Browsing: Contemporary

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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The year 2018 has been one to remember for Ottawa composer Kelly-Marie Murphy. But winning the Azrieli Prize for new Jewish Music certainly tops the list. The award comes with $50,000, a concert on Oct. 15 with the McGill Chamber Orchestra conducted by Yoav Talmi in Montreal’s Maison symphonique, and a recording. The Azrieli prize follows another major coup. Murphy won Symphony Nova Scotia’s first ever Maria Anna Mozart Award for Canadian female composers. That netted $10,000 and a premiere last spring in Halifax. It’s been a good run for Murphy, who lives in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata with her husband Greg Van…

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PREVIEW: of a public workshop performance with orchestra of the new opera Taking Up Serpents – libretto by Jerre Dye, score by Kamala Sankaram; presented by MassOpera, Boston; Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 3 p.m.; Deane Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (527 Tremont Street, Boston); the opera is a commission of the Washington National Opera and this workshop is presented by MassOpera. In the final passages of St. Mark’s Gospel, Christ declares that a hallmark among his true believers shall be a willingness that “they shall take up serpents!” And in certain quarters…

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Contemporary,” “new,” “experimental,” “creation…” Numerous qualifiers, and yet none do more than partially describe their designated types of music. If they are so difficult to define, it is because the idea of contemporaneity itself is fleeting, as it refers to a concept that is in continuous transformation and which evades categorization. It is precisely this desire to grasp the ungraspable that drives the composers of such music, for whom musical creation constitutes a path for enlarging what is accepted as possible. Fans of contemporary music will not be left behind this fall, as numerous ensembles and organizations will offer concerts…

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PROFILE/REVIEW: of the 2018 Glimmerglass Festival Season: Silent Night by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell; West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim; Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček; and The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini. “It’s remarkable how many important things happened in 1918,” observes Glimmerglass Festival artistic and managing director Francesca Zambello, speaking at a recent pre-show audience address in Cooperstown. “The end of World War I. The birth of Leonard Bernstein. And the premiere of this piece” – this last a reference to Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which was…

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Montreal, the 25th of July 2018 – The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) unveils today the new face of the 2019-2020 edition of its Homage Series: Katia Makdissi-Warren. By the choice of this established composer having met the challenge, with sensitivity, of eliminating the frontiers between music of various traditions, Walter Boudreau, artistic director of the SMCQ, poses a concrete gesture in favor of the recognition of a contemporary music open to the world. “The SMCQ believes as much in the importance of recognizing the immense contribution of the ‘builders’ of contemporary music in Quebec such as Gilles…

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INTERVIEW: with renowned composer John Rutter. Mark it a red-letter day in the Canadian classical music calendar: on Friday the 13th of July, John Rutter – among the world’s most beloved and widely performed living composers – arrives in Ottawa. “I feel very much at home in Canada,” Rutter says from his home in Great Britain. “I was quite a regular visitor in past years, when I was patron of the Toronto Mendelsohn Youth Choir. But this will be my first trip to Ottawa, and I’m very much looking forward to it.” It’s a journey occasioned by the two back-to-back…

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