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LENOX, Mass. – The project had potential: Summon a name-brand cast, engage a major conductor, try not to draw attention to the fact that the orchestra was made of students in their mid-20s. Then present the three acts of Die Walküre – the most salable instalment of Wagner’s Ring – as separate concerts over two days, taking care to fortify the experience with talks, public interviews, a film and bag lunches on the magical campus of Tanglewood, the most famous of all North American summer destinations. Perhaps it was an idea, in the truest Wagnerian spirit, for the future. The…

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Stellar lineup of singers to perform at Neil Crory Tribute Concert Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7 PM Featuring Phillip Addis, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Isaiah  Bell, Benjamin Butterfield, Tracy Dahl, Nathalie Paulin, Brett Polegato, Jean Stilwell, Krisztina Szabó, Daniel Taylor, Erin Wall, and Monica Whicher “Those of us who were touched by him, who felt the breeze of his unique presence pass by us and change the atmosphere around us, won’t forget him, ever. A country produces few individuals with his depth of humanity, caring, intelligence and wit. Another like him won’t be coming along any time soon.” —Robert Harris, The Wholenote…

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July 25 was a memorable night for the Concerts Populaires de Montréal. After extended negotiations, the Orchestre de la Francophonie (OF) finally obtained the legal rights to one of the most famous and iconic musicals of Broadway, West Side Story. Written by Stephen Sondheim and composed by Leonard Bernstein in 1957, this dramatic story takes place in the Upper West side of Manhattan in the 50’s and highlights two opposite gangs of the working class, the Sharks and the Jets. It’s a typical love story inspired by the tragedy of Romeo and Juliette where Maria, from the Sharks, falls in…

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Mount Royal Park, beautiful by itself, looked particularly festive and impressive on the evening of July 25. From Sherbrooke Street, a colourful flock of families, couples and groups of friends, holding the parasols and blankets, was heading to the park premises. The mix of French, English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic anticipated the beginning of an exciting concert by the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. After a short introduction during which the host presented distinguished members of the Canadian government and sponsors of the concert – including Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodriquez and members of…

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The Department of It Never Rains But It Pours has delivered us a set of premiere recordings of three Haydn symphonies, reduced for piano solo. Last week, we reviewed Mozart, shrunk to four instruments. What’s next – Wagner on the mandolin? There are two saving graces at play here. The transcription by Carl David Stegmann (1751-1826) is craftily inventive, leading the ear up paths never fully imagined by the original symphonist. And the interpretation by the Serbian-US pianist Ivan Ilic has a splash of fun – mischief, even – that tells us not to take classical music always at its…

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First three selected artists include Jean-Michel Blais, Jiajia Li and Anders Muskens Calgary, July 22, 2019 — The National Music Centre (NMC) will receive a $525,000 contribution from Stingray over the next seven years to support classical music residencies at Studio Bell. A handful of artists have already been selected to help launch the program over the second half of 2019. They include Montreal-based post-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais, celebrated Calgary flautist Jiajia Li, and Edmonton musician Anders Muskens, who specializes in historical keyboards. “As a Canadian company and member of the music community, Stingray is committed to promoting local talent. …

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The Concert Populaires de Montréal presented on July 18 a beautiful show that brought together the 4th and 7th art: music and film. The Orchestre du Septième Art (OSA), directed by Lise Bellehumeur, performed beautiful musical frames from famous contemporary film composers and planned two screens with carefully selected scenes from each movie, which ultimately made the experience complete and transported us right into the movie. What you missed Dedicated to brilliant movie soundtracks, the OSA gave an impressive performance of several works. Before each soundtrack, Lise Bellehumeur carefully explained why they chose the particular soundtrack, and disclosed the basics…

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In an age when the majors pump out stars and brands, boutique labels are free to indulge in the cranky, the batty and the frankly off-the-wall. Which self-respecting woke person, for instance, would pay to hear Mozart’s major orchestral works shrunk to fit a Brooklyn or Lewisham bedsit? Mozart reduced to pocket size by his principal rivals Hummel, Cramer and Clementi – do we really need that? Actually, yes, yes, yes! It is totally thrilling to hear the C-major piano concerto K467 played by piano, flute, violin and cello… like a digital scan of Mozart’s mind working at full speed…

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Starring Kristian Bezuidenhout (South Africa), Seong-Jin Cho (Korea), Lucas and Arthur Jussen (Denmark), and from Quebec, Charles-Richard Hamelin, Marc-André Hamelin and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Joliette, July 16, 2019 – During the fourth week of its 42nd edition, Festival de Lanaudièrepays tribute to the Father of Classicism – inventor of the Classical symphony and string quartet – and introduces the young prodigy Seong-Jin Cho as well as a piano duo of brothers. The return of Kristian Bezuidenhout Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout presents a recital at Église de Saint-Paul-de-Joliette on Tuesday, July 23. On the heels of a recording released just this year, the…

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CLASSICAL UNBOUND FESTIVAL JULY 26-28, 2019 Prince Edward County, Ontario Unbinding classical chamber music from its formal attire, and binding it more closely to our hearts and souls. Something’s happening this summer on the shores of Lake Ontario, on that enticing acreage of sun and lake-kissed land called Prince Edward County… something besides blooming wildflowers and rosy sunsets; besides the wind in the dunes and cruising the country roads between wineries with the windows down. It’s a chamber music festival nestled amongst all of that: Classical Unbound. One of Canada’s premier ensembles, Ironwood Quartet, is running the…

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