national anthem).

Tickets can be purchased here:

Watch Pavel Sporcl's preview 'Concerts In the Living Room' concert here:

Watch Pavel Sporcl play Paganini's Caprice No.5 at Cadogan Hall in London here:

--James Inverne Music Consultancy

Michael Tilson Thomas and SF Symphony's "Keeping Score" Series  Streaming Free Online
In the midst of cancellations of live performances due to COVID-19, the San Francisco Symphony announced today that all documentary and concert episodes of Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony's groundbreaking "Keeping Score" project will be made available for unlimited free streaming on the Symphony's YouTube channel. Episodes will be released in four batches, every Wednesday through April 8, 2020.

"Keeping Score" episodes and free YouTube release schedule:

Subscribe to the San Francisco Symphony's YouTube Channel to be notified when each episode is released:

--John Hamby, Shuman Associates

American Bach Soloists at HOME
We miss being together with you and with our musicians and staff at performances and other events, but we're working on ways to share beautiful music until live events can take place again.

So here's what we're doing:
Every day, on Facebook or Twitter, we're going to post a short musical work — something beautiful or fun or lively or calming — in the hope that it will be a welcome and warming contribution to your day.

If you already follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you'll see the postings. But if you don't follow us, you can either do that now by clicking on the links below, or sign up for a short email message that will have links to the online musical excerpts.

Signing up to receive the daily musical moments is separate from your regular subscription to ABS emails, and you can opt out at any time. We're calling this "ABS at HOME" and we hope that you'll enjoy the idea that many people will be listening together.

Follow on Facebook:
Follow on Twitter:
Get notifications of daily music:

--American Bach Soloists

New World Center Extends Public Closure Through End of May
Following the recommendations of the CDC and City of Miami Beach, the New World Center has extended its public closure through the end of May and the New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), will cancel the remaining concerts of its 2019-2020 season.

New World Symphony, in collaboration with streaming partners IDAGIO and Medici TV, will make available content and curate a series of online performances and other content available from a number of sources. A highlight of the offerings will be the NWS Archive+ series, which will offer recordings from the New World Symphony archive featuring new commentary and behind-the-scenes insights from Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS Fellows, Alumni, guest artists, and visiting faculty.

--Shuman Associates

The Crypt Sessions Presents Lara St. John & Matt Herskowitz
On April 20, 2020, Lara St. John and Matt Herskowitz will return to The Crypt Sessions, performing Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, "Kreutzer," with C├ęsar Franck's Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano, from their new album "Key of A," released April 17 on Ancalagon Records.

The performance will begin at 8:00 pm with a food and wine pre-concert reception at 7:00 pm included in the ticket price.

Listing Info:
The Crypt Sessions presents Lara St. John & Matt Herskowitz
April 20, 2020 | Wine & Food Tasting 7PM | Show 8PM
Tickets: $80, including Wine Tasting & hors-d'oeuvres

For more information, visit

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Miller Theatre Announces Spring 2020 Season of Its Free POP-UP CONCERTS
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts announces the spring 2020 season of
POP-UP CONCERTS, a musical happy hour with the audience onstage.

Tuesday, April 28
Mivos Quartet

Monday, May 18
Kyle Armbrust and Shahzad Ismaily

Tuesday, June 2
Bent Duo

Tuesday, June 9
Mariel Roberts, cello

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

For more information, visit

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Chicago's Bach Week Festival Unveils 2020 Season
The Chicago area's 47th annual Bach Week Festival has announced details of its 2020 season of concerts in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, May 1 to May 30, 2020, including the Baroque music festival's first mainstage period-instrument program and its first concert in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, among other events.

"Variety has always been a Bach Week Festival feature, and this year's programming offers that in abundance," says Richard Webster, Bach Week's music director since 1975. "There's a spectrum of textures and colors in every concert."

Tickets can be purchased by phone at (800) 838-3006 or online at
For general festival information, phone 847-269-9050 or email

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Sharing Music and Support Amidst COVID-19
In these unprecedented times, it is vital that we all remain committed to helping each other, being kind, and providing assistance wherever and whenever we can. We will be more dependent on each other than ever before.

Like everyone, we are deeply concerned for the health and well-being of all people, and particularly the healthcare workers and providers who are on the front lines of this fight. We have already begun to see the devastating effects across all elements of society, including our own music industry.

With that in mind we took the liberty of doing a little bit of homework on your behalf to consolidate some resources for musicians which might be of assistance during these times, from grants to emergency medical aid to a few tips and fun items too. COVID-19 has created untold challenges for musicians around the world, but there are possibilities – challenges have a way of breeding solutions.

As the situation develops, we will continue to offer resources and guidance. Discover the PARMA resource list here:

--Bob Lord and the PARMA Team

92Y Presents Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde
Please note that all 92Y regularly scheduled in-person programs are temporarily suspended.

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 7:30pm at Kaufmann Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y presents Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Henk Guittart's chamber orchestration of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde "The Songs of the Earth," featuring mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey.

This arrangement of Mahler's awe-inspiring setting of ancient Chinese poetry for voices and orchestra was recently completed by noted Dutch composer, conductor, and violist Henk Guittart using Arnold Schoenberg's abandoned attempt as a guide and has become known for its ability to allow the listener to experience Mahler's tremendous genius in an entirely new, more intimate, light. The "sublime" (Seattle Times) tenor Anthony Dean Griffey is joined by Alice Coote in this immense work, which Leonard Bernstein described as Mahler's "greatest symphony."

Program Information
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 7:30pm
92nd Street Y | Kaufmann Concert Hall
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Alice Coote, Mezzo-Soprano
Anthony Dean Griffey, Tenor

Please note that all 92Y regularly scheduled in-person programs are temporarily suspended.

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

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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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa