Classical Music News of the Week, April 4, 2020

Enjoy David Korevaar's 32 Beethoven Piano Sonata Challenge

During this unusual time of social distancing due to CO-VID 19, acclaimed pianist David Korevaar has created a personal challenge to perform, record, and share 32 Beethoven Sonatas in 60 days.  As his April 3rd performances of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 were canceled, Korevaar crafted a unique alternative to celebrate the composer's 250th birthday.

Recorded for the public in his living room in Colorado with no edits and minimal equipment, Korevaar would like to invite you to dive into the wonder of the Beethoven sonatas during this time of uncertainty.  Please be forgiving of the piano tuning as his local piano tuners were social distancing too!

Click on the attached link for the first installment of David Korevaar performing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Op. 2 and feel free to share!

Please visit  for his daily installments and feel free to share.

--Genevieve Spielberg Inc.

Explore, Discover and Enjoy Classical Music from Nimbus Records
Discover Classical Music: 10 CDs for £10.00.

Whilst we all stock up on essentials and prepare for social isolation we may start to crave the interaction and excitement of new experiences. We will miss meeting our friends, sharing a meal and a bottle of wine, enjoying the cinema, theatre and concert hall. As an entertainment business I hope we can help by delivering a series of special offers aimed at allowing you to Explore, Discover and Enjoy some lesser know recordings from Nimbus and our partner labels.

This first offer is a leap of faith. Click the link for our £10.00 DISCOVER CLASSICAL NI1565 set* and we will pick ten random discs from across the Classical Music warehouse. All will be from current in stock items and I am sure they will keep you entertained and amused for several days. If you only enjoy half of the discs in the box you can pass the others on to neighbours and keep paying the goodwill forward.

In the coming weeks we will be offering similar options for our Jazz, World Music, Living Composers and Nostalgia catalogues plus some special deals from CRD, Lyrita, Nimbus and Hallé.

Shop now:

--Nimbus Records

Violinist Jennifer Koh Launches Online Commissioning Project and Performance Series
In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the financial hardship it has placed on many in the arts community, violinist Jennifer Koh launches "Alone Together," an online commissioning project that brings composers together in support of the many freelancers among them.

Twenty-one composers, most of whom have salaried positions or other forms of institutional support to carry them through this challenging time, have each agreed to donate a new, 30-second micro-work for solo violin, while also recommending a fellow freelance composer to write their own 30-second solo violin work on paid commission from the artist-driven nonprofit ARCO Collaborative. Starting this week, Ms. Koh will premiere a selection of these donated and commissioned works each Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET via Instagram TV (@jenniferkohmusic) and Facebook Live (/jenniferkohviolin). Each performance will be subsequently available on demand via YouTube (/jenniferkohviolin). She will also share related content throughout the week leading up to each performance, including insights from each composer, behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, and each musical score posted on social media.

For further information, visit

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

International Student Swan Project
The Swan Project: 24 cellists from all over the globe perform Saint-Saëns's The Swan:

It's an extraordinarily beautiful effort created by a Chicago-area (Palatine) student, Cameron Chiu, in the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college musicians. Chiu explains that it's "a collaborative video showcasing the power and connectivity of music in unprecedented times like this. Last week, Brandon Cheng and I began recruiting cellists from around the nation, reaching out to friends from camps, festivals, etc. to put a video like this together. But as COVID-19 grips the entire world, we decided to make this an international effort. 24 cellists from around the world...Please like and share!

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Philip Glass's Akhnaten on PBS
Four-time Grammy nominee Philip Glass's "Great Performances at the Met: Akhnaten" airs Sunday, April 5 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo stars as the legendary pharaoh, Akhnaten, alongside J'nai Bridges as Nefertiti with Dísella Lárusdóttir as Queen Tye and Zachary James as Amenhotep III. Karen Kamensek conducts in her Metropolitan Opera debut, and internationally acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato—the star of the Met's new production of Agrippina—is program host.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Chicago's Bach Week Festival Postponed
The 2020 Bach Week Festival has been postponed. New dates have yet to be announced.

Among other things, Bach Week Festival was to unveil 2020 season, with concerts in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois. It was also to feature the 47th annual Baroque music series' first mainstage period-instrument concert, offering J.S. Bach cantatas, a motet, and sonata for flute and harpsichord.

We look forward to announcing the later date.

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR, a New Online Classical Channel and Streaming Service Debuts
Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT,, a new online channel and streaming service, will bring together some of the industry's biggest stars for a virtual benefit concert. All proceeds will go to the Artist Relief Tree, a fund created in the past few weeks to financially support artists who are affected by cancellations due to COVID-19.

The concert will feature pianists Emanuel Ax and Jon Kimura Parker, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. Tickets are available on the website (, with contributions beginning at $5.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected all of our lives, classical musicians and audiences among them. We're thrilled and grateful to be working with this wonderful group of artists, who are all generously donating their time, to bring live music to viewers everywhere while raising much needed funds to support the classical musicians who currently lack the ability to earn a living," says John Zion, Managing Director of MKI Artists and co-founder. is a new online channel and streaming service that promotes the creation and widespread distribution of high quality, live classical music by uniting artists, presenters, and audiences. It allows performers to share their art from almost any setting, whether from home using a computer or smartphone, or from a studio or venue with a professional, multi-camera set-up. Performances can be viewed on a computer, tablet, mobile device, or cast to a television. In the near future, they will also be available via services like Roku or Amazon Fire.

For details, visit

--Allison Van Etten and Jane Covner for

Music Institute 2020 Gala Canceled, Instruction Continues
Due to official restrictions on large gatherings and the need to combat COVID-19 with social-distancing, the Music Institute of Chicago has canceled its Anniversary Gala, which was scheduled April 20 at the Four Seasons in Chicago. We are heartbroken not to be able to join with friends, celebrate our honorees, and perform music to benefit our talented students. The Gala is the largest source of support for our financial aid, merit scholarship, and community service programs.

Canceling the Gala does not eliminate the needs of our students and our community. We have continued to operate our school, delivering lessons and classes through interactive videoconferencing. In addition, our students are using this technology and finding ways to connect and share their music with isolated seniors.

With that in mind, we hope those who love and appreciate having music in their lives will consider a donation to the 2020 Anniversary Gala ( as a fully tax-deductible contribution to the Music Institute of Chicago.

We know now more than ever that music brings us comfort and nourishes the human spirit. Contributions ensure that the Music Institute will be strong and able to celebrate our 90th anniversary in 2021.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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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