Classical Music News of the Week, November 21, 2020

"Downton Abbey" Star Hugh Bonneville Opens ESO's New Storytelling Series

Hugh Bonneville, star of the beloved 'Paddington' films and hit series "Downton Abbey," joins the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) under the baton of Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Kenneth Woods for the first in a series of brand-new works for narrator and orchestra as part of the ESO's Music from Wyastone Virtual Concert Series. Bonneville narrates Woods' powerful setting of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, 'The Ugly Duckling', which premieres on the ESO's digital portal, ESO Digital, on Friday, 27 November 2020, at 6.00 p.m.

In keeping with the ESO's longstanding commitments to engaging with young people and promoting new music, the first series includes world premieres of five new works embracing classic children's tales by Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, playful Klezmer tales and one of the oldest surviving folk stories from ancient Egypt.

"Bonneville's involvement is key to getting the project off to a strong start," says Woods. "I knew Hugh would be ideal for Duckling because his understanding of character is so nuanced. But also, I've seen through my own children watching him, repeatedly, in things like 'Muppets Most Wanted' and 'Paddington,' that children really connect with him - he doesn't condescend to them, as many do. His work for young viewers is just as sharp and deep as that for the older crowd."

The performance of 'The Ugly Duckling' will be available at; a trailer will be available from Friday 20 November.

--Melanne Mueller, Music Company International

Upcoming SOLI Events
“Beethoven Reimagined” - December 8, 7:30 pm - A SOLI digital event.

Thank you for making our first concert at the San Antonio Botanical Garden such a great success! We are thrilled with the many wonderful comments we have received and look forward to our future live performances.

SOLI is moving "indoors" for our next event and invites you to reserve time on December 8 to watch “Beethoven Reimagined” from the comfort and safety of your home.

For complete information, visit

--Anne Schellenge, SOLI Chamber Ensemble

New Century Appears in “Hope@Home” on ARTE Television Network
New Century Chamber Orchestra joins Music Director Daniel Hope for the new installment of his internationally acclaimed television series “Hope@Home – Next Generation,” with six delayed-live episodes to stream daily from San Francisco from November 18 through 23.

Professionally produced by Kobalt Productions for Europe’s ARTE television network, these six episodes will be filmed in San Francisco and comprise six half-hour live solo and chamber music performances that also feature special guest artists from the Bay Area including percussionist Zakir Hussain, pianist Garrick Ohlsson and composer Jake Heggie. The first episode from San Francisco streams on Wednesday, November 18 at 10:00 a.m. PST on the ARTE website with subsequent episodes running at the same time daily through Monday, November 23. The streams are free for audiences all over the world and will be available for viewing for 30 days after the air date.

Visit “Hope@Home - Next Generation” at

--Brenden Guy Media

St. Charles Singers to Present “Candlelight Carols” Free Online December 6
The St. Charles Singers, led by founder and music director Jeffrey Hunt, will present their 2020 Candlelight Carols program as a free-to-view webcast on Sunday, December 6. The 45-minute concert will stream at 4 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. CST. The viewing link will be posted on the choir’s website,

Thirty-five singers from the mixed-voice ensemble, hailed by American Record Guide as “a national treasure,” took part in the video recording, which features 13 seasonal songs by composers and arrangers from the Renaissance to the 20th-century era, most sung a cappella.

The professional chamber choir’s 37th annual holiday program was recorded November 8 at St. Michael Catholic Church, Wheaton, Illinois, without an audience and in accordance with public health regulations and safety precautions, Hunt says. The COVID-19 situation “has been such a huge loss to the singing world,” he says, because of concerns over airborne spread of the virus. “All the singers expressed immense gratitude for the opportunity to perform in some way and to be with each other again,” the choirmaster says.

For complete information, visit

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

Berkshire Opera Festival Returns to the Stage with an Xxpanded Summer 2021 Season
The young and ambitious Berkshire Opera Festival has the opera world abuzz. The only company of its kind in the Berkshire region, BOF produces opera at the highest level under the vision of esteemed co-founders Brian Garman (Artistic Director) and Jonathon Loy (Director of Production). From 2016-2019, the Festival witnessed wild ovations and glowing praise from locals to operaphiles and national critics. Opera News declared "destination status" on the Festival, and Berkshire On Stage wrote "No longer need we confine our opera-going to HD films—now we have the highest quality productions and performers in our own backyard." The New York Times called BOF's Ariadne auf Naxos "one of those productions that change the way you think about things."

For complete information, visit

Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of November 23–29)
Tuesday, November 24 at 6:00 p.m. ET (available for 72 hours)
Jonathan Biss Performs Beethoven for Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

Saturday, November 28
NPR Music’s AMPLIFY with Lara Downes features Julia Bullock.

Sunday, November 29 at 4:00 p.m. ET (available for 30 days)
The Gilmore presents “Rising Star” Dominic Cheli performing a variety of works--from Beethoven to Clara Schumann to Carl Vine.

All Week (Available until Nov. 29 at 11:59 p.m. PT)
James Conlon leads LA Opera virtual production of pioneering Black composer Joseph Bologne’s The Anonymous Lover.

--Shuman Associates News

An Evening with Kelli O'Hara
Tony Award-winning stage and screen star Kelli O'Hara returns to the University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts for a virtual live performance streaming Saturday, December 5. The evening will include a generous collection of holiday favorites as well as classics from the Great White Way and the American Songbook.

Immediately following the performance, Jorgensen’s director Rodney Rock will interview Ms. O’Hara, and she will engage in a live Q&A with the audience. The concert is presented through Jorgensen Digital Stage, produced by, with support from the Jorgensen CoStars and Circle of Friends, and media sponsors CT Public, Connecticut Magazine,, and Lite 100.5 WRCH.

More information here:

--Allison Van Etten, Ravenscroft PR

Free Directories of Classical Music Written by Black Composers
The not-for-profit Rachel Barton Pine (RBP) Foundation’s Music by Black Composers (MBC) project has launched its first free online directories of classical music written by Black composers: “Repertoire for Violin and Orchestra,” and “Repertoire for Unaccompanied Solo Violin.” MBC works to rectify historic and ongoing racial injustices in the classical music sphere.

MBC’s repertoire directories establish a central location for existing music by Black classical composers. They are a free resource for performers, conductors, concert programmers, students, and teachers seeking existing music, as well as for researchers and scholars of classical music.

View The Repertoire Directories:

--Allison Van Etten, Ravenscroft PR

2020 Closes Out with Virtual Celebrations
In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, pianist Yael Weiss presents an all-day marathon concert that features performances of Beethoven Sonatas and newly commissioned pieces written for her project, “32 Bright Clouds: Beethoven Conversations Around the World,” as well as interviews and conversations with the composers and special guests. Along with world premieres by composers from Cambodia and Hong Kong, Weiss also performs works by composers from South Africa, Myanmar, Philippines, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Colombia; all are paired with a Beethoven Sonata (December 16).

View here:

Silicon Valley’s all girlchoir, iSing, presents its eighth annual holiday concert with special guests Angel Blue, the Amaranth Quartet, and members of One Found Sound and the San Francisco Symphony. Holidays@Homefeatures contemporary works, arrangements of traditional carols, and popular holiday songs (December 19).

View here:

The King’s Singers close their Idagio Global Concert series with the annual fan favorite, Christmas with the King’s Singers. Recorded at composer John Rutter’s church, All Saints in Chrishall, UK the concert will feature traditional carols, seasonal songs, and festive cheer (December 22).

Purchase tickets here:

--Amy Killion, Bucklesweet

Eureka Chamber Music Series Announces New Co-Artistic Directors
Eureka Chamber Music Series (ECMS) has appointed Tom Stone and Maggee VanSpeybroeck as Co-Artistic Directors. The EMCS board of directors has also added new members Julie Fulkerson and George Ponnay. Founded by Pearl and Bob Micheli, ECMS has presented renowned classical musicians in live concerts to Humboldt County since 1993, and is committed to continue presenting diverse, world-class musicians in intimate concerts while expanding its audience and serving the community in innovative ways.

ECMS made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be spending the coming year on a thorough planning process and a re-launch of the series in the fall of 2021, including favorites from the past such as the Pacifica Quartet, the Arianna Quartet, pianist Tian Ying, and the San Francisco Opera Singers. The fall 2021 season will open with a performance by Stone’s newly formed piano trio, Duende, with pianist Awadagin Pratt and cellist Sophie Shao.

For more information, visit

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Stephen Hough’s Book Rough Ideas Wins 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Award
The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards, widely considered the most prestigious music awards in the UK, have named pianist Stephen Hough’s book Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More as the 2020 award winner in the “Storytelling” category, which focuses on writings, spoken word, radio, television, film, and digital / online projects, among other media, that further the understanding of classical music.

The awarding jury of the Royal Philharmonic Society, which was founded in 1813, praised Rough Ideas as “a colourful and compelling document of a maverick musical mind. It vividly charts vast terrain, illustrating how a virtuoso musician is not divorced from the rest of the world.”

For more information about the RPS and RPS Awards, visit

--Shuman Associates News

Neave Trio Performs in Livestream Concert
The Neave Trio, Alumni Artists, Faculty Ensemble-in-Residence at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, presents “Finding What is Lost,” a livestream performance on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 7:30pm EST. The trio will perform live in Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall and the stream will be available to watch online with advance registration. Registrants will receive the link to the event in the order confirmation email, and in a reminder email before the event begins. There will not be an in-person audience for this event.

“Finding What is Lost” pairs contemporary works by Eric Nathan and Dale Trumbore, both composed in 2018 and premiered by the Neave Trio, with Glinka’s Trio pathetique (1832). In a search for lost love, he composed this trio right after the end of a relationship and wrote on the score, “The only way I know love is by the pain it causes.” Though it was originally scored for clarinet, bassoon, and piano, it is commonly performed with the piano trio’s instrumentation.

For more information, visit

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Happening at YPC
A Sneak Peek at The Making of Our Winter Concert.

Young People’s Chorus of New York City choristers had the opportunity to do something very exciting: film video, in a COVID-19 compliant environment, for our 2020 winter concert, “Once Upon the Holidays.” This two-part event will stream virtually on December 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and December 20th at 5:30 p.m. ET. Save the dates with more details to be announced!

At the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Hearst Plaza and at Seret Studios, small groups of choristers and staff gathered for the first time in months to choreograph holiday classics.

Great measures were taken to make our sets safe, including following the guidelines of the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, socially distancing, and having a COVID-19 compliance officer on set. Choristers arrived with a bottled up energy that they could not help but release through dancing, laughter, and smiles. It was hard to tell who was more excited–the choristers or the YPC team!

As we share our music with the entire world through our dynamic new platform, “In the Key of Love,” we ask for your support to keep our choristers on the global stage.

Please visit us at

--Young People’s Chorus of New York City

No comments:

Post a Comment

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

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