Classical Music News of the Week, April 3, 2021

Colorado Music Festival Announces 2021 Season

The Colorado Music Festival (CMF) in Boulder, Colorado, under the leadership of Music Director Peter Oundjian, returns to the concert hall this summer for 22 concerts between July 1 and August 7. The diverse offerings reflect Oundjian’s commitment to presenting the work of living composers as well as music by masters of the canon; nearly half of the concerts will feature music created in the twenty-first or late-twentieth centuries. The Festival features world-class musicians from around the country who arrive in Boulder to perform as the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra under the direction of Peter Oundjian, along with 17 guest artists, three internationally acclaimed string quartets and three guest conductors.

“In our 2021 season, we wish to commemorate the challenges of the pandemic, while celebrating the return to live, communal music-making. This season’s music offers the healing that our communities are yearning for, the creativity to clear our minds and hearts, and the inspiration to look toward the brighter days ahead,” said Peter Oundjian, music director.

Guidance for safe social distancing practices will be observed closely in the months to come, and will most likely include limiting the number of orchestra members on stage. The event’s venue, Chautauqua Auditorium, will implement a COVID-19 safety plan throughout the 2021 season, including the latest guidelines for spacing between seats, distance between performers and audience members, and mask requirements for all.

For a full list of live-streaming performances and to purchase tickets beginning April 20, visit https://coloradomusicfestival.org/.

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of April 5-11)
Tuesday, April 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET:
Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue celebrate their new album “Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses” with a live-streamed performance from Roulette.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKPkJNXxgjI

Thursday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. ET:
Pianist Shai Wosner performs sonatas by Schubert, Scarlatti, and Beethoven, and three Rzewski "Nanosonatas."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgNL9W8tgzM

Friday, April 9:
Lara Downes releases “Spring Fever” on her Rising Sun Music label with pieces by Betty Jackson King, Nkeiru Okoye, H. Leslie Adams, and Alvin Singleton.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0v3wogbYP5XAfG38SnB3Qu

Friday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET:
The Gilmore Virtual Jazz Club presents the Aaron Diehl Trio.
https://www.thegilmore.org/event/aaron-diehl-trio/

Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET:
Shai Wosner and the JACK Quartet perform works by Thomas Adès, John Luther Adams, and Amy Williams alongside Mozart and Grieg.
https://www.pscny.org/jackquartet

Saturday, April 10:
AMPLIFY with Lara Downes on NPR Music features chef, writer, and opera singer Alexander Smalls.
https://www.npr.org/series/922438111/amplify-with-lara-downes

Sunday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh performs Bach’s Partita No. 3 and Sonata No. 3 alongside new works commissioned for her "Alone Together" project.
https://www.shriverconcerts.org/event/tickets/index.php?id=131 - concert-131

--Shuman Associates

“Bach with a View” International Young Artists Festival and Competition
Sheridan Music Studio Artistic Directors Susan Merdinger and Dr. Svetlana Belsky are pleased to announce the great success of our second annual Young Artists Festival and Competition. We had a huge turnout of tremendously talented pianists and string players from around the world who entered and participated. We look forward to presenting our two Grand Prize Winners in recital in our studio in 2021-2022.

Sheridan Music Studio is proud of our own five piano students who entered this year: College Division: Laura Sieh, 2nd Prize and the Wanda Landowska Award; Jeremy Burroughs, Finalist; Annika Huprikar, Honorable Mention; Alison Gan, Finalist.

Congratulations to all the fine young musicians who participated! We look forward to continuing our Music with a View Competition Series in 2021-2022- so please stay tuned for more information. Meanwhile, you can view all the results and prizes at the above link, and the contestants' photos and bios at this link: https://sheridanmusicstudio.com/bach-with-a-view-contestants

You may watch any of the three-day "Bach with a View Festival and Competition" including Lecture-Recitals, Gala Concerts, and the complete Finals Rounds with Winners Announcements now archived on IN.LIVE at the following links:
https://in.live/event/details/A37w8rjWga Friday March 5th
https://in.live/event/details/eZn2iM2YXU Saturday March 6th
https://in.live/event/details/Tacf2SB3gt Sunday March 7th

--Sheridan Music Studio

Experiential Orchestra New Video
The folks at Experiential Orchestra are thrilled to share our new video A New Experience of Sound with you, edited by Tomomi Sato.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPiYYrUryfk

--James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra

Philadelphia: Pianist Richard Goode Performs His 30th PCMS Recital
After 29 PCMS recitals and counting, we are beginning to run out of superlatives to describe the artistry of Richard Goode. He has soloed with the Society more than any other pianist, and even after appearing with us in nearly every season of our existence, we find ourselves always eagerly anticipating his next visit.

Read on for more information on Richard's Wednesday evening performance, which will be livestreamed to our entire audience on a pay-what-you-wish basis. We look forward to sharing the music with you.

Watch: https://www.pcmsconcerts.org/concerts/richard-goode-piano-2021/

--Miles Cohen, Artistic Director, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces New Board Member Tom Strickler
The Los Angeles Master Chorale announced today the appointment of Tom Strickler to its board of directors.

The board, chaired by Philip A. Swan, provides leadership in carrying out the Master Chorale’s mission to share the spectrum of choral music with the widest possible audience. “We are thrilled to welcome Tom Strickler to the Master Chorale’s board or directors,” said Swan. “Tom is a pioneer in the worlds of entertainment and education, and his guidance will be invaluable, especially during this critical time of planning our post-pandemic future.”

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

90th Anniversary Gala May 10 Honors Zubin Mehta
Celebrating 90 years of innovation, access, and excellence in music education, the Music Institute of Chicago hosts its 90th Anniversary Virtual Gala on Monday, May 10 at 6 p.m. CDT. Highlights of this festive evening include presentation of the Dushkin Award to Maestro Zubin Mehta, the 12th annual Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago to Linda Theis Gantz and Wilbur “Bill” Gantz, and the Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence to Nina Wallenberg and Daniel Wallenberg.

The evening features a prerecorded performance by Music Institute alumna and past Dushkin awardee violinist Rachel Barton Pine, along with prerecorded messages from additional past Dushkin awardees, including jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and violinists Joshua Bell, Midori, Pinchas Zukerman, and others. Other highlights include performances by alumni from the Music Institute’s renowned Academy program for gifted pre-college musicians, and current students from the Academy and the Music Institute’s Community Music School.

Admission to this virtual celebration is complimentary. For event information or to make a gift, please visit https://www.musicinst.org/anniversary-gala.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Miller Theatre’s Mission: Commission Podcast Follows 3 Composers
Miller Theatre at Columbia University's mission to create new works takes center stage as Miller ventures into the world of podcasts for the first time. Mission: Commission, launching on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, is a six-episode, free weekly podcast that demystifies the process of how classical music gets made, lifting the curtain to reveal the inner lives of three composers as they create vibrant new works of music: Marcos Balter in NYC, Courtney Bryan in New Orleans, and Augusta Read Thomas in Chicago.

The hook: In fall 2020, Miller Theatre invited Balter, Bryan, and Thomas—three fascinatingly different composers stylistically—to each write a new piece of music in six weeks, checking in with podcast host Melissa Smey (Miller’s Executive Director) weekly to discuss their unique processes along the way. Like an audio diary, listeners will get a rare inside look as an artist creates—from the blank page, to inspiration, risk-taking and hard work, to the finished product. The result is a dialogue about music creation that ventures into joy, frustration, and humor—and just being a human during a global pandemic. Recordings of the final pieces will be shared at the conclusion of the podcast, on Tuesday, May 18.

Listen to the Mission: Commission podcast trailer here: https://www.missioncommissionpodcast.com/trailer
Preview excerpts from the first episode here: https://www.missioncommissionpodcast.com/preview

Available for free at https://www.missioncommissionpodcast.com/, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Pianist Karl Larson Performs Scott Wollschleger’s Dark Days
On Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 8:00pm ET, pianist Karl Larson makes his solo debut at Brooklyn’s Roulette in a free, live streamed concert celebrating the release of Dark Days, a new album of solo piano music by composer Scott Wollschleger out April 23 on New Focus Recordings.

The program will echo the album’s experiential journey, a compilation of 10 of Wollschleger’s deeply personal works composed between 2007-2020, tracing the evolution of Wollschleger’s synesthetic compositional style. Larson, Wollschleger’s close friend and frequent collaborator, will give listeners a glimpse into the intimate depths of the composer’s working process and the utilization of his rare synesthesia through the tactile use of the piano. Described by Pitchfork as “marvelous” and “powerful,” Karl Larson is a specialist in the music of our time and is uniquely suited to perform these works thanks to a deep understanding of Wollschleger’s musical language.

Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 8:00pm ET
Live Streamed Online from Roulette Intermedium
Tickets: Free
Link: https://roulette.org/event/dark-days-karl-larson-plays-scott-wollschleger/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

American Lyric Theater Presents From Erased to Self-Empowered
American Lyric Theater (ALT) presents From Erased to Self-Empowered: Celebrating Bipoc Opera Composers and Librettists, a three-part online seminar and roundtable, culminating in a free virtual concert performance April 10th at 7:30 pm et. The program is open to composers, librettists, educators and the general public. Advance registration is required.

“BIPOC composers and librettists have written for the lyric stage for centuries, but so many of their contributions have been consciously erased from the opera house — historically white, Euro-centric, racist institutions where select, self-anointed groups of people have gone out of their way to control the repertoire, who writes opera, who is represented on stage, and how,” said ALT’s Founder, Lawrence Edelson, explaining the impetus behind the program. “The tide is beginning to turn, but we still have a long way to go before opera reflects the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary American society.”

For details, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0D6vgFNEVrJRK0DeSQL6Nw or https://www.facebook.com/GreatOperasDontJustHappen

--Rebecca Davis PR

May & June Programming from Bucklesweet Clients
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC
Spring Affair 2021: A Ruby Jubilee
Date: Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. ET
Tickets: Free for all with registration: https://www.gmcw.org/spring-affair/

Third Coast Percussion Archetypes with Sergio and Clarice Assad
Ppresented by Hancher Auditorium
Date: Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. CT / 8:30 p.m. ET
More information: https://hancher.uiowa.edu/

Washington Performing Arts
Home Delivery Plus: Alisa Weilerstein, cellist
Date: Premieres Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. ET, streaming through Thursday, May 13
Tickets: $20: https://www.washingtonperformingarts.org/seasontickets/home-delivery-plus/alisa-weilerstein-cello/

Concours Musical International de Montreal Finals
Date: Monday, May 10–Friday, May 14
More information: https://www.concoursmontreal.ca/en/piano-2021/

iSing Silicon Valley Girlchoir
Premiere of Daniel Wohl’s Commission
Date: Saturday, May 15
More information: https://isingsv.com/

Washington Performing Arts
Home Delivery Plus: Evgeny Kissin, Joshua Bell, and Steven Isserlis
Date: Premieres Friday, May 21 at 8 p.m. ET, streaming through Thursday, May 27
Tickets: $30: https://www.washingtonperformingarts.org/seasontickets/home-delivery-plus/evgeny-kissin-joshua-bell-steven-isserlis/

The Washington Chorus: Resilience
Date: Friday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET, streaming through Wednesday, June 30
Tickets: $15: https://thewashingtonchorus.secure.force.com/ticket/ - /instances/a0F0y00001C9RpcEAF

American Pianists Association
2021 Classical Awards Finals
Date: Friday, June 25–Sunday, June 27
More information: https://www.americanpianists.org/about

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Famed Pianist Lang Lang to Be Honored at YPC's Annual Gala
The Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC) has announced it will honor famed pianist Lang Lang as YPC’s Artistic Honoree during its 2021 Virtual Gala in recognition of his achievements and contribution to the arts as a pianist, educator and philanthropist. The annual event, which will be live streamed on Monday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET, is the chorus’s largest fundraiser and helps to support its year-round programs for more than 2,000 children in New York City and beyond. This will be the first year the gala will be virtual, providing access to a world-wide audience. Tickets are on sale now.

The 2021 gala will feature a vast range of new choral arrangements, from songs by Beyoncé to the Beatles, composers David Lang to Yuka Honda, and from YPC Artist in Residence Gordon Getty. Sweeping across five locations around New York City – from Brooklyn to Harlem to Washington Heights - it will showcase Covid compliant filming with lively vignettes including guest appearances by Grammy, Emmy and Academy Award-winning artists soon to be announced.

Complete information here: https://ypc.org/event/gala-2021/

--Laura Gigounas, Glodow Nead Communications

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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