Classical Music News of the Week, October 31, 2020

Pianist Sarah Cahill's Fall Virtual Concerts
 
Sarah Cahill, described as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by The New York Times, announces performance highlights between November 15 and December 19, 2020, including concerts presented by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England, Old First Concerts, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Ross McKee Foundation, Amateur Music Network, and Community School of Music & Arts.
 
Cahill’s recent and upcoming streaming speaking engagements have included a two-day discussion presented by the Boulanger Initiative, “The Future is Female: In Conversation and Performance” (watch online); a Piano Talk presented by the Ross McKee Foundation titled “Challenging the Canon” (watch online); a panel presented by American Composers Forum on Advocating for Gender Equity; and a webinar presented by the San Francisco Symphony, “Five Composers You Should Know (Who Happen to be Women)” (November 10). Her previous streamed performances this year have included the Bang on a Can Marathon in June, a concert presented by Harrison House in Joshua Tree as part of Cahill’s residency there (watch online), as well as appearances streamed by Musaics of the Bay and Old First Concerts.
 
In addition, thus far in 2020 Sarah Cahill has commissioned five new works for solo piano by composers Frederic Rzewski, Robert Pollock, Mary Watkins, Regina Harris Baiocchi, and Michelle Li. With violinist Kate Stenberg, she has commissioned composers Pamela Z, Roscoe Mitchell, and Maija Hynninen; and with Regina Myers, she has commissioned Riley Nicholson’s Up for two pianos.
 
Committed to continuing to reach audiences during these challenging times for live performance, all of Cahill’s fall appearances will be online. Her next scheduled in-person performance is currently March 6, 2021 at the Barbican Centre in London, where she will present a marathon version of her program “The Future is Female,” an immersive listening experience featuring more than sixty compositions by women from around the globe.
 
Sarah Cahill’s radio show, “Revolutions Per Minute,” can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco. The program focuses on the relationships between classical music and new music, encompassing interviews with musicians and composers, historical performances, and recordings outside the mainstream. Cahill is on the piano faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, video artist John Sanborn, and daughter.
 
For more information, visit http://www.sarahcahill.com/
 
--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists
 
A Platform for Our Voices and Performances Is Here
For the last five months, we at Young People’s Chorus of New York City have been hard at work creating YPC's exciting new multimedia platform. It's called “In the Key of Love,” and I am so excited to share it with you! 
 
“In the Key of Love” will give you an immersive look into the world and talent of YPC, from the voices of our diverse choristers, to amazing projects from our alumni and panel discussions on bringing inclusion to the arts—it will all be showcased and celebrated here.
 
On this platform, we are premiering our new album Heroes, dedicated to New York City’s essential workers. You will also find “Just Songs,” a project featuring brand new compositions and performances from our alumni surrounding social causes. We are bringing the power of our past performances into your home and inviting guests from different disciplines to take on issues centered on equity and inclusion and reimagining the arts. And that’s just the beginning…
 
A virtual global stage, a celebration of our diversity, a platform for our choristers' voices, ”In the Key of Love” is all this and more.
 
For more information, visit https://ypc.org/
 
--Francisco J. Nunez, Founder and Artistic Director
 
PROTOTYPE: Opera | Theattre | Now Announces Ninth Annual Festival
PROTOTYPE: Opera | Theatre | Now, Beth Morrison Projects and HERE’s annual festival announces its ninth season, January 8-16 2021.
 
The season, curated by festival directors Jecca Barry, Kristin Marting, and Beth Morrison, has been completely re-envisioned following the COVID-19 crisis, responding to the seismic events of the present moment in a way that would be impossible under normal circumstances, when works are often created over the course of several years. The result is a series of multi-disciplinary, cross-platform events that expand the technological boundaries of opera-theatre and music-theatre, and offer a new vision for the audience experience.
 
PROTOTYPE launches January 8, 2021. The multi-screen film and music installation Ocean Body will also premiere on January 9 at HERE. In-person by appointment audiences of eight people at a time will experience an audiovisual experience crafted by composer/vocalists Helga Davis and Shara Nova, director-filmmaker Mark DeChiazza, and visual artist Annica Cuppetelli. The emotionally-charged installation will combine four video screens with surround sound audio, growing from the longstanding musical and personal relationship between Davis and Nova.
 
Entrance for all shows must be reserved in advance, and can be secured beginning November 16 by visiting http://prototypefestival.org/
 
--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media
 
The Washington Chorus: Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow
Influenced by stories of hope and the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Black community, The Washington Chorus and Artistic Director Dr. Eugene Rogers commissioned composer Damien Geter and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Bob Berg to produce a short music film. Cantata For A More Hopeful Tomorrow is led by Dr. Rogers and features soprano Aundi Marie Moore, cellist Seth Parker Woods, and over 100 singers of The Washington Chorus. The film premieres via live stream on Saturday November 14 at 7.30pm, on the Vimeo platform via TicketSpice, and will thereafter be available via Vimeo+ on demand and other streaming services.
 
The 25-minute, heart-rending film portrays a love story of a couple separated by coronavirus. An elderly African American husband, Martin Rogers, has been diagnosed with severe COVID-19. His wife Michelle, fights to save his life by showing him how much he has to live for.
 
Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow
World premiere debut online: Saturday, November 14, 2020 – 7:30 pm Eastern.
Tickets: $15 (streaming on Vimeo via the TicketSpice platform).
 
On-demand streaming through Vimeo+ and other platforms will be available starting Sunday, November 15 – full details at https://thewashingtonchorus.org/.
 
--Amy Killian, Bucklesweet Media
 
Lisa Brown Joins Music Institute as Sr. Development Director
The Music Institute of Chicago announces that Lisa Brown will join the institution as Senior Director of Development, effective November 2, 2020. Brown will serve as a member of the organization’s senior management team and be responsible for a broad range of fundraising and donor relations initiatives.
 
President and CEO Dr. Mark George stated, “I am absolutely thrilled that Lisa has joined our team. Her approach to fundraising is both thoughtful and high-energy, and I know she will advance the mission of our organization as we head toward our 90th anniversary in 2021.”
 
For more information, visit https://www.musicinst.org/
 
--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications
 
Colburn School and Sphinx Organization Form Partnership
The Colburn School, a leader in music and dance education based in Los Angeles, and the Sphinx Organization, a non-profit organization based in Detroit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts, have formed a partnership aimed at creating new opportunities on the West Coast for emerging young Black and Latinx musicians and arts professionals.
 
Beginning in 2021, Colburn will provide full scholarships in its Music Academy program to pre-collegiate musicians who are winners and semi-finalists in the Junior Division of the Sphinx Competition; present the Sphinx Virtuosi in a residency that encompasses performance, education, and community engagement; and host the first West Coast retreat for the Sphinx LEAD cohort. Designed as a long-term collaborative partnership, the two organizations will explore additional opportunities to engage, develop, and empower young artists of color.
 
Each year, more than 2,000 students from around the world come to Colburn to benefit from the renowned faculty, exceptional facilities, and focus on excellence that unites the community. Learn more at https://www.colburnschool.edu/.
 
--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications
 
What's Streaming: Classical (Week of November 2–8)
Friday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Jennifer Koh premieres Tyshawn Sorey Violin Concerto with Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
https://www.dso.org/watch/1062832
 
Friday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. CT
Minnesota Orchestra performs music by Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Nebojša Jovan Živkovic, and Louis W. Ballard.
https://minnesotaorchestra.org/
 
Saturday, November 7 at 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PT (time period for full seminar)
James Conlon discusses pioneering Black composer Joseph Bologne, and his opera The Anonymous Lover as part of LA Opera web seminar.
https://www.laopera.org/community/learn-at-home-grown-up-edition/play-on-salons/anonymous-lover-and-joseph-bologne/
 
Saturday, November 7 at 3:00 p.m. PT
Lara Downes premieres Stephanie Ann Boyd's My Grandmother's Garden as part of Festival of New American Music.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCkUcxSmqmVCRoYhOLAYJDw
 
Saturday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Jen Shyu’s composition “Jum Jeng Yi (Fortune Teller)” performed by Olivia de Prato as part of Festival of New American Music.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCkUcxSmqmVCRoYhOLAYJDw
 
Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET
The Gilmore presents Pierre Laurent-Aimard in recital.
https://www.thegilmore.org/event/pierre-laurent-aimard/
 
--Shuman Associates News
 
Heartbeat Opera announces "Breathing Free"
Heartbeat Opera--the radical indie opera company "leading the charge in online opera" (Parterre) with "groundbreaking" virtual content (Operawire) that is "hacking the corporate contours of Zoom into a postmodern proscenium” (Washington Post)--announces Breathing Free, an ambitious six-part virtual series from December 4-12, dedicated to the celebration of Black artistic voices.
 
Breathing Free builds on Heartbeat's 2018 collaboration with 100 incarcerated singers in six prison choirs, part of a contemporary Fidelio told through the lens of Black Lives Matter—a production that left Alex Ross of The New Yorker "blindsided by its impact." Now, in a year of George Floyd’s murder, a pandemic which ravages our prison population, and the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth—Heartbeat curates a song cycle brought to life in vivid music videos, mingling excerpts from Fidelio with songs by Black composers and lyricists, which together manifest a dream of justice and equity.
 
This 45-minute "visual album" features three singers, three dancers, eight instrumentalists, and a robust creative production team. Rehearsed remotely on Zoom, the cast has recorded their individual audio tracks at home, with the music team then layering the tracks together. Heartbeat's filmmaker Anaiis Cisco collaborates with cinematographers to film the performers in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
 
For complete information, visit https://www.heartbeatopera.org/
 
--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.
 
Orion Performs Brahms, Arutiunian
Following a successful return to the stage in October, The Orion Ensemble performs again this fall for a limited in-person and unlimited virtual audience on Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
 
The program includes Trio No. 1 in B Major for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 8 by Johannes Brahms; composed in 1853-4 and revised 35 years later, it is a deep and mature work that nonetheless exudes youthful energy. The Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano (1992) by Alexander Arutiunian, commissioned by the Verdehr Trio, contains moods ranging from emotionally tense to lyrical. Verdehr members have written that its final movement "contains elements of Armenian dance rhythms with their capricious pulse and unexpected irregularities in a freely improvised melodic style."
 
A maximum of 20 people may attend in person at PianoForte Studios; audience members must wear masks at all times, and, while family groups may sit together, different audience members/groups will be seated at least six feet apart. Extra masks and hand sanitizer will be available. The livestream will be available on Orion's YouTube channel, which will also host a recording of the performance for a limited time.
 
The Orion Ensemble performs Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Limited in-person tickets are $25 for advance purchase only at 630-628-9591 or https://www.orionensemble.org/.
 
Virtual access is free; donations are welcome. The livestream will be available on Orion's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4yVkS6Pp0wzG6HxxXGe1SA.
 
--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications
 
CMS Presents the Work of Contemporary Composers
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) is thrilled to present two online series this season dedicated to living composers and their work: New Milestones and Composers in Focus.  Both series are being offered for free and include newly-recorded and archival performances of music; interviews and conversations with composers and musicians; documentary film; and online resource guides for audiences. Once again, CMS has moved forward, in the midst of a pandemic, with new approaches to programming, like their intimate online concert series that continue bringing music, musicians, composers and audiences closer, even as they are physically kept apart.
 
New Milestones, which is primarily a concert experience, supplemented with informational material to provide context, explores and unpacks the work of a wide-ranging selection of international composers: Eleanor Alberga, Andreia Pinto Correia, Patrick Castillo, Zosha Di Castri, Dai Fujikura, Helen Grime, Malika Kishino, Olivier Messiaen, Jessie Montgomery, Juri Seo, Alvin Singleton, Toru Takemitsu, Alejandro Viñao, Thomas Meadowcroft,  and Trevor Weston. This group consciously includes women and people of color, but is also diverse in other ways; there are newcomers and standard-bearers; lovers of tonal melody and artists embracing dissonance; and important composers from the U.S. and many representing other parts of the world, notably Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Jamaica, Japan, Portugal, and Scotland.
 
All events are available for free, beginning Monday, November 16, at https://www.chambermusicsociety.org/.
 
--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates
 
The Show Must Go On(line)!
Last spring, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) joined the rest of the nation – and the world – in struggling to meet the new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the many challenges, NYO Canada was determined not to let down the deserving and gifted young musicians who had worked so hard to earn a place for its 60th anniversary season and international tour.
 
In just a few short weeks, NYO launched a successful 45-day online musical training and professional development session, providing a much-needed lifeline for these newly-isolated young musicians. Now, for its 61st season, NYO Canada is poised to launch a comprehensive “cancel-proof” training institute, with expanded programs, scholarships for all, and masterclasses with international marquee artists – while preparing musicians to be performance-ready, as soon as it is possible to reunite in person.
 
Applications for NYO 2021, are open starting November 1st through to January 1st. For more information. visit https://nyoc.org/auditions/2021-preview/.
 
--Shira Gilbert PR
 
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein in Six Upcoming Virtual Performances
Committed to continuing to reach audiences during these challenging times for live performance, Simone Dinnerstein announces virtual performance highlights between October 31, 2020 and January 8, 2021, including concerts presented online by Dumbarton Oaks, the Boulder Philharmonic, ArtsRock, Oregon Bach Festival, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and Music Worcester. Dinnerstein’s repertoire for the fall season is wide ranging and includes music by Philip Glass, Richard Danielpour, J.S. Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Satie, and Couperin.
 
The concerts follow shortly after the release of Dinnerstein’s latest album, A Character of Quiet, by Orange Mountain Music on September 18. The new album includes Philip Glass’s Etudes No. 16, No. 6 and No. 2 paired with Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960. Dinnerstein recorded it over the course of two evenings at her home in Brooklyn in June 2020, during the quiet of the New York City lockdown, with her longtime producer and friend Adam Abeshouse. It reached the number one spot on the Billboard Classical Chart, and was described by NPR as, “music that speaks to a sense of the world slowing down,” and by The New Yorker as, “a reminder that quiet can contain multitudes.”
 
For more information, visit https://www.simonedinnerstein.com/
 
--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists
 
Joyce DiDonato: "Sing For Today" Series Launched
Princeton University Concerts, in partnership with University Musical Society (University of Michigan), is excited to announce the launch of "Sing For Today," a new digital initiative conceived by and featuring multiple Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
 
In the first of what will be a series of videos that respond to global events through song and dialogue, DiDonato--inspired by the patriotic energy of this current moment--sings "This Land Is Your Land," followed by a conversation with Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, and members of the Poll Hero Project Kai Tsurumaki (Princeton University Class of 2023) and Saika Islam (University of Michigan Class of 2021).
 
There is a trailer for the project circulating on our social media channels; the full song and conversation can be accessed here: http://princetonuniversityconcerts.princeton.edu/blog/entry/sing-for-today
 
--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

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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

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa