Browsing: Classical Music

Then 16-year-old Australian pianist Shuan Hern Lee won the 2019 Cliburn Junior Competition, he was already preparing repertoire for his next competition. In August, Lee was preparing to fly from his hometown, Perth, to the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. He is one of the youngest candidates. Lee’s hyperactive competition schedule is the typical experience of many young musicians today. They readily crisscross the globe. Competition participation is not only seen as a necessary and natural career strategy but as an opportunity to meet fellow musicians and peers. It is also viewed as a means of globalizing…

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Joseph Kaiser, 41, a Canadian tenor who has performed in the great houses of the world, has announced “an indefinite leave of absence” with language that suggests that he is contemplating retirement. “Due to personal reasons, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my international singing career,” the McGill alumnus and former cantor wrote on Sept. 4 on his Facebook page. “Thank you for your support over the years. I will deeply miss all of my wonderful colleagues and am indebted to all those who believed in me for the past 22 years. I ask that you…

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Meet opera’s new power couple: Canadian baritone Etienne Dupuis and Australian soprano Nicole Car. Four years ago, they met at rehearsals for a Deutsche Oper Berlin production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The run led to a whirlwind long-distance romance, marriage and a 2-year-old son, Noah. These days they sing on the same stage more often than apart. In September they pair up in Place des Arts for the Opéra de Montréal, once again in Eugene Onegin. The Walk At the time of their meeting, Dupuis was doing double duty at the Deutsche Oper, making his debut as Rodrigo in Verdi’s…

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Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Kent Nagano opens his last season as music director of the OSM on Sept. 17 and 18 with tough stuff: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar.” Mahler’s Fifth Symphony on Sept. 19 and 21 will seem joyous by comparison. German superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter drops in on Sept. 24 and 25 with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads this and Schoenberg’s well-intentioned orchestration of Brahms’s Piano Quartet Op. 25. Pianist András Schiff leads and plays Haydn (Concerto in D Major) and Beethoven (Piano Concerto No. 2) on Oct. 23 and 24. Brahms and Bartók complete…

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Banff, Alberta — The 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition ended in an unprecedented tie on Sunday afternoon. Both the Marmen Quartet from Great Britain and the Viano Quartet, with members from Canada and the US, split the prize money assigned to the first place and third place laureates, giving each group $16,500. The organizers decided to award the second-place cash prize of $12,000 to the American Callisto Quartet Because of this unusual result, the logistics of distributing some of the other perks for winning, such as the two-year residency at Southern Methodist University in Dallas worth $160,000 and multiple…

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The jurors have spoken for the penultimate time at 13th Banff International String Quartet Competition, and Sunday evening a new laureate will be sent on a rocket ship of a career boost. The First prize, which continues to grow with each iteration of the competition, is worth more than $200,000 when you figure in the $25,000 in cash, a two-year residency at Southern Methodist University ($160,000), a two-continent tour, a recording, and other career development opportunities. BISQC director Barry Shiffman says the Rolston Quartet, 2016 winners, enjoyed almost 100 engagements, with the help of the Banff Centre for Arts and…

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Banff, ALTA. – One morning of the Banff International String Quartet Competition is reserved for a short, new commissioned piece, which means the audience has the unique and unnatural experience of hearing a world premiere performed 10 times over a couple of hours. These works have generally displayed contemporary compositional notions, which many of the elderly, traditional chamber-music crowd assembled to follow the BISQC drama over a week in the beautiful Rocky Mountains find strange and disruptive. In 2010, Ana Sokolović’s five-minute Commedia del’Arte, commissioned by the CBC and the Banff Centre, was, like most “test” pieces, a clever but…

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A Young Person’s Guide to Classical Music From one year to the next, Jeunesses Musicales du Canada (JMC) stages over 1,200 concerts and workshops in about 200 venues in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes. This non-profit organization has promoted the cause of classical musical like no other in Eastern Canada on the basis of its educational and support programs for young musicians. Danièle Leblanc, the JMC general director, offers some historical insights. On Aug. 23 of this year, JMC turned 70. Its co-founders Gilles Lefebvre, Father J.H. Lemieux, Anaïs Allard-Rousseau and Laurette Desruisseaux-Boisvert modelled it on similar initiatives existing in…

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“A city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window,” the American humourist Mark Twain once called Montreal. From Sept. 8 to Nov. 1 – but especially in early October – you might stand a chance of hitting an organist instead, as the 2019 Grand Organ Festival unfolds under the auspices of the Canadian International Organ Competition. The official opening is an open-console Sunday afternoon at the mighty von Beckerath of St. Joseph’s Oratory. This opportunity to inspect the workings of this impressive tracker instrument should appeal to kids of all ages. There are also family-friendly events…

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Musica Camerata Montreal is an exceptional ensemble. Founded in 1971, it has been performing lesser-known chamber works and pioneering the music of Canadian composers. In anticipation of Camerata’s 50th season, we spoke to violinist and artistic director Luis Grinhauz and his wife, pianist Berta Rosenohl. How did you meet? LG: I was 19 years old, new to Buenos Aires, and a friend of mine wanted to introduce a lovely pianist to me named Berta. But I seemed to be too busy with violin practice (laughs). A little bit later, after one particular concert, we finally met, and I asked her…

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