Industry News: November 2016


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Big Canadian Debut

Anna Netrebko

Anna Netrebko

Many are abuzz after the mid-October announcement that Russian soprano Ana Netrebko, one of the world’s biggest opera stars, will make her Canadian debut on April 25, 2017 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Netrebko will be joined on stage by her husband, Yusif Eyazov, as well as baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky – otherwise known as Trio Magnifico. They will be accompanied by the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra conducted by Jader Bignamini in a concert of opera arias, duets, and trios. Tickets to the event are bound to be expensive, some estimate they will be as much as $450 each. Following this concert, the Trio Magnifico will travel to Calgary for a concert with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on April 30.

Record Debut

Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan will make her record debut as a conductor on the French label Alpha, set to be released next year. The album, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy, includes Berg’s Lulu Suite and Gershwin’s Girl Crazy Suite, arranged by American composer Bill Elliott in collaboration with LUDWIG orchestra from Amsterdam.

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Industry Moves

Jordan De Souza, Photo: Brent Calis

Jordan De Souza, Photo: Brent Calis

Rising Canadian conductor Jordan de Souza has been named Kapellmeister of Germany’s Komische Oper Berlin, starting in the 2017–18 season. This appointment follows his stint as the Head of Music for the same company. The 28-year-old McGill graduate (BMus’11, MMus’13) currently serves as Guest Conductor for the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Bregenz Festival (Austria), as well as Resident Conductor for Tapestry Opera. De Souza will conduct the Opéra de Montréal’s production of Don Giovanni, which runs November 12–19.

English conductor, harpsichordist, and cellist Jonathan Cohen was named Music Director of the Violons du Roy, stepping into the role in the 2018–19 season, until 2021. Founding conductor Bernard Labadie will be stepping down from the helm of the group to continue his own international career. Cohen is the Artistic Director of Arcangelo and the Tetbury Music Festival in England, Associate Conductor of Les Arts Florissants, and artistic partner of the Saint Pail Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota. He will begin serving as designated Music Director in February 2017, when he will conduct the ensemble at Palais Montcalm in a program of Telemann, Purcell, Corelli, Vivaldi, and Biber.

The Festival de Lanaudière announced in October that Alex Benjamin was stepping down from his post as Artistic Director to focus on other projects. Benjamin was a programming assistant for the festival from October 2000 until October 2009, when he took on the Artistic Director role from Father Fernand Lindsay. At press time, no successor has been named.

Tragic Losses

Neville Marriner, Photo: Richard Holt

Neville Marriner, Photo: Richard Holt

Sir Neville Marriner, one of the most prolific conductors, passed away peacefully on October 2, 2016 at the age of 92. Marriner, who was also a violinist, founded the chamber orchestra Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 1958. Also associated with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, and guest conductor of many other prominent orchestras around the world, his output of recordings is second only to Herbert von Karajan.

The Quebec Baroque music scene and the arts community at large was shocked and saddened by the death of Nicolas Fortin at the age of 35. Fortin was a graduate of McGill University on Baroque violin and was the General Director of the Montreal Baroque Festival, as well as a close collaborator with the Conseil Québécois de la musique.

Quebec jazz musician Guy Nadon, known as “le roi du drum” passed away on October 9 at the age of 82 after a hard-fought battle with kidney disease. A self-taught musician, Nadon was an absolute fixture in the Montreal jazz scene, playing in all but three editions of the Montreal International Jazz Festival – 34 appearances in all. In 1998 he won the Festival’s Oscar Peterson Award for his contributions.

Prizes and Honours

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, 75, won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first musician to do so in the prize’s 115-year history. The Swedish Academy stated that Dylan “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Yuja Wang, Photo: Norbert Kniat

Yuja Wang, Photo: Norbert Kniat

Musical America has named superstar pianist Yuja Wang the 2017 Artist of the Year. Other award winners include Eighth Blackbird (Ensemble of the Year), Susanna Mälkki (Conductor of the Year), Andrew Norman (Composer of the Year), and bass-baritone Eric Owens (Vocalist of the Year). The awards will be presented at Carnegie Hall in December 2016.

International superstar, virtuoso pianist Lang Lang was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music during their sold-out Season Gala on October 18. Since 2015, the Royal Conservatory has partnered with Lang Lang for the Keys of Inspiration public school program of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Lang Lang joins an illustrious group of Fellows including Oscar Peterson, Sir Andrew Davis, Leslie Feist, David Foster, Leon Fleisher, k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn, Bramwell Tovey, and The Tragically Hip.

Turkish-born, Georgian-raised 20-year-old violinist Veriko Tchumburidze was the first prize winner of €30,000 at the 2016 Wieniawski International Violin Competition, in Poznan, Poland. Other winners are as follows: Bomsori Kim (South Korea) and Seiji Okamoto (Japan), tied second; Luke Hsu (US), fourth; Richard Lin (Taiwan/US), fifth; Maria Włoszczowska (Poland), sixth; Ryosuke Suho (Japan), seventh. Previous prize winners include Ginette Neveu, David Oistrakh, Boris Goldstein, and Ida Haendel.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Kiersten van Vliet was the Web Editor and an Editorial Assistant for La Scena Musicale from 2015–17.

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