Browsing: Strings

Montreal’s second orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, got positive press for their concert at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) last Friday (December 1, 2017). Joachim Mischke, Hamburg’s leading and most knowledgeable music critic, wrote a comprehensive and inspiring review about the event (Hamburg Abendblatt, December 4). Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was described as a bundle of energy who got the ball rolling in Pierre Mercure’s Kaléidoscope, demonstrating in detail the orchestra’s collective articulation accuracy. “Berlioz’s orchestral songs cycle Les nuits d’été became the finest moment, as the orchestra conjured nuances and played enchantingly discreet. But above all, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux savored…

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PARIS – Ever seen a conductor cry on stage? I mean, other than Leonard Bernstein? We can add to this exclusive list the name of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who was seen wiping his eyes discreetly on Sunday after Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a performance that marked the official conclusion of a six-city, seven-concert European tour by the Orchestre Métropolitain. There would be an encore: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, done in the supplest tones imaginable. We must resist the temptation to deem the last thing heard as the best. But goodness, what a sound. And what an ovation from the Parisians, who packed…

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HAMBURG – “Suche Karte.” Seeking ticket. This is always a good sign, quite literally, in German-speaking lands, where it is common to advertise your unhappy condition with two words writ large on a piece of cardboard. Sure enough, a visit to the box office of the Elbphilharmonie confirmed that the fifth installment  of the Orchestre Métropolitain’s tour of Europe was quite sold out. Eight thousand requests, 2,100 seats. Suche Karte. The huge demand cannot be reconciled with the usual explanations. Soloists Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Jean-Guihen Queyras are reputable enough, but hardly the stuff of a sellout. Yannick Nézet-Séguin is recognized everywhere.…

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The 2012 film A Late Quartet is largely built around the preparation and performance of Beethoven’s Quartet in C-sharp minor, op. 131. The film has been praised on every level — the acting in particular. The actors, however, are not musicians! The actual sound of the movie’s fictional Fugue String Quartet was provided, most effectively, by the Brentano String Quartet. In the movie’s final scene the ensemble’s cellist (actor Christopher Walken) stops the performance and explains to the audience that he is no longer able to meet the music’s challenges. (He has Parkinson’s disease.) Anticipating that he might not be…

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Canadian violinist Alexandre Da Costa is a man on a mission. Soloist, educator and artistic director, Da Costa is shouldering his new Strad to reach the general public with his “Stradivarius at the Opera” project, the first of several new initiatives. He’s already added to his résumé a prestigious TED Talk in Australia, where he teaches six months of the year. LSM: What do you value the most? My family is now the absolute centre of my life. Of course, becoming a father changes life and my three-and-a-half-year old makes me realize the essence of it. I also believe that…

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On October 17 the OSM gave a much-anticipated concert with celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov. Together they performed a masterwork of the repertoire, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major. Also on the program were Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Samy Moussa’s A Globe itself infolding, for organ and orchestra. Notably, the following evening the same musicians played the same program at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Happily for the Montreal performance the Maison symphonique was packed and the audience fully engaged. One of the best artistic decisions of the night was taken before the concert even began: the order of the…

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Blake Pouliot OSM Manulife Competition By Olivier Gentil Young violinist Blake Pouliot continues to make waves on the Canadian classical music scene. In 2015 he won the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank competition, and he is already appearing as a soloist with renowned orchestras including the Aspen Philharmonic, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Jefferson Symphony. He captured Montreal’s attention in February this year with a virtuoso rendition of the Violin Concerto by Korngold with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko. In November 2016 he won the prestigious OSM Manulife Competition. “The truth is that some…

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Joshua Morris — McGill’s 2017 Golden Violin Competition by Olivier Gentil Cellist Joshua Morris, a native of St. Albans, Vermont, is currently completing his Master’s under the wing of Brian Manker at McGill University, after obtaining his Bachelor’s at the same institution. As part of McGill’s 2016–2017 Golden Violin Competition, he brilliantly interpreted “Kaddisch”, a piece chosen from Maurice Ravel’s Deux mélodies hébraïques, Prokofiev’s suite for solo cello and Cello Sonata in C Major, as well as one of his own compositions. Joshua was awarded first prize in the competition. “It was such an honour to be named champion! It…

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by Ian Cochrane Marc began his musical training under the tutelage of a parent — his father Philippe. Djokic senior gave violin lessons in the family’s Halifax home. At the time Marc took up the violin, it had not been his ­intention to pursue a career in music. However, as he humbly muses, “Once a person experiences success, they tend to stick with it.”arc Djokic, in his early thirties, is already an eminent violin soloist. The latest feather in his cap is his winning the 2017 Prix Goyer, the most prestigious award for classical music in Canada. The Prix Goyer…

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Noa Wildschut, Mozart Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, Gordan Nikolić, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra Warner I’m about to break an iron rule and review a kid playing the violin. And, no, I haven’t given in to peer pressure, though there has been plenty of it from the London agency that signed her at 15, and the record label that followed up. The kid’s 16 now, old enough to take a bit of criticism and interesting enough to warrant adult consideration. Noa Wildschut first appeared on Dutch television at six years old and at the Concertgebouw a year later. The child of two string players…

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