Browsing: Canadian Music

Keiko Devaux was already a composer at age five. Unsatisfied with the methodical character of her piano lessons, she found freedom by playing the top line of the score as written and inventing the rest. Thirty-three years later, Devaux has been named the inaugural winner of the $50,000 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music. Her youthful preference for improvising over practicing was prophetic. Moved by a desire to create rather than make perfect, Devaux went on to earn both a Bachelor and Master’s degree in composition at the Université de Montréal. She is now working on a doctorate at the same…

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Chants Libres came into being in 1991, at a time when contemporary opera didn’t have much good press in Quebec. Many singers dreaded damaging their vocal cords with new techniques, while musical theatre was eclipsing lyrical voices. This didn’t prevent soprano Pauline Vaillancourt from founding a company that, 30 years later, has carved out a top place for itself in the world of contemporary music. Let’s look back at three decades of Chants Libres. Catching up after a lagging behind During Nuit blanche on Feb. 29, more than 400 people enjoyed a program presented by Chants Libres and its partners…

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By Hélène Panneton, director of the Association pour la diffusion de la musique d’Auguste Descarries Auguste Descarries (1896-1958) is no longer on the list of “forgotten ones”; he has come back to light. His legacy of more than 60 works – including sacred pieces, chamber music, melodies and a large number of works for the piano – is now available to performers and music lovers everywhere through modern editions and recordings made over the last few years. A major reason for the absence of this Quebec composer from the music scene was that his works existed only in manuscript in…

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The music industry’s big announcement this spring: Johanne Goyette, founding president of ATMA Classique, and Guillaume Lombart, founding president of Ad Litteram, entered into an agreement to tranfer ownership of the ATMA Classique label. The transaction took effect on April 1 and will allow Ad Litteram to acquire Disques ATMA Inc. shares and ATMA Classique, which turns 25 this year. “I want to ensure the longevity of the label.” – Johanne Goyette“After dedicating 25 years to establishing ATMA Classique as a world-renowned company, I wanted to ensure a transfer that would guarantee the label’s continuity while also stimulating new ideas,”…

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You may have noticed the absence of capitals in his name. This orthographic licence was inspired, he says, by his discovery as a young man of the poetry of e. e. cummings, who was known to eschew writing conventions like punctuation and standard syntax. Certain Bauhaus prints also gave him encouragement. Then, a more pragmatic motivation added to these influences: “At a time when everyone wrote on typewriters, I told myself one day that if capital letters were no longer necessary, typewriters would be smaller and lighter, saving much of the metal used in manufacturing.” And, to conclude this mindful…

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The Jeunesses Musicales Canada Foundation has reorganized its Home Sweet Home (Do-Mi-Si-La-Do-Ré) Contest in response to criticism of a public voting system that apportioned voting weight according to the size of an individual donation. According to the press release from this morning, the Competition will now award two categories of prizes: an Artistic Prize (chosen by a series of juries) and a public vote Participation Prize (See the full press release below). Voir la version française du communiqué de presse. The competition attracted entries from more than 200 young composers by the deadline of May 19. It also saw the…

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The Jeunesses Musicales Canada Foundation has reorganized its Home Sweet Home (Do-Mi-Si-La-Do-Ré) Contest in response to criticism of a public voting system that apportioned voting weight according to the size of an individual donation. According to the press release from this morning, the Competition will now award two categories of prizes: an Artistic Prize (chosen by a series of juries) and a public vote Participation Prize (See the full press release below). Voir la version française du communiqué de presse. The competition attracted entries from more than 200 young composers by the deadline of May 19. It also saw the…

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A British Columbia government “restart plan” that makes the resumption of live arts events conditional on widespread vaccination or herd immunity has led the Victoria Symphony, Pacific Opera Victoria and Dance Victoria to cancel their 2020-21 schedules. The announcements come at a time when many arts organizations in Europe (including the Musikverein in Vienna) are planning live performances to limited audiences but their North American counterparts remain in a holding pattern because of unsettled government responses to the COVID-19 epidemic. Quebec culture minister Nathalie Roy on May 22 announced the partial reopening, as of May 29, of museums, libraries and…

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While growing up in the 1970s I assumed that O Canada was our nation’s official anthem. Many others were similarly mistaken. Song of a Nation: The Untold Story of Canada’s National Anthem, by Robert Harris, tells the true story. It is a wonderfully written biography, history and tale that will resonate and tug at one’s heartstrings while revealing fascinating details of Canadian history. Canadians and lovers of music will appreciate it deeply. The biography is of a man who “left home at twelve, worked as a blackface minstrel travelling throughout the United States, fought in the American Civil War, was wounded at the…

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Soprano Kripa Nageshwar, pianist Ruta Vaivade and clarinetist Michael Westwood always had an individual passion for chamber music. The same passion drew them together and binds them today. Their adventure as the Trio Dell’Aria took off at Toronto’s Westwood Concert Series in 2014, where they gave their first public performance. They went on exploring Baroque to contemporary music, as well as jazz, folksong and chanson. “With Ruta, we finally found our match, Kripa and I,” Michael says. “It’s now the perfect trio.” Ruta adds: “Plus, now that we get more and more chances to perform, I think there are new…

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