Browsing: Contemporary

Winter Classics Festival Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 The Orchestre symphonique de Laval is launching its Winter Classics Festival, a joyous occasion to listen to classical music in a festive setting with refreshments and activities for all. Because it coincides with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, the composer’s great classics, such as his Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, will be played in four concerts over three days. Alain Trudel conducts, with Charles Richard-Hamelin at the piano in the “Emperor” Concerto and a hundred-strong choir in Beethoven’s Ninth. Entertainment includes yoga, fireside stories and skating, while hot chocolate, beer…

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Nicole Paiement is one conductor not lacking for work in the opera circuit. Fresh from a run of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, staged by the Lyric Opera of Chicago last month, she moves on to our city to collaborate with the Opéra de Montréal in its January production of Written on Skin by George Benjamin. Next up for her are performances of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Poulenc’s La Voix humaine with the Dallas Opera from April 3 to 8. With Opera Parallèle, her own company based in San Francisco, she will be at the podium for three consecutive performances in…

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NEW YORK – It is possible to lose a sense of perspective after good night of Bruckner. The critic in me urges caution. Best live Fourth Symphony I have heard in months! My heart suggests something a little less guarded. Best in…well, quite a while. Certainly the performance ranks among the signal achievements in the history the Orchestre Métropolitain, which on Friday made its third stop on a four-city U.S. tour and, not incidentally, its debut at Carnegie Hall. You can imagine a new punch line to the old gag about how you get there: by having Yannick Nézet-Séguin as…

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Much acclaimed on the international contemporary music scene, the Quasar saxophone quartet is celebrating its milestone 25th anniversary this year. From its first concert in 1994 till now, all four members have never wavered in their commitment to the group and its dedication towards all things creative. For its current concert season, the group intends to focus more on the future than the past, with a view of renewing itself. Marie-Chantal Leclair, Quasar’s managing director and soprano player, recalls the foursome’s first outing: “We premiered four pieces that evening, and it was more than a wish for us to do…

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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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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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Update (2019-07-22): here are the details of the funeral: Date: Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 1 PM Place: Saint-Viateur Church, 1175 Avenue Laurier O, Outremont, QC H2V 3R5 (directions) Details (La Presse) Joseph Rouleau was on the Board of Directors of the Orchestre classique de Montréal for close to 10 years and, since September 2018, was President. In my role as Executive Director, I tremendously enjoyed working with him. He was always positive and supportive. Everyone at the OCM is devastated by the passing of this great man who helped the orchestra tremendously. He was the type of man who was able to pick up the…

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REVIEW: of Ellen West (the world premiere of a new work by Ricky Ian Gordon and Frank Bidart); and La fille du régiment (a new production of Donizetti’s 1840 comic opera). Opera Saratoga inaugurated its summer 2019 mainstage series on June 29 and 30 – the same weekend as the highly-touted “WorldPride 50” celebration. The latter event, of course, originated as homage to the purported founding moment of the modern gay rights movement; but it has by now pullulated far beyond its initial meaning, becoming a portmanteau affirmation of self-identities of all stripes. It is interesting, then, that – whether…

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Ballet Opéra Pantomime (BOP) has won the Prix de la relève – Caisse Desjardins de la Culture 2019 along with the award’s $5,000 purse. The award recognizes the work of young collectives or professional organizations that take transformative action to support emerging artists. Ballet Opéra Pantomime Founded in 2013 by Hubert Tanguay-Labrosse and Alexis Raynault, Ballet Opéra Pantomime (BOP) seeks to create multidisciplinary shows centred on works of classical and contemporary music and presented in settings that are rich in emotional resonance for spectators. The jury members selected Ballet Opéra Pantomime for its innovative and singular contribution to the vibrancy…

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A keen observer of the new music scene in Montreal, Réjean Beaucage has taken to the task of demystifying that slightly strange bird known as musique actuelle. His book on this subject, released last February, is but a logical extension of his first one of eight years ago that recounted the history of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. In close to 200 pages, he embraces a good half a century of musical activity, its alpha point in 1961 with the Semaine de musique actuelle and further manifestations such as the FIMAV, founded in 1983 and still around to this…

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