Browsing: Strings

Have you heard Régent Levasseur’s enchanting Farewell to the Warriors? The Orchestre classique de Montréal (OCM) presents it as part of its 82nd season, titled Women of Distinction, with the remarkable 18-minute concerto for string orchestra, harp and drum, in an orchestration by the versatile melodist. Tara-Louise Montour recorded the piece with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and the work earned the ensemble a Juno nomination (2005). “I am delighted that the OCM invited me into the program of Tales and Melodies, the first concert of its season, and I think that Farewell to the Warriors will fit in perfectly, firstly because of…

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The 24-year-old canadian cellist Bryan Cheng has been awarded 2nd Prize and the Audience Prize at the Geneva 2021 International Music Competition (Concours de Genève) in Switzerland! Selected from 250 initial applicants, he is also the only Canadian to have reached the finals of this prestigious cello competition, performing the Cello Concerto in E minor of E. Elgar with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and conductor Georg Fritzsch. Congratulations! The first cellist to win Grand Prize at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition, the first-ever Canadian laureate at the prestigious International Paulo Cello Competition and also winner of the inaugural Bader and Overton Canadian Cello…

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You know a concerto soloist has absolutely shredded it when the “devil horns” salute feels like a more appropriate response than mere applause. That’s the kind of glam-rock energy Leila Josefowicz brought to the Oct. 21 National Arts Centre Orchestra performance of John Adams’ Violin Concerto. After nearly two years of watching performers through the dulling filter of a computer or TV screen, Josefowicz’s incandescent, full-throttle live performance felt like a shot of pure adrenaline. This was only NACO’s second in-person concert of its new season. With Ontario’s recently increased indoor venue capacity limits in effect, the orchestra also had…

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Every concert can be deemed a highlight after a season like 2020-21. While the 2021-22 schedule is not quite as packed as it was in pre-pandemic days – and the crowds, by provincial decree, can be only partial – there are plenty of options for the long-suffering Montreal music fan. Orchestre symphonique 
de Montréal Interest is obviously keen in Rafael Payare, the incoming OSM music director. He starts the Maison symphonique season on Sept. 14 (repeats on Sept. 16 and 18) with Shostakovich’s foolproof Fifth Symphony and Ravel’s La Valse, which some of the musicians could probably play by heart.…

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In the early 1980s, the phenomenal Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer recorded for Philips an account of the Beethoven concerto that was almost universally reviled. It contained two cadenzas written at the soloist’s request by the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, a self-styled polystylist who built some of his works from fragments of many others. Each of the cadenzas contained snippets of every major violin concerto from Bach to Berg, and the western music establishment recoiled as it if had been struck by a falling sputnik. The record was harshly reviewed and withdrawn by the label never to be physically reissued (though…

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The trouble with most music by unfamiliar contemporary composers is that the listener has no idea where it’s coming from. The Austrian Gerald Resch gets over this hurdle by rooting his third string quartet, ‘attaca’, in Beethoven’s first Razumovsky quartet, opus 59/1. The context works remarkably well. Resch, 46, is a former music journalist embedded in Viennese music, both historic and  modern. He works with ensembles as different as the period-instrument Concentus Musicus and the Aureum saxophone quartet. In creating ‘attaca’ he had a period of immersion with the trendy, Frankfurt-based Aris Quartet, among the most accomplished on the circuit.…

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Edmonton, AB – On Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22, 2021, six string players from across Canada will vie for the $8,000 top prize in The Shean Strings Competition and the opportunity to play with the Edmonton Symphony  Orchestra at a later date.  Due to COVID-19, the Competition will be held virtually this year with competitors submitting videos for the adjudicators to watch. Competitors’  performances, if we are given permission to share them, will be posted to our  website and social media after the Competition and the results announced. (see  attached programme information)  This year’s competitors (with hometowns in…

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Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil Alexandre Da Costa, violin and conductor; Bruno Pelletier and La Bronze, guest soloists Théâtre Plaza de Montréal March 12, 2021 On March 12, the OSDL put its Stradivarius BaROCK symphonique concert online, with violinist Alexandre Da Costa as conductor and soloist. Unlike most of the virtual concerts we have had the opportunity to watch, this wasn’t just about recording an event from the parterre or the balcony. Differing elements of this video gave us another experience, much more immersive, that went well beyond the performance of the pieces. The OSDL brought in radio host Sonia…

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The first soloist I ever heard play Elgar was the French cellist Paul Tortelier at the Royal Festival Hall – elegant, expressive and chastely romantic, half an hour of unblemished beauty. I was a kid and that must have been 60 years ago. Since then I’ve heard maybe one other French cellist attempt an Elgar concerto, but never, until now, a violinist. Renaud Capucon is a revelation in many ways. He shifts the accent from phlegmatic to something more Gallic and the dynamics to a whispering tendresse. There is so much individuality in this account that I kept wondering why…

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I met Ezinma as Meredith Ramsay almost 10 years ago, when we were violin students at the Mannes School of Music in New York. One day after school we were on the sidewalk, talking about the future. She told me she was not going to audition for orchestras. Rather, she was going to become a pop star of the violin. I remember thinking, “How is she going to do that? You cannot train as a classical musician and have a career in pop music.” But she did. The proof? Ezinma is featured on the cover of the January/February issue of…

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