Browsing: Classical Music

In Sept. 30, Quebec announced the opening of concert halls to full capacity from 50% beginning Oct. 8*. This is the first positive development for the arts community since the pandemic began over 18 months ago, thanks to the continuing increase in full vaccination and to the vaccine passport, both of which La Scena Musicale has strongly advocated. See our new Industry Corner (p. 11) for more information on the opening. Many organizations are adopting a cautious approach. Our Regional Calendar (p. 42) still shows many fewer concerts than we normally see, and it will take time for organizations to…

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It is comeback time for the Canadian International Organ Competition (CIOC). Scheduled for last year, this event, which takes place every three years in October, had to be postponed because of the pandemic. After 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017, we will be hearing the fifth edition of the CIOC and the first with Jean-Willy Kunz as artistic director. Officially appointed in 2018, this organist has known the competition since its inception, when he was still a student of CIOC co-founder John Grew. Sixteen quarter-finalists among some 60 candidates participated in pre-recorded quarter-finals. A jury convened in June 2021 to…

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Les Boréades de Montréal will return to normal – or almost – with a season of four programs. One is based on Mozart’s youthful opera arias, another on Bach brevis masses. There are two intimate concerts: flute duets traversing the classical period and works of French chamber music from the end of the reign of Louis XIV. “We are making our comeback with the same excitement and inventiveness,” says Francis Colpron, founder and artistic director of the ensemble. He hopes that the public will be at the Église Saint-Laurent on Oct. 29 to savour the opera arias of Mozart’s youth.…

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Rising steadily since winning 1st Prize and Grand Award at the National Music Festival in 2018 and being named one of the 30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30 by the CBC in 2019, David Liam Roberts this year won the Michael Measures Award after winning ­second prize last year. A native of Winnipeg, where he studied for eight years with Yuri Hooker, this young cellist known for “his ­extraordinary technique and his genuinely communicative performances” is now studying at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music with Hans ­Jørgen Jensen and Andrés Díaz, thanks to a full…

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“I’m very interested in politics, current affairs, travel and fine cuisine (oysters in particular),” says 16-year-old Edmontonian Jacques Forestier, who’s evidently worldly beyond his years. And yet, when asked whether he could picture himself pursuing a career outside music, he concedes, “it’s depressing to think of a life without my violin.” In May, he and that beloved violin won first prize at the annual Shean Strings Competition in Forestier’s hometown — “a dream of mine for years” — which came with $8,000 cash and an engagement to play a concerto with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Forestier spent the summer…

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Music administrators and music critics usually exist in a cordially adversarial relationship. Few administrators were as cordially, warmly and inventively adversarial as Lotte Brott (1922-98), the woman who for decades ran the McGill Chamber Orchestra. This ensemble, now called the Orchestre classique de Montréal, has decided to organize its 2021-22 season around the theme of Women of Distinction as a recognition of the looming centenary – on Feb. 8 – of its iron-willed matriarch. While Mrs. Brott was best known to insiders as the administrative power behind the podium occupied by her husband Alexander Brott (1915-2005), she was also a…

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Laurianne Houde is finishing her baccalaureate in violin at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec with Catherine Dallaire, who has taught her since she was 10 years old. Music has been a presence from her earliest years, says this first prize laureate of the Canadian Music Competition, who won with performances of Bach, Mozart, Paganini and the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. This is her favourite work, especially the largamente passage. “It always gives me chills when the expressive sixths follow one another on the violin,” Houde says. “This is, in my opinion, the best part of the…

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That Kevin Chen, 16, of Calgary won the 30,000-Euro first prize in the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition is ­impressive enough. That he was the youngest contestant in a field of 22 calls for something like astonishment. A YouTube video capturing the livestreamed three-hour-plus gala on Sept. 19 testifies to his high levels of both virtuosity and personality in György Cziffra’s gussied-up version of Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Hungarian National Philharmonic under Gergely Vajda. To all appearances, the Franz Liszt ­Academy Concert Hall was full and…

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A major page is about to turn. The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) in September announced the retirement of its artistic director Walter Boudreau. “The challenges ahead for the SMCQ, as well as for music and the arts in the post-pandemic world, will be unprecedented, demanding and exhilarating,” Anik Schooner, chairman of the board of the new-music society, said in a statement. “That’s why I think it’s the right time to pass the torch.” 33 Eager to ensure a smooth transition, this man with no inhibitions and a head brimming with ideas had already informed the board, near…

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25-year-old Canadian pianist Alice Burla has an impressive track record. One of the youngest students ever to be accepted at Juilliard, where she studied with Oxana Yablonskaya, she made her orchestral debut at the age of 5 and played her first solo recital at 6. She has already performed in some of the world’s most important venues, including Carnegie Hall, Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Palau de la Música Catalana, Salle Cortot, Wiener Saal at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and Glenn Gould Studio at CBC Radio in Toronto. No stranger to competitions, she has accumulated many prizes and dazzled jury…

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