Classical Music News of the Week, April 25, 2020

Peoples' Symphony Concerts

In the month of April, Peoples' Symphony had scheduled a double-header with the wonderful Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon on Saturday evening at Washington Irving High School and the inestimable Juilliard String Quartet on Sunday afternoon at Town Hall.

Since we have all been asked to remain hunkered down at home and music has become more and more important, we wanted to share with you why these two artists are revered the world over. Please click the links below to listen and watch these fabulous artists.

Dénes Várjon, piano:
Chopin: Mazurka in A minor, Op.67, No. 4:

Bartók: Hungarian Folksongs Sz 35:

Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1:

Juilliard String Quartet:
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18, No. 3: I. Mvt.:

Dvorák: String Quartet No. 12 in F, Op. 96, "American"; II. Mvt.:

For more information, visit

--Frank Salomon, Peoples' Symphony Concerts

Exclusive Programming from Baruch PAC and Alexander SQ
 On Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 PM EDT, BPAC presents streaming audio and video of the Alexander String Quartet's special performance recorded this week for BPAC of Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ. Aldemaro Romero Jr., Dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, welcomes the viewers and introduces the music and the performers.

The Quartet's interpretation of Haydn's intimate work intersperses the music with readings that are meditations on the subject of human suffering, redemption and renewal. Performing it "together," albeit from their respective homes while observing social distancing protocols, the quartet brings this emotionally-rich work to viewers, offering both depth and comfort in difficult times. The performance was recorded expressly for this specially-streamed presentation.

Access is free through May 6:

A second on-line event is a screening of the documentary "Con Moto," followed by a discussion with the members of ASQ and Dennis Slavin, Associate Provost and professor of music at Baruch College. "Con Moto" is available free through May 7 and follows the Alexander String Quartet as they perform throughout Poland, giving a behind-the-scenes view of the Quartet and revealing the collective voice that emerges through the unique personalities of the individuals:

For more information, visit

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

The Gilmore Announces "Virtually Gilmore" Free Streaming Series, April 22 – May 5
In place of the 2020 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Gilmore presents "Virtually Gilmore," a free video-streaming series of performances by leading and emerging keyboard artists, from April 22 to May 5. Programs include new, "Virtually Gilmore" recitals, as well as stand-out performances from The Gilmore's archives.

All performances are presented on the Gilmore Web site: and the YouTube channel:

--John Hamby, Shuman Associates

Opera Maine Postpones 2020 Season Until 2021
Opera Maine has announced the postponement of its 26th summer season out of concern for public health during the current COVID-19 pandemic. After weeks of careful deliberation, the Board of Trustees decided to reschedule the productions of Richard Wagner's classic, The Flying Dutchman, and Philip Glass's minimalist masterpiece, The Fall of the House of Usher, from this summer to July 2021. The Flying Dutchman will celebrate Maine's Bicentennial, setting the production in 19th-century Maine.

Dona D. Vaughn, Artistic Director, and Caroline Koelker, Executive Director, expressed the difficult choice in a joint statement: "Although we had held out hope that we would all be able to come together this summer, we now realize that it would not be in the best interest of public safety."

Ticket holders will be contacted by Opera Maine by the end of this week and given the option to donate their tickets to Opera Maine, transfer their tickets to next summer's performances on July 28 or July 30, 2021, or request a refund. Opera Maine will be directing the proceeds from donated tickets to the performers and theater professionals who had committed to the 2020 season.

Opera Maine continues to evaluate the possibility of maintaining other events on its 2020 calendar, including an outdoor concert at Lincoln Park on July 14, 2020 and a production of Lee Hoiby's hilarious short opera, Bon Appétit!, on September 13 and 15, 2020. Opera Maine recently launched a virtual program called Opera in ME, a weekly web series that takes audiences behind the scenes through interviews with singers and designers. Opera in ME is available on YouTube Opera Maine, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

--Kristen Levesque PR

HAUSER Shares New "Caruso" Video
HAUSER debuts a new stunningly original music video for his version of Lucio Dalla's classic operatic number "Caruso." With the help of frequent 2Cellos collaborators MedVid Production and director Igor Burlovic, HAUSER's latest video is the perfect visual narrative for the cellist's virtuosic rendition of the heartbreaking Italian ballad – watch here:

As visually creative as he is sonically, HAUSER has been working hard to create new videos and content for fans, continuing to release both original visuals and performance videos in recent weeks – watch his latest videos here. With upcoming visuals for "Classic" tracks from Chopin, Borodin, Handel and more, HAUSER hopes to provide audiences across the globe a much-needed musical escape and some solace in these troubling times.

In addition, HAUSER announces "Alone, Together from Arena Pula," a special performance event from his home country of Croatia. Performing solo at the iconic Arena Pula without a live audience, the event will stream globally on his official YouTube channel this Monday, April 27th at 1p.m. ET / 10a.m. PT. Dedicated to front-line workers across the globe, "Alone, Together from Arena Pula" is the latest effort in HAUSER's continued goal to provide audiences everywhere a much-needed musical escape and solace in these troubling times. The event will feature the acclaimed cellist performing his renditions of classic compositions, including numbers from his recent debut solo album "Classic." As a part of this special event, HAUSER encourages fans to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.  Find more info here.

Watch recent music videos from HAUSER here:

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music

Bach Yard Playdates with Pianist Orli Shaham
 On April 26, 2020, Orli Shaham's Bach Yard launches a brand-new series: Bach Yard Playdates. Playdates introduces musical concepts, instruments and the experience of concert-going to a global audience of children and their families, in weekly 5 to 10-minute episodes. Kaufman Music Center presents Bach Yard Playdates, and it will appear on their Web site and social media channels at 11:00 am EDT each Sunday through June 28.

To visit the Web site, click here:

Meanwhile, Pianist Orli Shaham's continues MidWeek Mozart. Each Wednesday, Ms. Shaham brings you an exclusive: music from her forthcoming recording of Mozart sonatas:

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

Orion Cancels May 2020 Concerts
The Orion Ensemble announces that, after considering all options, it is cancelling its final series of performances in its 2019-20 season, scheduled May 3 at New England Congregational Church in Aurora, Illinois, May 6 at PianoForte Studios in Chicago, and May 10 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Orion hopes subscribers and those who purchased individual tickets might consider donating their tickets to offset the loss of revenue, but refunds are also available by contacting

In the meantime, Orion is offering the first in a series of videos featuring excerpts of live performances, which is available for viewing here:

Looking ahead, Orion is making plans for its 2020-21 season and will share details as soon as there is more information about the ability to provide live, in-person concerts safely.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Heartbeat Opera Announces LADY M
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—concludes its sixth season with its first adaptation of Verdi: LADY M, a reimagined and re-orchestrated work-in-progress, envisioning the story of Macbeth through the eyes of Lady Macbeth.

In light of COVID-19, Heartbeat Opera takes its LADY M rehearsals and performances online. Rather than cancel its production, the company launches a 10-day Remote Residency (April 20–May 1) with their artists rehearsing at home, followed by a series of intimate Virtual Soirées through Zoom video conferencing from May 11-16. The full production arrives in Spring 2021.

Each 45-minute Soirée will include: a welcome toast, introductory remarks, brief live performance by one cast member, and Q&A. Each Soirée will also feature two videos, newly unveiled for this project: a short documentary showing a behind-the-scenes look at Heartbeat's Remote Residency; and a music video of Lady M's "Sleepwalking Scene" sung by Felicia Moore, played by the six-piece band, and featuring the five other cast members of LADY M.

Tickets: $10 per device at

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

The Methods of Training of Piano Students Must Change
It is inconceivable that a piano teacher would allow students to perform in public or competition with knowing little or nothing of key signatures, both prevailing and parent, functions and identities of notes, intervals, chords, and their characteristic intervals, and anything else that pertains to the work at hand, away from the piano, and with complete descriptions of what is going on at any point in the work.

Analyses must be done on regular computer or note paper, again away from the piano with complete analyses of roots, functions and identities especially of chords without roots, as is found in the works of composers from Bach to jazz. Students will cry and complain about marathon three-four hour lessons, and I'm sorry, but that's what it takes, especially from the teacher. Otherwise, find another profession…

Visit the Piano Professor's latest installment here:

--Ralph Hedges, Chopin Piano Academy

What's Streaming Classical This Week
Monday, April 27 as of 10:00 a.m. ET:
The Gilmore presents Lukas Geniušas

Tuesday, April 28 as of 10:00 a.m. ET:
Virtually Gilmore offers jazz from Emmet Cohen Trio

Tuesday, April 28 as of 1:00 p.m. PT:
James Conlon discusses Beaumarchais on LA Opera James Conlon at Home podcast

Wednesday, April 29 as of 10:00 a.m. ET
The Gilmore streams Rising Stars recital by Tiffany Poon

Wednesday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera continues to showcase selections from Tobias Picker's Emmeline with Andrew and Megan Rose Potter singing "The Railroad Boys Have Arrived"

Thursday, April 30 as of 10:00 a.m. ET:
The Gilmore presents Charles Richard-Hamelin

Thursday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET:
Michael Tilson Thomas and New World Symphony's Archive+: Dvorák's Symphony No. 8

Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. PT:
Miró Quartet performance of Schubert's Quartettsatz, D. 703, to be streamed by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Friday, May 1 as of 10:00 a.m. ET:
Chopin Competition winner Seong-Jin Cho performs Chopin preludes in Virtually Gilmore webcast

Friday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera presents Love Duet from Tobias Picker's Emmeline, sung by soprano Madison Leonard and tenor John Irvin

Friday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room

Saturday, May 2 at 4:00 p.m. ET:
Gilmore Young Artist Misha Galant performs Virtually Gilmore recital

Saturday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh continues Alone Together series

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

#ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
92nd St. Y
Jonathan Biss, piano

--Shuman Associates, Inc.

Newly Composed Fanfare to be Played Citywide
A newly composed symphonic fanfare called "For Our Courageous Workers" will be played by over 1,000 musicians and non-musicians alike on Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m., as part of the daily "cheer" honoring front-line workers serving the populace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The score has been arranged so that everyone in the five New York boroughs can take part from the safety of their windows, rooftops, and doorways, be they professional musicians or amateur pot-bangers.

There are parts for all: musicians of any and every level — beginners, young musicians, amateurs, professionals on voices, strings, brass, winds, keyboards, drums — as well as for all the people of the city who can sing, bang on pots and pans, or just make a general racket.

Composers Frank London (of The Klezmatics), and Hajnal Pivnick and Dorian Wallace (of Tenth Intervention) have joined forces on this effort to bring the city together in a communal music project to honor the efforts of those risking their own health for the benefit of all.

More information here:

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

APA Brings Live Conversation and Performance in a New Online Series
Following the success of its recent Jazz @ Home series featuring conversation and performances by American Pianists Awards winners in jazz earlier this month, American Pianists Association continues its commitment to delivering high-quality conversation and performance with Live from the Piano Bench. The five-week series, paused by a special May 3rd concert by 2007 Awards winner Dan Tepfer, features previous Awards winners in conversation with 2021 classical finalists, as well as live performances from each of the contenders. Each Live from the Bench as well as Tepfer's concert will be carried live on Sundays at 3:30pm ET via Facebook @APAPianists.

On March 11, 2020, American Pianists Association announced the five 2021 finalists for the classical competition whom will be competing over the following 13 months leading up to the finals in April 2021.

"As the American Pianists Association continues to celebrate our 40th anniversary throughout this year, it is certainly exciting and appropriate to showcase our many successful winners of the past 4 decades by pairing five of them with our next round of classical finalists, said President/CEO Joel Harrison. "In doing so not only are we reflecting on the past, but also imagining the future with brilliant emerging talent. Add to that the charm of visiting with these 'past and future' APA artists in their homes and you have a unique series."

For more information on the American Pianists Association visit

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Festival Mozaic Postpones 50th Anniversary Season to 2021
Festival Mozaic, an annual summer celebration of music for the past 49 years in San Luis Obispo County, has announced that its 50th Anniversary season, originally scheduled for July 18-August 1, 2020, will be postponed to July 17-31, 2021. The announcement was made by Festival Executive Director Lloyd Tanner.

"It is with the deepest regret that we must postpone Festival Mozaic's 2020 summer program, especially in the Festival's 50th Anniversary season," Tanner said. "After closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and in compliance with recommendations of state and county health organizations and civil authorities, we cannot in good faith continue to plan for our summer concerts and events. The health and safety of our musicians, audience members, staff, volunteers, vendors, hosts, and of San Luis Obispo County itself, are of utmost importance to all of us. We look forward to celebrating our 50th Anniversary Summer Festival in July 2021. We promise it will be worth the wait!"

--Lloyd Tanner, Executive Director, Festival Mozaic

Bang on a Can's Marathon 2020
Bang on a Can announces the hourly schedule for its ALL LIVE Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday, May 3, 2020 from 3pm-9pm ET. The Marathon will be streamed online at

The Marathon features 26 LIVE performances from musicians' homes in NYC and around the country. The 2020 Bang on a Can Marathon will feature more than 40 participating artists, over two dozen solo performances, and four world premieres of newly commissioned works by Dai Wei, Shara Nova, Molly Joyce, and Ken Thomson. Guest composers will be online to introduce their works. The 6-hour live Marathon will be hosted by Bang on a Can Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who say:

"Bang on a Can means a lot of things to us. It means live performance in front of enthusiastic audiences, which none of us can really have right now. It means music-curious people rubbing elbows with each other, in packed concert halls, talking to each other about the role that music plays in their lives, which we can't have now either.  But it also means supporting a community of artists, commissioning new work from composers, providing live paid performance opportunities to amazing musicians, and introducing listeners worldwide to music that can change their lives. Those are things we can do now! And they are things we need now."

For complete information, visit

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

YPC Joins Festival Napa Valley Remote Ensemble for Performance of "Va, pensiero"
Though Festival Napa Valley has postponed its 2020 season until 2021, all of the festival's scheduled artists, including the Young People's Chorus of New York City, as well as the community of festival artists from past seasons have joined forces in a virtual ensemble in a stirring performance of Giuseppe Verdi's "Va, pensiero." With well over 100 artists from eight countries on five continents, this inspiring aria from Verdi's opera Nabucco has been synchronized into one collective performance under conductor Zach Salsburg-Frank. The artists are dedicating this performance to the essential workers whose heroic efforts safeguard our communities' health and safety.

Watch and listen here:

--Young People's Chorus of New York City

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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