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Showing posts from July, 2009

Caroline Goulding Releases Debut Album with Works by Corigliano, Vieuxtemps, Kreisler, Schoenfeld and Gershwin

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Release on Telarc out August 25th
Launch Concert at (Le)Poisson Rouge in New York September 8th “Here was freshness, confidence, radiant technique and perfect optimism wrapped in sparkling beauty.” -- Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and SchoolNew York, NY – At age sixteen, violinist Caroline Goulding combines fearless technique and innate artistry with an unadulterated joy for music-making that is unmatched by most violinists of any age. In her young career, she has already graced the stage with prestigious orchestras such as The Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. She has won the coveted first prize of the Aspen Music Festival’s Concerto Competition (at age thirteen) and has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, the MARTHA show hosted by Martha Stewart and been featured on National Public Radio’s From The Top as well as From the Top: Live at Carnegie on PBS Television. Caroline Goulding joins forces with pianist and From the Top impresario Christo…

TO Counter Economic Crisis Baltimore Symphony Musicians agree to Pay Cuts and Furloughs

Management, Board and Musicians Work Together to Strengthen Orchestra's Financial Position July 30, 2009 (Baltimore, MD)—In recognition of significant shortfalls in revenues, the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the BSO Board of Directors have approved concessions to the players’ current three-year contract, originally settled in August 2008. There will be two weeks of voluntary furlough in August 2009 and three additional weeks of furlough and a pay cut in the 2009-2010 season. The combination of a pay cut and furloughs will result in a 12.5% reduction in annual salary. Several positions in the orchestra will remain vacant and pension contributions will be reduced. The total savings amount to $1.9 million. Against a backdrop of two balanced budgets in prior years, the 2008-2009 season has been deeply affected by the prolonged economic downturn. While subscription ticket sales, which had come in before September 2008, exceeded budget by 4.3%, single ticket reven…

The Nash Ensemble L'Invitation au Vouage: Exploring the music of France & Spain

The Nash Ensemble will take concertgoers on a unique journey through the music of France and Spain during its 2009/2010 season. The Nash programmes reflect the connections between the musical traditions of two countries in eleven concerts presented throughout the season. The series takes its name from Duparc’s song L’invitation au voyage – and offers a journey to a land of “order and beauty, luxury, calm and delight”. French composers such as Chabrier, Debussy and Ravel wrote some of the finest “Spanish” music; the Spaniards - Granados, Falla and Turina all spent formative years in Paris. Works by these major figures are augmented by masterpieces ranging from Berlioz and Saint-Saëns to Fauré and Poulenc. The award-winning Nash Ensemble is joined by Dame Felicity Lott in performances of Duparc L’Invitation au voyage & Phidylé and Berlioz Les Nuits d’été on 24 October 2009, and by Sally Mathews in Canteloube Chants d’Auvergne on 14 November, in which the programme will inc…

"The Composer's Voice" a chance to hear the voices of tomorrow's music

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Kevin Puts and Gabriela Lena Frank are the two most recent Composers-in-Residence at the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Some of their more sumptuous compositions are captured on a CD, "The Composer's Voice." Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts the symphony is a series of live performances recorded and compiled to a unique glimpse of two promising composers who will undoubtedly be voices in tomorrow's classical music. The CD begins with Kevin Puts' Violin Concerto featuring Michael Shih on violin. As the opening movement, "Meditation" begins the violin plays a beautifully tender melody. Occasionally dark and brooding, at other times sweet and delightful, the violin soars over the orchestra into the upper atmosphere. So often virtuosic moments are written simply to show off the skill of the soloist. Here, the virtuoso elements of the solo violin carry a sense of the overall flow of the piece, building as the orchestra builds. Eventually the piece begins…

Boston Pops Annouces Competition to Open for Ben Folds for their Sold-Out Concert October 2nd

Submissions to be made through Sonicbids WebsiteThe Boston Pops and singer-songwriter Ben Folds, along with Sonicbids, an online site that brings together bands and promoters for performance opportunities, are giving one group or artist an opportunity to open for Ben Folds' upcoming performance with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops on Friday, October 2, 2009. Those interested in applying for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can submit audio files and artist information through the Sonicbids website at http://www.sonicbids.com/BostonPopsandBenFolds. The deadline for submissions is August 24. The selected artist will perform a 25-30 minute opening set on stage to a sold-out crowd at Symphony Hall, which seats over 2,400. They will also receive $1000 for travel and hotel accommodations.Keith Lockhart and Ben Folds will review submissions and select the artist/group to be the opening act for the October 2 concert. The selected artist or artists must be able to quickly move on/…

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francico Symphony Release Mahler's Symphony No. 8 on CD

Includes Adagio from Symphony No. 10 Available August 25, 2009iTunes to offer exclusive pre-release digital download beginning August 11SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 29, 2009 – Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Mahler’s unfinished Symphony No. 10 on hybrid SACD August 25, 2009. This recording is the final album of symphonies to be released as part of the SFS’s Grammy-winning Mahler recording project for its own label, SFS Media. A future album of Mahler’s works for voice and orchestra will complete the project in 2010. Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, Symphony of a Thousand, was recorded live in Davies Symphony Hall November 19, 21, 22 and 23, 2008 and features performances by sopranos Erin Wall, Elza van den Heever, and Laura Claycomb; mezzo-sopranos Katarina Karnéus and Yvonne Naef; tenor Anthony Dean Griffey; baritone Quinn Kelsey; and bass-baritone James Mor…

Cellist Johannes Moser’s Summer Season Takes Him on Festival Tour of Europe and the U.S.

Performances with Cleveland Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Are HighlightsThe German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser continues his summer in both chamber and orchestral concerts in Europe and the U.S., including his debut with the celebrated Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Mariss Jansons. Moser’s summer concert tour follows a busy season of debut performances with top American orchestras and further recordings on the Hänssler Classics label, which continue to earn critical praise. His recording of Saint-Saëns’s complete works for cello and orchestra was given a perfect 5-star review in BBC Music, while Listen, reviewing the same CD, called Moser “without question an artist worth watching”. Moser opened his summer season on July 11 at Germany’s Rheingau Musik Festival where he focused on chamber music performances. In Rheingau, Moser was joined by pianist Paul Ravinius for a program of cello sonatas by Beethoven, Zemlinsky and Brahms. Moser returns to the U.S. fo…

Danielle de Niese to release The Mozart Album including duet with Bryn Terfel

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“Her singing is utterly delectable and completely assured…Sheer ‘joie de vivre’ and mastery come spilling across, to the eyes as well as the ears.” -The New York TimesNew York, NY – On September 8th, 2009, Decca will release The Mozart Album, the hotly anticipated second solo recording from 30-year-old soprano Danielle de Niese. The full album will be available at digital music retailers including the iTunes Music store on August 18th. On July 28th, iTunes will exclusively offer the single “La ci darem la mano” performed by Danielle de Niese together with baritone Bryn Terfel.An Australian–born American soprano of Dutch and Sri Lankan heritage, the exotically beautiful de Niese has been captivating audiences since childhood, when she was a fixture of Los Angeles local television hosting a weekly arts showcase for teenagers, for which she won an Emmy Award. De Niese was just 18 when she was accepted as the youngest artist ever into the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the …

Zuill Bailey & Simone Dinnerstein to release new CD of Beethoven Complete Works for Piano & Cello

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New York, NY— Pianist Simone Dinnerstein and cellist Zuill Bailey will release a recording of Beethoven’s Complete Works for Piano and Cello on Telarc on August 25 in the US and September 28 in the UK. The 2-disc set includes Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 5 No. 1; Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5 No. 2; Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69; and Variations for Piano and Cello in G major, F major, and Eb major. Grammy Award-winning engineer Adam Abeshouse is the producer for the recording. On August 25 at 8pm, the duo will perform the Beethoven Sonatas at the Ravinia Festival, near Chicago (Bennett Gordon Hall at 201 St. Johns Avenue, Highland Park, IL). On August 27, they will perform Sonatas Nos. 3, 4, and 5 at a CD release concert at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York (158 Bleecker Street).Ms. Dinnerstein and Mr. Bailey have performed together regularly for more than a decade, and received the Classical Recording Foundation Award in 2006 and 2007. Both are known as highly accomplished musicians …

Why Review? What’s the point in writing a review: my take on the topic?

Every so often I get asked why I write reviews. Sometimes this is by fellow audience members at a concert who are interested in part as to why I write the reviews, but also in part because, although readers still read reviews, studies show they have little to no effect on whether they actually go see a performance. This last case is even truer in the classical music world where a performance is seldom repeated, so a review is really only after the performance and has no bearing on getting audience members to buy tickets – at least not to the specific performance reviewed. Other times I get asked why I write reviews by fellow artists, or family members. Fellow artists may feel I am “selling out”, venturing into the dark side, and becoming part of the opposition by reviewing their performances. Family members think I’ve just lost my marbles spending far too much time mulling over what to say – and getting paid far too little for the effort I put into each review. While I would lik…

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Release CD Recording of

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Baltimore, Md. (July 28, 2009) – The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) today announced that a new commercial recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers will be released on the Naxos label on August 25, 2009—the 91st birthday of the late composer. This two-disc set is the fourth audio recording ever produced of Mass and will be available for purchase on Naxos, Amazon.com and the BSO’s website, BSOmusic.org. There will also be an iTunes pre-release available for purchase on August 11, 2009. Bonus material complementing this CD release is available at BSOmusic.org/Mass. Mass was recorded in studio recordings held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on October 21-22, 2008. Music Director Marin Alsop, a Bernstein protégée, led the BSO in critically acclaimed, sold-out performances of Mass on October 16-18, 2008 at Baltimore’s Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on October 26 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington,…

Singer/Songwriter Ray LaMontagne and His Band to Perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Baltimore, Md. (July 27, 2009)– Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ray LaMontagne and his band join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to perform some of his most popular hits on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. This announcement comes on the heels of the news that Mr. LaMontagne, known for his soulful vocals and compelling lyrics, will be touring North America in Fall 2009. Ray LaMontagne first landed on the music scene in 2004, with his debut album, Trouble, launching an instant classic single in the album’s title track. Two years later, he released the deeply personal and compelling Till the Sun Turns Black, which soared to the top 30 of the Billboard 200. Mr. LaMontagne’s most recent album, Gossip In The Grain, achieved the rising star’s highest chart number, debuting at No. 3 on Billboard Charts the week of its release. The album was also a digital sensation, sel…

Tiempo Libre Honors Bach with latest CD - Bach in Havana

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...and teaches him a few new tricksTiempo Libre is a two-time Grammy-nominated Cuban music group on their way to a third nomination with their latest CD Bach in Havana. They have taken a series of beautiful J.S. Bach pieces and infused them with Tiempo Libre's rich Cuban musical heritage to create a unique blend of Classical/Cuban music that is immensely enjoyable, musically invigorating and cuts across numerous cultural lines. The members of Tiempo Libre were all classically trained at La ENA, Cuba’s premiere conservatory during a time when it was illegal to listen to American songs on the radio. Jorge Gómez, the music director and arranger, describes each piece in the liner notes, how the music of Bach was incorporated into or animated with Cuban rhythms. Some of the music is immediately identifiable and other's the "collaboration" is more indirect. Each piece is a delightful excursion into new territory of places we've been so often before it seems imposs…

Bard SummerScape’s Production of Meyerbeer’s Epic Opera Les Huguenots Opens Friday, July 31 at 7 pm

“Every single person in this production is making a ‘role debut,’ from myself to the principals’ roles, to the chorus, the conductor, orchestra, and crew. It’s incredibly liberating to approach it fresh, but it’s also daunting in the sheer number of decisions that must be made each day!” – Thaddeus StrassbergerANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – With a distinguished history of presenting important but rarely-performed works in remarkable productions, Bard SummerScape is producing one of music history’s most challenging operas: Giacomo Meyerbeer’s 1836 masterpiece, Les Huguenots, opening on July 31 for four performances. Leon Botstein conducts soloists, the Bard Festival Chorus, and the American Symphony Orchestra in Bard’s beautiful Sosnoff Theater. The grandly scaled opera – to be staged almost entirely intact – addresses religious extremism in an enhanced historical setting, and is produced within the framework of “Wagner and His World,” which is the focus of the 20th annual Bard Music Fe…

Nonesuch Releases John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, July 28

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Album also includes Adams’ Guide to Strange Places
David Robertson leads Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in first recording of both works(ST. LOUIS) – Tomorrow, July 28, 2009, Nonesuch Records releases a recording of two works by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, the Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places, performed by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) under the direction of its Music Director, David Robertson . This is the premiere recording of both works, recorded live in 2008 at Powel Hall in St. Louis , and the first CD recording of Robertson with the SLSO. The Nonesuch recording is also available as an MP3 download. Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony is drawn from his opera Doctor Atomic, a modern Faust story depicting the final hours before the detonation of the first atomic bomb. At the encouragement of Robertson, Adams adapted music from his opera into symphonic form, dedicating the completed work to Robertson. The New York Times said of the sympho…

Star Shine even on the Rainiest of Days with the New York Philharmonic

Last night the weather was wet, very wet and yet, the stage sparkled as if adorned by thousands of shining stars, compliments of the New York Philharmonic and the adroit humor of Bramwell Tovey. From the opening with Rossini’s William Tell Overture to R. Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier suite the stage was alight with brilliant music and copious amount of humour for perhaps one of the most entertaining evenings yet at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. It all started with Guest Conductor Sheika Gramshammer, a local Vail celebrity and popular personality taking the stage with the New York Philharmonic. She presented the Overture Finale from William Tell with blistering speed. Obviously this is a piece the orchestra knows extremely well, because the performance was flawless, glowing with excitement and energy. At one point Ms Gramshammer turned to the audience to conduct in their clapping (and laughter) which added the perfect about of enthusiasm to bring the piece to a rousing fi…

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic dazzle Vail Audience with Martinů

Last Night Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic in their second night at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with the intense music of Bohuslav Martinů’s Symphony No. 4. Written in 1945, the music captures the passion of the war effort with the hopes of an eventual end (Martinů started writing soon after the allied offensive was pushing deep into Germany). Eloquently capturing the dramatic builds, soothing melodies and a vast array of sonic-scapes, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic earned their place as the final orchestra for the festival – in the “clean up” position. Typically, after a month of music festivities, musicians and audience get tired. Fortunately, the Bravo! Festival opts to change the orchestra to keep the musicians (and the music) fresh. This was the second night for the musicians from New York and they sounded fresh and alive as they tackled a program of Brahms and Martinů. Although there were probably numerous members in the audience who had s…

Cellist Joshua Roman - Artist to watch

Cellist Joshua Roman earned a warm welcome back to Seattle when he recently performed the world premiere of David Stock's Cello Concerto. Like the Beatles song, he got a little help from his friends - his former colleagues in the Seattle Symphony where he played for two seasons as principal cellist, a job he snared at the ripe old age of 22. The Seattle Weekly called his performance "electrifying" and noted, "Stock was lucky, too, to have popular cellist Joshua Roman on hand, who can not only play anything but sell anything." The Gathering Note said the piece "could have been written for Roman. The style suits him exactly. While he can throw off fireworks like any whiz-bang young soloist, Roman is essentially a thoughtful, thought-provoking and lyrical player." The 25-year-old musician is artistic director of Town Hall's TownMusic series in Seattle. He returned from his home base in New York City in late June with a handpicked ensemble and …

Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony in Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto 4-3 featuring Time for Three

Program also includes selections from Brahms’ Hungarian Dances and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4Baltimore, Md. (July 24, 2009)—Music director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto 4-3 featuring Time for Three, Brahms’s Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3 and 10 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 on Thursday, September 24 at 8:00 p.m. and Friday, September 25 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. These concerts will launch the season’s celebration of the diverse folk and ethnic traditions that have enriched and inspired classical music over the centuries. Please see below for complete program information. Time for Three first gained attention when they provided entertainment after a lightning strike caused the lights to go out in the middle of a Philadelphia Orchestra concert. The classically trained members of Time for Three combine elements of American jazz, rock and …

Pierre-Laurent Aimard Makes Mostly Mozart Festival Debut on August 9 and 10 as Both Conductor and Soloist

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performing with Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Programs of Haydn, Mozart, Ligeti and StockhausenPierre-Laurent Aimard assumes the roles of pianist and conductor when he makes his long-anticipated Mostly Mozart debut at Lincoln Center on August 9 and 10 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (also making its Mostly Mozart debut). The extraordinary French musician balances two Viennese classics by Haydn and Mozart with a modern masterpiece in each evening’s program. For the first concert the new work is Gyorgy Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto for 13 Instruments. This concert, part of the “Lincoln Center 50 Years” celebration, will mark the first time the music of Ligeti – the Hungarian master who died in 2006 – is performed at Mostly Mozart. The following evening, Aimard will explore Karlheinz Stockhausen’s chamber work Kontra-Punkte with members of the orchestra. Aimard wanted each program to feature a seminal work by Haydn, a Mozart piano concerto, and a newer work, all of which demonstrate…

René Pape’s Summer Is Replete With European Festival Appearances, Including Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier, and Salzburg

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Pape Performs Verdi in Japan With La Scala Forces Under Barenboim, and Opens Berlin State Opera’s New Season With Tristan und IsoldeThis summer, German basso René Pape appears at several of the most prestigious European music festivals – including Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein , Switzerland ’s Verbier, and Austria’s Salzburg . On July 20, Pape portrays Leporello in a concert performance of Don Giovanni at the Verbier Festival, and on the 21st he participates in a gala concert with colleagues Bryn Terfel, Thomas Quasthoff, Vadim Repin, Mischa Maisky, and Lang-Lang. A week later he sings in the Salzburg Festival’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with Paavo Järvi conducting the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.On August 29, Pape portrays King Marke in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on opening night of the Berlin State Opera “Unter den Linden” for his home company’s 2009-10 season. Soon after, he departs for Tokyo with the orchestra and chorus of Milan’s La Scala. There he’ll give f…

National Endowment for the Arts Awards $50,000 Stimulus Grant to The Young People's Chorus of New York City™

July 22, 2009…The Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ has been awarded a $50,000 stimulus grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the National Endowment for the Arts. As part of President Obama’s stimulus package, the NEA has awarded grants to fund arts projects and activities that preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn. The list of award recipients is a collection of some of the most highly regarded arts institutions in the country. The grant was awarded based on an assessment of the quality of the organization, the potential and significance of the organization in the arts work force, and the likelihood for further success as an institution. YPC is one of only four choirs around the country to receive this vital support, and the only youth chorus to receive it under the Music category. This award comes at a significant time in the organization’…

Childsplay: Waiting for the Dawn is a Rich Exploration of Fiddle/Vocal Music

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When I was asked to review the new CD Childsplay: Waiting for the Dawn I was hesitant, as folk/fiddle music is not really my milieu. However, the group is based on all the instruments being made by a single luthier, Bob Childs. So rather than comment specifically on the music, whether it is a traditional or original composition by one of the band’s members, or on the playing (although there is some excellent fiddle playing), I will speak about the sound – which is more than just a little unique. “It is often said that when played soulfully the violin, of all instruments, sounds the most like the human voice,” says Bob Childs. The CD starts with “Ratting Roaring Willie/High Drive” with vocals by Aoife O’Donovan which lends a sense of the intense sonorities found in the fiddle sustains of Childs’ instruments, as well as the edginess, the grit of the high energy music. It is a great way to start the album and certainly sets the mood for a fast paced romp through traditional folk musi…

Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča shine in Deutsche Grammophon release I Capuleti E I Montecchi

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Reviewing an audio recording of an opera is a daunting task. Opera is a complete art form; it has music, acting, singing, staging and even choreography. Any audio recording tends to pale from a live performance. Opera, with all the additional aspects of it, suffers even more from the lack of visuals to support the music and libretto. Listening to I Capuleti E I Montecchi recently released by Deutsche Grammophon was extremely enjoyable with the incredible clarity in the voices of Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča, yet this was perhaps the most difficult review I have done to-date. The music of Vincenzo Bellini is at the beginning of the Romantic music style, with lots of remnants of classical music elements. The opening overture has bold classical statements with the beginnings of bombastic sections which lead the way to the music of Puccini and Strauss. There are arias which allow the vocalists to shine, but are perhaps more lyrically focused than operas in the classical era which…

Seven Emerging Composers Chosen for 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Composers will travel to Minneapolis for Orchestra’s acclaimed professional training program; Institute runs from November 17-22, 2009, highlighted by November 21 Future Classics concert Seven emerging composers have been selected as participants in the Minnesota Orchestra’s ninth annual Composer Institute, Institute Director Aaron Jay Kernis announced today. Chosen from a pool of 143 candidates through a competitive process, the composers hail from locations throughout the U.S. as well as Spain and Hong Kong , and their works represent a variety of musical styles. They will travel to Minneapolis from November 17 to 22, 2009, for six days of rehearsals, seminars and tutoring sessions, as well as a public concert of their works on Saturday, November 21, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The participants are Fernando Buide of Santiago , Spain ; Geoff Knorr of Baltimore , Maryland ; Hong Kong native Angel Lam of New Haven , Connecticut ; Kathryn Salfelder of Boston , Massachusetts ; Car…