Browsing: La Scena Spotlight

Two key figures in the music world departed within the space of two months in 2016: Pierre Boulez passed away on January 5, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt on March 5. Both were universally known as two of the greatest conductors of the past 50 years. Their work was far from restricted to conducting, though. Boulez began his career as a composer; he also founded many music institutions and was an outspoken advocate of contemporary music. Harnoncourt went back to the roots of period instruments, especially in Baroque music performance. In addition, he wrote several books about music. Both musicians became conductors…

Share:

January 22 marked the 120th anniversary of soprano Rosa Ponselle’s birth. She is generally considered by critics, musicians, and fans as one of the two greatest voices of the 20th century – Enrico Caruso being the other. Indeed, she was called Caruso with petticoat due to the similarity of their voices. Her voice was large and dramatic, known for its dark velvety timbre and incredible ease of production. Ponselle’s  story was quite the fairy tale. A young American girl without any formal voice training is discovered singing vaudeville and makes her debut next to Caruso at the ­Metropolitan Opera –…

Share:

A pianist from Canada had arrived. Simply a miracle! —Mstislav Rostropovich Not long ago, while perusing YouTube, I rediscovered Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey, an award-winning documentary about Gould’s two-week visit to the Soviet Union in 1957, where he gave eight concerts, four each in Moscow and Leningrad. Gould was the first Canadian ­musician, and the first pianist from North America, to appear in Russia after the Second World War. It was the zenith of the Cold War, when the state controlled every physical and mental aspect of Russian society, and imposed a blackout or coma in cultural matters. Stalin,…

Share:

Jacques Clément, former artistic director of the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and former director of the Conservatoire du Saguenay, is to be honoured with the 2016 Hommage Opus award. “The aim of the Hommage award is to highlight the energy and vitality of orchestral concert music through the outstanding achievements of one person,” explains Dominic Trudel, general manager of the CQM. “We’d like to recognize a person’s entire career, although the award could also go to a remarkable event. We try to vary the message year by year. Jacques Clément has worked tirelessly for Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and is a striking example…

Share:

Industry Moves In mid-December, nine members of the ­Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Board of ­Directors abruptly resigned from their positions, highlighting possible trouble behind the scenes. The resignations, which happened in two waves, included Chair Richard Phillips and Vice-Chair Blake Goldring, as well as ­Renette Berman, Diane Francis, Peter Levitt, William Morris, John Novak, William ­Thomas, and Sonia Baxendale. Even with the remarkable turnaround outlined in their ­annual 2015–16 fiscal report, which cited a surplus of over $800,000 after an alleged $4 to 6-million deficit, the orchestra has been rocked by a number of sudden changes since the controversial resignation of…

Share:

Eighteen-year-old violinist Ayana Tsuji of Japan has already accomplished a major feat in the classical music world. First-prize winner of the 2016 Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM), Tsuji is the recipient of a $30,000 prize from the City of Montreal and is booked for a series of international concert engagements. In addition to first prize, Tsuji also won most of the special category prizes at the CMIM, including the André-Bachand Award for the best performance of the compulsory Canadian work in the semifinals, the Award for the best semifinal recital, the Award for the best performance of a Sonata in…

Share:

In celebration of La Scena Musicale’s new online platform mySCENA.org and ­maSCENA.org, we launched an online raffle for Glenn Gould’s Complete Columbia Discography on 78 CDs. Congratulations to longtime volunteer R. K. Basdeo for ­winning the box set, valued at over $200! Keep your eyes peeled for other opportunities to win prizes, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or sign up for our electronic newsletter by visiting mySCENA.org!

Share:

The second annual Wirth Vocal Prize at McGill’s Schulich School of Music ­culminated in an evening of superior music-making by the three finalists: bass-baritone Jean-Philippe McClish, mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh, and baritone Igor Mostovoi. Made up of past and present McGill graduates, the jury of Michael McMahon ­(pianist), Joan Patenaude-Yarnell (soprano), Patrick Corrigan (Director General of the Opéra de Montréal), and chair Stéphane Lemelin (pianist and head of the Department of Performance) selected McIntosh for the top prize, which includes $25,000, artistic ­mentorship, and several performance opportunities, including a recital with the COC. McIntosh, also the recent winner of the COC’s…

Share:

Awards and Honours In November, the Schwarz-Bournaki Duo won first prize at the annual Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “Art of the Duo” in Boulder, Colorado. The competition celebrates the duo with piano, an intimate chamber genre that is often overshadowed by the string quartet and piano trio. This year, the competition received over 150 applications from 25 countries, with 22 ensembles making the semi-finals. The Schwarz-Bournaki Duo is American cellist Julian Schwarz and Canadian pianist – and native Montrealer – Marika Bournaki, who made her professional debut at age 11 with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The…

Share:

By popular demand, La Scena Musicale is happy to bring back the Canadians Abroad feature section, where we will keep tabs on your favourite Canucks as they make their mark around the world. If you have any leads about Canadians abroad or wish for us to include a particular artist or ensemble in an upcoming issue, please send an email to newseditor@lascena.org. Yannick Nézet-Séguin Montreal-born maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin begins the month in Munich guest conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a program of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian,” and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with…

Share:
1 2 3 9