Browsing: Quebec Music

The year 2017 will be remembered as a great one for Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his Orchestre Métropolitain — even in 2018. Their seven-concert whirlwind tour of Europe, starting in the Dortmund Konzerthaus on Nov. 26 and ending in the Paris Philharmonie on Dec. 3, has been nominated for a Grand Prix by the Conseil des arts de Montréal. The winner will be announced in March. As I noted in a dispatch from Paris, the tour was a success on every level: “Audiences were charmed by the newcomers. Playing standards were high. Above all, the tour was an apotheosis for an…

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This year, the Association des orchestres de jeunes du Québec (AOJQ) presents the 20th edition of its Quebec Festival of Youth Orchestras. The festival allows eight youth orchestras to be matched with four distinguished guest conductors, one of whom is Alain Trudel, who also happens to be the event’s spokesperson. In addition to performing onstage at the Salle André-Mathieu in Laval under the direction of their respective conductors, the orchestras will be grouped in pairs and will receive the guidance of a mentoring musician. They will then present the fruits of their labour during a gala concert held at the…

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The innovative production company La Nef presents Udistik Orkestra, a concert showcasing the oud – the Oriental lute – and directed by composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Wells-Oberegger. The show’s organizers promise a trip across various artistic universes. Concertgoers will be exposed to different currents of Middle-Eastern music, novel rearrangements of Western masterpieces and original compositions by Udistik Orkestra that explore the overlap between Oriental and Occidental traditions, all thanks to the marvelous potentialities of the oud, ancestor of the lute. This is not the only case of cultural intermingling. Wells-Oberegger offers the example of the violin, which has become…

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Established in Montreal’s cultural landscape for three years, Stella Musica devotes its programing each year to women in classical music. Although more women are taking on roles traditionally reserved for men, female composers, conductors and performers still often remain in the shadow of their male peers. The pianist and artistic director Katarzyna Musial founded the festival to emphasize the work of female musicians and to encourage young women to pursue music. Thematic Concerts This fourth edition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice by presenting concerts revolving around the theme of psychological distress. Music will be explored for…

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Alexa Raine-Wright, Sallynee Amawat, Andrea Stewart and Rona Nadler are rising stars of baroque music. In 2013, the ensemble founded Infusion Baroque because of their common passion for fine-tuning early music. In February 2017, the group launched their first album featuring sonatas by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The 2017-18 season cements their innovative qualities beyond musical performances. Infusion Baroque’s uniqueness lies not only in artistic sensitivity but also in a fondness for musical and historical research. The players present baroque music to new audiences, combining other artistic media with chamber music. This modernization breathes new life into the historical context…

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Marie-Josée Lord is a soprano on the move. We caught her by phone while she was in Toronto for an intensive two-week workshop with the Volcano Theatre Company. Lord is participating in their reboot of Treemonisha, the opera written by Scott Joplin in 1910 and first performed in 1972. The company is replacing the libretto while keeping Joplin’s original characters. Meredith Potter, producer of the show, explains that the original manuscript with an orchestration was lost. Now a vocal/piano score is the only vestige. The new orchestration and arrangements by Jessie Montgomery and Jannina Norpoth are a fusion of classical…

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On the first anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s death, November 7, 2017, Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) opened a vast exposition devoted to Cohen, his work, and his work as interpreted by other artists. This expo, despite its occasional weaknesses, is certain to become the largest and most successful show in the museum’s 53-year history. It displays such a richness of Your Man to make it moving and deeply satisfying. Cohen, or rather Leonard, to use the affectionate case, spoke to a worldwide audience and was beloved on all continents, as few Montrealers have ever done. In his final years, reflecting…

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Eva Gauthier spent the summers of 1922 and 1923 in Europe, studying voice with Anna Schoen-René in Berlin, renewing her acquaintance with composers and colleagues in Paris and London, and replenishing her library with new scores. When she prepared her annual New York recital for the fall of 1923, she chose an eclectic program which not only ran the gamut of styles from Purcell and Bellini to Schoenberg and Milhaud (with several first performances included), but also featured the first appearance of popular American songs in a recital program. To accompany her in this last group she engaged the 25-year-old…

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Lucas Debargue, the enigmatic pianist whose career took off after he was placed fourth at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, performs in Quebec for the first time in two highly-anticipated concerts. The young pianist appears on December 4 at Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm and on December 9 at Montreal’s Place des Arts. Who is he? Lucas Debargue is a French pianist who has had an unusual career. In 2006, at age 16, he quit formal studies, preferring improvisation and sight-reading. In 2008 he entered Paris Diderot University to study literature. This “break” certainly influenced his playing, but he admits…

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In 1998, Theodora Stathopoulos founded the Symphony Orchestra of Montreal’s FACE School (Fine Arts Core Education). The purpose was to train young musicians via newly-minted teachers, high-level amateurs and talented students. Stathopoulos is proud to see that twenty years of sustained effort have resulted in a string section (over 70 violins, violas, cellos and double basses) composed entirely of FACE students, some as young as ten. What’s more, this season’s concertmaster is only 13! That’s the youngest in the history of the orchestra, which when it started out only had a few FACE students among its players. The creation of…

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