Browsing: Classical Music

At first glance, the premise may sound simple: one concert, four violin concertos. The seasoned classical concert-goer, however, will understand just how ambitious an endeavour this is, and that this sort of programming is practically unheard of. Who would do such a thing? Alex Pauk, of course—the same person who was told that a full-sized orchestra devoted to the performance of contemporary music was never going to survive for longer than a year, and who has been conducting that very orchestra for 40. On Nov. 27, Esprit Orchestra will present its second concert of the ambitious 40th anniversary season, Violinissimo.…

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On Nov. 15, Isolde Lagacé bids a fond farewell to the Salle Bourgie after 10 years at its helm as artistic and administrative director. Two months before, on Sept. 18, she officially passed the torch on stage to her successors: Caroline Louis as the new administrative head and her counterpart programmer Olivier Godin. ‟In the early days of my work for Bourgie,” recalls Lagacé, ‟I could handle both of these tasks easily thanks to my own life history of growing up in a musical family first and then pursuing a career in arts management. After five years on the job,…

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Soprano Christina Haldane and pianist Carl Philippe Gionet, both with roots in Caraquet, N.B., have known each other for a long time. The former, of shared Acadian descent on her mother’s side and British on her father’s, earned most of her operatic experience in the U.K., where she spent most of her life. Then she moved back to Eastern Canada with teaching in mind and has been a staff instructor at Mount Allison University in Sackville since 2019. Gionet, for his part, is a multi-disciplinary artist who netted both his master’s and doctorate degrees at the…

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by Mélissa Brien and Dino Spaziani We hear of those super-women who sail through life, juggling family and work with ease. Well, the Italian-Canadian soprano Giorgia Fumanti is proof that such women really do exist. This mother to four children and star of crossover classical music has chosen Canada as her home. MUSICAL INITIATION Music was always a part of Fumanti’s childhood in Italy, but she only began singing seriously at 16, when she joined a choir and found she had a natural aptitude. “I sincerely believe that music saved my life from the start. I was born in Tuscany…

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Life has taken a dramatic turn for Quebec native Jeanick Fournier—one she sometimes can’t quite believe herself. Her love of music is finally paying off, all thanks to a chance she almost didn’t take. Growing up near Lac St-Jean, music has always been a part of Fournier’s life. As a child, she sang in church. She admires Céline Dion, another Quebecer from humble beginnings to rise to musical fame, and she learned English by listening to favourite singers such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Pat Benatar, emulating their breathing, pronunciation and speech patterns. Surprisingly, she has never had any…

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On Oct. 19, Eleanor Friedland, president of the venerable International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA), announced in a press release that it will bid farewell to the music world in a month’s time: “After 40 years as a charitable service organization for Canada’s musicians, the IRCPA will cease operation on Nov. 30.” For many Canadian artists—a number totalling close to 600—the IRCPA has played an invaluable role in helping them establish their careers, especially during the transition from being an aspiring young artist to that of a full-fledged professional. The driving force behind this organization from the very beginning…

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With the holiday season approaching and the pandemic hopefully almost behind us, Handel’s Messiah is returning in full force, with a proliferation of productions in southern Ontario. These productions will no doubt get you into the holiday spirit. ONTARIO NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE ORCHESTRA Patrick Dupré Quigley conducts the NAC orchestra along with the Capital Chamber Choir and Cantata Singers of Ottawa in this production, which features soloists Mireille Asselin (soprano), Julie Boulianne (mezzo), Lawrence Wiliford (tenor) and Norman Garrett (bass-baritone). Dec. 14 and 15 at Southam Hall in the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. www.nac-cna.ca TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Gustavo Gimeno conducts…

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MONTREAL ALLEGRA CHAMBER MUSIC On Nov. 23, Allegra Chamber Music will present a program of works by Frank Bridge, Gustav Mahler, and Robert Schumann, performed by Dorothy Fieldman Fraiberg (piano), Simon Aldrich (clarinet), Alexander Lozowski (violin), Elvira Misbakhova (viola), and Sheila Hannigan (cello), as their last concert of 2022. They will kick off the new year on Jan. 19 with works by Clarke, Brahms, and Eggleston, performed by the same ensemble. Both events will take place at Redpath Hall. www.allegrachambermusic.com LYRICO The up-and-coming operatic pop trio Lyrico (Sam Champagne, Marco Bocchicchio, and Ian Sabourin) has two exciting concerts and three…

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The term “crossover” has been used in the musical world since the 1980s to describe classical musicians (composers and artists) who have moved into the pop world. Their purpose: to cast a wider net over the fan base of one genre by mashing it with another. The genres which are blended need not be classical, though. Attracting listeners to classical music by adopting crossover strategy is working for well-known artists such as Angèle Dubeau, Yo-Yo Ma, Yuja Wang, Itzhak Perlman and others who have not hitched their careers to any one genre. Each has created a personal stylistic brand which…

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Known for its unique productions and recognizable artistic signature, La Nef will present Tout tourne in February 2023—a seemingly improbable encounter between contemporary minimalist music and virtuosic baroque music. Indeed, who could believe that the latter—abundant, ornate and contrasting—could be coupled with the pared-down esthetics of contemporary music? This is the nature of the challenge taken up by two of the most important musicians of Quebec’s baroque scene: recorder player Vincent Lauzer and harpsichordist Dorothéa Ventura, with special guest contemporary dancer François Richard. “The basic idea is to evoke the unceasing cycles of life,” they explain. So much baroque music…

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