Classical Music News of the Week, December 5, 2020

PARMA Call for Scores

This year has been a challenging one for us all, with the pandemic leaving no corner of the globe untouched. At PARMA Recordings we are fortunate to have been able to not only continue production but to break new ground as well, with dozens of albums released across our four labels, more than 50 performances presented on the PARMA Live Stage, and an ongoing series of pro bono seminars for music educators and professionals impacted by the pandemic. We are proud to continue our mission of serving new music and musicians into 2021 and beyond.

Following last week's "sneak-peek" launch to PARMA Artists, today we are pleased to publicly present our Fall 2020 Call for Scores with a variety of recording, release, and performance opportunities. We invite you to submit your scores for our team's review, and we look forward to getting to know your music.

Fall 2020 Call for Scores
We are currently accepting submissions for:

Category A
Live Performance:
Works for String Orchestra
Performing Artist: Subotica Philharmonic Strings

Category B
Studio Recording and Release:
Works for Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, or SABRE
Recording Artist: Matthias Müller 

Category C
Studio Recording and Release:
Works for Piano Trio or Subset
Recording Artist: Trio Casals 

Category D
Studio Recording and Release:
Works for Orchestra
Recording Artist: Zagreb Festival Orchestra

The deadline for all submissions is December 11, 2020

For more information, guidelines, and submission forms, visit

--PARMA Recordings

The Crossing Releases New Film, The Forest
The Crossing announces the release of a new film, The Forest, shot live at the ensemble’s October 2020 socially distant, sold-out performances of the same name. In a time when choirs cannot sing and perform together in conventional ways, The Forest featured the 24 singers of The Crossing performing along a trail at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania, situated in the sounds and sights of the woods, while audience members walked, through the soundscape and landscape. The film was created by the Philadelphia-based Four/Ten Media and Crossing in-house sound designer Paul Vazquez, using binaural (360º) audio capture and a single, continuous take in which the camera lens becomes the eye of the audience, moving leisurely through the work.

View here:

Learn more here:

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Tickets on Sale Now for YPC's Winter Concert
“Once Upon the Holidays”: Join Young People’s Chorus of New York City as they celebrate the season with a two-part musical holiday special you won’t want to miss.

Part 1: Friday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Part 2: Sunday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m. EST

Get your tickets here:

--Young People’s Chorus of NYC

Gryphon Trio Performs Complete Beethoven Trios Live
The Gryphon Trio will perform Beethoven’s six most celebrated piano trios in a live performance streamed from the beautiful Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario on December 10 and 11.

The interactive livestream event will be hosted by broadcaster Eric Friesen (CBC and NPR) and will include commentary from composer, conductor, and author Rob Kapilow (“What Makes It Great?”). The event will be presented by a consortium of classical music presenters and brings together chamber music organizations and audiences from all corners of North America, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday.

To purchase tickets and watch live, visit

--Allison Van Etten, Ravenscroft PR

Scottish Ensemble Releases New Film, Pardes
Today, the UK’s leading string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble (SE), and Edinburgh’s The Fruitmarket Gallery release the world premiere of Pardes, a film by artist Jyll Bradley in collaboration with composer Anna Clyne and violist Jane Atkins.

Part of SE’s Solo Collaborations, a series of audiovisual works born out of lockdown that celebrates cross-artform collaboration and embraces the unique possibilities of digital, Pardes uses Moses Cordovero’s (1522-1570) Pardes Rimmonim (Orchard of Pomegranates) as a starting point to create a meditation on creative potential, light and growth. Working together closely throughout the process, while adhering to all COVID-19 restrictions, Anna Clyne created new music which was then recorded at home by Scottish Ensemble violist Jane Atkins before artist Jyll Bradley created a filmed visual response.

Watch Pardes here:

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of December 7–13)
Tuesday, December 8 at 5:00 p.m. GMT (live only)
Live Q&A with pianist Stephen Hough.

Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Jonathan Biss performs Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, Op. 13 (Pathétique), Op. 90, and Op. 111.

Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Jen Shyu joins Cory Smythe and Immanuel Wilkins in evening of improvisation titled “Ritual for the Losses.”

Friday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Davóne Tines hosts panel discussion “Breathing Free: To Decolonize Opera,” presented by Heartbeat Opera.

Saturday, December 12
NPR Music’s AMPLIFY with Lara Downes features Davóne Tines.

Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (M³): World Premieres — Part 2.

Sunday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Wu Man interprets Beethoven on her traditional Chinese instrument.

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

--Shuman Associates News

Robert Spano Receives Georgia Governor's Award
Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp today announced the recipients of the ninth annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. The awards were presented in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities.

“I’m honored to recognize the organizations and individuals whose efforts have preserved and enhanced our culture and stories to create a better Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “When our arts and humanities sectors thrive, we see prosperity and revitalization in communities across our state. I applaud the work of each of our recipients of the 2020 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities and the valuable impacts they have made in our state.”

--Kirshbaum Associates, Inc.

Music Institute Students Excel at Fall Competitions
The Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players and Community Music School students have started the school year with several noteworthy virtual competition achievements.

The Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, led by Director James Setapen, is a nationally recognized training center for gifted pre-college pianists and string players that provides a comprehensive music education for students who aspire to be professional musicians. Faculty, staff, and students come together for an intensive 30-week program that includes private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra experience, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard history and literature, improvisation, and keyboard skills in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the weekly master class when students perform for and observe acclaimed musicians and educators who share their knowledge. The Academy faculty, who teach at some of the country’s most prestigious conservatories and music schools, have a passion for developing young talent and an established track record of student achievement.

The 2020–21 Academy roster includes 33 students from Illinois and other Midwest states, a 32% increase from the previous year, selected from the highest number of auditioning students in the past five years. This fall’s program has combined remote and in-person instruction, as have lessons and classes in the Community Music School.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communicaitons

On PBS - “From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2021”
We're ready to bid farewell to 2020 and ring in 2021 with Great Performances – “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2021” premiering Friday, January 1, 2021 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and streaming the following day on and the PBS Video app.

The annual concert continues with PBS favorite Hugh Bonneville (Masterpiece: Downton Abbey) returning as host for a fourth year with Riccardo Muti as guest conductor for the sixth time. The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra performs favorite waltzes by Strauss, and the celebration features the Vienna State Ballet dancing on location from notable Vienna landmarks.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Bonneville will host the concert remotely from England on location at Goodwood House, the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, located north of Chichester.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

West Edge Announces Line-up for Snapshot 2021
Entering its fifth consecutive season, Snapshot is a collaboration between West Edge Opera and Earplay dedicated to getting new operas on their feet and giving audiences a first look at developing works from West Coast composers and librettists. Performances will take place on March 12th and 13th, 2021 and preparations are being made for a socially distant live performance at a large outdoor venue as well as a remotely recorded performance made available for patrons to stream. As the date approaches, depending on the safety measures Covid-19 requires, either the streamed or the live performance may be canceled, but not both.

For the first time, as a service to the creative teams selected for the program, the producers are providing a feedback panel of industry experts. These experts include Snapshot staff as well as composer Jake Heggie, publisher Bill Gorjance, General Director of Opera San Jose Khori Dastoor, Artistic Director of the Oakland Symphony Michael Morgan, and former Dramaturg and Music Administrator of San Francisco Opera Clifford Cranna.

For more information, visit

--West Edge Opera

Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa’s M³ Initiative
After nearly six months working together as part of the Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (M³) initiative, co-founded by Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa to foster creative partnerships among womxn musicians worldwide, the project’s inaugural group of artists reconvenes virtually for the world premieres of their new, collaborative M³ commissions on Sunday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET and Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET via the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Hosted by M³ Editor-in-Chief Jordannah Elizabeth, each premiere will be followed by a Q&A with the artists, who will answer questions from the audience about their creative process. The performances are streamed via Zoom and may be accessed for free with RSVP.

Reserve at

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates News

Reimagine Beethoven with SOLI on December 8
In 2012, SOLI commissioned four composers to create a call and response to the revolutionary final movement of Beethoven's final string quartet. SOLI revisits this fascinating journey in honor of the composer's 250th birthday - please join us December 8th at 7:30pm CST for the broadcast of Beethoven Reimagined.

This all-Beethoven-influenced SOLI DIGITAL event features the original works by Doug Balliett, Paul Moravec, Xi Wang, and Dan Welcher and arrangement by Trinity University’s Brian Bondari.

We look forward to seeing you online December 8 at 7:30pm CST at SOLI's YouTube Channel:

--Anne Schellenge, SOLI Chamber Ensemble

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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