Browsing: Strings

Martin Foster, the British-born Canadian violinist who spent more than 25 years as a performer and teacher in Montreal, died on Aug. 26 in Stratford, Ontario. According to his posted obituary, the cause was cancer. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Foster made his Carnegie Recital Hall debut at age 22 on Oct. 23, 1973. Raymond Ericson in the New York Times described him as “a violinist of more than ordinary gifts.” With fellow Juilliard students in 1974 he formed the American String Quartet, an ensemble that remains active. Returning to Canada in 1980, Foster served as acting concertmaster of the Orchestre…

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The Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil (OSDL) is preparing to enter a new era under the baton of Alexandre Da Costa, the unconvnetional 39-year-old artist taking over from Marc David, who conducted this musical institution con brio for 25 years. Da Costa promises a “symphonic turn” with the 2019-20 program, which comprises musical experiences that attempt fusions of classical music and expressions that are clearly in tune with the times. “It’s a great responsibility, but it’s also a great opportunity for me to open up the OSDL’s program to something that reflects me the most,” said Alexandre Da Costa, perfectly aware…

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Without them, movies would never be made and plays would never be seen. While they work in different media, film and stage directors must coax actors by all means available to lift scripts off the page, and, if need be, let them ad-lib lines. Having worked extensively in both areas, Montreal composer Katia Makdissi-Warren likes to call herself a “sound director.” “I identify very much with their approach,” she says, “because there is more to directing than just telling the performers how to play the music. I want them to determine some of the content as well. The difference, of…

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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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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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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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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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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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