Browsing: La Scena Online

La Scena Online is the digital magazine of La Scene Musicale.
Contents: News, Concert reviews, CD reviews, Interviews, Obituaries, etc
Editor: Wah Keung Chan
Assistant Editor: Andreanne Venne
ISSN: 1206-9973

Alexander Koutelias has been the Head of Development at the Orchestre classique de Montréal (OCM) since 2020, a position he obtained immediately after graduating from the MMIAM (Master of Management in International Arts Management) program, where he received a double master’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and HEC Montréal. La Scena Musicale spoke with him to understand his vision for philanthropy in Quebec (and the United States) and how his program of study prepared him for his current role at the OCM. LSM: Tell us a little about your early days in philanthropy. AK: I’m originally from…

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On November 2, the Silakbo Ensemble launched its Canadian tour with a first stop in Montreal, at Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s Joseph-Rouleau Hall. Formed by  three Bulgarian musicians (Angelina Gotcheva, clarinet, Yoanna Bozhkova, soprano, Bogdan Ivanov, piano), Portuguese violinist Edgar Gomes and Filipino American cellist Mikko Pablo, this quintet was joined exceptionally by Adam Vincent Clarke, composer and piper proud of his Nova Scotia roots. Together they presented their latest project, named Est-Ouest. More than a gathering, it is an exchange, an interconnection, between the Canadian and Bulgarian musical cultures. As part of this project, three creations commissioned by the Silakbo…

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After a two-year hiatus, COC’s Ensemble Studio Competition made a comeback last night. The competition is the feature event of the COC gala fundraiser Centre Stage, an annual celebration of Canada’s best young opera artists. From a pool of over 100 applicants from across the country, seven finalists—three sopranos, two tenors, one baritone and one bass– were chosen to perform in front of a live audience, accompanied by the full force of the COC orchestra. The competition jury comprised COC General Director Perryn Leech  and Director of Artistic Planning Roberto Mauro; renowned Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka; and mezzo J’Nai Bridges,…

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Stabat Mater: **** Piano works: ***** While Karol Szymanowski is unlikely ever to be voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, his stock has risen steadily in the present century, so much so that he can almost be counted now as mainstream. This was never the case in his lifetime, when he suffered the dual disability for a composer of being Polish and gay. On the first count he was compared unfavourably to Chopin, on the second disparagingly to Tchaikovsky. Always his own man, Szymanowski (1882-1937) sounds like no other maker of musical language – as even a cursory…

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Bass is the Place Michel Donato et ses amis québécois / Effendi FND 166 Having turned 80 last summer, Michel Donato has not yet played his last note. In this, a milestone year of his life, the bassist has offered himself and his listeners a nice little birthday gift: a neatly tied package of 10 medium-length tracks spanning some 50 minutes. Joining him for the ride are three journeymen: pianist François Bourassa (who composed the bulk of the tunes), Frank Lozano on tenor and soprano saxes, and Pierre Tanguay on drums. This band, which first started as a dedicatory band to the…

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Soprano Christina Haldane and pianist Carl Philippe Gionet, both with roots in Caraquet, N.B., have known each other for a long time. The former, of shared Acadian descent on her mother’s side and British on her father’s, earned most of her operatic experience in the U.K., where she spent most of her life. Then she moved back to Eastern Canada with teaching in mind and has been a staff instructor at Mount Allison University in Sackville since 2019. Gionet, for his part, is a multi-disciplinary artist who netted both his master’s and doctorate degrees at the Université de Montréal before…

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Mendelssohn: Elijah / Russell Braun, baritone; TMC Soloists; Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; University of Toronto MacMillan Singers; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Jean Sébastien Vallée, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall, November 2, 2022. Following the intimate, a cappella opening show given by the Toronto Mendelssohn Singers in Trinity St. Paul’s Centre a month ago, the full Toronto Mendelssohn Choir launched its new season in grand style last evening, with an old favourite – Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Together with the University of Toronto’s MacMillan Singers and the chamber version of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, there were well over 160 musicians on the Roy Thomson Hall stage…

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Before the great Mahler inundation of the 1980s, every aspirational conductor was expected to know the seven Sibelius symphonies backwards and to perform them on demand. Leonard Bernstein claimed to have taught them to the Vienna Philharmonic; in fact, his compatriot Lorin Maazel got in there first, recording them a decade earlier. Karajan embedded Sibelius in Berlin. Philadelphia and Boston performed him as standard. London’s Royal Festival Hall was known to some of us as Finlandia-on-Thames. The train that linked Finland to Russia was named ‘the Sibelius’. And then the wave receded. A line of Finnish conductors led by Esa-Pekka…

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JEREMY DENK RECITAL AT THE 2022 HONENS PIANO COMPETITION IN CALGARY: A MUSIC-LOVER AT THE KEYBOARD No question about it: Jeremy Denk loves music. In a recital that began with Mozart’s A minor Sonata and ended with Donald Lambert’s stride version of the Pilgrim’s Chorus from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Denk showed an enraptured audience that he loves all kinds of music and never stops discovering new wonders in every piece he plays. The Mozart was an absolute revelation. This was Mozart with blood in his veins not the anal retentive figure who often represents the Austrian master these days. Denk laid…

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It has long been a familiar topic for discussion in ethics and aesthetics: does great art and artistry excuse bad behaviour? The question was often raised about Wagner and came to the fore again in evaluating conductors like Furtwängler and Karajan in the post World War II period. In our own time leading conductors of the stature of James Levine, Charles Dutoit and Daniele Gatti were removed from their posts for alleged sexual harassment. In the new film Tár the matter is worked over once again, but with a different twist: this time the artist under scrutiny is a female…

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