Browsing: Chamber Music

A refined product of Gatineau’s Conservatoire de musique, the Despax Quartet is a veritable musical sensation that the Gatineau region can be proud of. The group is made of four siblings, each of them bring their own talent, virtuosity, and mastery of their instrument to the group: Jean and Cendrine play the violin, while Maxime is on the viola and Valérie plays the cello. This summer they will celebrate the quartet’s fifteenth anniversary. In 2003, the four youths, aged between 15 and 20, launched their career as a string quartet under the auspices of their maestro, Calvin Sieb. Their aspirations…

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Music and Beyond, the annual classical music and arts festival, has been springing to glorious life throughout the city of Ottawa every July since 2010. This year, in an expanded run from July 4 to 18, it boasts a roster of more than 75 concerts and events, and approaches its start date buoyed by more than even its customary tide of rising anticipation. In May, the festival received Ottawa Tourism’s coveted “Event of the Year” award for cultural contributions during the 2017 summer season. “I was bowled over,” says Julian Armour, the festival’s founder and executive and artistic director. “The…

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Earlier this year, when Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival announced that its 2018 roster would include a concert of works written and conducted by acclaimed British composer John Rutter, ticket-buying activity exploded across North America. Within 90 seconds, a two-ticket order from British Columbia augured the continent-wide deluge to come. “We were selling tickets faster than anything else we ever released in our history,” recalls the festival’s founder and executive and artistic director, Julian Armour. “I thought, ‘we’d better see if we can offer another performance.’” Armour quickly contacted Rutter, along with the three choruses involved, and members of his…

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MCMF’s Classical Series June 1 to 17 The Montreal Chamber Music Festival launches its Classical Series on June 12 with the remarkable Rolston String Quartet. At 5 p.m. the interpret Different Trains by Steve Reich in a performance embellished by the screening of a Beatriz Caravaggio-produced video. At 8 p.m. they are joined the renowned pianist André Laplante in Schumann’s Piano Quintet. The intensive week continues with the Tempest Trio’s Canadian debut on June 14; a musical whirlwind by the pianists Alon Goldstein, David Jalbert, Steven Massicotte and Wonny Song on June 15; and appearances by the New York Philharmonic…

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Set in the idyllic Bas-Saint-Laurent region, the annual Concerts aux Îles du Bic festival offers a series of concerts and music events entirely dedicated to chamber music. Over the years, the festival has proven to be a resounding success, earning it a reputation as one of today’s most important gatherings of Quebec chamber musicians. During its 17th edition from Aug. 4 to 12, the public is invited to a dozen concerts which celebrate the music of yesterday’s and today’s composers while redefining the limits of the genre. United by a common passion for chamber music, cellist James Darling and violinist…

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PREVIEW: Of “Cycles of My Being,” Carnegie Hall, April 24, 2018 – the New York premiere of a new song cycle by composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes, performed by tenor Lawrence Brownlee; and REVIEW: Of the song cycle’s earlier world premiere at Opera Philadelphia, February 20, 2018. “Cycles of My Being” – a new art song cycle about the contemporary black male experience, is a compact, provocative, movingly confessional musical experience. Created specifically for, and in collaboration with, acclaimed operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee, the work proves to be an eloquent and lyrical disburdening of pain and alienation –…

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Grazyna Bacewicz: Quintets, quartets (Chandos) How many times have I told you not to buy a record for its cover? Well, this one justifies the purchase. The image shows the central square of a small town in Poland in the 1960s, a place where nothing ever happens yet everything is closely watched. The image has been colourised for added artificiality. It is stifling, cloying, vividly reminiscent of the oppressive dullness of Communism. The music is made to match. Bacewicz, who lived from 1909 to 1969, was a busy violinist who kept her head down and played well within the rules.…

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Montreal International Guitar Festival and Competition Again this year, the Montreal International Guitar Festival and Competition promises to be an event to follow. The program involving artists François Fowler, Jesus Serrano Huitron, Emma Rush, Roberto Fabri, Samuel Coyle, Tariq Harb, Jeffrey McFadden and Dave Pilon guarantees a rare spectacle. The festival continues its youth competition in addition to offering many master classes. Concerts start at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The musical cocktail is a mix of musicians of different nationalities. May 25-27, D.B. Clarke Theater. www.guitaremontreal.com 21C Music Festival The 21C Music Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary with…

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Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian created a sensation in 1997 by winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and, three years later, first prize at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia. Audiences and juries alike were captivated by her clear, warm soprano and innate personality. “Because I was the ‘outsider,’ the biomedical engineer, I was blissfully unaware of the pressures and the mind games that often sabotage a singer’s performance in competitions,” said Bayrakdarian. “I just loved to sing, and to express and live the words that I was singing was pure oxygen to me. I never compared myself to any other singer, which…

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Mozart: Concertos (Indé Sens) The only thing that saved this release from being flung unopened into the bin was the quartet’s name and the fact that this is the first fruit of a new label. The Varian Fry Quartet, made up of young Berlin Philharmonic players, is named after an American who saved the lives of at least 2,000 Nazi refugees in the south of France, a largely unsung hero. The label is a bold French venture. But an hour of harp music with string quartet? Come on, there will be plenty of time for that in the afterlife. So…

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