Classical Music News of the Week, June 17, 2017

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Featured in Free Outdoor Concert in Central Park

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is featured in a free outdoor concert at Central Park's historic Naumburg Bandshell on Tuesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m., presented by Naumburg Orchestral Concerts and hosted by WQXR's Annie Bergen. The orchestra performs J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6. Showcasing the many aspects of the Baroque concerto form, these staple of the Orpheus repertoire exude a spirit of cheerfulness and joy. Also on the program is Christopher Theofanidis' Muse which was commissioned and premiered by Orpheus in 2007 as part of its New Brandenburgs project, and inspired by Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

Following the Central Park concert, on Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m., Orpheus travels to Winona, Minnesota to perform the same four Brandenburg Concertos (Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6) as part of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival at Winona State University.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is also pleased to announce that violinist Miho Saegusa has been added to its musician roster. Saegusa, who enjoys a multifaceted career as a versatile chamber musician, orchestral leader, and soloist, has performed and toured with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra previously.

Tickets are not required for the July 18 concert in Central Park; it is free and open to the public. More information at naumburgconcerts.org.

Tickets for the July 20 concert in Minnesota are $25 for adults and $21 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at the Saint Mary's University Performance Center Box Office (700 Terrace Heights), by calling 507-457-1715 (weekdays from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.), or by visiting the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Web site, mnbeethovenfestival.org.

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

Louis Frémaux Has Died
(I apologize for the lateness of this news, but I just recently read about it.)

French conductor Louis Frémaux, principal conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) from 1969 to 1978 and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1981, has died aged 95.

Fremaux (1921-2017), whose performances UK music critic Noel Goodwin described as "frequently distinguished by freshness, suppleness and, in the French repertory, an airy brilliance," led the Sydney Orchestra in the years before Charles Mackerras took over as Chief.

SSO Principal Trombone Ronald Prussing, who was hired during Fremaux's tenure, shared his memories of the conductor with Limelight: "I distinctly recall how elegant he was as a conductor on the podium," Prussing said. "He was very French. He wasn't boisterous but he was quite clear."

"He was very, very good at the French repertoire, particularly things like the Organ Symphony of Saint-Saëns – the Bizet Symphony in C he was very good at," he said. "And a little bit of English music, too – he did a very, very good Walton Symphony No 1, which was really quite stunning. I think he did that as a guest and on that basis was considered for Chief Conductor."

--Ronald Prussing, Limelight

Fort Worth Opera Foreword
Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced the launch of FWOpera Foreward, a million dollar, summer-long campaign designed to invite the community-at-large and artists from across the United States to share their inspirational stories, experiences, and passion for the arts, especially their fondest memories of the opera company itself – an institution that has enriched the city of Fort Worth for over 70 years. These stories will be shared on FWOpera's social media platforms and official website as a celebration of the impact and importance of arts and culture on those who call Fort Worth home.

The campaign's title was purposefully chosen, as each great story begins with a preface, or foreword, that sets the stage for the narrative ahead. As one chapter is closed, another begins anew, starting life as a blank canvas of limitless possibility. FWOpera, energized by the positive community-wide response to its 2017 Festival and the smash-hit mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, now pays homage to its rich, 71-year legacy and the incredible city from which it arose, charting a course towards a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.

FWOpera Foreword is initiated by a combined $250,000 lead gift from two long-time FWOpera supporters, in honor of the company's 11th Festival season and its steadfast commitment to pioneering the new frontiers of artistic expression. This pivotal campaign, which kicks off in June and lasts until the end of August, will offer everyone an opportunity to share their stories with the community, as we honor the history and heritage of Cowtown, and relive the legends that brought it to international prominence.

FWOpera calls upon opera lovers and valued citizens of this cultural community to consider a gift that will secure the legacy of the oldest opera company in the state of Texas. Everyone who participates will pen a part of FWOpera's own libretto, to ensure a successful 2018 season and beyond. To make your mark on Fort Worth Opera's new story and join in writing the next great chapter of the company's future, donate today by calling 817.288.1212 or go online at www.fwforeword.org.

--Ryan Lathan, Marketing and Communications Manager

The Danish String Quartet Tours US Summer Music Festivals
In high demand by both audiences and presenters throughout the classical music domain for their uncommonly unified sound and extraordinary musical versatility, the Danish String Quartet returns to the United States in summer 2017 for an eight-concert tour across five cities. Since their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the group of musical friends continues to manifest their passion for Scandinavian composers by frequently incorporating Nordic repertoire into adventurous contemporary programs, while invariably proving to be intelligent and profound performers of the classical masters.

This summer the Quartet brings exciting and diverse programming, featuring works by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Nordic folk music, with collaborations that include "the delightfully unassuming but bewitching" (The Guardian) Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen and rising star Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi. On August 10, the Quartet closes their broad tour at the Mostly Mozart Festival with two concerts in one evening: a 7:30pm performance of Beethoven string quartets, and a 10pm late-night concert of Scandinavian folk tunes.

For the complete schedule, visit http://danishquartet.com/

--Hannah Goldshlack-Wolf, Kirshbaum Associates

Simon Trpceski Replaces Denis Matsuev in Aug. 1 Concert
Ravinia announces that pianist Denis Matsuev greatly regrets that under his doctor's orders he must reduce his schedule due to exhaustion and therefore must withdraw from his concerto appearance at Ravinia on Aug. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Simon Trpceski—who will perform Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto with the CSO as part of Ravinia's annual "Tchaikovsky Spectacular" on July 16—will replace Matsuev in a performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as programmed for the Aug. 1 concert of classic favorites. Trpceski has recorded the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini both with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Vasily Petrenko as part of their highly acclaimed complete recordings of the Rachmaninoff concertos. He recently performed the piece with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, winning raves from the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Matsuev looks forward to returning to Ravinia in a future season.

--Allie Brightwell, Press Ravina

Salisbury Symphony Orchestra Appoints New Executive Director
James Dane Harvey has been appointed as the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra's (SSO) new Executive Director, taking over from Linda Jones who retires after 14 years in the role. Harvey started his new role on June 1st, joining the SSO team which includes David Hagy (Music Director), Dr. Lynn Bowes (Education Director), Ms. Jordan Warren (Assistant to the Executive Director), and Mr. Hunter Safrit (Administrative Assistant).

Harvey, a Rowan County native, has spent his entire academic and professional career involved in the performing arts. He lived in London for over 10 years during which time he was responsible for public relations and marketing campaigns for high-profile artists, entertainment organizations and numerous West End musicals. He also served as Managing Director of Yale Opera at Yale University and as Production Coordinator for Central City Opera, a summer opera festival in Colorado.

Harvey holds a High School Diploma and Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a Master of Arts degree in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a Master of Philosophy degree in Arts, Culture and Education from the University of Cambridge, where his research thesis focused on the popularization of classical music.

On the appointment of Harvey, Music Director David Hagy says, "I've known Dane since he was a teenager performing with the Piedmont Players. The thing I remember most about him was his passion for music and theatre.  Although he is a bit older than when we first knew each other, his passion is undiminished. In fact I'd say he's more energized about music, specifically wanting to engage the broadest possible audience with this art form.  I look forward to working with him again."

The SSO's 51st season commences on July 1st, and includes a program of four performances by the orchestra featuring works by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Dvorak, and Darrell Harwood (hence the theme "Pushing The Envelope"!). Call the Symphony office at 704-637-4314 for a copy of the Season Brochure. Find the Salisbury Symphony on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tickets and information can be found online at www.salisburysymphony.org.

--Salisbury Symphony

Pianist Luca Buratto Makes New York Debut
Italian pianist Luca Buratto, the Honens International Piano Competition's 2015 Prize Laureate, will make his New York debut at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. His program features works by Adès, Janácek, Ligeti, Prokofiev and Schumann. The concert is presented by the Honens International Piano Competition.

Luca Buratto stated, "My program for Carnegie Hall juxtaposes five very different types of works—all great, each having its own perspective and expressiveness: the struggles depicted in the sonatas by Janácek and Prokofiev; music of phantoms, angels and hidden voices in the works by Adès and Ligeti; and the distinctive voice of Schumann in his Humoreske. The music of Schumann has, in fact, become almost an obsession with me. Schumann was a tender poet and a stormy romanticist; his work—passionate, intense, lyrical and revolutionary—heralded a new conception of what music could be. Performing and recording his music is always challenging and inspiring, intensely gratifying—a compelling journey into the mind and the art of my most beloved composer. I will be happy and grateful to share the works of all these composers in Zankel Hall."

Luca Buratto was among ten pianists from seven countries, aged 20 to 30, who performed in the Semifinals of the 2015 Honens International Piano Competition. After advancing to the Finals, he was named Honens Prize Laureate, receiving a cash award of $100,000 (CAN) and an artistic and career development program valued at a half million dollars.

Tickets: $35, $25, $15 ($10 students and seniors, at Box Office only), available July 13, 2017, at carnegiehall.org; by calling CarnegieCharge (212) 247-7800; or by visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office: 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, NYC.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Itzhak Perlman to Headline Ravinia Gala
One of the classical world's most sought-after artists, the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, will headline Ravinia's July 29 Gala, joining conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Hosted by Ravinia's Women's Board, the Gala supports the not-for-profit festival and its REACH*TEACH*PLAY education programs, which serve 85,000 people in Cook and Lake Counties.

Due to continued physical therapy prompted by inflammation in his left arm, the originally scheduled soloist, pianist Lang Lang, has been forced to cancel his concert appearances through the end of the summer. He extends his apologies and looks forward to making music again soon. Ravinia wishes him well.

"Ravinia lives under a lucky star, indeed, that a performer of this magnitude would step up in this way, and we owe this extremely rare assist to Mr. Perlman's unwavering commitment to children and music education, along with his steadfast appreciation of Ravinia, the CSO and Maestro Eschenbach. We cannot thank him enough," said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman. "Itzhak joins the entire Ravinia Family in wishing one of our own, Lang Lang, a complete and speedy recovery along with an open invitation."

--Allie Brightwell, Press Ravinia

Merola Opera Program Presents Triple Bill
The acclaimed Merola Opera Program, one of the most prestigious and selective opera training programs in the United States, continues its 2017 Summer Festival during its 60th Anniversary season with a triple bill of fully-staged, one-act operas, Pergolesi's La serva padrona, Holst's Savitri, and Walton's The Bear, on Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, July 22 at 2 pm at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street, San Francisco). This production is conducted by Christopher Ocasek and directed by Peter Kazaras. Tickets for the performances range from $50 to $70, with a limited number of $15 student tickets available.

Tickets are $50 and $70, in addition to a student price of $15*. Tickets may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330 or by visiting merola.org or www.sfopera.com. The box office is open Monday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. *Student tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office window, located inside the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Ave. Valid student ID is required.

For completre information, visit merola.org or sfopera.com.

--Jean Catino Shirk, Shirk Media

California Symphony's Sound Minds Awarded Its First-Ever Grant from NEA
California Symphony has been awarded a $15,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), its first grant from the agency since 2011, in recognition and support of its Sound Minds elementary school music program in San Pablo, CA. The Orchestra also announced that the California Arts Council has renewed and increased its support of the Sound Minds program, with a grant of $16,200. It is the first-ever NEA grant for Sound Minds, which is modeled on Venezuela's El Sistema program, and both awards acknowledge the powerful difference Sound Minds is making in the lives of young students and families at Downer Elementary School.

Kids in the Sound Minds program, now in its sixth year at Downer Elementary, have outscored their peers in standardized tests by as much as 63%, with the achievement gap widening each year students participate. When second graders begin the program, baseline data shows students enrolled in Sound Minds, and those who are not in the program, test equally proficient in math and reading (equal numbers in each percentile) per standardized test scores. However, after one year in program, math proficiency rates quadruple -- four times as many students test at grade level or higher, compared to the 3rd graders not in the program -- and reading proficiency rates for this majority Spanish-speaking population double, compared to their non-participating peers.

--Jean Catino Shirk, Shirk Media

Lara Downes Joins Cadenza Artists
Cadenza Artists is proud to announce our newest roster addition, pianist Lara Downes. Recognized as an iconoclastic pianist whose artistry has been called "luscious, moody and dreamy" by the The New York Times and "ravishing" by Fanfare Magazine, Lara Downes takes inspiration where she finds it, going beyond labels like "classical" or "eclectic" to make music that is timeless and timely, starts conversations, and resonates with the world we live in.

Lara Downes is a recipient of the 2017 Innovator of the Year Award by University of California, Davis. The Award recognizes Lara's acclaimed album America Again, inspired by Langston Hughes' 1935 poem, "Let America Be America Again," which debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard Classical charts and was picked by NPR as one of "10 Classical Albums that Saved 2016." America Again is in many ways the coming-of-age memoir of an artist who has found her own way and carved her own path through American music to express the diversity of American history and American dreams.

--Cadenza Artists

Los Angeles Master Chorale First-Ever "Big Sing" L.A. Free Event
Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 1 PM. Grand Park, downtown Los Angeles. Free event.

Join a gigantic chorus of singers for the Los Angeles Master Chorale's inaugural group sing, "Big Sing L.A.!" In addition to a performance by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, you get to sing and harmonize some of your favorite songs with our singers. You'll also get to meet and learn about many other choirs that perform right here in Los Angeles. Everyone, regardless of singing ability, is encouraged to participate.

Complimentary water provided, courtesy of Coca Cola. Free tote bags will be given to the first 1,000 attendees.

Conductors include Grant Gershon, Artistic Director, Los Angeles Master Chorale
Francisco Nunez, Artistic Director, Young People's Chorus of NYC; Rollo Dilworth, Director of Choral Music, Temple University; Eric Whitacre, Artist-In-Residence, Los Angeles Master Chorale; and Moira Smiley, Composer/Singer, VOCO Ensemble.

Or for more information or to sign up, call the box office at 213-972-7282 (Mon-Sat, 10-6) or visit
http://www.lamasterchorale.org/big-sing-la.

--Jennifer Scott, L.A. Master Chorale

PBO's Future Musicians Need Your Help
William Skeen, cellist with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra writes: "I've been playing the cello with Philharmonia for 14 years and have loved every moment of it. Each season I look forward to Nic's imaginative programs, working with the very best colleagues, and chatting with such enlightened supporters.

But it's working with kids - both my own son and daughter who are budding classical musicians and the students who take part in PBO's music education programs - that keeps me grounded and hopeful. In Bay Area middle and high schools to PBO's new partnership with The Juilliard School's historical performance program, it's all about raising up the next generation of musicians and audiences.

Would you please help support the next generation of musicians?

I did not have the luxury of a baroque cello teacher or coach early in my career. All of my training came from direct contact with players, many of whom are in the Philharmonia family. I know you share my passion for historically-informed perormance practice and it's fantastic to see how many young people are taking up period instruments."

To donate, visit https://philharmoniabaroqueorchestra.secure.force.com/donate/?dfId=a0ni0000000nXXSAA2

Or visit https://philharmonia.org/

--Marketing, Philharmonia Baroque

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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 John 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.

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.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa