Classical Music News of the Week, June 20, 2020

Six Composers Selected for New Music USA's "Amplifying Voices" Program

New Music USA announces six composers who have been co-commissioned to write new orchestral works through its "Amplifying Voices" program, supported by the Sphinx Venture Fund. Composers Valerie Coleman, Juan Pablo Contreras, Tania León, Brian Raphael Nabors, Tyshawn Sorey, and Shelley Washington will each write new works to be premiered during the 2021-22 season and performed by a total of at least 24 orchestras. Each of the six composer's pieces will be performed by a minimum of four orchestras.

"Amplifying Voices" fosters collaboration and collective action toward equitable representation of composers in classical music. It was initiated by New Music USA last fall, with support from the Sphinx Venture Fund being confirmed in December 2019. Through a national call launched in January 2020, New Music USA asked orchestras to come forward with proposals for co-commissions and a commitment to promoting existing repertoire that deserves further performances.

The lead orchestras co-commissioning new works are The Philadelphia Orchestra commissioning Valerie Coleman, the Las Vegas Philharmonic commissioning Juan Pablo Contreras, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra commissioning Tania León, the Berkeley Symphony commissioning Brian Raphael Nabors, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra commissioning Tyshawn Sorey, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra commissioning Shelley Washington. Leadership at each orchestra will also work with their partner composer to increase the programming of works in their mainstream seasons by composers of all generations whose voices have not been represented in orchestral programming.

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Third Edition of Mozaic Moments with Scott Yoo
n this third edition of Mozaic Moments, Music Director Scott Yoo looks back to a performance of Erwin Schulhoff's Concertino, a unique piece for flute, viola, and double bass.  Performed at the 2019 summer festival, this performance featured flutist Alice K. Dade, violist Maurycy Banaszek, and bassist Susan Cahill.

Festival Mozaic has been a part of San Luis Obispo for 50 years, and we are proud to present the greatest musicians from throughout the world on our stages. We know that this is a pale substitute for an in-person concert, but we look forward to live performances resuming very soon.

Watch now:

--Festival Mozaic

Charles Overton's "Morning Meditation"
Today we at Experiential Orchestra are taking a moment to reflect on the past six meditations, and to share two conversations that you might be interested to hear.

On Friday, June 12th, as a part of my role as Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, I invited three Johnstown community leaders to have a conversation called "A Time to Listen," an open-ended discussion of how music and our orchestra can help play a role in bringing that community closer together.

That conversation is available here:

The other video I want to call to your attention is by Young Concert Artists, in what they describe as a "roundtable discussion on the nuances of the Black experience in classical music and beyond." It is a powerful gathering and I believe it is an important conversation to take some time to listen to. Link here:

Finally, below are all of our meditations thus far. We have many more wonderful pieces commissioned from partners across the country, and you'll be hearing those new pieces premiered over the course of the next 12 weeks. Thank you for all your support of these projects, and the ones to come!

Latest addition in "Morning Meditation," Charles Overton's Harp Meditation:

--James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra

Music on the Rebound and ICE Host The World Wide Heart Chant
On Sunday June 21, 2020 at 5pm EDT, Music on the Rebound and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) host The World Wide Heart Chant. IONE, Claire Chase, and Raquel Acevedo Klein lead a global performance of the late Pauline Oliveros's "Heart Chant" as part of Make Music Day, a global celebration inviting all ages and skill levels to learn and perform music on the summer solstice.

The "Heart Chant" is one of composer Pauline Oliveros's "Deep Listening" meditations, her practice of "listening in every possible way to everything possible, to hear no matter what you are doing." Musicians and non-musicians alike are invited to join via Zoom for this special version of Pauline's piece to sing together from their personal phone or computer. No music experience is necessary. Initially written in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, this performance of the Heart Chant joins hearts, minds, and voices with Black Lives Matter in unity with the global initiative to redress social injustice and institute lasting moral reform.


--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Colburn School Community School of Performing Arts Offers Online Summer Camps
The Colburn Community School of Performing Arts has revamped its traditional summer programs with new and expanded online camps, workshops and intensives aimed at engaging students at home while still providing world-class arts education. Open to all and held remotely, Summer at Colburn welcomes students to participate from anywhere in the world. Please click here for specific program dates, requirements, and enrollment details.

There are four new offerings, perfectly suited for remote instruction: Brass Bonanza, Percussion Workshop, Introduction to Music Production, and College Audition Prep for Singers.

Please click here for specific program dates, requirements, and enrollment details:

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Washington Performing Arts Announces All-Online "Home Delivery Plus" Series
Washington Performing Arts (WPA) today announced Home Delivery Plus, a new online series of performances and companion experiences beginning in early 2021. An extension of the Home Delivery online programming launched on the WPA website earlier this month, Home Delivery Plus offers a variety of paid/ticketed digital packages that feature international, national, and local artists streamed in live or newly recorded performances; companion educational resources and activities; and "backstage" experiences offering a window into the artistic process. Prompted by this time of coronavirus, the series is nevertheless designed with the digital future of the performing arts in mind—as a complement to (not a replacement for) traditional live, in-person performance.

The series spotlights WPA's historic commitment to collaborating with artists and engaging with partners and audiences throughout its community. The performance elements of each ticketed, digital package will be streamed with the production set-up and audio/video quality required for a high-level online concert experience. At such point in the series as local health authorities and venue hosts judge it is safe for live audiences to gather for physically distanced performances, patrons may be welcomed to purchase separate tickets to attend in person, even as the digital programming continues.

Further details will be announced over the summer. For the most up-to-date information, please visit

--Camille Devlin, Bucklesweet

Caramoor Presents Two Premieres by Anna Clyne Via Livestream
This summer, Caramoor presents two live-streamed premieres by Grammy-nominated composer Anna Clyne as part of its Summer 20/2.0. Both works are inspired by Beethoven's music in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth. On Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:00pm, the Calidore String Quartet performs the New York premiere of Clyne's "Breathing Statues" and on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 7:00pm, members of The Knights give the world premiere of her "Shorthand for solo cello and string quintet."

Calidore String Quartet
Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:00pm
Livestream link:

Musicians from The Knights
Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 7:00pm
Livestream link:

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Colorado Music Festival Announces Virtual Summer Concerts
Colorado Music Festival (CMF) presents six virtual concerts on Thursday evenings from June 25 through July 30, featuring unique performances by guest artists from around the world and Colorado Music Festival's orchestra members.

Under the direction of Peter Oundjian, CMF music director, the virtual concerts bring together world-class musicians to perform exceptional pieces in intimate settings.

All virtual performances will be accessible on demand via Colorado Music Festival's website,, and are presented for free as a sign of gratitude to donors, subscribers, ticket buyers and the community.

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

July 5 on PBS: Der Fliegende Holländer from The Met
This season of "Great Performances at the Met" continues Sunday, July 5 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Wagner's eerie early masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer.

Evgeny Nikitin stars as the cursed Dutchman, alongside Anja Kampe as Senta with Franz-Josef Selig as Daland and Sergey Skorokhodov as Erik. Valery Gergiev conducts, and Lisette Oropesa hosts.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Semyon Bychkov Conducts the Czech Philharmonic
Performing to an audience in excess of 500, the Czech Philharmonic's concert on Wednesday 24 June is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown which started with two players wearing masks and has built to an orchestra of 62 players. With borders opening across the Schengen area on 15 June, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic.

Held in the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague, the performance will be conducted by Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov in his first appearance with the Orchestra since the start of the pandemic. Current regulations stipulate that audience seating will be arranged 20 centimetres apart and regulations on masks are being relaxed all the time.

The concert – on the evening of Midsummer's Day - opens appropriately with Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture and Scherzo followed by Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E flat major. Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 will close the concert which will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic's Facebook.

Sychrov Castle, Czech Republic
Wednesday 24 June 2020 streamed live from 8pm CET
For complete information, visit

--Moe Faulkner, Macbeth Media

Orli Shaham "MidWeek Mozart"
This week pianist Orli Shaham brings you the first movement of Mozart's Sonata No.17, K. 570, with "MidWeek Mozart." Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, June 17.

Stream here:

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

IDAGIO Launches in Japan and Announces Live Concerts in the Global Concert Hall
To coincide with the live video stream of the Vienna Philharmonic's subscription concert in IDAGIO's Global Concert Hall on June 21, 11 am CEST, the classical music streaming platform will for the first time be available in Japan. This international expansion will give music lovers in Japan access not only to IDAGIO's Global Concert Hall, launched just three weeks ago, but also to its groundbreaking audio streaming service: a classical catalogue of over 2 million tracks in CD-quality sound distinguished by superior metadata, a search tailor-made for classical, and expert curation.


--IDAGIO Communications

Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson's Win MCANA's Best New Opera Award
The Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) is pleased to announce that its 2020 Award for Best New Opera has been given to composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson for Blue.

This marks MCANA's 4th Annual Award for Best New Opera, a major recognition given annually by an Awards Committee of distinguished music critics. Honoring an opera premiered in either the United States or Canada, it is the only such award in the U.S., and one of the few in the world that simultaneously recognizes both composer and librettist. The MCANA committee completed its deliberations and made the selection of Blue as the winner on March 12—long before the current turmoil stemming from the police killing of George Floyd.

Watch Glimmerglass's promo video of Blue:

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Berkeley Symphony Announces Brian Raphael Nabors Co-Commission
Berkeley Symphony announced today the co-commissioning of a new orchestral work by composer Brian Raphael Nabors as part of New Music USA's "Amplifying Voices" program, supported by the Sphinx Venture Fund. As one of six lead orchestras co-commissioning six new works for orchestra, Berkeley Symphony will premiere the new work during the 2021-2022 season.

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of June 22-28)
Monday, June 22 – Sunday, June 28:
MTT25: An Online Tribute series continues to celebrate Michael Tilson Thomas's 25-year music directorship at the San Francisco Symphony.

Monday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh speaks and performs at online conference "Orchestrating Isolation: Musical Interventions and Inequality in the COVID-19 Fallout," organized by University of London.

Monday, June 22 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera's Staying Alive series celebrates Pride Month with tenor Sam Briggs performing Bernstein's "Something's Coming."

Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera presents tenor David Portillo, singing a selection from Tobias Picker's new opera Awakenings.

Friday, June 26 at 10:00 a.m. PT:
Coffee with Conlon, presented by LA Opera.

Friday, June 26 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Baritone Lucia Lucas performs in Tulsa Opera's "Staying Alive" series in celebration of Pride Month.

Friday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room.

Sunday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET:
MTT25: An Online Tribute Event for Michael Tilson Thomas, presented by San Francisco Symphony.

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

--Shuman Associates

Miró Quartet To Perform Complete Beethoven String Quartets
For their first major project since the coronavirus outbreak, the Miró Quartet will come together in-person to perform all sixteen Beethoven string quartets and the Grosse Fuge live for online audiences via the streaming platform Since mid-March, members of the Quartet have been apart, isolating separately at home with their families. Upon reuniting for this series, they will follow strict protocols in their daily lives to mitigate the risk of virus transmission amongst themselves.

Presented by the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, this 12-evening, subscription-based concert series is scheduled for July 16 to August 8: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. PT.

For more information, visit

--Shuman Associates

Semyon Bychkov and Czech Philharmonic To Perform Open Air Concert
Held on the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague for an in-person audience of more than 500, the Czech Philharmonic's Open Air Concert 2020 on Wednesday, June 24, at 8:00 p.m. CET / 2:00 p.m. ET is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown, starting with two players wearing masks and now growing to an orchestra of 62 players.

With borders opening across the Schengen area on June 15, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic. The event will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic's Facebook page ( For the Facebook event page, click here:

--Shuman Associates

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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