Browsing: Classical Music

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar” is a brave choice for an OSM season opener. Cast in five movements, it runs the gamut from sorrowful to scornful, confines itself vocally to males and makes many of its musical points at a sustained fortissimo. The Yevgeny Yevtushenko text refers to a Nazi massacre. The hourlong-plus experience can be onerous for a gala crowd, unless the performance is as inspired as it was under Kent Nagano Tuesday night in the Maison symphonique. It is hard to describe in words the mix of horror, irony and humanity that the composer calibrates so exactly…

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This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory.Opera’s newest power couple – so Etienne Dupuis and Nicole Car have been called, and so they sounded Saturday night in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. But as impressive as they were in the principal roles, the Montreal-born baritone and his Australian soprano better half did not constitute the sum of show. This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory. What you missed Fans of mezzo-sopranos had an array of firm sonorities to choose from in Christianne Bélanger as Larina, Stefania Toczyska…

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Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) hires Robin Whiffen as the company’s first Executive Director. TORONTO — An arts administrator and performer from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Robin Whiffen spent the past three seasons with Opera on the Avalon, most recently in the role of General Manager. Inspired by a lifelong love of music, Ms. Whiffen is passionate about creating meaningful collaborative partnerships within the arts community, allowing audiences to see their full potential reflected through the power of opera. Ms. Whiffen is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a Bachelor of Music in voice…

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The Exceptional Young Musicians of THE NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF CANADA & THE EUROPEAN UNION YOUTH ORCHESTRA Join Forces November 12-17 for The Frenergy Tour SASCHA GOETZEL, conductor BLAKE POULIOT, violin First-Ever Collaboration Between the Two Orchestras Made Possible by the European Union Delegation to Canada The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) and the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) are joining forces for The Frenergy Tour, a landmark collaboration and celebration of music and friendship, featuring a combined total of 76 outstanding young musicians. Acclaimed Viennese conductor Sascha Goetzel leads the four-city tour, with music by Rossini, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky, and Wagner, as…

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Martin Foster, the British-born Canadian violinist who spent more than 25 years as a performer and teacher in Montreal, died on Aug. 26 in Stratford, Ontario. According to his posted obituary, the cause was cancer. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Foster made his Carnegie Recital Hall debut at age 22 on Oct. 23, 1973. Raymond Ericson in the New York Times described him as “a violinist of more than ordinary gifts.” With fellow Juilliard students in 1974 he formed the American String Quartet, an ensemble that remains active. Returning to Canada in 1980, Foster served as acting concertmaster of the Orchestre…

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“He started at a very early age.” So it is written of many competition laureates. Bryn Blackwood, 28, the winner last April of the 42nd Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in Brandon, Manitoba, took up the piano just before he turned 16. “Mine was a bit of a strange case,” he commented from his hometown of Simcoe, Ontario. Tiring of the trombone he was playing at school, Blackwood came across a performance of Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 on the then-fledgling platform of YouTube. “I decided that I wanted to play it,” he recalls, “even though it was drastically too hard for…

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Haydn, Telemann, Leopold Mozart & Hummel Concertos OXFORD PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by MARIOS PAPADOPOULOS NEW RELEASE FROM SONY CLASSICAL – SEPTEMBER 6, 2019 “A spectacular soloist” (Montreal Gazette) … who “knows no limits” (Der Spiegel) For Immediate Release, September 6, 2019 … Recognized among the finest trumpet virtuosos of his generation, Paul Merkelo releases The Enlightened Trumpet, his first recording for Sony Classical. Hailed as “a spectacular soloist … a most impressive master of his instrument” (Montreal Gazette) who “knows no limits” (Der Spiegel) and with “unusual lyrical gifts” (Gramophone), Merkelo has been Principal trumpet with the Orchestre symphonique de…

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Canadian flutist Lara Deutsch, praised as “an astonishing artist… who revealed new worlds of colour and meaning in every single note” (Scott Tresham, Senior Producer – CBC Music), is the winner of the $125,000 Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer 2019-2020 for Collaborative Emerging Artist. Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer is the biggest prize in Canada and one of the largest in the world for a collaborative emerging artist in classical music. Presented biennially, Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer honours Jean-Pierre Goyer and his contributions to music, arts and culture in Montréal, Québec and Canada, and as chairman of the Conseil des arts de…

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The Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil (OSDL) is preparing to enter a new era under the baton of Alexandre Da Costa, the unconvnetional 39-year-old artist taking over from Marc David, who conducted this musical institution con brio for 25 years. Da Costa promises a “symphonic turn” with the 2019-20 program, which comprises musical experiences that attempt fusions of classical music and expressions that are clearly in tune with the times. “It’s a great responsibility, but it’s also a great opportunity for me to open up the OSDL’s program to something that reflects me the most,” said Alexandre Da Costa, perfectly aware…

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Without them, movies would never be made and plays would never be seen. While they work in different media, film and stage directors must coax actors by all means available to lift scripts off the page, and, if need be, let them ad-lib lines. Having worked extensively in both areas, Montreal composer Katia Makdissi-Warren likes to call herself a “sound director.” “I identify very much with their approach,” she says, “because there is more to directing than just telling the performers how to play the music. I want them to determine some of the content as well. The difference, of…

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