Browsing: Canadian Music

Samy Moussa, a young Montreal composer, will see his work premiered on the occasion of the 375th anniversary of the city of Montreal by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. At 32 years old, Moussa has just won the 2017 Hindemith Prize, given to a contemporary composer and accompanied by an award of 20,000 euros. This is not the composer’s first collaboration with the OSM, since the soberly-titled Symphonie is his fifth orchestral commission. It is, however, his longest and most ambitious work. In a brief interview, Moussa spoke to us about the circumstances of the creation of the work and…

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Louis Riel is one of the most important Canadian operas ever written. It was inspired by the life of controversial Métis hero Louis Riel (1844-1885) and events surrounding Canadian Confederation in 1867 that became defining ­moments in the country’s history. With a libretto by Canadian playwright Mavor Moore in collaboration with Jacques Languirand and music by Harry Somers, Louis Riel was premiered in Toronto by the Canadian Opera Company for Canada’s centennial celebrations and performed soon after at Montreal’s Expo ’67. Louis Riel is being programmed this year by the COC as a co-production with the ­National Arts Centre to…

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This February 7, 2017, it was a celebration of the excellence of performance and artistic creation and the Conseil Québécois de la Musique, under the presidency of Robert Leroux, thanked the artists who contributed. Collectif9, with their youth and dynamism, were entrusted with the opening performance by the CQM. This great ensemble demonstrated that classical music demands a lot of effort. Their interpretation of Brahms required an exceptional form and a collective discipline. And for 2016, young performers were not shy to take their place in the spotlight. Beth McKenna received the prize for the Concert of the Year – Jazz and World Music for Home Montreal. Ballet-Opéra-Pantomime, a young company, has been…

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When retired Concordia music professor Phil Cohen was hospitalized in early February, his piano students didn’t want to miss their lesson, so they joined him at the Richardson Hospital where he was recovering. For a brief moment the common room was transformed into a ­concert hall with a master class in progress. As patients watched TV while others listened, the old beat-up piano-in-residence, freshly tuned for the occasion, filled the space with the music of Granados, Albeniz, and Prokofiev. This is a significant year for Cohen, who turned 90 in February. It is his 50th year since joining Concordia, where…

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La Scena Musicale will present key moments from celebrations that take place as part of Canada’s 150th and Montreal’s 375th anniversaries. It will illustrate the rich diversity of artistic and cultural expression, as well as the creative energy that goes into all the hard work in different fields across the country through various Montreal, Quebecois, and Canadian art scenes. Alain Trudel: Birth made especially for Canada’s 150th The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra presents conductor Alain Trudel’s latest work, Birth: Sesquie for Canada’s 150th (April 3, Southam Hall at the NAC). This piece, which commemorates Canadians of all cultures and origins, was…

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The most anticipated event of the 2016-17 season was Opéra de Montréal’s creation of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera. Ticket sales were so brisk that it was extended twice, to 10 performances, 150% more than the company’s usual four-performance production. Reviews were, however, mixed. Originally published online, my comments reflected my misgivings (reproduced in print on page 35). Publishing more critical content is one of the recommendations from our advisory committee, and we have begun to have more concert reviews on our website (mySCENA.org). When we have space in our print magazine, we will publish some…

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“The great problem of the concert hall is that the shoebox is the ideal shape for acoustics, but no architect worth their name wants to build a shoebox.” Fortunately for classical concertgoers, this ­remark from Harvard professor of architecture Rem Koolhaas was made tongue-in-cheek. This is particularly fortunate for the Orchestre symphonique de Laval (OSL), whose principal performance venue was successfully renovated in 2016. Originally opened in 1979, Salle André-Mathieu, located within walking distance of Laval’s Montmorency metro station, now boasts excellent acoustics for symphonic music. In recent years, the hall’s managers, patrons and performing organizations lobbied for an array…

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“The cynical and tender spirit, a modern and unique thought, a characteristically Quebecois music, the star of this popular concert of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Robert Charlebois.” These are the words of Roger Bouchard, television host, in 1971. It happened 46 years ago at Montreal’s Place des Arts. At just 27 years old, the young Robert Charlebois, dressed in an original and colourful shirt – typical of the 1970s – was going to live the experience of the symphony orchestra. Today, he admits that he has never refused the opportunity to play with an orchestra. Probably one of the…

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When listening to or performing music, many people have experienced the “oceanic feeling,” variously described as an altered state of consciousness, a sensation of limitlessness, an experience of eternity, oneness with the universe, an ideal dream where you are held in a weightless reverie and lose the boundaries of your self. French writer Romain Rolland (who coined the term) noted the presence of “le sentiment océanique” in mystics of all religious traditions. He believed that this feeling was the source of all religious energy, and that one may call oneself religious on the basis of this feeling alone, regardless of…

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Dang Thai Son is a man of discriminating taste. After a swirl and a sniff and a sip, he sent back a glass of red from Burgenland at a midtown Montreal bistro. “It’s quite light,” he said in his soft and gently accented English. “Maybe something richer.” This Hanoi-born pianist and long-time Montrealer is in the business of ­making fine distinctions. Recently recognized with an Opus Prize for a 2016 recital of Chopin and Schumann at Bourgie Hall, Son is perhaps even better known as high-end consultant to young pianists from around the world and a judge on the competition…

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