Classical Music News of the Week, November 7, 2020

Brickyard Broadcast by Lisa Bielawa

The North Carolina State University Department of Music, with additional support from the Raleigh Civic Symphony Association and the Concert Singers of Cary, has commissioned acclaimed composer Lisa Bielawa to create Brickyard Broadcast, a spatialized work for hundreds of musicians that will have its world premiere in a Virtual Reality (VR) environment designed by the digital media teams at the NC State University Libraries.

The NC State Department of Music will present a live online premiere event and panel discussion on Thursday, November 12 at 6pm ET with composer Lisa Bielawa; Department of Music faculty Dr. Peter Askim, director of orchestral studies; and Dr. Nathan Leaf, director of choral activities for NC State and artistic director of Concert Singers of Cary. The link to join the event will be posted at After the discussion, viewers will enter the VR Brickyard environment built by the NC State University Libraries to experience the world premiere of Brickyard Broadcast, performed by the NC State orchestras (Raleigh Civic Symphony and Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra), the NC State choirs (State Chorale, Vox Accalia and Singing Statesmen), and the Concert Singers of Cary. Following the VR experience of the performance, audience members can join Askim, Leaf and Bielawa again for a question and answer session.

Brickyard Broadcast uses technology and interactivity to reinterpret the North Carolina State University Brickyard, the university’s beloved and iconic gathering area outside of D.H. Hill Jr. Library, as a virtual space in which the musical performance will unfold. Hundreds of audio recordings are being integrated into the work, created over the course of the fall 2020 semester by individual student and community musicians playing and singing in isolation. Jason Evans Groth, Digital Media Librarian; Colin Keenan, University Libraries Specialist; and Kyle Langdon, University Library Specialist and Audio Engineer; along with Ian Boyd, NC State University Library Specialist and Sarah Hassan, NC State University Libraries Pentair Fellow, have created the VR environment.

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

YPC Alumna Jordan Reynoso's "Grown": Now Streaming
“Just Songs” (Unplugged) is a new series of original songs written and performed by Young People’s Chorus of NYC talent and inspired by the significant issues of social equity facing our communities. This week, we’re featuring “Grown,” from New York City born-and-bred artist, JORDAN. Inspired by the nostalgic feeling of looking at old photos, JORDAN's song sheds a light on those transitional moments in life to which we can all relate.

Play the song here: - songs

--Young People’s Chorus of New York City

Bruce Lamott to Retire as Director of Philharmonia Chorale
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) announced that Bruce Lamott, director of the Philharmonia Chorale, is retiring after 23 years.

Lamott first performed with PBO in 1989 as continuo harpsichordist for Handel’s Giustino and became Chorale director in 1997; he has led the Chorale for nearly its entire lifespan, honing its 24 voices into an instrument in and of itself, matching the caliber of the Orchestra. In 2015, PBO updated its name to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale to reflect the Chorale’s excellence and equal role in music-making within the institution. The Chorale has been endowed since 2007, another affirmation of its worth and superior artistry, and the Robert and Laura Cory Chorale Director chair was established in 2011.

While concert halls remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Music Director Richard Egarr will take over Lamott’s duties, leading both the Orchestra and Chorale in the first season that live performances are allowed to resume. An international search for Lamott’s replacement will begin during that time.

For more information, visit

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

SF Girls Chorus Presents Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans
The San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) joins forces with Ars Minerva on Friday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m. with a unique video project that combines excerpts from Antonio Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans alongside arias by women composers of the Baroque era.

Rather than a virtual approximation of a more traditionally staged performance, this presentation will adapt carefully-curated selections from Juditha Triumphans into a virtual production and documentary featuring video clips, artwork and movement edited by One to One Box videographer Mike Axinn. SFGC Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe and Ars Minerva Stage Director and Artistic Director Céline Ricci welcome Bay Area harpsichordist Corey Jamason as guest artist in a program that also features Barbara Strozzi’s Cosi non la voglio and Mercé di voi as well as Isabella Leonarda’s O dilecto O amatissime Jesu. This virtual performance will be livestreamed on YouTube and is free to watch with a suggested donation of $25.

For more information, visit

--Brenden Guy PR

“The Crossing Votes: 2020” Features Four New Films
Grammy-winning new-music choir The Crossing has released “The Crossing Votes: 2020,” a series of four new short films continuing the ensemble’s commitment to reporting and responding to the times in which we live.

“The Crossing Votes: 2020” includes two world premieres, written for the project – Robert Maggio’s Democracy and Ayanna Woods’ Shift – plus Nicholas Cline’s she took his hands (2017) and David Lang’s stateless (2019), all addressing issues in the national discourse leading up to Election Day. All four films premiered at 5:38am ET, representing the 538 electoral votes, on the morning of their release on the choir’s Facebook, YouTube Live, and website.

View all four films now at

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Shai Wosner Named 2020–23 Resident Artist of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Pianist Shai Wosner commences his three-year term as Resident Artist of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (PSC) on Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the opening concert of PSC’s virtual 120th anniversary season.

This program serves as a passing of the baton from 2017–20 Resident Ensemble the Dover String Quartet to Mr. Wosner, who joins the ensemble in a performance of Dvorák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81. He also performs Brahms’s Intermezzo Op. 116, No. 2.

For more information, visit or

--Shuman Associates News

Music with a View Presents Violist Sarah Greene
Please join us on Sunday November 8, 2020, at 2pm for the Music with a View Concert No.3 sponsored by IN.LIVE.

The featured Guest Artists will be Sarah Michelle Greene, violist, accompanied by Steven Greene, pianist. in two gorgeous Romantic works for Viola and Piano: Cesar Franck's Sonata in A major, and York Bowen's Sonata No.1 in C minor.

This concert will be professionally audio-video recorded and livestreamed on the newest high-tech live stream platform, based in Silicon-Valley, IN.LIVE.

Tickets are just $15 each, for unlimited views, available at this direct link:

You may also purchase a subscription for the Music with a View Concert Series presented by Sheridan Music Studio here:

--Sheridan Music Studio

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of November 9–15)
Monday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Shai Wosner joins Orion Weiss in duo-piano recital for Music Mondays.

Tuesday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. CT
Tulsa Opera LIVE presents Tobias Picker in conversation with James Robinson.

Tuesday, November 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Wu Man and Aga Khan Master Musicians at Dartmouth College.

Wednesday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. GMT
Stephen Hough performs Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with Liverpool Philharmonic.

Friday, November 13
Jennifer Koh concludes Bach & Beyond series with new album on Cedille Records.

Saturday, November 14
NPR Music’s AMPLIFY with Lara Downes features Helga Davis.

Friday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Wu Man and Aga Khan Master Musicians at Freer and Sackler Galleries.

Friday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. PT – Sunday, November 29 at 12:00 p.m. PT
James Conlon leads LA Opera virtual production of pioneering Black composer Joseph Bologne’s The Anonymous Lover.

Sunday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Swarthmore College’s Zoom Tunes with Wu Man.

Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Shai Wosner commences three-year artist residency at Peoples’ Symphony Concerts.

--Shuman Associates News

YPC Now Streaming
HEROES: "A Rainbow Tomorrow"

Through music, YPC's choristers bring a powerful and positive message to life. In “A Rainbow Tomorrow,” the children use their voices and some very special visuals to illuminate the importance of human connection and harmony.

This week on “Just Songs” (Unplugged), we are debuting YPC alumna Nia Drummond’s song,  “A Matter of Time.” A moving and soulful performance, Nia puts all of her passion into her first original composition, which is a reflection on the year we have been living.

Just Songs is a YPC commissioning program that amplifies voices of first-time and emerging songwriters to inspire our choristers to understand and access today’s world through music. In Just Songs (Unplugged), YPC talent performs acoustic versions of their songs and talks about the issues of social equity facing our communities today.

--Young People’s Chorus of New York City

Sibling Duo Sheku  & Isata Kanneh-Mason
Princeton University Concerts (PUC) continues to take advantage of the unprecedented access to musicians that the virtual concert format allows.

On Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 3PM (EDT), 21-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason joins his older sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, for the duo’s Princeton debut recorded live from their family home in Nottingham, England for PUC's next Watch Party, free for community viewing (RSVP recommended).

--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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa