Classical Music News of the Week, March 6, 2021

American Bach Soloists Debut “Artist Profiles”

We know the feeling! At a concert, while watching and listening to an artist perform, we often wonder about the person behind the instrument. What makes them tick? What happened in their lives that led them to a career in music and that brought them to us, to hear and enjoy?

All kinds of questions might come to mind as we want to know more about the musicians who have made our lives better through their music.

That's exactly what our new “Artist Profile Series” is all about. 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 the first one to you today. Just click and enjoy!

Cynthia Black, baroque viola, performing Sylvius Weiss: Sonata No. 5 in G Major for Lute (transcribed for Viola): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2QZG-Txuug&feature=youtu.be

More information: https://americanbach.org/

--American Bach Soloists
  Jeffrey Thomas, Artistic Director

Tulsa Opera To Commemorate Centennial Of The Tulsa Race Massacre
In a special concert this spring titled Greenwood Overcomes featuring a program comprised of works by living Black composers, Tulsa Opera will honor the resilience of Black Tulsans and Black America one hundred years after the Tulsa Race Massacre. During the two-day massacre May 31–June 1, 1921 the city’s Greenwood neighborhood (known as Black Wall Street) was razed by mobs of white residents in one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. The massacre resulted in the murder of hundreds, the destruction of six thousand Black-owned businesses, and the rendering of thousands homeless.

The Greenwood Overcomes concert, which takes place on Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, features works for voice and piano by living Black composers—including four new Tulsa Opera commissions—sung by leading Black artists.

For details, visit https://tulsaopera.com/2021/03/greenwood-overcomes-announcement/

--Shuman PR

PBS: Renée Fleming in Concert
This season, “Great Performances at the Met” presents opera stars in concert performing favorite arias and songs in striking locations around the world beginning with “Great Performances: Renée Fleming in Concert” premiering Friday, March 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Featuring twelve new concerts from opera’s leading performers including Anna Netrebko, Pretty Yende, Bryn Terfel, Javier Camarena, Angel Blue, and more, this season of “Great Performances at the Met” continues to bring the best of the Metropolitan Opera into the homes of classical music fans across the country. Acclaimed soprano Christine Goerke serves as host for many of the concerts.

For more information, visit https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/great-performances-met-renee-fleming-concert-about-n9vpdl/12318/

Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Damien Geter's Cantata with The Washington Chorus
The Washington Chorus (TWC) is proud to announce the digital release of Damien Geter’s Cantata for A More Hopeful Tomorrow. The recording, made virtually due to the pandemic, is available now on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, iHeart Radio, Sirius XM, and Pandora.

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 both from Portland, Oregon, to produce a short music film that premiered in November 2020. The work features soprano Aundi Marie Moore, cellist Seth Parker Woods, and over 100 singers of The Washington Chorus.

After seeing the devastating effects the virus has had on all communities and witnessing first-hand the racial and social injustices of recent times, it was important to Artistic Director Dr Eugene Rogers and the Chorus that they connect with the BIPOC community with a message of hope. By commissioning composer Damien Geter to create this work, and recording it with the chorus and soloists all doing so virtually from their bedrooms, basements, and kitchens, TWC  hope to reflect the creative resilience of the Chorus and the importance of continuing to create, continuing to connect, and continuing to bring people together, even while physically apart.

For more information and a trailer, visit https://vimeo.com/ondemand/getercantata

--Amy Killion, Bucklesweet

“Musaics of the Bay” Spring Season
The San Francisco Bay Area’s exciting new concert series “Musaics of the Bay” continues its 2020-2021 season this spring with a slate of new premiere collaborations it’s bringing into the world. By the end of the season, it will have commissioned and premiered over 40 new works. The multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary series adds a completely new dimension to the already rich San Francisco Bay Area, and in addition to its commissioning program, it brings cultural partnerships and mentoring of top-tier local talent in live and filmed performance that will enrich the region’s offerings.

Every Monday through June 2021, “Musaics of the Bay’s” signature series, “Stay-at-Home Symposium,” unites diverse performers and living composers with visual artists, poets, sculptors, and filmmakers from the Bay Area and around the globe, in premieres of newly commissioned musical compositions.

For complete information, visit https://www.musaics.org/

--Elizabeth Dworkin, Dworkin & Company

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Spring 2021 Season
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) announces an exciting Spring season of digital offerings from April 1 to July 1, which is dedicated to the late Gustave M. Hauser. CMS presents 28 digital programs, with concerts premiering on Thursday evenings at 7:30 and educational and hybrid talk-and-performance programs premiering on Monday evenings.

CMS dedicates this Spring season to the digital media pioneer Gustave M. Hauser who died at age 91 on February 14. He launched CMS’s global digital media program from Alice Tully Hall in 2014 through the Hauser Foundation, and throughout the pandemic, audiences around the world have been reaping the benefits of the extensive digital archive CMS has been able to create. Through his vision and generosity, CMS had been an early entrant into the field of high-definition concert recording, which left the organization well-prepared to address the digital content and know-how needed to sustain audiences during the pandemic.

For complete information, visit https://www.chambermusicsociety.org/

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

International Contemporary Ensemble Announces Free TUES@7 Events
The International Contemporary Ensemble continues its TUES@7 series with five events in March 2021: Ensemble Evolution Info Session on March 2; MATA's Radical Pairings, Part 1 on March 16; MATA's Radical Pairings, Part 2 on March 23; and “Home” with Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, Nuiko Wadden, and Brittany J. Green on March 30.

TUES@7 events are regular opportunities to engage with members and collaborators of the Ensemble. Artists reflect on past world premieres, pull back the curtain on upcoming works-in-process, and dig deeply into the digitice archive to see how collaborations, new works, and sound creations have blossomed over the past 19 years. Last year the Ensemble presented 11 events featuring world premieres, insightful conversations, and glimpses into new collaborations with over 60 artists. The series has become a thriving virtual destination through the COVID-19 pandemic for audience members, Ensemble members, and collaborators to enjoy extraordinary new music together. Past streams can be found at http://www.iceorg.org/tues7series.

Future events related to the TUES@7 series will be announced on a monthly basis.

For full information, visit https://www.iceorg.org/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Young Concert Artists Launches “YCA Career Catalyst” Series
Young Concert Artists (YCA) announces their new project, the “YCA Career Catalyst,” a nine-part series designed to distill the comprehensive services that YCA offers to roster artists in the form of Tuesday night virtual sessions, bringing great speakers to address critical issues of working musicians.

Said YCA President Dan Kellogg of the initiative: “YCA is excited to empower young musicians as they build exciting careers that will break down barriers, build new audiences, and redefine how the artist shares their music. The ‘YCA Career Catalyst’ series is filled with great voices who will speak to critical topics that are important for career building. We are pleased to reach beyond the artists on our roster to support the many young artists who will write the future of classical music.”

Viewers can register through Groupmuse, with tickets at $5 per session or $25 for all nine sessions (scholarships are available for any artist needing financial assistance). All discussions will remain available to view on demand for registered participants until 3 weeks after the last session.

For details, visit https://yca.org/

--Andrew Ousley, Unison Media

Orion Performs Mangani, Arensky
 Following two successful performances for limited in-person and virtual audiences, The Orion Ensemble returns to perform at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, on Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m.

The program includes Orion's first performance of Italian composer and conductor Michele Mangani’s Sonata for Clarinet Monday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m. PT
"Evening Music with Lara Downes," a new nightly broadcast, launches on California's Classical KDFC and Piano (2016). A clarinetist himself, Mangani has written extensively for the clarinet, bringing out the instrument’s lyricism, virtuosity and rich palette of tonal colors. Also on the program is Russian composer Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 32. Arensky was a student of Rimsky-Korsokov and was greatly influenced by Tchaikovsky. He wrote this well-known multi-movement work, one of Orion’s favorites, in memory of cellist Davidov; the third movement is an Elegy. Written in the same key as Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio, this ultra-Romantic piece exudes melody, pathos, brilliant technique and beautiful sound combinations. The final movement pulls ideas from the lyrical first movement, the playful second movement and elegiac third movement.

A limited number of 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.

Limited in-person tickets are $25 available for advance purchase only at 630-628-9591 or info@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

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of March 8-14)
Monday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m. PT:
"Evening Music with Lara Downes," a new nightly broadcast, launches on California's Classical KDFC.
https://www.kdfc.com/culture/staff-blog/kdfc-welcomes-lara-downes/

Thursday, March 11 at 8:15 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh in conversation with Council of Korean Americans Executive Director Abraham Kim.
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEucO6pqz8tEtR09JZR5vt19hsJHhH5Ml8n

Friday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET:
Michael Tilson Thomas & Fellows from the New World Symphony in Virtual Concert presented by the Library of Congress.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbObxjfi3W9YKnDS0PgadNA

Friday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. CT:
Jennifer Koh performs Courtney Bryan's Syzygy with the Louisiana Philharmonic.
https://lpomusic.com/event/orpheum-sessions-10/

Sunday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m. ET:
The Gilmore Virtual Rising Stars Series presents Evren Ozel.
https://www.thegilmore.org/event/evren-ozel/

--Shuman Associates

Chicago Opera Theater to Stream Chicago Premiere of Daniel Catán's La hija de Rappaccini
As COVID-19 restrictions continue, Chicago Opera Theater announces an update to its digital production slated for April 24, 2021. Instead of the previously announced Il Postino, COT will now offer the Chicago premiere of La hija de Rappaccini, also by Daniel Catán, based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

This staged Spanish-language opera will feature native Spanish speakers in principal roles and on the creative team, with Latinx director Crystal Manich and conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez, both making company debuts, at the helm.

With remarkably timely plot threads like scientific innovation and love at a distance, La hija will be live-streamed from the Field Museum, world-renowned for its work in the natural sciences. The stunning hanging gardens in the main hall will be lowered to create the setting for this tale of botanical experimentation.

For details, visit https://chicagooperatheater.org/season/hija

--Beth Stewart, Verismo Communications

MNM Festival: Free Webcast Extended
The 10th edition of the MNM festival has just ended on a high note, with concerts both live and recorded, attended by thousands of Internet users. This first online version of the festival received enthusiastic responses and was relayed on social networks, thus creating a moment of sharing and enthusiasm beyond borders, in keeping with the festival's theme.

"Mission accomplished! Despite COVID-19 we managed to present an entire festival and bring a little balm to the hearts of audiences, as evidenced by the moving comments received during the concerts. Above all, we were able to showcase the exceptional talent of local musicians from around the world," says Walter Boudreau, the festival's Artistic Director.

This sound odyssey is available free of charge at http://smcq.qc.ca/mnm/fr/2021

--France Gaignard, Publicist

Tesla Quartet Announces “A Bartók Journey”
The Tesla Quartet announces A Bartók Journey, an exploration of the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók over six weeks in March–June 2021. Each week will focus on one string quartet and features live expert discussions with authors, members of eminent string quartets, and composers; live virtual open rehearsals; enriching social media content; and live stream performances.

Guest speakers and experts include Dr. Dániel Péter Biró, Professor of Composition at University of Bergen, Norway; Mark Steinberg, first violinist of the Brentano String Quartet; Dániel Hamar, co-founder of Muszikás; Nicholas Kitchen, first violinist of the Borromeo String Quartet; Károly Schranz, founding second violinist of the Takács Quartet; and composer Gabriela Lena Frank. Audience members will immerse themselves in the unique characteristics of each work and trace the development of Bartók’s style throughout his career through six weeks of live events hosted on the Tesla Quartet’s YouTube Channel, plus additional content on the quartet’s social media platforms.

For details, visit https://www.teslaquartet.com/bartok-journey and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcW9IheKuJJmMGeGr0FIntA

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Bang on a Can Marathon Live Online – MaerzMusik Edition
Bang on a Can announces the lineup and full schedule for the Bang on a Can Marathon Live Online – MaerzMusik Edition presented by Berliner Festspiele on Sunday, March 21, 2021 from 3pm-7pm ET / 8pm-12am CET. For MaerzMusik 2021, Bang on a Can has curated a special edition of its online Bang on a Can Marathon – four hours of live performances from both sides of the Atlantic, reflecting the diversity and breadth of the Bang on a Can community. The show is free to watch, but viewers are encouraged to consider purchasing a ticket. Doing so helps Bang on a Can and MaerzMusik to pay more players, commission more composers, and make more music.

Bang on a Can streaming at https://live.bangonacan.org/
MaerzMusik streaming at https://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/en/maerzmusik/programm/2021/on-demand/uebersicht.html

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Berkeley Symphony Announces "REAL Berkeley" Virtual Film Series
Berkeley Symphony announced today the launch of REAL Berkeley, a four-episode virtual film series that shines a light on the Berkeley community through special guest curators, local videography, and chamber music performed by musicians of the orchestra.

The series opens on Sunday, March 28 at 4:00 p.m. PDT with Rad Women, featuring writer and guest curator Kate Schatz, author of the best-selling book Rad American Women A-Z, and three works by prominent women composers: Reena Esmail’s Meri Sakhi Ki Avaaz (My Sister’s Voice), Gabriella Smith’s Tessellations and Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio. The second episode, entitled Edgy Art, will be released on Sunday May 16 at 4:00 p.m. with a showcase of exhibits and artwork from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) alongside chamber works by John Adams, Florence Price, Michael Daugherty, and Olivier Messiaen.

For more information, visit http://www.berkeleysymphony.org/

--Brenden Guy PR

Princeton University Concerts Presents "Leading Ladies" of Classical Music
rinceton University Concerts ("PUC") begins a celebration of Women's History Month by spotlighting four "leading ladies" of classical music who champion instruments often overlooked in the mainstream: saxophonist Jess Gillam, accordionist Kseniija Sidorova, bagpiper Cristina Pato, and harpist Bridget Kibbey!

The culmination of this celebration, which also includes personal playlists curated by these four musicians as part of our Collective Listening Project, will occur on Sunday, March 28 at 3PM (EDT) in a FREE CONCERT STREAM in which each of the leading ladies showcases the incredible range of her instrument from across the world -- Barcelona, London, and New York City.

For complete information, visit http://princetonuniversityconcerts.princeton.edu/

--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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa