Classical Music News of the Week, September 18, 2021

The Chelsea Symphony Announces Its 2021-2022 Season

The Chelsea Symphony is thrilled to announce its 2021-2022 concert season, “Reunited.” Each program this season responds in a different way to the past unprecedented year. We celebrate the joys of being back on the town and remember those we have lost; we find solace in nature, strength in diversity, and inspiration in resilience.

As always, TCS aims to radically democratize the concert experience. Every concert will showcase The Chelsea Symphony’s unique collaborative structure, with our musicians rotating as featured soloists, composers, and conductors. We invite you to join us in conversation after each performance—come over and say hello!

The season begins with “Back on the Town,” September 24 & 25, 2021:
Our season opener celebrates the resilience of our community in times of adversity. Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town, written during the darkest days of World War II, depicts an exuberant romp through New York City.

For the full schedule of programs and events, visit https://www.chelseasymphony.org/

--Elizabeth Holub, Chelsea Symphony

Scott Yoo and Friends Perform Live Sep. 26
Join Scott Yoo  for an afternoon of great chamber music. This concert will feature Festival Mozaic's music director Scott Yoo along with Los Angeles Philharmonic principal cellist Robert deMaine and renowned pianist John Novacek in Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano and Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1. Tickets start as low as $35. Package pricing available when grouping tickets for all four fall events.

Sunday, September 26 • 2:00 PM
Harold J. Miossi CPAC at Cuesta College, CA.

For complete concert and ticket informaiton, visit https://festivalmozaic.org/

--Festival Mozaic

Marini's "Echo Sonata" for Three Violins
American Bach Soloists present this week's new music video in "The Baroque Experience": "Echo Sonata" for 3 Violins by Biagio Marini, featuring Elizabeth Blumenstock, YuEun Gemma Kim, and Cynthia Keiko Black, violins; with Corey Jamason, organ.

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyMQPoWpDNs

--American Bach Soloists

Tulsa Opera 2021-22 Season Opens
Tulsa Opera will came out swinging on Friday, October 15 with a celebratory 74th season opening night event titled “Puccini and Verdi Play Ball at ONEOK Field.”

The evening--held at the home of the Tulsa Drillers baseball team--included a new production of Puccini’s one-act comic opera, Gianni Schicchi, directed by James Blaszko. Oriol Sans conducted a cast that featured baritone Levi Hernandez in the title role, sopranos Rachel Blaustein, Danielle Pastin, and Emily Pulley, tenors Julius Ahn and Jonathan Johnson, and bass Andrew Potter. Mr. Blaszko, Mr. Sans, and all of the singers with the exception of Mr. Ahn and Mr. Potter made their company debut. The evening’s program also featured a selection of Puccini and Verdi arias performed by the cast, and concluded with a fireworks display.

Tulsa Opera’s 2021-22 season continues in February 2022 with the Oklahoma premiere of Mr. Picker’s first opera Emmeline in a new production directed by Tara Faircloth. The season concludes in April 2022 with a new immersive production of Richard Strauss’s Salome in its Oklahoma premiere directed by Thaddeus Strassberger and starring soprano Patricia Racette.

For details and tickets, visit https://tulsaopera.com/

--Jennifer Scott, Shuman Associates

More Upcoming Events
Tuesday, September 21, at 6 p.m., Salastina’s Virtual Happy Hour: Premiere of Derrick Skye's Grace Unbound.
https://www.salastina.org/concerts

MUSE/IQUE presents "The House That Nat Built" with Hamilton alums Julia Harriman and Joshua Henry, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre.
Wednesday & Thursday, September 22 & 23 at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens; September 26 at The Skirball Cultural Center.
Shows at 7:30 p.m.; mingling & nosh at 6:30 p.m.
http://www.muse-ique.com/showinfo.php?id=430

Salastina Kicks Off its 2021-22 Season on Friday, September 24,at 8 p.m., The Bowers Museum Courtyard; Saturday, September 25, at 8 p.m., Fowler Museum Courtyard, UCLA; Sunday, September 26, at 8 p.m., USC Pacific Asia Museum Courtyard. Featuring works by previous favorite Happy Hour guest composers Michi and Paul Wiancko, Kenji Bunch, and Judd Greenstein; Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht opens the program.
https://www.salastina.org/save-these-dates

American Youth Symphony’s Opening Night Concert, Saturday, September 25, at 7 p.m., UCLA's Royce Hall, featuring Carlos Izcaray’s Geometric Unity, Alberto Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4.
Pay what you can. Tickets available now.
https://www.aysymphony.org/2021-22-season/

Invitation: Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Welcome Back Concert for L.A.
Saturday, September 25, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, September 26, at 7 p.m; featuring works by L.A.-based composers Nilo Alcala and Shawn Kirchner, “Together at Last” from Swan Family Artist-in-Residence Reena Esmail, Morten Lauridsen’s rendition of Sure on This Shining Night, and many more.
https://lamasterchorale.org/invitation

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Orion Continues in Nov. with Beethoven, Hindemith, Price, Schubert
The Orion Ensemble, with guest violist Stephen Boe, continues its 29th season with performances featuring works by Beethoven, Hindemith, Price and Schubert at three venues: New England Congregational Church in Aurora, IL (Nov. 7, followed by a wine and cheese benefit), PianoForte Studios in Chicago (Nov. 10) and a new venue, Lake Street Church in Evanston (Nov. 14). The Chicago and Evanston performances also will be available via livestream.

Per the state of Illinois’s requirements, all audience members will be required to wear masks at all three venues. Audience members may email info@orionensemble.org for any updates to these requirements closer to the performances.

The livestreams from Chicago and Evanston will be available on Orion’s YouTube channel, which will also host a recording of the performance for a limited time.

For details, visit https://www.orionensemble.org/

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Lara Downes & Rising Sun Music Release "Migration Music"
Pianist and curator Lara Downes continues her transformative Rising Sun Music series of monthly digital EPs with Migration Music, a three-part focus on music commemorating the Great Migration--the exodus of Black Americans out of the rural South during the first part of the 20th century.

Ms. Downes says, “From about 1915 to 1970, there was a great migration of more than six million Black Americans, following a ray of light out of the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West. They left behind everything and everyone they knew. They took only what they could carry, the humblest of belongings that Rita Dove catalogs in her poem Say Grace: '...a nail to hang our things on / a wish / an empty sack...' But what they brought with them--their dreams, their courage, their faith in a brighter tomorrow--transformed American life and culture in every possible way. This music tells the story of migration and metamorphosis, the first light of a new day.”

“Migration Music” will be released in three parts--Light, Flight, and Settle--named for the three movements of Carlos Simon’s string quartet Warmth from Other Suns. Each of the three movements, performed by the Ivalas Quartet, will be featured on the September, October and November releases respectively, creating a throughline that bridges the complete series.

For more information, visit https://www.laradownes.com/about-lara

--Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates

Pianist Susan Merdinger In Concert on October 2
Pianist Susan Merdinger will be in concert on Sunday, October 2 at 12:15 PM CDT, as part of the Ear Taxi Festival at University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts Performance Penthouse (9th Floor), 915 E 60th St. in Chicago.

She’ll perform solo piano music by contemporary composers Aaron Alter, Elbio Barilari and Ilya Levinson. All three of the pieces were premiered and/or recorded by Ms. Merdinger.

Tickets and more event information at https://www.eartaxifestival.com/mainstage/10-2-merdinger

--Jeffrey James Arts Consulting

Osmo Vänskä and Minnesota Orchestra Begin Final Season Together
This month, Osmo Vänskä begins his final season as Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, a season whose programming recalls milestone performances, collaborations, commissions, tours, and recordings from his soon-to-be 19-year tenure.

The season opens September 23 and 24 with Mr. Vänskä and the Orchestra welcoming violinist Joshua Bell for performances of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy.

For more information on Maestro Vanska and the Minnesota season, visit https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/

--Jennifer Scott, Shuman Associates

On PBS: “Three Divas at Versailles”
In “Great Performances at the Met: Three Divas at Versailles,” three-time Grammy winner Isabel Leonard joins Nadine Sierra and Ailyn Pérez to perform timeless selections by Mozart, Offenbach and Bizet including “Voi che sapete” and “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour,” along with beloved songs like “Bésame Mucho” and “Cielito Lindo.” Recorded in May at the Royal Opera of Versailles in France, Met Opera soprano Christine Goerke hosts the broadcast Friday, October 8 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

For details, visit https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/great-performances-at-the-met-three-divas-at-versailles-about/12921/

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Will Liverman Featured in Recital at Park Avenue Armory
Acclaimed baritone Will Liverman gives a solo recital together with pianist Myra Huang, presented by Park Avenue Armory on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 3:00pm and Monday, October 11, 2021 at 7:30pm in the Armory’s Board of Officers Room (643 Park Avenue, NYC).

The recital spotlights the works of Black composers and writers, in addition to works from the traditional classical music canon including three Strauss pieces, "Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten," "Traum durch die Dämmerung," and "Zueignung"; the song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée by Ravel; plus songs by Brian McKnight arranged by Liverman. Additional works to be announced.

For more information, visit http://www.willliverman.com/

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Tickets for SOLI’s Tableau Available
San Antonio’s SOLI Chamber Ensemble opens its new season at the San Antonio Botanical Garden with Tableau. The Garden’s current exhibit, Frida Kahlo Oasis, is the inspiration for a vibrant event filled with fusions of dance rhythms and contemporary expressions in the music of Aaron Prado, Arturo Marquez, and Robert Xavier Rodrigues. SOLI welcomes guest artist Jacquelyn Matava, mezzo-soprano, to the stage.

Tableau includes San Antonio composer Aaron Prado’s recent adaptation for SOLI of his Ofrenda, written in 2015 as a tribute to Frida Kahlo, and Arturo Marquez’s sinuous and joyous celebration of the danzon: Zarabandeo.

For more information, visit https://www.solichamberensemble.com/

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

The OM’s Orchestral Conducting Academy Welcomes Six New Talents
The Orchestre Métropolitain (OM) and its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin today introduced the next-generation conductors who will take part in the first edition of the Academy of Orchestral Conducting.

Selected after a call for applications launched earlier this summer, six young talents were chosen from a field of 32. They are Monica Chen (British Columbia); Marie-Claire Cardinal (Quebec); Benoît Gauthier (Quebec); Félix Ste-Marie (Quebec); Trevor Wilson (Ontario); and Naomi Woo (Manitoba).

The young conductors will be immersed in the symphonic milieu and enjoy backstage access to rehearsals and concerts of the OM's 2021-2022 season. They will also have a unique mentoring experience alongside Yannick Nézet-Séguin and, for training purposes, regular interaction with the Orchestre's team members and musicians. Additionally, they will take part in the OM's educational and artistic activities.

For more information, visit https://orchestremetropolitain.com/en/

--France Gaignard Media Relations

Andreas Delfs Opens Inaugural Season as RPO Music Director
Maestro Andreas Delfs opens his inaugural season as music director of The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) on September 23.

On the program for the opening concerts, September 23 & 25, is Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Violin Concerto, praised as "an attractive, colourful work, scored most imaginatively and with great finesse" (Gramophone), featuring soloist Benjamin Beilman.

For complete details, visit https://rpo.org/

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

“Live Music Meditation Outdoors” at Princeton University Concerts
Princeton University Concerts (“PUC”) will transition its popular “Breathe in Music” program, conceived in partnership with the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, to an outdoor format this October. A series of eight “Live Music Meditation: Outdoors” events--four afternoon sessions at 2PM at the Princeton University Graduate College Courtyard, and four twilight sessions at 5:30PM at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center Campus, surrounded by Greenway Meadows park--will invite listeners to experience a guided meditation to live music performed by the next generation of classical music stars.

Limited capacity tickets for the hour-long programs ($25 General/$10 Student) will be released on Thursday, September 23 at 11AM online at https://concerts.princeton.edu/.

--Dasha Koltunyuk, Princeton University Concerts

Los Angeles Master Chorale Opens 2021-22 Season
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Grant Gershon, Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, makes its long-awaited return to Walt Disney Concert Hall and welcomes back concertgoers on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26, 2021 with its season kick-off concert, “Invitation,” featuring works by L.A.-based composers Nilo Alcala and Shawn Kirchner, “Together at Last” from Swan Family Artist-in-Residence Reena Esmail, and Morten Lauridsen’s rendition of “Sure on This Shining Night.” On September 25, all teachers are invited to attend for free and can call the box office in advance of the concert for information on how to receive their tickets.

The 2021-22 season also marks 20 years of the highest artistic aspiration under the direction of Grant Gershon. The outstanding skill and artistry of the Master Chorale singers and the range of programming of this year’s tremendous concerts reflect the impact he’s had on the ensemble and organization.

More information and pay-what-you-can tickets for “Invitation” are available here: https://tickets.lamasterchorale.org/invitation

Subscriptions for the Master Chorale’s 2021-22 season start at $117 and are available now by phone, 213-972-7282, or online at https://lamasterchorale.org/subscribe. Single tickets are available now at 213-972-7282 or online at https://lamasterchorale.org.

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent 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 both its equipment and recordings 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 simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me — point out recordings that they 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 Marantz CD 6007 and Onkyo CD 7030 CD players, 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