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The Eybler Quartet releases the premiere recording of Franz Asplmayr’s Six Quartets, Op. 2

Renowned Period-Instrument String Quartet Continues Fascinating Mission To Bring to Light Little-Known Composers of the Classical Era

“The Eyblers treat every moment as if the ink were still wet on the page, such is the intoxicating freshness of their delivery.”  – The Scotsman

[Français ci-dessous] Toronto’s Eybler Quartet is internationally-renowned for brilliant performances as well as an unquenchable passion for delving deep into the works of obscure composers of the Classical era, such as Vanhal, Backofen, and Eybler. The period-instrument ensemble has also attracted attention for uncovering gleaming new revelations from the “big three” Classical composers – Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven – earning raves, while ruffling a few feathers among traditionalists. Now, the Eyblers are back with an exhilarating album featuring the music of Viennese composer Franz Asplmayr (1728-1786), the first-known recording of the entirety of his Six Quartets, Op. 2 (published as “Six Quatuors Concertantes, Op. 2” in 1769). The new album is available today from the Gallery Players label. 

“One of the missions of the Eybler quartet is to find music that has been neglected and lost over the years, collecting dust in libraries, and to bring it back to life,” comments violinist Julia Wedman, “Our latest discovery, ’Aspy’, has a simple writing style, but he is able to really get to the heart of the music and to touch you in a deep way.” In fact, violist Patrick Jordan had stumbled on a copy of the modern edition of these quartets by American musicologist Dennis C. Monk in a used bookstore in Toronto around 2006, though the score remained untouched on his shelf until Jordan came across the first edition parts in the Bibliothèque National de France, five years ago. After spending several years studying the original scores and perfecting their performances, the Eyblers have now accorded Asplmayr’s Op. 2 quartets their premiere recording.

Franz Asplmayr was christened on April 2, 1728 in Linz, the son of a dancing master. He was employed at Count Morzin’s court in 1759 as secretariat and violinist, where he would have met the young Joseph Haydn, the court’s Hofkomponist and Musikdirektor. When the Count’s orchestra was dissolved in late 1760 or early 1761, Asplmayr relocated to Vienna, where he continued to work as a composer and violinist until his death in 1786. He composed in several genres, producing at least 41 symphonies, 43 string quartets and 70 trios, but during his lifetime he was best known for his works for the theatre, including at least 25 complete ballets (of which 11 survive) and the first German-language melodrama.

“We are all familiar with Haydn and Mozart,” comments Patrick Jordan, “but we can draw much more depth and richness from the music of this era – representing the history of the string quartet form – by also understanding the context of what was going on around these composers … those like Asplmayr whom you might call the minor characters. We miss a lot by focusing only on a few people; our job is to widen that lens.” In these remarkable works are found genuine experiments with form, as well as an unusually rich harmonic variety and an abundance of invention. While it would be rewriting history to propose that Franz Asplmayr shared the stature of Mozart and Haydn, his work remains remarkable for similar reasons. “Perhaps,” says Jordan, “our 21st-century ears are even better prepared to accept his unique gifts.”

Most recently, the Eybler Quartet released recordings of Beethoven’s Op. 18 quartets, in two volumes, for Britain’s CORO Connections label. Noted for their sometimes controversial and dazzlingly brisk tempos in certain movements, which Gramophone called “straight-up hilarious” and left one Times of London “feeling his age,” the albums were deemed “masterfully played Beethoven” (Early Music America) and absolutely essential listening” (The WholeNote).

The Eybler Quartet brings a unique combination of talents and skills: years of collective experience as chamber musicians, technical prowess, experience in period instrument performance and an ardent passion for the repertoire. Violinist Julia Wedmanand violist Patrick G. Jordan are members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society. Cellist Margaret Gay, Artistic Director of the Gallery Players of Niagara, is much in demand as both a modern and period instrument player. The Eybler Quartet’s previous, critically acclaimed albums include chamber music of Vanhal, Haydn, Mozart, Backofen, and of course, the quartet’s namesake, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler.

www.eyblerquartet.com

On connaît le Quatuor Eybler de Toronto dans le monde entier pour ses prestations remarquables, mais aussi pour son insatiable passion : explorer en profondeur les œuvres de compositeurs méconnus de la période classique, parmi lesquels Vanhal, Backofenet Eybler. L’ensemble spécialisé en instruments anciens a aussi attiré l’attention en mettant au grand jour de nouvelles révélations sur la « trinité » des compositeurs classiques, soit Mozart, Haydn et Beethoven … ce qui leur a valu des louanges, mais aussi quelques froncements de sourcil parmi les traditionalistes ! Le quatuor Eybler est aujourd’hui de retour avec un album passionnant consacré à l’œuvre du compositeur viennois Franz Asplmayr (1728-1786); il s’agit du premier enregistrement connu de ses Six quatuors, Opus 2, dans leur entièreté (publiés sous le titre Six Quatuors Concertantes, Opus 2 en 1769). Le nouvel album, en vente aujourd’hui, est produit par l’étiquette Gallery Players.

« L’une des missions du Quatuor Eybler est de dénicher des œuvres négligées puis perdues au fil des années, condamnées à s’empoussiérer dans les bibliothèques, et de les ramener à la vie, » explique la violoniste Julia Wedman, « Notre dernière trouvaille,’Aspy’, possède un style d’écriture tout simple, mais sait plonger au cœur de la musique pour toucher son public de la façon la plus sincère. » En fait, l’altiste Patrick Jordan est tombé en 2006 sur une édition moderne de ces quatuors, produite par le musicologue américain Dennis C. Monk, dans une librairie usagée de Toronto. La partition n’a pas bougé de son étagère jusqu’à ce qu’il retrouve, il y a cinq ans, les partitions de la première édition lors d’un passage à la Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Après plusieurs années passées à étudier les partitions et à perfectionner leur interprétation, les Eybler ont enfin offert aux quatuors Opus 2 d’Asplmayr leur premier enregistrement.

Asplmayr, baptisé le 2 avril 1728 à Linz, est le fils d’un maître de danse. Il a été engagé à la cour du comte Morzin en 1759 en tant que secretariat et violoniste; c’est là qu’il aurait rencontré le jeune Joseph Haydn, Hofkomponist et Musikdirektor de la cour. Quand l’orchestre du comte est dissout à la fin de 1760 ou au début de 1761, Asplmayr s’installe à Vienne, continuant à travailler comme compositeur et violoniste jusqu’à son décès en 1786. Asplmayr a composé dans de nombreux genres; s’il a produit au moins 41 symphonies, 43 quatuors à cordes et 70 trios, il fut surtout connu de son vivant pour ses œuvres théâtrales, créant au moins 25 ballets complets (desquels 11 ont survécus) et le premier mélodrame en langue allemande.

« Tout le monde connaît Haydn et Mozart, » dit Patrick Jordan, « mais la musique de cette période recèle encore énormément de profondeur et de richesses, représentatives de l’histoire du quatuor à cordes. On cherche aussi à comprendre ce qui entoure les compositeurs qui, comme Asplmayr, étaient en quelque sorte des personnages secondaires. On se prive de bien des choses en n’apprenant à connaître qu’une poignée d’artistes. Notre travail, c’est d’élargir les horizons. » Ces œuvres remarquables sont de véritables expérimentations sur la forme, fortes d’une variété harmonique d’une richesse inhabituelle ainsi que d’une abondance dans l’invention. S’il serait excessif de dire que Franz Asplmayr partage le statut de Mozart et Haydn, son œuvre reste néanmoins remarquable pour des raisons similaires. « Peut-être que nos oreilles du 21e siècle sont encore mieux préparées à accepter ses dons uniques, » dit Jordan.

Tout récemment, le Quatuor Eybler a fait paraître des enregistrements des Quatuors de Beethoven, Opus 18, en deux volumes, pour la maison britannique CORO Connections. Ceux-ci se sont fait remarquer pour le tempo particulièrement vif et parfois controversé de certains mouvements, que Gramophone a décrit comme « proprement hilarant ». Si un journaliste du Times of London a déclaré qu’une telle vitesse lui faisait « pleinement ressentir [son] âge », les albums ont été décrits comme « une magnifique interprétation de Beethoven » (Early Music America) et « un incontournable, à découvrir absolument » (The WholeNote).

Le Quatuor Eybler propose un mélange unique de talents et d’habiletés, soit des années d’expérience en musique de chambre, de véritables prouesses techniques, une grande connaissance des instruments d’époque et une passion sans borne pour le répertoire. La violoniste Julia Wedman et l’altiste Patrick G. Jordan sont tous deux membres du Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. La violoniste Aisslinn Nosky est le violon solo de la Handel and Haydn Society. La violoncelliste Margaret Gay, Directrice Artistique de la Galerie Players of Niagara, est très en demande à la fois comme interprète sur instruments modernes et d’époque. La discographie acclamée du Eybler Quartet comprend des œuvres de chambre de Vanhal, Haydn, Mozart, Backofen et, bien entendu, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler, qui a donné son nom au quatuor.

Parzival & Fierefiz: A Contemporary Re-telling of the Grail Myth

Canadian violinist Emmanuel Vukovich has been fascinated by Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival story for over twenty years. This 13th-Century medieval poem about the search for the Holy Grail was the inspiration for Richard Wagner’s final opera Parsifal. Wagner, however, chose to omit a critical element in Eschenbach’s story – the encounter between Parzival and an unknown dark-skinned knight who reveals himself to be Parzival’s half-brother and whose name – Fierefiz – means ‘he of many colours.’ This “hidden” brother of a mixed race opens the grail myth to a wide range of narratives and symbolic interpretations. 

Violinist and co-composer
Emmanuel Vukovich

Inspired by Eschenbach, Vukovich began working on a new musical narrative of the grail story with award-winning American composer John McDowell who also introduced him to the music of West Africa. During his studies at The Juilliard School, Vukovich travelled to The Gambia, West Africa to study with McDowell’s teacher, Karamo Sabally.  Almost two decades later, they have now gathered an extraordinary group of collaborators – including Governor General Award-winning African Canadian-Métis poet George Elliott Clarke, Ghanaian Canadian drummer Kwasi Dunyo, the TorQ percussion quartet, and renowned Canadian baritone Philippe Sly – to explore a more complete musical narrative of Eschenbach’s tale.

“This story could not be timelier in describing the individual’s search for identity as a collaborative process” comments Vukovich. “Eschenbach’s tale is about a ‘brave soul, yet slow to wise’ who initially fails to ask a critical question – a question that has the power to heal an ancient wound. Only after the reconciliation between apparent strangers has taken place can the reunited brothers return to the Grail together and redeem the question that Parzival had failed to ask alone.”

Librettist George Elliott Clarke

“Parzival & Fierefiz” is an original composition for strings and percussion ensemble with solo voice, African drum, and violin currently being co-created by McDowell and Vukovich in collaboration with Clarke. Clarke has explored the intersection of race theory and opera composition for the past 25 years, including his ground-breaking 1998 opera Beatrice Chancy. The new libretto will “challenge the Darwin-derived, white-supremacist views that poisoned the era in which Wagner composed and which have even seeped down as ‘acceptable’ xenophobia today,” comments Clarke.

In honouring Eschenbach’s original story, Parzival & Fierefiz strives to transform the Grail narrative from the individual-centred quest of Wagner’s Parsifal into a contemporary journey of collaboration, community, and a return to wholeness. Parzival’s transformation from ignorance to understanding occurs not only through the power of the intellect, but more importantly, through an awakening to the other.

Additional musical excerpts may be heard here

Along with Ghanaian drummer Kwasi Dunyo, Canadian percussion quartet TorQ, and recently JUNO-nominated baritone Philippe Sly (who contributes both vocal narration and sung text in the medieval troubadour tradition), the musicians of this project also include a number of recipients of the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Through an open score and space for improvisation, a cooperative development of story, and a creative process of collaborative leadership, Parzival & Fierefiz proposes to demonstrate its vision of reconciliation and collaboration through its content as well as form.

The official world premiere performance of Parzival & Fierefiz will take place in November 2020 in Toronto, in conjunction with the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Wagner’s Parsifal and the University of Toronto’s “Opera Exchange” Conference. To date, excerpts of the work have been heard at New Music for Strings Iceland, at the Consulate General of Canada in New York City for the 100thanniversary of Canadian presence in New York City, and will be heard in Chicago in June 2020 for the 100th anniversary of Waldorf education around the world. 

Parzival & Fierefiz is a creation of The Parcival Project an international performance collaborative and Canadian charitable organization founded in 2012 by Emmanuel Vukovich and Canadian clarinetist Dominic Desautels. The Parcival Project Board Chair is Don McLean, Dean of The University of Toronto Faculty of Music. 

PARZIVAL & FIEREFIZ ~ ARTISTS

A revered poet, writer, and scholar, George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, near the Black Loyalist and Afro-Metis community of Three Mile Plains. The inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also worked as a researcher, editor, social worker and newspaper columnist. Among his numerous honours are the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.  An Officer of the Order of Canada, Clarke is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates.

Master drummer Frederick Kwasi Dunyo, from Ghana, West Africa, has directed, coached, taught, drummed, and danced extensively in a variety of contexts. In 1992, Dunyo was the recipient of a Visiting Foreign Artist grant which provided the basis for his first trip to North America. He is a member of the faculties of York University, University of Toronto, the Royal Conservatory of Music and is a member of the Society of Ethnomusicology of North America.

John McDowell achieved worldwide recognition with his soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels. Composer of several additional film scores and a highly gifted pianist, percussionist, producer and conductor, McDowell’s work draws on classical, jazz, pop, and world music. He has served as founder, artistic director and leader of projects including the world music band Mamma Tongue, has toured and recorded with Rusted Root and Krishna Das, and has produced several albums.

The Musical Insturment Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts a collection of over 20 exceptional string instruments crafted by world renowned luthiers, including Stradivari, Gagliano and Pressenda. Preeminent Canadian classical musicians compete for the opportunity to become the steward and performer of an exceptional instrument from the Instrument Bank on a three-year loan.

French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly has gained international recognition for his “beautiful, blooming tone and magnetic stage presence” (San Francisco Chronicle). Mr. Sly is the first prize winner of the Concours Musical International de Montréal and a grand prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He has performed with the Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Glyndebourne, and in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Handel & Haydn Society, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and elsewhere. His solo recordings are available on Analekta.

Described as “outstanding – no, make that astonishing!” (Ottawa Citizen) and as having a “sense of unbreakable continuity and energy” (Toronto Star), TorQ Percussion Quartet brings a new vitality to percussion repertoire and performance. Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake and Daniel Morphy have performed throughout North America and Europe, and have appeared with the Toronto Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, among others.

Violinist Emmanuel Vukovich has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in prestigious venues in New York City, London, UK, and in Zagreb, Croatia. A three-time recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank, the first recipient of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music Golden Violin, and grand-prize winner of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Emmanuel is founder and artistic director of The Parcival Project and artistic director of Montreal’s Bach Odyssey. Upcoming highlights include the creation and world premiere of a new violin concerto inspired by North Indian Classical Hindustani music by award-winning American composer Sheila Silver.

www.parcival.ca

Iris Trio presents Homage and Inspiration

Masterworks by Schumann and Mozart are paired with modern tributes by György Kurtág and Christof Weiss, for an exquisite and stimulating musical conversation.

Homage and Inspiration is available from Germany’s Coviello Classics label on February 7, 2020.
“A beauty of sound and striking expression that is rarely surpassed.”  – Bremen Weser Kurier

Praised for ensemble playing that is “simply fabulous, perfectly balanced, [and] admirable in its rhythmic security and virtuosity” (Amberger Zeitung), the Iris Trio pairs works by Schumann and Mozart with modern tributes to these masterpieces by György Kurtág and Christof Weiss on Homage and Inspiration, their debut album, available on Germany’s Coviello Classics label on February 7, 2020. Comprised of three outstanding musicians – clarinetist Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova – who first came together in New York City during their years at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, the Iris Trio has performed extensively across Germany, as well as in North America and elsewhere in Europe, consistently offering “a musical and lively performance, strong in technical nuance, and with an exquisite balance of sound” (Augsburger Allgemeine).

Robert Schumann was inspired to compose his spellbinding Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Op. 132, for clarinet, viola, and piano, by Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio for the same unusual instrumentation. One of the composer’s final works, the four character pieces range from dreamy to impetuous. In turn, Schumann’s “Fairy Tales” inspired Hungarian composer György Kurtág (b. 1926) when he coached a student chamber ensemble working on the piece. The resulting work which evokes Schumann’s contrasting moods is Kurtág’s intensely expressive Hommage a R. Sch. op. 15d, completed in 1990. 

Iris Trio is clarinetist Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova.

In a similar spirit, German composer Christof Weiss’ (b. 1986) Conversation Among Friends, commissioned by Mozartfest Würzburg and premiered by the Iris Trio, is a companion piece to Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio. “Reflecting the friendly atmosphere and conciliatory spirit of Mozart’s trio into a modern musical language was a great challenge,” comments Weiss, “The different voices change and blend into each other over and over again, until the protagonists progressively abandon their individuality in favour of the collective, as the three melodic lines merge into one and travel together to a euphoric ending.” The Trio gave the world premiere of Conversation Among Friends at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Residence Palace in Würzburg, Germany in 2014.

The Iris Trio made its debut in 2013 for a sold-out audience at the German Consulate in New York City and was immediately invited to appear at the prestigious Mozartfest in Würzburg, Germany.  Each of the three Trio members (Canadian clarinetist, Christine Carter, violist Molly Carr, and pianist Anna Petrova) are active recitalists and educators. Collectively they hold faculty positions at the Juilliard School, University of Louisville, and Memorial University, and have performed around the world on many of the major concert stages from Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Sydney Opera House. 

Combining works from the standard trio repertoire alongside commissions by contemporary artists is a concept that Iris Trio continues to explore. Their recent commissions include two new works for the clarinet, viola, and piano by Canadian jazz artist Florian Hoefner (with poetry by Griffin Poetry Prize-winner Don McKay), and the Brooklyn-based American composer, Randall Woolf. “The concept of paying homage, in addition to bringing together these two pairs of works, is also the inspiration that brought us together to create the Iris Trio,” commented the three musicians, “It is a concept that continues to inspire us, asking us to remember the past, while enlivening and refreshing the present.”

iristrio.com

Sarah Slean & Symphony Nova Scotia

“New, creative music that transcends any stylistic boundaries.” – CBC

Available January 24 on Centrediscs

Eight years in the making, Canadian songstress Sarah Slean’s electrifying performances with composer Christos Hatzis and Symphony Nova Scotia are now available for the first time on one album from Centrediscs. This ground-breaking collaboration began in 2012 with the premiere of Hatzis’ Lamento, broadcast nationwide by CBC and praised as “marvellously colourful and dramatic” (Chronicle Herald, Halifax). Six years later, Symphony Nova Scotia and conductor Bernhard Gueller – then celebrating his final season as Music Director – jumped at the chance to work with Sarah Slean again. The new work, with texts by Slean and music by Hatzis was Ecstasy, a counterpoint to Lamento. Audience reviews called the project “magical” and “a match made in heaven.”

“Christos Hatzis is one of the most brilliant and prolific musical creators alive today,” comments Slean, “I deeply admire his creative curiosity and openness to different kinds of music, his seemingly endless well of ideas, and the passionate intelligence that informs his work.” The evocative songs combine a pop sensibility with a rich orchestral palette. As CBC Music said, in advance of the 2020 release, “If you’re looking for music that successfully crosses over between classical and popular styles, this is it.” 

Hatzis’s three-song cycle Lamento is a musical meditation on the loss of loved ones, mental illness, and suicide. It is based on the well-known aria “When I Am Laid in Earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Hatzis explains that, musically, it is an exploration of the “lamento bass,” a stepwise descending bass line used by composers of the Baroque era to express despondency. Slean herself wrote the texts for Hatzis’s Ecstasy, the dramatic musical antidote to Lamento. This cycle of three songs explores the more luminous regions of the human mind in both its intellectual and mystical expressions. Slean describes angels “in whose clear and shining blood teems the transparent heritage of light,” calling for an accompanying musical language which captures the blissful journey from darkness to light.

Sarah Slean performs with orchestras in London, Ottawa, and Quebec City this spring. For tour dates click here

Signed to Atlantic/Warner Records at the age of 19, Sarah Slean has since been nominated for three JUNO Awards and has released 11 albums in over 10 countries worldwide. Over her 25-year career, Sarah has toured internationally, published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical (spawning one of two Gemini Award nominations), composed chamber music commissions, held numerous exhibitions of her paintings, and shared the stage with 10 of the country’s professional orchestras. Classically trained from the age of five, she routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s leading living composers.

Born in Greece, educated in the United States, a Canadian citizen since 1985, and a Professor at the University of Toronto since 1995, Christos Hatzis is one of Canada’s most important composers. Christos’ eclectic and powerful music captivates audiences internationally, and has been awarded several coveted Canadian and international awards, including two JUNO Awards. He has received commissions from some of the world’s best-known soloists and ensembles, such as violinist Hilary Hahn, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, the Gryphon Trio, the New Orford and St. Lawrence quartets, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Music Director Laureate of Symphony Nova Scotia (Music Director, 2002-2018) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernhard Gueller is acclaimed for the interpretations and excitement he brings to the podium. Bernhard has collaborated with many of Canada’s foremost musicians, such as James Ehnes, Jan Lisiecki, Janina Fialkowska, Anton Kuerti, Jon Kimura Parker, and Marc-André Hamelin, along with other international stars such as Joshua Bell, Metropolitan Opera singers such as Pretty Yende and Johan Botha, and the Vienna Boys Choir.

Symphony Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most versatile and dynamic orchestras. Founded in 1983, the 37-member orchestra proudly performs music that reflects Nova Scotia’s diverse musical interests and history, combining classical masterworks, historically informed baroque, new compositions, and ground breaking collaborations featuring artists from Nova Scotia’s rich pop, indie, and Celtic music scene. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 80,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with its diverse mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach.

symphonynovascotia.ca         musiccentre.ca/centrediscs

Ensemble Made in Canada’s Mosaïque Project ~ 14 New Works Celebrate the Beauty & Diversity of Canada

Piano quartet Ensemble Made In Canada’s acclaimed Mosaïque Project is a massive musical initiative inspired by the diversity and richness of Canada’s culture and geography. Since its premiere in July of 2018, the commissioned suite of new works by 14 Canadian composers has reached almost every corner of the country – from Iqaluit, Nunavut to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast to Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, and beyond. Featuring thrilling new works from a diverse array of composers and genres – from classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, electronic, and First Nations traditions – the Mosaïque Project culminates in a special livestream event and album launch on Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm.

Violinist Elissa Lee, pianist Angela Park, violist Sharon Wei, and cellist Rachel Mercer gained new perspectives throughout their travels, seeing first-hand the truly awesome nature and culture of the country, which had inspired the Mosaïque composers: “We never imagined the transformation we would experience, working so closely with local artists, teachers and music lovers across Canada. Now that this music is part of the fabric of our ensemble, we are so excited to share this recording and journey of discovery with you.”

Learn about the Mosaïque composers and their works: https://www.ensemblemadeincanada.com/mosaique-project/artists-2/

On Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm, the Mosaïque Project will be presented in an extraordinary cinematic  concert experience from FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, featuring multiple screens providing close-ups of the musicians and their instruments, footage from the tour across the country, as well as newly-created images inspired by the music. The concert will be live streamed on Ensemble Made In Canada’s website and Facebook page as well as via the streaming service Stingray Classica, reaching millions across Canada and 156 countries around the globe. 

The Mosaïque album is available online and on all streaming platforms starting January 24. 

Order on iTunes here; CDs may be purchased at www.ensemblemadeincanada.com

Vivaldi: Manchester Sonatas

Violinist Mark Fewer and Harpsichordist Hank Knox Are First Canadian Artists to Record Exquisite Sonatas, Unearthed from a Manchester, UK Library in 1973

“I’d be glad to hear these gentlemen play anything … they make me want to hear whatever else they want to do. The ensemble and intonation are perfect …” – American Record Guide

Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of Vivaldi’s Manchester Sonatas featuring violinist Mark Fewer and harpsichordist Hank Knox. This is the first Canadian recording of the “Manchester” sonatas of Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), a masterful collection of 12 works brought to light only in 1973. A follow up to their acclaimed 2018 recording of the Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord by J.S. Bach, this new recording from Fewer and Knox is available as of January 17, 2020.

These remarkable sonatas changed a great many hands over the centuries. When Cardinal Ottoboni – a patron of Vivaldi’s – died in 1740, a large number of manuscripts from his private collection were purchased by English classical scholar Edward Holdsworth. These manuscripts were then passed on to Charles Jennens, librettist of Handel’s Messiah. The scores came into the possession of several more collectors before coming to auction at Sotheby’s in London in 1918 and were acquired by renowned musicologist Newman Flower. When Flower died in 1964, his musical holdings were purchased by the Manchester Public Library, attracting the international attention of scholars and the media alike; Flower’s reputation as an eminent Handel scholar implied that important revelations concerning the musical giant were forthcoming. However, a nearly exclusive focus on Handel resulted in the neglect of some of the other manuscripts, including these sonatas by Vivaldi which, despite being housed in Manchester’s Henry Watson Music Library from 1965 onward, were only discovered by British musicologist Michael Talbot in 1973.

The 12 “Manchester” sonatas, heard on the new album as arranged and recorded by Fewer and Knox in January 2019 at Eglise St. Augustin in Mirabel, Quebec, represent a high point of Vivaldi’s chamber music. The violin part offers complex compound melodies while the bass focuses primarily on its harmonic role, with both instruments free to improvise on the written score. Gramophone calls the sonatas “music of great beauty and vitality which will delight most if not all lovers of the late baroque.”

Known for his exceptional versatility, violinist Mark Fewer has been described as “intrepid” (The Globe and Mail) and “profound” (The WholeNote). His musical diet includes performances from the early baroque to the avant-garde, performing worldwide in famous halls such as Wigmore, Carnegie, and Pleyel, to smaller venues such as Le Poisson Rouge (NY), Bartok House (Budapest), and The Forum (Taipei). As a soloist, he has performed with the symphonies of Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec, San Francisco and Melbourne, as well as with groups such as the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and as a featured guest with Stevie Wonder and his band. He was a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio, has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players for over 15 years, and was violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford University. Artistic Director of the SweetWater Music Festival for 16 years, Fewer was appointed Artistic Director of Stratford Summer Music in 2019. A Juno and Prix Opus winner, he is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto.

Hailed internationally for his “colorful, kinetic performances,” Hank Knox performs on harpsichord in concert halls, churches, museums, galleries and homes around the globe. A founding member of Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra, with whom he has toured North and South America, Europe, and Japan, Knox also regularly performs and tours with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, among other groups, ensembles and orchestras.  He has released a number of acclaimed recordings on rare antique instruments as well as copies of historical instruments. He teaches in the Early Music program at McGill University where he conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra and has also directed a great number of baroque operas.

leaf-music.ca

Stick&Bow present Resonance ~ music from Bach to Radiohead for marimba and cello

Marimba and cello form a vibrant and compelling – if unconventional – duo in the hands of Stick&Bow, comprised of Canadian marimba player Krystina Marcoux and Argentinian cellist Juan Sebastian DelgadoResonance, the debut recording from the Montreal-based award-winning musicians, explores a wide palette of repertoire and styles, transcending tradition with new arrangements of music from Bach to Boccherini, and from Nina Simone to Radiohead. Performing Baroque or tango, rock or gypsy-jazz, Stick&Bow brings unique passion, wit, and technical mastery to eclectic and powerful arrangements of some of the most celebrated music in history, presenting the infinite potential of their combined instruments in refreshing and unexpected ways. Resonance was released on the Canadian label Leaf Music on November 1st, 2019.

The new album – with its bilingual liner notes, in true montréalais style – opens with a captivating mélange of works by J.S. Bach, with a transcription of the Adagio from the Sonata for viola da gamba in D Major swinging into the Prelude in D Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Also taking inspiration from Bach is American singer-songwriter Nina Simone, who adopts the composer’s contrapuntal style for the 1928 tune Love Me or Leave Me, here in an irresistible new arrangement. The album features not one but two fandangos, with Boccherini’s take on the traditional Spanish folk dance from his Quintet No. 4, and Paco de Lucia’s Entre Arrayanes, in one of Stick&Bow’s most technically challenging and creative arrangements, capturing the colour and essence of flamenco guitars.

A range of characters and moods emerge in three settings for marimba and cello of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, while the gypsy-jazz style of Stéphane Grappelli explodes in Tzigane, with idiomatic embellishments and virtuosic cadence-like runs. The revolutionary Argentine composer and virtuoso bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla is represented with his lyrical and nostalgic Invierno porteño, winter in Buenos Aires.

More illuminating performances from the classical repertoire include two movements from Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkstonand the second movement of Shostakovitch’s cello sonata. The complex harmonies and instrumental textures of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android is a surprisingly convincing element of the album, with marimba and cello exploring a range of timbres, including electric guitar sounds.

Also dedicated to working closely with contemporary composers on daring yet accessible works, Stick&Bowincludes two new works on ResonanceJason Noble’s (b. 1980) Folk Suite, a set of miniatures inspired by the rich folk traditions of his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Parisian composer and bandoneon player Louise Jallu’s (b. 1994) À Gennevilliers, injected with fresh, jazzy harmonies and a freely improvised rhythmic section.

First-prize winner at the Latin-American cello competition (2008), Juan Sebastian Delgado holds a Doctoral degree in cello performance from McGill University and Krystina Marcoux, first-prize winner of the OSM competition (2012), holds her PhD from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Lyon. Their music has brought them to share magical moments from Banff to Colombia, passing by Armenia, Italy, the USA, Ecuador, France and two extensive Canadian tours in 2019 & 2020 as “Emerging Artists” of Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.

Marimba et violoncelle forment un duo dynamique et fascinant entre les mains des deux musiciens de Stick&Bow, groupe composé de la percussionniste canadienne Krystina Marcoux et du violoncelliste argentin Juan Sebastian Delgado. Le disque Resonance, premier album de ces musiciens primés basés à Montréal, explore toute une palette de styles musicaux, tout en transcendant la tradition avec de nouveaux arrangements de morceaux allant de Bach à Boccherini et de Nina Simone à Radiohead. Qu’il joue de la musique baroque ou un tango, du rock ou du jazz-manouche, le duo Stick&Bow le fait toujours avec passion, finesse et maîtrise technique, en proposant des arrangements éclectiques et surprenants de certaines œuvres musicales les plus célébrées de l’histoire de la musique. La combinaison de ces deux instruments offre un potentiel infini de découvertes et d’interprétations musicales, sous un angle original et inattendu. L’album Resonance sortira chez Leaf Music le 1er novembre 2019.

Dans un style montréalais bien authentique, ce nouvel album présente un livret bilingue audacieux. C’est une combinaison captivante d’œuvres de J.S. Bach qui ouvre le bal : une transcription de l’adagio de la sonate en ré majeur pour viole de gambe, suivie d’une interprétation swing du prélude en ré majeur du Clavier bien tempéréNina Simone, chanteuse sensuelle et pianiste hors-pair, entre ici en résonance avec Bach dans un arrangement irrésistible où Stick&Bow revisite le morceau « Love Me or Leave Me » dans lequel Simone insère ingénieusement une invention de Bach au centre de la pièce. L’album comprend non pas un, mais deux fandangos : une adaptation de cette danse espagnole traditionnelle dans le quintette no 4 de Boccherini et le morceau « Entre Arrayanes » de Paco de Lucia, un arrangement qui figure parmi les plus originaux et exigeants pour arriver à bien saisir l’essence même de la guitare flamenco.

La combinaison de marimba et violoncelle fait émerger des humeurs et des couleurs surprenantes dans les danses folkloriques roumaines de Bartók, alors que le jazz-manouche de Stéphane Grappelli, s’enflamme avec des ornementations qui sont propres à ce morceau « tzigane ». Le compositeur révolutionnaire argentin Astor Piazzolla est ici présenté dans un arrangement empreint de lyrisme, nostalgie, mais aussi de force rythmique dans « Invierno porteño » évoquant l’hiver à Buenos Aires.

L’album renferme encore d’autres interprétations lumineuses de morceaux du répertoire classique, dont deux mouvements des Fünf Stücke im Volkston de Schumann et le deuxième mouvement de la sonate pour violoncelle de Shostakovitch. Les harmonies complexes et les textures instrumentales de « Paranoid Android » de Radiohead constituent un aspect étonnamment convaincant de l’album, avec le marimba et le violoncelle qui explorent tout un éventail de timbres, jusqu’au son de la guitare électrique.

Stick&Bow cherche aussi à travailler en étroite collaboration avec des compositeurs vivants, sur des œuvres audacieuses et accessibles. L’album Resonance contient deux créations : « Folk Suite » de Jason Noble (né en 1980), un ensemble de miniatures inspirées par les riches traditions folkloriques de sa province natale, Terre-Neuve ; « À Gennevilliers », de la compositrice et bandonéoniste parisienne Louise Jallu (née en 1994), traversée par des harmonies jazz rafraîchissantes et une section rythmique improvisée. Les deux œuvres entrent respectivement en résonance avec Schumann et Piazzolla, démontrant ainsi la surprenante évolution des genres. 

Juan Sebastian Delgado, gagnant du premier prix au concours latino-américain de violoncelle (2008), détient un doctorat de l’Université McGill. Krystina Marcoux, gagnante du premier prix au concours de l’OSM (2012), détient un PhD du Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Lyon. La musique a conduit ces deux artistes à partager des moments inoubliables dans toutes sortes de lieux, de Banff à la Colombie, en passant par l’Arménie, l’Italie, les États-Unis, l’Équateur, la France, et lors de leurs deux tournées au Canada en 2019 et en 2020 en tant qu’« artistes émergents » des Jeunesses musicales du Canada.

leaf-music.ca    stickandbow.com

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des Arts du Canada de son soutien.

First Canadian appearance of the Violins of Hope

The Montreal Holocaust Museum, in collaboration with the Orchestre Métropolitain, present The Violins of Hope, a concert under the direction of the internationally-renowned Dutch conductor Vincent De Kort. Following select performances in Europe and the United States, the Violins of Hope will be played for the first time in Canada by musicians of the Orchestre Métropolitain at Maison symphonique de Montréal, Place des Arts on Saturday, November 2nd at 7:30 pm

The Violins of Hope are a collection of more than 70 string instruments restored by Israelimaster luthier Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom Weinstein. These violins were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust and have survived pogroms, concentration camps, and the passage of time. They now represent stories ofinjustice, suffering, resilience and survival. Eight of these precious violins will travel to Montreal for the concert on November 2nd.

“My mission is to get hold of any violin that has been rescued from the Holocaust, to repair it and to make it into a concert violin. I want these violins to be played, to have their voices heard and have their say, because these violins have a very particular sound:  voices, weeping, laughter and prayers escape,” stated Amnon Weinstein.

The November 2nd concert will be both a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian Armed Forces. Between October 2 and November 8, 1944, the First Canadian Army fought the Nazi forces installed on the banks of the Scheldt River, thereby liberating the port of Antwerp and saving the lives of thousands of Dutch citizens. Access to this port was essential for supplying the Allies and facilitating their advance to defeat Adolf Hitler’s forces and liberate Europe.

The Violins of Hope offer a unique and moving program including works by J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Jocelyn Morlock, as well as the premiere of Children’s War Diaries by Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburger. The new chamber symphony by Hamburger, this year’s Mécénat Musica Composer in Residence, was inspired by a compilation of diaries of teenagers murdered during the war, as well as a visit to the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem. Cantorial music in honour of Holocaust victims will be performed by soprano Sharon Azrieli and tenor Gideon Zelermyer

The Montreal Holocaust Museum educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the Holocaust, while sensitising the public to the universal perils of antisemitism, racism, hate and indifference. Through its Museum, its commemorative programs and educational initiatives, the Montreal Holocaust Museum promotes respect for diversity and the sanctity of human life.

Premier concert des Violons de l’Espoir au Canada

Le Musée de l’Holocauste Montréal, en collaboration avec l’Orchestre Métropolitain, présente Les Violons de l’Espoir, un concert sous la direction du grand maestro néerlandais Vincent de Kort. Après l’Europe et les États-Unis, Les Violons de l’Espoir seront présentés pour la première fois au Canada grâce aux musiciens de l’Orchestre Métropolitain à la Maison symphonique de Montréal, Place des Arts, le samedi 2 novembre à 19h30.

Les Violons de l’Espoir sont une collection de plus de 70 instruments à cordes restaurés par le maître luthier israélien Amnon Weinstein et son fils Avshalom. Ces violons qui appartenaient à des musiciens juifs avant et durant l’Holocauste ont résisté aux pogroms, aux camps de concentration et à l’usure du temps pour raconter des histoires d’injustice, de souffrance, de résilience et de survie. Huit de ces violons précieux se rendront à Montréal pour le concert du 2 novembre.

« … Je veux que ces violons soient joués, qu’ils fassent entendre ce qu’ils ont à dire. Car de ces violons sort un son très particulier, s’échappent des voix, des pleurs, des rires et des prières, » dit Amnon Weinstein.

Ce concert est offert en hommage aux victimes del’Holocauste et à l’occasion du 75e anniversaire de la libération des Pays-Bas par les Forces armées canadiennes. Entre le 2 octobre et le 8 novembre 1944, la 1er Armée canadienne combattit les forces nazies installées sur les berges de la rivière Escaut et libéra par le fait même le port d’Anvers. L’accès à ce port était essentiel pour le ravitaillement des Alliés et pour faciliter leur avancée en vue de défaire les forces d’Adolf Hitler et de libérer l’Europe.

Cet événement offre un programme unique et émouvant comprenant des œuvres de J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Jocelyn Morlock, ainsi que la première de Journaux de guerre d’enfants du compositeur canadien, Jaap Nico Hamburger. La nouvelle symphonie de chambre de Hamburger, compositeur en résidence Mécénat Musica de cette année, s’inspire d’une compilation de journaux intimes d’adolescents assassinés pendant la guerre, ainsi que d’une visite au Mémorial des enfants de Yad Vashem. La soprano, Sharon Azrieli et le ténor, Gideon Zelermyer offriront des chants cantoriaux en l’honneur des victimes de la guerre. 

Le Musée de l’Holocauste Montréal informe et sensibilise les publics sur l’Holocauste, ainsi que sur l’antisémitisme, le racisme, la haine et les dangers de l’indifférence. Par son exposition permanente, ses programmes commémoratifs et ses initiatives éducatives, le Musée fait la promotion de notre responsabilité collective à l’égard du respect de la diversité et du caractère sacré de toute vie humaine.

Paul Merkelo and “The Enlightened Trumpet” on Sony Classical

“A spectacular soloist” (Montreal Gazette) … who “knows no limits” (Der Spiegel)

Recognized among the finest trumpet virtuosos of his generation, Paul Merkelo releases The Enlightened Trumpet, his first recording for Sony Classical. Hailed as “a spectacular soloist … a most impressive master of his instrument” (Montreal Gazette) who “knows no limits” (Der Spiegel) and with “unusual lyrical gifts” (Gramophone), Merkelo has been Principal trumpet with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since 1995, and has appeared as soloist with prestigious orchestras around the globe, from Melbourne to Shanghai. In The Enlightened Trumpet, Merkelo is joined by the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and its founder and conductor Marios Papadopoulos for four spectacular concertos by Haydn, Leopold Mozart, Telemann, and Hummel.

All of the music on this new recording was written during The Age of Enlightenment, roughly 1688 – 1815, during which time the musical soundscape metamorphosed from the elegant formality of Vivaldi to the torrid turbulence of Beethoven. The trumpet passed through its own enlightened development, as changing musical styles and mechanical invention combined to ease the transition from its limited natural state to a pioneering form of the chromatic instrument we know today. Merkelo plays three different instruments on this recording: a piccolo trumpet for concertos by L. Mozart and Telemann; a custom-made E-major trumpet for the Hummel concerto; and an E-flat trumpet for Haydn.

Georg Philipp Telemann’s magnificent Concerto in D major for Trumpet and Strings represents the zenith of baroque trumpet writing, with displays of florid virtuosity. Some forty years later, Leopold Mozart – father of the more famous composer – wrote his Concerto in D major for Trumpet, 2 Horns and Strings. The charm and elegance of this work is both a nostalgic backward glance to the fast-fading glories of the baroque era, and a forward-looking embrace of the new classical age. Another thirty years later, the emergence of a chromatic trumpet was harnessed by Franz Joseph Haydn to produce his timeless masterpiece, the Concerto in Eb Major for Trumpet and Orchestra. This jewel of a concerto met the new classical demand for overt emotion without abandoning the trumpet’s heroic heritage. Haydn’s work was consolidated in the early nineteenth century by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, whose Concerto in E major for Trumpet and Orchestra combines heroic panache, tender lyricism, and sheer unbridled virtuosity.

Merkelo first heard these recordings as performed by the great Russian virtuoso Timofei Dokshizer, who was originally from Ukraine, as was Merkelo’s family. “His playing was unique as it sounded very often like the human voice, with colour change and vibrato, he was innately expressive, “ comments Merkelo, who decided to record Dokshizer’s notoriously-difficult cadenza in the third movement of the Hummel concerto as an hommage. On recording these early works with Papadopoulos and the Oxford Philharmonic, Merkelo says, “I love the part of Baroque and Classical music that can actually swing rhythmically … It has a certain sensibility and feel in the phrasing that has to happen organically. These trumpet concertos are really fun and swinging!”

This fall, after a tour to South America with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Merkelo returns for engagements in Charlottetown, Chicago, Montreal, and Quebec City. On November 14th, he performs The Enlightened Trumpet with the Oxford Philharmonic and Papadopoulos at the  Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. 2020 brings a recital tour of Eastern Canada and concerts in Georgia and North Carolina, before returning to Carnegie Hall with the OSM on March 24/25. In April, Merkelo makes his London solo debut at Cadogan Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra under Adrien Perruchon. For full performances dates, please see: paulmerkelotrumpet.com/calendar

An additional release on SONY Classical is planned for the fall of 2020, featuring trumpet concertos by Weinberg, Arutiunian, and a new arrangement of the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 for Trumpet, Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 35, with the Russian National Orchestra under the baton of Hans Graf.

PAUL MERKELO made his New York debut in 1998 at Lincoln Center with the New World Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas. He has worked with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Sir Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta and Valery Gergiev, and has been invited as guest principal trumpet for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist, Merkelo has been featured with the English Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, and Venice Baroque Orchestra, among others. Merkelo’s most recent recording was the JUNO-nominated French Trumpet Concertos with OSM and Kent Nagano. His first solo recording, A Simple Song, was ranked #1 in Quebec’s classical recording chart in 2000, and, in 2004, Analekta released the highly praised Baroque Transcriptions, which was nominated by ADISQ for Best Classical Album of the Year. Originally from the Chicago area, Paul is on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and McGill University in Montreal. He is the founder of the Paul Merkelo Scholarship, which helps young, gifted brass players with financial aid and career guidance. Paul Merkelo is a Yamaha artist.

paulmerkelotrumpet.com

The Frenergy Tour ~ 4 Cities, November 12-17

The Exceptional Young Musicians of The National Youth Orchestra of Canada & The European Union Youth Orchestra Join Forces for The Frenergy Tour

SASCHA GOETZEL, conductor    BLAKE POULIOT, violin

First-Ever Collaboration Between the Two Orchestras Made Possible by the European Union Delegation to Canada

[Français ci-dessous] The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada) and the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) are joining forces for The Frenergy Tour, a landmark collaboration and celebration of music and friendship, featuring a combined total of 76 outstanding young musicians. Acclaimed Viennese conductor Sascha Goetzel leads the four-city tour, with music by Rossini, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky, and Wagner, as well as Canadian composer John Estacio’s Frenergy for orchestra, connoting both friendship and frenetic energy! Fast-rising violinist and NYO Canada alumnus Blake Pouliot is featured as guest soloist. This ground-breaking tour, including concerts in Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, and Ottawa, is made possible by the European Union Delegation to Canada.

The Frenergy Tour reflects the depth of EU-Canada’s friendship and our shared commitment to supporting youth and the arts community. It is wonderful to see young European and Canadian musicians come together, united by their shared love of music,” said European Union Ambassador Peteris Ustubs. “Intercultural exchanges, such as this concert tour, have the power to connect people and build bridges of mutual understanding and respect.”

Marshall Marcus, Secretary General of The European Union Youth Orchestra comments: “As a cultural ambassador for the European Union of more than 40 years, it is a great pleasure and a tremendous opportunity for the EUYO to be taking part in this EU-funded tour together with NYO Canada. Audiences in Canada will not only witness the highest possible calibre of performance, they will also experience one of the world’s most potent and important forces: the coming together of young people of different nations to work in harmony and dedication.”

Barbara Smith, President and CEO of the National Youth Orchestra Canada affirms: “As we confront a future filled with uncertainty and fragmentation, music offers bridges to understanding, co-operation, beauty, and transformation. Each partner organization – EU, EUYO, and NYO – has already demonstrated commitment to the highest standards and ideals. Now, our vision is to develop a truly global network of young creators embracing their role as change agents, leveraging their capacity as artists to touch hearts and minds.”

The close collaboration between the two orchestras was already instigated this past summer, as two violinists from NYO Canada – Teresa Wang and Cassandra Leshchyshyn – spent the summer on tour with the EUYO; and three European musicians – violinist Janela Nini from Austria, violinist Patricia Francia and cellist Gema Pérez Oliver-Cello of Spain— joined NYO Canada for its training institute, and then on tour in five Canadian cities and in Spain. 

Conductor Sascha Goetzel is acclaimed by The Guardian as “the consummate showman… [with] fine sense of orchestral colors.” Artistic Director of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra since 2009, Goetzel leads the vibrant program in all four cities. Each concert opens with John Estacio’s vigorous Frenergy for orchestra, which has been performed widely since its 1998 premiere by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The JUNO-nominated violinist and NYO Canada alumnus (2012-13) Blake Pouliot, recent winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Virginia Parker Prize, is the soloist for Saint-Saëns’ beloved Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op. 28 and in Ravel’s fiery Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra. The exhilarating programme also includes Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser (Paris Version), Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, and the Suite from The Firebird (1945 revision) by Stravinsky.

Toronto: Tuesday, November 12, 7:30 pm

Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street W

Tickets $ 23 / $33

Link to purchase

Kingston: Wednesday, November 13, 7:30 pm

Isabel Bader Centre, 390 King Street W

Tickets $19- $59

Link to purchase

Montreal: Thursday, November 14, 7:30 pm

Notre-Dame Basilica, 110 Notre-Dame St W

Entrance by donation to the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s educational program, 

La Musique aux enfants

Ottawa: Sunday, November 17, 3:00pm

The National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street

Tickets $14 / $27

Link to purchase

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO Canada), has enjoyed an iconic reputation as Canada’s orchestral finishing school, providing the most comprehensive and in-depth training program available to our country’s best young classical musicians. Each summer, 100 gifted musicians between the ages of 16 and 28 come together to attend an 8-week intensive training institute followed by a national and international tour. The orchestra is the subject of “That Higher Level,” a new feature-length documentary from the National Film Board of Canada. 

The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) is one of the world’s preeminent symphony orchestras. It has been a Cultural Ambassador for the EU for more than forty years and during that time has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians. During 2019 the Orchestra performs across the EU, North America, the Middle East and South East Asia, working with young musicians from Canada, Cuba, China and Myanmar, as well as all (currently 28) EU Member States.

The Delegation of the European Union to Canada was established in 1976 and is a fully-fledged diplomatic mission and, as such, the natural contact point in Canada between the EU and the Canadian authorities. It also has a strong public diplomacy mandate designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the European Union as well as EU-Canada relations. 

L’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada (NYO Canada) et l’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne (EUYO) s’allient dans le cadre de la tournée Frenergy, une collaboration historique et une célébration de la musique et de l’amitié englobant 76 jeunes musiciennes et musiciens remarquables. Le brillant chef d’orchestre viennois Sascha Goetzel est à la tête de la tournée de quatre villes. Les orchestres rassemblés présenteront des pièces de Rossini, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Stravinski et Wagner, en plus du Frenergy pour orchestre du compositeur canadien John Estacio, une pièce qui évoque à la fois l’amitié et une énergie frénétique! Blake Pouliot,jeuneviolonistedont la réputation monte en flèche et ancien de NYO Canada, est en vedette à titre de soliste invité. Cette tournée révolutionnaire, englobant des concerts à Toronto, Kingston, Montréal et Ottawa, est rendue possible grâce au soutien de la Délégation de l’Union européenne au Canada.

« La tournée Frenergy évoque l’amitié profonde qui existe entre l’UE et le Canada et incarne bien notre engagement commun à appuyer les jeunes et la communauté artistique. Nous sommes émerveillés de voir se rassembler, sous l’ombrelle d’un amour partagé de la musique, de jeunes musiciens européens et canadiens, » déclare Peteris Ustubs, Ambassadeur de l’Union européenne au Canada. Les échanges interculturels, comme cette tournée de concerts, ont le pouvoir de relier les gens et bâtir des liens sur des fondations de compréhension et de respect mutuels. »

Marshall Marcus, secrétaire général de l’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne, ajoute : « C’est à titre d’ambassadeur culturel de l’Union européenne depuis plus de 40 ans et avec le plus grand plaisir que l’EUYO participe à cette tournée avec NYO Canada, une occasion remarquable financée par l’UE. Les publics canadiens auront l’occasion d’entendre des prestations du plus haut calibre et d’être témoins de l’une des forces les plus puissantes et importantes au monde : le rassemblement de jeunes de différentes nations, travaillant en harmonie et avec le plus pur des dévouements. »

Barbara Smith, Présidente-directrice générale de l’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada, affirme : « Alors que nous affrontons tous le même avenir fragmenté et rempli d’incertitude, la musique bâtit des ponts qui nous mènent vers la compréhension, la collaboration, la beauté et la transformation. Chaque organisme partenaire – UE, EUYO et NYO – a déjà démontré son engagement à l’égard des normes et idéaux les plus exigeants. Notre vision consiste maintenant à forger un réseau réellement mondial de jeunes créateurs célébrant leur rôle d’agents du changement, tirant parti de leurs talents d’artistes pour toucher les cœurs et les esprits autour d’eux. »

L’étroite collaboration entre les deux orchestres avait déjà pris forme cet été : deux violonistes de NYO Canada – Teresa Wang et Cassandra Leshchyshyn – ont passé l’été en tournée avec l’EUYO. Dans la même veine, trois musiciennes européennes – la violoniste Janela Nini de l’Autriche, la violoniste Patricia Francia et la violoncelliste Gema Pérez Oliver de l’Espagne — se sont jointes à NYO Canada pour son institut estival de formation et ensuite pour sa tournée de cinq villes canadiennes et en Espagne. 

Le chef d’orchestre Sascha Goetzel est acclamé par The Guardian : « un showman accompli… [avec un] sens raffiné des couleurs orchestrales. » Directeur artistique du Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra depuis 2009, le maestro Goetzel dirigera un programme dynamique dans les quatre villes. Chaque concert s’ouvrira sur la vigoureuse pièce Frenergy pour orchestre de John Estacio, qui a d’ailleurs été présentée à multiples reprises depuis sa création en 1998 par l’Edmonton Symphony OrchestraBlake Pouliot, violoniste en lice pour un prix JUNO et ancien de NYO Canada (2012-13), ainsi que récent gagnant du prix Virginia-Parker du Conseil des arts du Canada, sera soliste pour l’adorée Introduction et Rondo capriccioso en la mineur, opus 28 de Saint-Saëns et pour la fougueuse Tzigane pour violon et orchestre de Ravel. Ce programme exaltant inclut aussi l’Ouverture de Tannhäuser de Wagner (version de Paris), l’Ouverture de Guillaume Tell de Rossini, et la suite de L’Oiseau de feu(suite de 1945) de Stravinsky.

L’Orchestre national des jeunes du Canada (NYO Canada) jouit d’une réputation stellaire à titre d’école de préparation orchestrale au Canada et offre aux meilleurs jeunes musiciens classiques du pays le programme de formation le plus complet et le plus approfondi. Chaque été, 100 jeunes musiciennes et musiciens doués de 

16 à 28 ans se rassemblent pour participer à un institut de formation intensive suivi d’une tournée nationale et internationale. L’orchestre est la vedette du long métrage « Le plus haut niveau », un nouveau documentaire de l’Office national du film du Canada. 

L’Orchestre des jeunes de l’Union européenne (EUYO) est l’un des orchestres symphoniques prééminents à l’échelle mondiale. Il est ambassadeur culturel de l’UE depuis plus de 40 ans, et, pendant cette période, a accueilli parmi les plus grands musiciens et musiciennes du monde. En 2019, l’orchestre se produit partout au sein de l’UE, en Amérique du Nord, au Moyen-Orient et en Asie-Pacifique, travaillant auprès de jeunes musiciens du Canada, de Cuba, de la Chine et du Myanmar, ainsi que des États membres de l’UE (actuellement 28).

Établie en 1976, la Délégation de l’Union européenne au Canada est une mission diplomatique à part entière et donc le point de contact naturel au Canada entre l’UE et les autorités canadiennes. Elle dispose également d’un mandat de diplomatie publique visant à améliorer la connaissance et la compréhension de l’Union européenne ainsi que des relations UE-Canada.

nyoc.org/frenergy