Browsing: Contemporary

21C Music Festival – five days of newly-minted music during which audiences have an opportunity to experience fresh new sounds and ideas from the greatest musical minds of today – moves from May to January with the sixth edition of the festival. From January 16 to 20, this edition will celebrate the American minimalist composer Terry Riley, with his music being performed in three of the concerts, including one that he will headline, titled Terry Riley: Live at 85! Additionally, more than a half of the works presented during the festival will be receiving premieres – 6 world, 1 North American, 10 Canadian, 4 Ontario, and 1 Toronto, by 10 Canadian composers. Other highlights include the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s…

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REVIEW: of The Anchoress, a world premiere of a new musical monodrama/song cycle composed by David Serkin Ludwig with text by Katie Ford, performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, accompanied by saxophone quartet PRISM and ancient-instrument ensemble Piffaro; on Wednesday, October 17, at the Perelman Theatre of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and on Thursday, October 18, at New York City’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music (the latter performance reviewed here); and INTERVIEWS: with composer David Ludwig and poet Katie Ford. The impulse to retreat from the world in search of spiritual insight or purity has manifested throughout human history. Twenty-one centuries of Christianity…

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REVIEW: of works by composers David Lang and Gregg Kallor – The Mile-Long Opera by Lang, performed on the High Line; and sketches from The Frankenstein Suite, plus the monodrama “The Telltale Heart,” by Kallor, performed in the Catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Some uncanny musical surprises graced unusual locations both above and below New York City street-level during the early part of Halloween month. Here’s a diary retrospective. Going the Extra Mile Beginning at twilight on six consecutive evenings (October 3 through 8; viewed October 7), Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer David Lang and a host of collaborators presented a unique choral…

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On Nov. 11, 1918, at the end of the First World War, Poland became an independent state. To celebrate the centennial of this event, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in Canada and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Montreal are presenting a Tribute to Penderecki concert, which also celebrates the 85th anniversary of the composer Krzysztof Penderecki. The featured work, Penderecki’s Resurrection Piano Concerto, was composed in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “It is a very powerful work, written in the spirit of the great concertos of the 20th century,” according to…

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October 16, 2018 – For Immediate Release Last night, at the 2018 Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) Gala Concert at Maison symphonique in Montreal, Dr. Sharon Azrieli announced an expansion to the prestigious AMP portfolio – Canada’s largest prizes for music composition. On behalf of the Azrieli Foundation, Dr. Azrieli was delighted to unveil the Azrieli Canadian Prize, a new $50,000 cash award to commission concert works celebrating Canadian music. This will be the third prize to be offered biennially through the Azrieli Music Prizes program and will open for submissions in February 2019. The winning composer of the Azrieli Canadian…

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Commissioned by the COC in 2013, Hadrian is composed by acclaimed Canadian-American singer, songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright, with a libretto by award-winning Canadian actor, director and playwright Daniel MacIvor, and staged by Canadian Peter Hinton. The story follows the final days of the gravely ill Roman Emperor Hadrian, consumed by grief and desperate for the truth of the mysterious drowning death of his lover Antinous. On his deathbed, he is visited by two sybils, the late Emperor Trajan and his wife Plotina. Plotina offers him two visions of the past, his first and last nights with Antinous, in exchange…

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Three composers are involved in this first co-production between Analekta and the Azrieli Music Prizes: Brian Current and Wlad Marhulets, winners of the 2016 Azrieli Commissioning Competition and Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, respectively, and the American Lukas Foss. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Steven Mercurio, the choir by Miriam Nmcová. Soloists are soprano Sharon Azrieli, clarinetist David Krakauer and tenor Richard Troxell. In The Seven Heavenly Halls, Current offers his musical vision of the Zohar, the fundamental text of the Kabbalah. Tension in the orchestra, a tumult of voices, mystical flights of fancy and dense textures…

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A leader among the Canadian contemporary music ensembles, ECM+ has acquired over three decades a consistently reaffirmed reputation for the daring of its creations and the calibre of its performers. Since 1987, under the artistic direction of its founding conductor Véronique Lacroix, the ensemble has presented more than 260 premieres and issued 10 recordings that portray a sparkling and constantly evolving musical landscape. If the organization is primarily collective, this search for new worlds of sound cannot succeed without a competition for the next generation of composers. Born of the desire to provide composers with a stimulating creative environment and…

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Apogee is a five-piece album by Iranian-Canadian composer Farshid Samandari. From Bashō haikus to Rumi’s mystical poetry, from Japanese Noh theater to particle physics, the composer draws on a wide variety of disciplines to take us on a colourful journey. Witness the magnificent cover, a painting by the Iranian calligrapher Mehrdad Shoghi. Based in Vancouver, Samandari is composer-in-residence of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. A mix of cultures marks his work, which he defines as “unity in diversity.” Apogee for solo flute creates a contrast by borrowing from classic Persian scales and modes and a resolutely contemporary discourse in which Mark…

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Yom Kippur is a tricky one because if you don’t go to the synagogue, there’s not much to do,” Avner Dorman was saying a few days before the solemn day in question. “But for all of the holidays I do something. I definitely identify as Jewish.” Nor can there be any doubt of the Jewish identity of Nigunim for violin and orchestra, the composition that has earned this Israeli American the $50,000 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music. It will be heard in its revised form – the original was for violin and piano – at the Azrieli Foundation’s biennial…

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