Browsing: Music Competition

Last May, 22-year-old pianist Élisabeth Pion from Otterburn Park, Quebec, won the Shean Piano Competition in Edmonton for her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto. With this feather in her cap, she is about to embark on a Master’s at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London with Ronan O’Hora. Shortly before her departure for the U.K., Pion spoke about her world of freedom, multidisciplinarity and solitude – ingredients that seem to match her pensive look and the nonchalance of a young Martha Argerich. Talk of music quickly veers off into the autobiographical Carnets by Camus, which she is…

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As a child, Benjamin Seah cut out pictures of violins and bows and played a paper violin while listening to Vivaldi. Ten years later, he made music his life and swapped the paper instrument for a real one made in 1913 by French luthier Gustave Villaume, which possessed a full and rich sonority. At just 14, he was astonishing audiences by his musicality and love for the violin. Recently he earned the title “Virtuose” in the Radio-Canada’s television show hosted by Grégory Charles. Seah is now studying at the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie in partnership with the Vincent-d’Indy school of music.…

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At age 26, Nicolas Namoradze has had a remarkable career. He’s given recitals around the world and played with distinguished orchestras in Europe and the United States. Festivals have asked him to write works which have been played by eminent musicians. Most recently, he won first prize in the 2018 Honens Piano Competition in Calgary. Winning this competition was the stuff of dreams for Namoradze. And he thinks it came down to luck: “My teacher, Emanuel Ax, believes that competitions are like lotteries: you just have to be lucky. I certainly feel extremely lucky and I am enormously grateful.” The…

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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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