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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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After Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Washington, Lang Lang will play at the Maison symphonique for the Montréal Bach Festival, performing Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations. Lang Lang is a leading figure in classical music today – as a pianist, educator and philanthropist he has become one of the world’s most influential and committed ambassadors for the arts in the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of people at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing or just for a few hundred children in public schools, he is a master of communicating through music. Returning after a career-threatening injury,which kept him…

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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has no principal guest conductor, but it has some good friends. This weekend the Scotsman Donald Runnicles makes his second visit in less than a year to Roy Thomson Hall and the first of two this season. The opening concert on Friday blossomed after intermission. One might almost characterize the evening as a contrasting pair of concerts despite the common thread of German romanticism. Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 came first and got the once-over-lightly treatment. Runnicles decreed a quick tempo in the first movement. Woodwinds eked out some lyricism in the second theme despite the conductor’s…

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Montreal, September 27, 2019 — The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal announces that German violinist Veronika Eberle, who was scheduled to perform all concerts as a soloist on the Latin American leg of the OSM’s upcoming Tour of the Americas, has been obliged to cancel her performances for health reasons. The OSM also wishes to announce that two internationally renowned artists have made time in their busy schedules to stand in for Eberle: Dutch violinist SIMONE LAMSMA and French violinist ALEXANDRA SOUMM. The two violinists are recognized as top performers on the international stage and are renowned for their brilliant command…

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Sometimes the best records get made with no foresight whatsoever. As part of his label switch from Sony Classical it had been planned that Murray Perahia would record the five concertos for the Beethoven year, live in Berlin where he had concerts scheduled with the visiting Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Then Perahia suffered a recurrent hand injury and had to be replaced by the Canadian Jan Lisiecki. The DG team were already booked for the recording so they went ahead, And, what do you know, the results were better than expected. Much better. Lisiecki, 24, has been…

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Analekta is proud to announce the release of the album New Jewish Music, Vol. 2 – Azrieli Music Prizes in collaboration with the Azrieli Foundation. The Azrieli Music Prizes were established in 2014 to offer opportunities for the discovery, creation, performance and celebration of high quality new Jewish music. New Jewish Music, Vol. 2 features the world premiere recordings of works by composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, winner of the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, and composer Avner Dorman, winner of the 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music. This new album also features Seven Tableaux from the Song of Songs composed…

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If I listen one more time to Andrey Gugnin playing DSCH I shall probably be locked up for my own safety, at least until after Brexit. But it’s going to happen. Like Brexit, I can’t stop it. The music on this compelling album comes from recesses of the composer’s soul, written at times when he was more troubled by personal issues than political. Aged 21, his percussive first piano sonata of 1927 runs alongside his second symphony and has much in common with Bartok’s sonata of 1926, though also with Alban Berg’s. The second sonata, written in the middle of…

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Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar” is a brave choice for an OSM season opener. Cast in five movements, it runs the gamut from sorrowful to scornful, confines itself vocally to males and makes many of its musical points at a sustained fortissimo. The Yevgeny Yevtushenko text refers to a Nazi massacre. The hourlong-plus experience can be onerous for a gala crowd, unless the performance is as inspired as it was under Kent Nagano Tuesday night in the Maison symphonique. It is hard to describe in words the mix of horror, irony and humanity that the composer calibrates so exactly…

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MONTREAL, Sept. 16, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – The Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal is pleased to announce the renewal for life of the contract of its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This open-ended commitment is based on mutual trust. The new contract grew out of a desire expressed by the Orchestre’s management and musicians and by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who begins his 20th season with the OM this September. Such contracts between a young conductor and an orchestra he or she didn’t found are extremely rare. “This is a special day for the musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain and myself, the…

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This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory.Opera’s newest power couple – so Etienne Dupuis and Nicole Car have been called, and so they sounded Saturday night in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. But as impressive as they were in the principal roles, the Montreal-born baritone and his Australian soprano better half did not constitute the sum of show. This was one of the best-cast and least-tampered-with Opéra de Montréal presentations in recent memory. What you missed Fans of mezzo-sopranos had an array of firm sonorities to choose from in Christianne Bélanger as Larina, Stefania Toczyska…

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