Browsing: Music Competition

Last November was hectic for Markham, ON native Andrea Núñez. The 28-year-old soprano went from competing in the Opera de Montréal’s inaugural young artist competition, Talent 2017, to jumping the very next day into the weeklong Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. “I was running on coffee,” said Núñez, whose father is Peruvian and mother Chinese. On the stage of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Talent 2017, Núñez sang a polished “Caro Nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto. Although I found her interpretation a bit straight, her legato and floating high notes were astounding and set her apart from the rest of the field. So it’s surprising…

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Growing up in a musical household, Martin Mangrum was inspired to play horn by his older brother. “When I was 10 years old, I started taking piano lessons and a few months later I had to pick an instrument for my music class at FACE School in Montreal,” he explains. “At the time, my older brother Brian, who is now the new principal horn of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, had only been playing horn for six months. He could barely play and hearing him try was hilarious. “When I had to choose an instrument for my band class, I thought…

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When he played Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra on Nov. 25, flutist Benjamin Morency was appearing at Montreal’s Maison symphonique for the second time, following an earlier stint with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada playing works by Bernstein. His inspirational playing garnered him first prize in the OSM Manulife Competition. And yet, he says, “My first year at Yale focussed mainly on orchestra and chamber music and I didn’t have much chance for solo recitals.” Almost a year later, Morency has completed his Master’s at the Yale School of Music with Ransom Wilson. This follows studies with…

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Every year Brandon University in Manitoba hosts the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Named in honour of composer, pianist and violinist S.C. (Sonia) Eckhardt-Gramatté, the competition founded in 1976 focuses on contemporary music and up-and-coming musicians. The winner receives a $8,000 cash prize, a performance tour across Canada and a three-week residency at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival. This year’s winner is Saskatchewan’s Amy Hillis. “I first heard about the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition as an undergraduate when many of the older, more accomplished students from McGill were finalists in the competition,” Hillis recalls. “Carissa Klopoushak – an inspiration to this day for…

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Aged just 21, violinist Lynette Israilian won first prize in the Canimex Canadian Music Competition in June, giving her the privilege of playing with the Orchestre Métropolitain and guest conductor Nicolas Ellis. The young musician with the infectious smile and determined look plays a 2015 Jacques Martel instrument and is just starting the last year of a degree course at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with her teacher for the last seven years, Johanne Arel. “My aim is to become a soloist, so I can decide what I want to play,” she says. Nonetheless, she likes chamber music, with…

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Opera Canada says of mezzo-soprano Simona Genga after winning the Canadian Opera Company’s 2017 Centre Stage Gala and Ensemble Studio Competition that she was reminiscent of a young Stephanie Blythe with “a vocal plushness, amplitude and range mature beyond her years.” “I was first introduced to music when I was still a baby,” Genga says. “… [My mother] used to play Baby Mozart CDs for me which I also loved listening to when I was a kid! “I grew up loving to entertain people, whether by making up stories, plays, songs or poems. After being encouraged to try various activities…

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The summer of 2018 was almost perfect for Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo. Heading into the 2018 CMIM, La Scena predicted D’Angelo as the front runner for the Aria division given her pedigree as 2016 Met Audition winner and seconds in numerous competitions in 2017. “When preparing for a competition, I try to program the repertoire in other performances during the season. I learn a lot about a piece every time I perform it, so it is really an advantage before showing up to a competition where you may only have a 10 minute rehearsal with orchestra before performance.” Her first…

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Born in Shanghai and now a resident of Vancouver, Wang was introduced to classical music in China, starting piano lessons at age 4. He quickly developed an interest in the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque, which remains a reference to this day, although he also is particularly fond of Mahler. Attracted by Spanish music and captivated by the expressive possibilities of the instrument, Wang exchanged the piano for the guitar at age 11. This change coincided with the creation of his first works, strongly inspired by the artistic approach of the composers of the Second Viennese School. Wang…

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With numerous first prizes in national and international classical guitar competitions to his credit, Brent Crawford has been gaining recognition as a leader among guitarists of his generation. However, nothing predisposed young Crawford to the career of a performer. He started the guitar at age 8, influenced above all by his love of rock and rap of the 1990s. It was necessary to wait until his twenties for the piano music of Bach and Tchaikovsky to awaken a passion for the classical genre. The most recent win on his record is of the Montreal International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition,…

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Canadians might know American Baritone John Brancy as winner of the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) and third prize in 2012. However, as pretentious as it might sound, winning the prestigious competition twice was probably another day in the office for him. During the last four years alone, the lyrical baritone has won many internationally renowned competitions: he obtained first prize in the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition in New York; second prize at the 2017 Wigmore Hall Competition in London; and the media prize in the 2017 Belvedere International Singing Competition in Moscow; and first prize in the 2015 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. in 2015. After watching him perform…

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