Browsing: World Music

In March, Kiya Tabassian, the artistic director of the ensemble Constantinople and sitar virtuoso, will attend the premier of one of his works by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, as part of the Adventures in the East concert. Portrait of a free-spirited voyager. Kiya Tabassian with the Ensemble Constantinople and dancers in a performance of Sunya. Photo Michael Slobodian It’s difficult to attach a label to Kiya Tabassian. He plays a traditional Persian instrument, the sitar, but he also composes works for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. He takes inspiration from early music, which he plays from…

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Japanese Children SongsDiana Damrau, sopranoOrchestre symphonique de Montreal / Kent Nagano, conductorAnalekta AN2 9131***** This disc of 22 Japanese children songs is a complete delight. Conductor Kent Nagano was singularly responsible for its genesis. The accompanying booklet gives a detailed account of how Nagano, a third generation Japanese from California, started researching these songs after hearing his wife sing them to their daughter. These hauntingly beautiful songs, newly orchestrated, were first heard in two live performances in February-March 2010 at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier in Montreal, and the part of the recording involving the soloist was recorded in Germany in June…

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by Paul E. RobinsonIn March 2009, I was a Guest Lecturer at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing, China. My audience was a class of young conductors. My lecture, titled “Stokowski: the Limits of Interpretation,” considered the many changes that Stokowski had made in the scores of the music he conducted and how these changes might be defended and justified. Moments before my talk was to begin, I had a distinguished surprise visitor, 92-year old Huang Feili, (photo: left) the man who had founded the conducting department of this institution back in 1956. His presence not only did me great honour, but gave me great…

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By Christine Lee Longueuil, July 14 The great thing about Longueuil’s International Percussion Festival is the array of different activities offered: a drum workshop, a dance workshop, stalls selling goods, a mini-museum, restaurants right by the street, concerts, and dance shows. As I wandered up and down the street, I even came across a circus performance of aerial silks. Thursday featured a free performance by Bïa & Paulo Ramos with live painting by Brazilian painter Flavio Freitas. Brazil-born Montrealer Paulo Ramos and his band displayed a suaveness that captured the audience’s hearts straight away. The Latin rhythms made the crowd…

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By Christine Lee Longueuil, July 13, 2011This year marked the tenth anniversary of Longueuil’s International Percussion Festival. Its new stage, dubbed the “Hôte Zone,” hosted an array of brilliant artists and musicians, including performances by Arashi Daiko, Normand Brathwaite, Insolita and the Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil. Every day of the festival was dedicated to a particular country: Thursday celebrated Brazil; Friday, Cuba; Saturday, Guadeloupe; and Sunday, Spain. Opening the festivities was Arashi Daiko, Quebec’s only taiko group. Founded in 1983 by the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, Arashi Daiko currently has eight members: Mikio Owaki, Michio Hirai, Sandra Kadowaki,…

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Composer Tan Dun performs his Water and Paper Concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Thursday May 26 and Saturday May 28.Chinese composer Tan Dun is making a welcome return to Toronto this week, in two performances of his Water and Paper Concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Also on this highly eclectic program is Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, and Manuel de Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance” from his well known piece El amor brujo. Tan Dun is certainly in an elite group of contemporary composers whose works are regularly performed at the most prestigious venues. Opera lovers will be…

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by Paul E. RobinsonLast weekend (November 19 and 20) the Austin Symphony under music director Peter Bay presented an all-Mexican programme. And there was a good reason for it. This year, Mexico is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its independence, and the 100th anniversary of its revolution. A big year for Mexico and President Calderon duly named it “Año de la Patria.”Surprisingly, given the inspiration for this concert, there was virtually nothing in the programme book to let the audience know what it was all about. All we got were the cryptic words “Mexico’s 200/100” on the main programme page.…

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