Browsing: Classical Music

Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal are one of Quebec’s most treasured cultural institutions. Having represented Quebec worldwide for over six decades, this boys’ choir was dealt a hard blow last March, when the Commission scolaire de Montréal announced the termination of a long-standing agreement enabling 200 youths aged 8 to 17 to pursue their education at Collège Notre-Dame. In Europe, boy choirs are an established tradition. In Quebec, Father Léandre Brault created Les Petits Chanteurs in 1956 on the belief that the teaching of music to the young would be for their greater benefit. The choir’s makeup now is more…

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The perseverance of Orpheus The best-known musician of antiquity will attempt several more descents into the underworld this year to bring back his beloved Eurydice. The epic story of this accomplished lyricist will start quite far from Montreal. At the prestigious Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Theatre of Early Music will present Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice from Nov. 8 to 12 with Daniel Taylor in the principal role. Closer to home, countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and soprano Amanda Forsythe bring one of the most famous myths of music back to life with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble on…

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In May 29, Hannah Tam’s performance at the CMIM (Concours musical international de Montréal) earned her top honours in a newly created event showcasing rising stars called Mini Violini. This 13-year older was selected by the audience as the winner of its Coup de cœur du public prize. Above and beyond such recognition, this bright new talent collected a handsome 10 grand for her efforts. Those in attendance were deeply impressed by her playing as well as her charismatic stage presence, imbued by a very probing mindset. “The violin is such an expressive instrument,” Tam says. “From one piece to…

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Canadian mezzo Caroline Gélinas has had lifelong love affairs with music and nature. Born and raised in Montbelliard, a town in the rural Abitibi-Temiscamingue region of Quebec, she was passionate about music at an early age. At 18, she discovered the world of opera upon taking her first private voice lessons. After a first move to Quebec City, she was on her way to Montreal not long thereafter to establish her career. Studies at the Conservatoire led her to the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal for two more years of training. Gélinas says that she finds the acting just…

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The arts are usually fostered in major urban centres. Promising young musicians like the classical guitarist Félix Dallaire prove that classical music can bloom in outlying areas. Born in Rouyn-Noranda in 1997 and raised in Gatineau, Dallaire started to play the piano before deciding to pick up the guitar. He was 14. His dream was starting to come true. Dallaire began his guitar studies with Julien Bisaillon as part of his extracurricular activities in high school. Drawn by classical music’s complexity and the challenge of learning the genre, Dallaire entered the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau, studying with French guitarist…

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Samuel Blanchette-Gagnon’s career is taking shape – in fact, it’s taking off. In May the young pianist won the prestigious 2019 Prix d’Europe, the Claire-Charbonneau-Clerk Award and the Canadian Music Centre Award for Quebec. He has performed Book 2 of Debussy’s Images and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. This isn’t the first time Blanchette-Gagnon has won awards. A former student of Gérald Lévesque, he has been enrolled in a master’s program at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec since 2018. In 2014, Blanchette-Gagnon won the Canadian Music Competition grand prize, playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This competition gave him…

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Founded in 1996, the Piano Esmonde White company, named after its founder Oliver Esmonde-White, has established itself as a Quebec leader in the areas of piano rental, transportation, tuning and manufacturing. Bolstered by the expertise of its technicians, this company located in Montreal’s Mile-End district has just launched a brand-new model of high-end uprights: Magic pianos. In the 1980s, in the United States, Darrell Fandrich of Fandrich & Sons had already developed a very high-quality mechanism for the upright piano – achieving sound qualities similar to those of a grand piano. The technicians at Piano Esmonde White drew inspiration from…

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Carter Johnson, technically a resident of Vancouver, was in Montana, on his way to New York. The cellphone connection was spotty.“It’s a lot cheaper to drive,” the 22-year-old said, with his wife Hannah at the wheel. “If we were to ship this stuff, it would be way too expensive.”Their two-year-old son Preston would be flying in with his grandmother. “Too much driving for him,” Johnson explains.The road trip marked a new chapter in the career of this pianist, who last year won both the grand prize in the OSM Manulife Competition and first prize in the Stepping Stone division of…

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Angela Ryu, 19, is the 2019 winner of the Shean Strings Competition in Edmonton. The Korean-Canadian violinist also took the Paul J. Bourret Memorial Award for best performance of the imposed piece, Improvisation for solo violin by the late Canadian composer André Prévost. These prizes crown a brilliant career of musical studies that began in her hometown, New Denver, B.C., at age 5 with Daphne Hughes. Four years later, Ryu moved to Calgary to hone her skills at the Mount Royal Conservatory. Under William van der Sloot, she was a full scholarship student in the advanced performance program. Ryu has…

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Tony Siqi Yun is listed second-to-last, alphabetically, on the roster of pianists represented by the New York-based Opus 3 talent agency. Following him: Krystian Zimerman. Where the Toronto native made it to the top of the list was in last May’s inaugural China International Music Competition in Beijing. A management deal with Opus 3 (the descendant of the Sol Hurok organization) and Armstrong Music and Arts was part of his gold-medal prize package, which includes three years of coordinated concertizing in North America, Europe and China. And, oh yes, a cash prize of US$150,000. “Tony exhibited professionalism, musicianship, poise and…

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