Browsing: Canadian Music

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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Inaugurated in the 1960s by the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and of Mary, the Claude-Champagne Hall is one of Montreal’s most iconic concert venues. Some of the largest music ensembles of the city have performed in this hall, marking several generations of music. Radio-Canada also occupied the premises until the mid-1970s and in those years they recorded its Grand Concerts. Today affiliated with the University of Montreal, the Claude-Champagne Hall continues to host many classical orchestras attracted by the authenticity and acoustic quality of the venue. The hall has also become the main venue…

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Originally from Sherbrooke, pianist Tristan Longval-Gagné, fell into the “musical pot” early. In fact, his parents were both musicians and ran a music school in their home. He is now proudly a co-owner and teaches at the school. His first memories are therefore inevitably related to music and to his piano-teaching father, Tristan’s first teacher. After attending McGill University where Tristan studied with Sara Laimon whom he describes as his real mentor, he continued his studies at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. In 2009, he won first prize at the OSM Standard Life Competition and in 2010 the…

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Canadian baritone Gerald Finley received his formative musical training in Ottawa, Ontario. Like singers Daniel Taylor, Kevin Reeves, and David Thompson, Finley obtained his introduction to choral music from Brian Law, choir director of St. Matthew’s Church in Ottawa. After Finley’s voice broke, he continued to sing in the Ontario Youth Choir, several local choirs, and the NAC Opera Chorus, where he got his first taste of opera. Though Finley intended to study science, he auditioned in 1978 for David Wilcox, former director of London’s Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). Finley was accepted in 1979 and completed a final year…

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It has already been 20 years since we first interviewed Canadian baritone Gerald Finley (see Philip Anson’s article). Then, Finley was a rising star specializing in Mozart operas and German lieder. Looking back, he says, “I was 37 and singing Papageno in The Magic Flute. It was seen as a good role to introduce young baritones to the house and to the acoustics at the Met, where of course big voices are the standard.” Finley is back at the Met this autumn, singing an acclaimed Athanael in Thaïs. “I’m working with the same director, John Cox. Back then he felt…

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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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Montreal-based QW4RTZ is a new a cappella quartet that is making its name by sharing their passion for singing. Founded in 2010, the ­quartet now consists of Louis Alexandre Beauchemin, Philippe Courchesne Leboeuf, François ‘Fa.2’ Dubé and François Pothier Bouchard. They have a distinctive style, one that combines their classical background with a love of pop music, creating clever and ­original unaccompanied voice arrangements of the great ­standards of jazz, classical, and pop music. Their first album A cappella 101 came out in 2016 and was warmly received by critics. Although they come across as having a ­relaxed and youthful vibe,…

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