Browsing: Piano

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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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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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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Brahms: An English Requiem (Delphian) Mary Bevan, soprano Marcus Farnsworth, baritone James Baillieu and Richard Uttley, piano Choir of Kings College London, conductor Joseph Fort This has to be the least expected record of the year – a performance of Ein deutsches Requiem in the original English, at least in the texts of the original English Bible. The work was so popular on reception, at a time when Bismarck was planting German boots all over Denmark, Austria and France, that London impresarios felt it might be prudent to produce it in a less contentious language. Since Victorian concertgoers knew their…

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Schubert: Sonatas D959, D960 (DG) Some records grab you by the ears, others take longer to impress. It is in no sense to Krystian Zimerman’s discredit that his first attempt at late Schubert took three spins on my deck before I grasped the originality of his interpretation. Rather, it is a mark of Zimerman’s thoughtfulness that the heart of the music is revealed layer by layer in a manner that makes you want to listen again and again. Winner of the 1975 Chopin competition, the Polish pianist has been playing these pieces for half his life before he was ready…

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Daniil Trifonov: Chopin Evocations (DG) FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Arr. By Mikhail Pletnev), Variations on “Là ci darem la mano” Works by Barber, Grieg, Mompou, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Daniil Trifonov, piano; Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev, conductor 2 CDs, 0289 479 7518 2 The 2011 Tchaikovsky winner has lost none of his capacity to surprise. Daniil Trifonov thinks nothing of coming on stage with one wrist in a bandage, no explanation offered, or of asking the audience not to applaud at any time through a 90-minute recital. His powers of concentration are phenomenal and he expects no less from his listeners.…

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Zhan Hong Xiao On Radio-Canada’s Virtuose By Olivier Gentil  “For me, music is the highest form of communication, the highest form of language.” This 17-year-old piano prodigy came to Quebec’s attention when he appeared on Radio-Canada’s Virtuose, broadcast last spring and hosted by Gregory Charles. At the end of the show he played the fourth movement of the Piano Concerto in E flat by Liszt. “I only entered by chance, because my prof told me about it,” he recalls. “I was surprised to be selected!” And he doesn’t regret it in the least. “There was nothing to worry about, it…

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Jean-Michel Dubé Canadian Music Competition – Tremplin Section By Olivier Gentil Last July, Jean-Michel Dubé won the Canadian Music Competition – Stepping Stones. Over four rounds, this challenge represented the performance of nearly three hours of repertoire, and Dube presented Prokofiev’s 7th Sonata, Liszt’s Obermann Valley, a work by Brahms and an impromptu by Schubert. In the finale, the young pianist presented Beethoven’s Piano Concerto # 2. More recently, last September, Jean-Michel Dubé was awarded the Best Performance Award for the imposed work of the German Music Prize, an international competition in the very heart of Berlin. The particular work…

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“We have the responsibility that no Mozart be murdered.” The good is achieved through beauty.” This is how Gregory Charles sums up Piano and Voice, the 2017 Cardinal Léger benefit concert he will host with tenor Marc Hervieux on November 5 at Maison symphonique. This major musical charity event — a benefit for the Léger Foundation’s Feed a Child program — also features two young musicians from the Radio-Canada television show Virtuose. This performance benefits from the chemistry between Gregory and Marc. Both artists are characterized by their refusal to compartmentalize artistic work. Their unbounded love for music is part…

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World Premiere Recording of André Mathieu: Concerto No. 3 features JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with Piano Soloist Alain Lefèvre Analekta CD Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Canada and the 75th Anniversary of Mathieu’s Composition  A world premiere recording of André Mathieu: Concerto No. 3, theConcerto de Quebec, paired with George Gershwin’s An American in Paris is now available on Analekta Records featuring acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta leading the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with soloist Alain Lefèvre.  The CD debuted as the No. 1 classical album in Canada. Says Falletta: “The pairing of the Mathieu and Gershwin on our Analekta CD celebrates the 150th anniversary of…

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