Browsing: Classical Music

At the tender age of 25, Thomas Le Duc-Moreau is one of the most promising talents of his generation. His apprenticeship in conducting with Jacques Lacombe at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal seems to have paid off. Indeed, he is the youngest appointee ever as assistant conductor of the OSM, having previously held a similar posting at the OSQ in Quebec City. Far from being cast in the shadows, Le Duc-Moreau will be appearing regularly in the months to come, especially in concert programs aimed at families and their offspring. He certainly values Kent Nagano’s tutelage greatly, all the…

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Scarborough: population 650,000. Formerly an independent, sprawling suburban city. Since 1998, the eastern 30% of the even more sprawling, amalgamated “megacity” of Toronto. Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra: population 50 to 60 (it varies). Since 1980, a community orchestra of mostly non-professional players. Ronald Royer: cellist, composer, conductor. Since 2009, the SPO’s music director. “Music is an art but for many it’s also a business,” Royer says. “For some professionals, doing it long-term, hour after hour, all day every day, it isn’t always easy keeping their enthusiasm up. And if you play, say, in the Toronto Symphony, you feel a responsibility to…

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Orchestre Galileo is the only professional classical music ensemble based in the Upper St. Lawrence Valley. Founded in 2010 by Daniel Constantineau, this ensemble, formerly the Orchestre symphonique de la Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent, was created for the purpose of providing direct access to concert music for citizens of the western part of the Montérégie district. After a decade of activities, this outfit has become one of the more credible cultural institutions in this area of the province. One characteristic sets it apart from all others in Quebec and the rest of Canada, namely, the incorporation of period instruments ranging from 1730 to…

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And the next music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra is… Unknown. Perhaps even to the committee that was struck in October 2017 to seek a successor to Kent Nagano who conducts his final concert in August. But MSO chief executive Madeleine Careau has confirmed that there is a short list to which no further names will be added. Since a mandatory requirement for the lucky candidate is to have conducted the orchestra at least once – and recently – we can look at a few conductors who have already appeared in the Maison symphonique, and especially at those who,…

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Appointed last year as chief conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil (OSDL), violinist Alexandre Da Costa is very much delighted by the audience’s response since taking over the rostrum a few months ago. “We’ve had full houses since our season opener,” he enthuses. “I’m glad about that, for sure, but the challenge now is to maintain the momentum. To ensure that, you have to stay on top of things, day in, day out.” “It’s one thing to put together individual programs that are fresh and exciting, but a whole other to uphold your patrons’ interest throughout the season,” Da…

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His favorite repertoire includes works by great Russian composers including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky and Borodin. “It’s in my blood. I grew up in Russia with this music,” says composer and conductor Airat Ichmouratov. He also admires romantics like Mahler, Strauss and Wagner: “The compositions of these great German musicians are enormously inspiring.” This brilliant representative of the new generation is entirely onboard the current trend of composers finding inspiration in works from the romantic tradition. Charms of Tonal Music Ichmouratov affirms his preference for tonal music, like many composers of his generation. “Obviously, the audience really enjoys tonal…

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Meet Jonathan Cohen, cellist, baroque cellist, classical cellist, orchestral player, chamber musician, Cambridge scholar, pianist, harpsichordist, conductor, recreational sailor, father of one. And most importantly for our purposes, music director of Les Violons du Roy. The native of Manchester and resident of London has held that position since 2017, although a Montreal music fan might be forgiven for supposing that Bernard Labadie was still at the helm. This season alone, the founding conductor of Les Violons has led Handel’s Messiah in the Maison symphonique and is booked to conduct a double-Requiem night (Fauré and Duruflé) on April 4. “I get…

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by Adrian Rodriguez and Andréanne Venne It’s a homecoming for conductor Jean-Claude Picard, who has studied and worked in Europe for the past 12 years (including three years as associate conductor with the Scottish National Orchestra). “One ends up feeling homesick, feeling that our roots are elsewhere,’ he admits. “So much so that sometimes I started to listen to traditional Quebec music.” Currently principal conductor of the Scottish Ballet, the national dance company of Scotland, he also maintains close contact with Europe, but his position as conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières (OSTR) is for him an opportunity to…

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NACO AND STEWART GOODYEAR’S CELLO CONCERTO One of Canada’s best-known pianists, Stewart Goodyear, is also a composer. This concert will feature his Cello Concerto written for and played by the orchestra’s principal cellist, Rachel Mercer. Music Director Alexander Shelley will also lead performances of four American works: Leroy Anderson’s Serenata, music from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in a symphonic synthesis, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and the familiar suite from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo. Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Southam Hall, National Arts Centre. www.nac-cna.ca THIRTEEN STRINGS WITH JANINA FIALKOWSKA A mostly-Mozart program begins with three Divertimenti, K.135-138, then feature…

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OPERA More than a month after Christmas, the Canadian Opera Company unveils a new production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Wagnerian family classic Hansel and Gretel (to use the English version of the title). Directed by Joel Ivany, the show will include digital storytelling and local Toronto elements. The German words are retained. Johannes Debus conducts, Feb. 6–21. www.coc.ca BAROQUE Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is true to its name Feb. 6–9 as Vittorio Ghielmi, a visiting Italian viola da gamba virtuoso, leads music by Rameau, Marais, Lully and other French composers, plus a work by himself. From Feb. 27 to March 1st the…

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