Browsing: Strings

I love Wozzeck,” Elisa Citterio, 43, said in a cozy spot in Trinity-St. Paul’s, the renovated church in Toronto where Tafelmusik presents most of its concerts. “I played it twice. And Lulu.” If operas by Alban Berg seem a curious choice of favourites for the music director of the best-known baroque ensemble of English Canada, they faithfully reflect the upbringing of a violinist who grew up in Brescia, an hour from Milan, and dreamed from youth of playing in the orchestra of La Scala. Citterio realized her dream, after orthodox training as a “modern” violinist, first by serving as concertmaster…

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Never miss a Quatuor Molinari concert. It might end up being a Prix Opus-winning event. Actually, I had a few reasons turn up at the Conservatoire on the final evening of January. One was an opportunity to hear Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 4 – probably the first in Montreal since this enterprising ensemble played a Schoenberg cycle in 2012. One can understand why the Fourth is a less-than-frequent flyer on the standard chamber circuit. Made of 12 tones and multiple time signatures, it poses considerable technical and intellectual challenges, which the Molinaris managed adroitly in this taut reading. The rigour…

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“I’m not retiring,” emphasized the violinist Angèle Dubeau, who after 40 years of touring away from home seven months a year – over 20 with La Pietà – has decided to try a more moderate tempo. “I want to change my way of life, and now I want a little more time for me,” she says. Dubeau will continue to perform, however, in Montreal, Quebec City and as part of her end-of-summer La Fête de la musique festival in Mont-Tremblant over Labour Day weekend. More home time allows her to continue adding to her impressive discography of 40 recordings on…

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A violinist and composers of our time Release date: October 4, 2019 Montreal, October 4, 2019 – With a career spanning over four decades and an impressive discography of more than forty albums, Angèle Dubeau continues to leave her mark in today’s music world. Her virtuosity brings her on the most prestigious stages and she continues to be awarded international prizes for her recordings and to receive honors for her career. Pulsations, the violinist’s new album, brings together works that evoke strong images and possess a profound emotional intensity. In addition to the excellence of her playing, she has a…

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Victor Julien-Laferrière is an artist much in demand. In September the young French cellist toured Normandy with the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen, giving a series of concerts that included Haydn’s Concerto in D. He has also played with the Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, performing Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky. Winner of the first prize in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2017 – the first edition devoted to the cello – Julien-Laferrière has also appeared in some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls. In early October he will be the guest of the Concertgebouw…

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The Viano String Quartet, a collective of players in their early 20s from Canada and the United States, began their path toward victory (shared with the Marmen Quartet) at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition with an arranged marriage. Viano (the name is a play on a string ensemble that can express the full melodic and harmonic range of a keyboard) was the creation of their mentors at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith, both past members of the Tokyo Quartet. In 2015, based on a five-minute placement audition, four musicians, all…

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Swedish violinist Johannes Marmen founded the Marmen Quartet in 2013 with casual ambitions. He wanted to explore string quartet repertoire with some schoolmates at London’s Royal College of Music. Johannes’s teenage aspiration was one day to become a concertmaster, but as he immersed himself in the world of string quartets, his focus changed. “String quartet playing transformed my concept of what was possible and what was important in my life as a musician,” he said in an interview from Malmö, Sweden. Johannes’s growing belief that Marmen could compete with the best has paid off. The quartet has been awarded a…

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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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