Browsing: Strings

Originally from Seoul, Korea, violinist Byungchan Lee garnered international attention as prizewinner of the inaugural 2009 Yuri Yankelevitch International Violin Competition, and was one of CBC’s “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30” in 2017. He appeared as soloist with the McGill and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, and performed alongside Stevie Wonder in Montreal as well as at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Byungchan toured the most prestigious Canadian and international halls, such as the Carnegie Hall, the MoMA’s Summergarden, the New York Choreographic Institute, and the Juilliard’s Focus Festival. Byungchan received his master’s degree from The…

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Violinist Timothy Chooi won Second Prize at the 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. He had already made a name for himself after receiving numerous awards, including the First Prize of the 2018 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Germany, the First Prize of the 2018 Schadt Violin Competition in the USA, the Michael Hill Violin Competition in New-Zealand and the OSM ManulifeCompetition in Canada. In 2018, he won the Yves Paternot Prize at the Festival Verbier in Switzerland, which rewards the most promising and accomplished musician at the annual Academy of Young Professional Musicians. Timothy Chooi studied at the Curtis…

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Ida Haendel, the Polish-born violinist who lived in Montreal from 1952 to 1989, died early on July 1 at her home in Florida. Her nephew Richard Grunberg described her passing as peaceful on social media. Haendel’s age was long a subject of debate, turning in part on the question of whether she really could have won the Polish Prize in the 1935 Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Warsaw at age seven (when, according to her own testimony, she could not read music). Many sources still accept Dec. 15, 1928 as her date of birth, which would make her terminal age 91. That she…

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Cellist Denis Brott is out of hospital and at his retreat in the Laurentians, according to the Montreal Gazette. The Montreal Conservatoire professor and founder of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival was admitted to Hôtel-Dieu in late March with COVID-19. “I am at home now, after 45 days in the ICU, 38 of which were on a ventilator,” Brott is quoted as saying. Boris Brott, the cellist’s brother, said in April that Denis Brott became ill after returning from Holland. He also said that the 69-year-old was in an induced coma. The Montreal Chamber Music Festival had been scheduled to…

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Update: May 11, 2020: Denis Brott recovering from COVID-19 ordeal Montreal cellist and festival founder Denis Brott is battling the coronavirus at the CHUM hospital in Montreal, according to his brother Boris Brott. “Denis’s situation is really quite severe,” Boris Brott told the Hamilton Spectator. The 69-year-old cellist became ill after returning from Holland late last month, according to the Spectator. “He’s intubated,” Boris Brott is quoted as saying. “He’s in the intensive care unit and they’re doing the best they can to save his life.” The Spectator says that Denis Brott is in an induced coma. It also says that in addition to…

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Anne-Sophie Mutter, 56, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The German violinist posted a video message on Facebook from her office at home, presumably in Munich, where her foundation is based. “It’s such a difficult situation for an artist not to be able to communicate with you, the listener,” Mutter says. “But better times will come.” The message includes a statement of solidarity with others afflicted with COVID-19. Mutter takes heart from the fact that she is a non-smoker and suggests that smokers should kick the habit. A video-conference performance of the Adagio ma non troppo from Beethoven’s String Quartet…

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“Only good news from the Ladies’ Morning Musical Club,” Constance Pathy, president of the venerable organization, said at the formal launch of the 2020-21 season. The announcement came a day before some not-so-good news, as the LMMC was forced to cancel the March 15 appearance of the Pavel Haas Quartet with pianist Boris Giltburg, thus joining several Quebec organizations (and countless worldwide) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A recital on April 5 by the Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov is also cancelled. Premier François Legault’s ban on gatherings numbering more than 250, announced on March 12, was intended to remain in…

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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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