Classical Music News of the Week, March 13, 2021

Krzysztof Penderecki In Memoriam

Throughout the spring of 2021, Polish Cultural Institute New York will curate Krzysztof Penderecki in Memoriam, honoring the life and legacy of Poland's greatest modern composer. Leading up to and beyond March 29, 2021, marking the one-year anniversary of Penderecki's death, Polish Cultural Institute New York - in partnership with the Ludwig van Beethoven Association, DUX Records, Naxos of America, Schott Music publishers, and Crossover Media  - will celebrate Penderecki's life and legacy across an array of worldwide media outlets.

Highlights include the Penderecki in Memoriam Podcast with in-depth interviews with artists who collaborated closely with the composer, live radio broadcasts and rebroadcasts of archived performances, live streamed concerts, and a broad presentation of the composer's prolific oeuvre.

Polish Cultural Institute New York's head of music programming, Anna Perzanowska, who worked with Krzysztof Penderecki for over a decade, has been the driving force behind Krzysztof Penderecki in Memoriam since the composer's death on March 29, 2020, at his home in Kraków, Poland. "The passing of Professor Penderecki was a deeply moving loss and a shock to all who knew him personally as well as to those who admired his work. The loss was especially poignant due to the world's Covid-19 isolation - and I was overwhelmed by the response and eagerness of all the artists who wanted to be involved and honor his memory," comments Perzanowska.

For complete details, visit https://instytutpolski.pl/newyork/2021/02/16/krzysztof-penderecki-in-memoriam-worldwide/

--Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International

Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021 Goes Virtual
The Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021 and the Richmond Symphony announced today that the Competition, originally scheduled to bring 44 of the world’s most talented young violinists to Richmond in May of 2020, will take place virtually from May 14-23, 2021.

The Menuhin Competition distinguishes itself among competitions not only with the high level of playing among participants, but also for creating a festive, nurturing and collegial environment and providing an immersive musical experience for competitors that goes far beyond the competition rounds themselves. The 2021 virtual Competition aims to fulfill that promise by recreating the Competition as an online event that connects competitors, jurors, viewers and guest artists with each other and with Richmond.

For more information, visit https://2021.menuhincompetition.org/competition-2021

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

5.5 Million Views and Counting
Our 2019 rehearsal of Leonard Cohen’s timeless classic “Hallelujah” is resonating in a powerful way with people around the world with over 5.5 million views, thanks in part to our friends at Choral Stream for sharing on Facebook. Watch this performance, conducted by YPC founder and artistic director Francisco J. Núñez, and help keep the momentum going.

View here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=847222092826649

Learn more about Young People’s Chorus of New York City: https://ypc.org/

--Young People’s Chorus of New York City

Celebrate the first Moon of Spring on March 28
This month on “Lunar Landscapes” we celebrate the Worm Moon on March 28, 2021 at 9PM EDT with special guest Eve Beglarian. Eve and I have been working away on two new versions of pieces you may have heard before, and we’re super excited to share them with you!

Worms begin to till the earth making ready for Spring and new growth, we are celebrating the inner tilling that we are collectively doing, preparing ourselves for the season of outward growth and prosperity that is Spring. To that end, this month’s cocktail is the Earthworm.

“Lunar Landscapes: Worm Moon”
March 28, 2021 at 9pm EDT

Program:
Glass: Metamorphosis 2
Beglarian: A Solemn Shyness
Sandresky: In Short Db

Tickets are available on Eventbrite for single tickets:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunar-landscapes-worm-moon-tickets-144515183805

And Patreon for series subscriptions:
https://www.patreon.com/EleonorSandresky

--Eleonor Sandresky, Strange Energy Report

Beethoven in Beijing
Did you know that the Philadelphia Orchestra was the first orchestra to visit China?

Featuring archival footage and first-person recollections from American and Chinese musicians, “Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing” spotlights the resurgence of classical music in China through the legacy of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Renowned musicians, including Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun, Philadelphia-trained famed classical pianist Lang Lang, Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and more share their stories of how Beethoven’s music shaped their careers as China’s classical music scene boomed.

“Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing” premieres Friday, April 16 at 9 p.m. on the PBS Video app and PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Bach Week Festival Virtual Benefit
Evanston, Illinois-based Bach Week Festival's virtual spring fundraiser, “Happy Birthday, Bach,” will celebrate German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach with livestreamed performances of chamber music by Bach and two of his contemporaries during a free-to-view webcast at 3 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday, March 21, 2021. Bach was born on that date in 1685.

The “Happy Birthday, Bach” performances will be streamed live from the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Information and video links are available on the festival’s website: https://bachweek.org/

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

MUSE/IQUE Announces New Board Members
MUSEI/IQUE, Pasadena’s pioneering live music organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors: Barbara Franks Bice, Christine Swanson, and Jonathan Weedman.

The Board, chaired by philanthropist LeeAnn Havner, provides leadership in carrying out MUSE/IQUE’s mission of making music accessible to all through adventurous and meaningful programming, an effort continued throughout the pandemic with drive-in concerts, lawn serenades, and MUSE/IQUE’s “In A Minute! (...or Two!)” video series, which just surpassed 100 episodes.

“To serve as Chair of MUSE/IQUE’s Board of Directors, is to be part of an inspiring and passionate team,” said Havner. “With much enthusiasm, we welcome to the Board our newest members, Barbara Franks Bice, Chirstine Swanson, and Jonathan Weedman, all of whom bring a breadth of experience and expertise that will help bring to fruition MUSE/IQUE’s adventurous plans for the future.”

For more information, visit http://www.muse-ique.com/

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Nichols Concert Hall Offers Streamed Live Concerts
The Music Institute of Chicago opens its concert home to family homes worldwide through the presentation of “Live from Nichols Concert Hall,” a free chamber music series April 11–May 2 streamed live from its historic Nichols Concert Hall. This series is part of the Music Institute’s 90th anniversary year, which celebrates innovation, access, and excellence in music education, service to the community, and music performance.

President and CEO Mark George described the new series, saying, “One of the Music Institute’s great strengths is our amazing network of professional musicians, so many of whom concertize worldwide. Another is the warm, intimate atmosphere and amazing acoustics of Nichols Concert Hall. Although the pandemic has curtailed our ability to gather in person, we are excited to share this new series of inspiring performances to a much broader audience, no longer limited by location.”

“Live from Nichols Concert Hall" takes place Sundays, April 11–May 2, at 3 p.m. CDT. Performances are free and open to the public and stream live from Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Under current pandemic restrictions, access will be entirely virtual.

For complete information, visit https://www.musicinst.org/nch-live

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

ROCO Closes Their 16th Season on April 24
ROCO’s (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra) 16th season, “Color and Light,” comes to a close on April 24 with Flamenco, the final performance of their In Concert series. The performance will be fully virtual, streaming live from The Church of St. John the Divine, without an in-person audience.

The performance closes a remarkable, groundbreaking season for the ensemble, in which they offered 11 livestreamed performances and gave premieres of 10 new works, all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. For the April 24 concert, viewers can tune in for free and interact with the orchestra on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/rocohouston/, YouTube Live: https://www.youtube.com/user/rocohouston,
and the ROCO website: https://roco.org/live/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Philharmonia Baroque Appoints Tarik O’Regan first Composer-in-Residence
Uniquely focused on both the baroque and the brand new, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) announces the appointment of Tarik O’Regan as the 40-year old organization’s first-ever Composer-in-Residence. In his three-and-a-half-year residency, O’Regan will work closely with Music Director Richard Egarr, the Orchestra, Chorale, and staff, composing new works and establishing immersive relationships within the larger PBO community. This marks the first of two exciting and unprecedented PBO residencies this season.

One of the most played, commissioned, and recorded British-American composers of his generation, Tarik O'Regan's prolific output reflects his love of Renaissance vocal writing (his choral works are especially renowned) and the music of North Africa (his family is from Morocco and Algeria). The Washington Post describes his music as “exquisite and delicate,” while The Philadelphia Inquirer says it evokes “previously unheard sound worlds with astonishing effect.”

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/concert/episode-4-tarik-on-tarik/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Safely Singing Together Again: Washington Chorus
The moment that concert halls and other live performance venues begin to re-open will surely be cause for celebration: but we must also proceed with caution. The research we’ve seen shows it will be several years before audiences potentially return to live performance at the same capacity levels they did prior to the onset of COVID-19. And we all know that even before this global health pandemic arrived, audiences for classical music across all genres was in decline. Choral music is a meaningful artistic outlet and art form, but we’ve not listened, advocated, and evolved our art in a way that has meaningfully increased engagement. This changes now.

“Alongside the question of ‘will audiences feel safe to return,’ the larger and perhaps more important question we have to ask is this: how can we fundamentally reimagine who our audience is, both at The Washington Chorus and across the entire industry of classical music and performing arts," noted TWC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin. "Then how can we create meaningful live and digital arts experiences that cultivate loyalty and connection with these audiences through emotionally rich, high quality, radically inclusive music performance, education, and community?”

For complete information on the Washington Chorus, visit https://ww1.thewashingtonchorus.com/

--Amy Killion, Bucklesweet

SOLI's Electrified Air Premieres March 17th
SOLI Chamber Ensemble continues its season with Grammy award-winning electric guitarist D. J. Sparr in a SOLI DIGITAL event: Electrified Air.

This innovative evening fuses the sounds of diverse music spheres - phasing, loops, and funk meet rock, flavors of jazz, and contemporary classical harmonies to bring electrifying energy to the ear. The program includes the world premieres of three works: “Hammer and Nail” by Anthony Joseph Lanman, “A Singing Planet” by Olivia Kieffer, and the SOLI commissioned work “A Bell Outside a Bell Inside a Bell” by D. J. Sparr.

The broadcast of Electrified Air will be available on Wednesday, March 17 at 7 pm CDT on SOLI's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLpB_riU947pszI-FIB6iag

--Anne Schellenge, SOLI Chamber Ensemble

Renée Fleming in Concert on PBS
We're excited to raise the curtain on Season 15 of “Great Performances at the Met with Renée Fleming in Concert” premiering Friday, March 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The acclaimed soprano performs favorite arias by Puccini, Massenet along with selections by Handel and Korngold from the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. Acclaimed soprano Christine Goerke hosts.

The broadcast is followed by “Great Performances at the Met: Jonas Kauffman in Concert,” which premieres beginning Friday, April 2 (check local listings). This season, “Great Performances at the Met” presents opera stars in concert performing favorite arias and songs in striking locations around the world.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Geneva Lewis Awarded Avery Fisher Career Grant
Concert Artists Guild is very proud to announce that violinist and 2020 CAG Grand Prize Winner Geneva Lewis has been chosen as a 2021 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant! Avery Fisher Career Grants are designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented musicians who the Recommendation Board and Executive Committee of the Avery Fisher Artist Program believe to have great potential for major careers. Geneva will receive an award of $25,000 to be used for specific needs in advancing a career.

Hear Geneva perform Telemann's Fantasia No. 7 in E-flat Major: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz4nWYIP5dQ

--Concert Artists Guild

American Bach Soloists’ New Artist Profile
ABS continues with another installment in our Free Artist Profile Series. Get to know the person behind the instrument, what makes them tick, and what happened in their lives that led them to a career in music that brought them to us to hear and enjoy.

Over the course of the next half year, you'll have access to more than a dozen interesting and delightful videos that explore the personal motivations and inspirations of some of your favorite ABS musicians. They're filmed in crystal-clear 4K (Ultra High Definition) video resolution, and we're happy to bring another one to you.

In today's video, ABS harpsichordist Corey Jamason talks about why he loves the harpsichord, his father's record collection, the joys of performing with others, and playing Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto while being cheered on by a squawking bird!

Watch the Artist Profile here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aODYfUXhWk

--American Bach Soloists

Atterbury Sessions Continue with PUBLIQuartet
The Atterbury House Sessions free livestreams continue on Saturday March 13, 5pm EST, with the PUBLIQuartet.

PUBLIQuartet is a collection of four folks who feel very strongly about all music genres. Jazz, classical, improvisation, hip hop, blues, they do it all (as a string quartet!). Great champions of women and minority composers, tomorrow they will perform works by Jessie Montgomery, Jessica Meyer, and themselves, as well as John Corigliano.

Grammy-nominated for their album Freedom and Faith, PUBLIQuartet has also been quartet in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and has received Chamber Music America's Visionary Award.

Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/AncalagonRecords
Or here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxtQKPvPN8scdx2uHYLXlJA

--Lara St. John

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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