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The Montreal Chamber Music Festival Proudly Announces its 2018 Season

The Montreal Chamber Music Festival is delighted to announce its 23rd season, offering a wonderful array of gems from the chamber music repertoire, exciting premieres, and new collaborations, with performances by many of our most revered artists along with brilliant new discoveries. Beginning with a new spring series at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal in April and May, the Festival moves to Pollack Hall for the TD JAZZ and classical series in June.

“With Droit au Cœur ! (Straight to the Heart!), we emphasize our love for chamber music, the most intimate and collaborative of art forms,” comments Festival founder and Artistic Director Denis Brott, “As always, we are thrilled to highlight the best of the upcoming generation of Quebec musicians, as well as welcome back our friends from around the world. This season I am particularly proud to host the Canadian premiere of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet. We also celebrate the “Year of the Cello” in concert and film, culminating in our final concert featuring no less that 12 cellos on stage!”

The 2018 Festival offers a new flexible pricing scheme as well as a complete Festival pass for only $200. And, with several free events, the Festival is accessible to all!

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The Festival is thrilled to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton Montreal for Rendez-vous au Ritz! Our theme is “Mentor and Apprentice” for these three mornings of chamber music, bringing together established artists with outstanding rising stars from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Each Sunday morning event includes a delicious continental breakfast at 10am followed by a 1-hour concert at 11am, all taking place in the gorgeous Oval Room at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal.

For the first Ritz outing on Sunday, April 15, clarinetist and comedian Christopher Hall and the Andara Quartet bring out the fun in chamber music in a delightful programme including music by Mozart, Vivaldi, Brahms, and The Girl from Ipanema!  Formed at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, the Andara Quartet is already attracting international attention, and were recently invited to perform at the first edition of the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam.

On Sunday, April 29, cellist Denis Brott joins three brilliant young musicians from the Conservatoire, his cello protégé Bruno Tobon, and violinists Isabella Perron and Abby Walsh, for a beautiful programme of music by Bach, Ysaÿe, Handel, and Arensky. All three young rising stars are prize-winners of the OSM Manulife Competition, among many other honours.

For our final Sunday morning, May 20, celebrated pianist Richard Raymond, also a professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, introduces his brilliant 13 year-old student Sarah Oulousian, with music by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

The special price for Rendez-vous au Ritz!, including continental breakfast and concert, is just $25, or $10 for those under 20, plus service charges.

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The Festival’s popular TD JAZZ series is back for three unique Friday night concerts, including a tribute to Montreal’s jazz royalty, and a spotlight on two young and rising artists. We’re thrilled to have the wonderful Oliver Jones join us as the series spokesperson and host.

On Friday, June 1 at 8pm, the Festival pays tribute to the one and only Oscar Peterson. Celine Peterson has selected the artists and programme for this very personal tribute to her father, which will include Oscar’s own bass player Dave Young, along with jazz heavyweights, pianist Ben Paterson, and percussionist Jim Doxas for an intimate and inspiring evening, celebrating one of Montreal’s – and the world’s – great jazz artists.

On Friday, June 8 at 8pm, the Festival presents rising young jazz pianist and Grammy-nominee Eldar Djangirov and his trio. Djangirov has been described by The New York Times as “a blend of musical intelligence, organizational savvy, enthusiasm and prowess,” while Downbeat stated that “his command of his instrument is beyond staggering.” Eldar came to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union at age 10 and was signed to Sony Masterworks at 17. Releasing multiple albums since then, Eldar has appeared at numerous major jazz festivals as well as with world renowned symphony orchestras. Come hear the pianist Dave Brubeck calls “a genius beyond most young people I’ve heard.”

The electrifying Grace Kelly brings her trio to the Festival on Friday, June 15 at 8pm. Possessed by what band leader Jon Batiste calls “an electric charisma on-stage that instantly ignites the room,” the saxophonist, singer, and composer plays with the heart and passion of an old soul with the genre-bending zest and energy of the 25-year old she is. A regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s band, Grace has performed over 800 concerts in over 30 countries in notable venues as the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. She recently released a portion of her 11th album live on Facebook.

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Our Classical Series begins on the theme of “Le Maître et La Relève” – one of our greatest master artists together with one of the brightest ensembles of the new generation. On Tuesday, June 12 at 8pm, pianist André Laplante joins the Rolston String Quartet for a splendid evening of music by Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Schumann. The Festival is pleased to welcome back the outstanding Rolston Quartet, whom Strings Magazine calls “electrifying.” The Rolstons, currently Quartet in Residence at Yale University, are First Prize laureates of the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition, and have been winning rave reviews on their recent tours throughout Canada, United States, Europe, and Israel.

The Tempest Trio makes its Canadian premiere on Thursday, June 14 at 8pm. The virtuoso trio of violinist Ilya Kaler, cellist Amit Peled, and pianist Alon Goldstein has been recently compared by critics to the legendary “Million Dollar Trio” of Arthur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, and Gregor Piatigorsky. They perform trios by Beethoven and Bernstein then are joined by rising Montreal violist Marina Thibeault for the Schumann Quartet for piano and strings, op. 47.

Alon Goldstein joins three of Canada’s top classical pianists – David Jalbert, Steven Massicotte, and Wonny Song – for a pianistic whirlwind on Friday, June 15 at 5pm (note special time!). The powerhouse concert features showpieces like the Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns and the Rhapsody by Liszt, as well as Mozart’s Sonata for four hands, K. 381 — and a sure-to-be rousing version of Sousa’s Stars & Stripes!

The Festival is thrilled to present the Canadian premiere of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet on Saturday, June 16 at 8pm. Formed in January 2017, the New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four principal musicians from the orchestra: Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, and Principal Cello Carter Brey. Be among the first to hear this prestigious new ensemble in works by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Borodin.

Cellist Denis Brott brings together an outstanding group of cellists to close the Festival on Sunday, June 17 at 3:30 pm in celebration of the “Year of the Cello” and this most passionate and beautiful of instruments! Concert highlights include works by Menotti, Popper, and the Quebec premiere of Kelly-Marie Murphy’s Coffee Will Be Served In The Living Room for 8 cellos. The full composite of 12 cellos will be heard in Klengel’s Hymnus pour 12 violoncelles, op 57, and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras 1 and 5, featuring soprano Aline Kutan.

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The Festival is pleased to offer three FREE events, welcoming one and all!

  • On Tuesday, June 12 at 5pm, the Rolston String Quartet performs Steve Reich’s Different Trains with a moving video re-creation by Beatriz Caravaggio. The Grammy Award-winning 1988 work for string quartet and tape is Reich’s reflection of his train journeys between New York and Los Angeles to visit his parents, who had separated. He later pondered the fact that, as a Jew, had he been in Europe instead of the United States at that time, he might have been travelling in Holocaust trains. Also performed will be Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 7.
  • On Friday, June 15 at 12pm, cellist Amit Peled performs on the legendary cello of Pablo Casals, bringing together works by Bloch with the Bach cello suites.
  • On Sunday, June 17 at 1pm, preceding the Festival’s final all-cello concert, join us for the Canadian premiere of the documentary film, The Cellist: Legacy Of Gregor Piatigorsky.


Rendez-vous au Ritz! series takes place at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, 1228 Sherbrooke St. West

All other events (excluding the Gala) take place at Pollack Hall, 555 Sherbrooke Street West


All concerts at Pollack Hall are General Admission.

For the TD JAZZ and classical series at Pollack Hall, please note the Festival’s new pricing system:

1 TICKET = $50.00

2 TICKETS = $87.50






Excludes Gala



OR BY CALLING 514.489.7444

CORO Connections Releases New Beethoven Album by the Eybler Quartet

“This is music-making that reflects deeply human and attractive qualities … good humor, wit, and invention.” – Early Music America (on Haydn’s String Quartets, Op. 33)

CORO Connections presents a new recording by the acclaimed Eybler Quartet, featuring Beethoven’s first three works for string quartet, Op. 18, nos. 1-3. The Toronto-based ensemble was founded in 2004 to explore the works of the first century-and-a-half of the string quartet repertoire and plays on instruments appropriate to the period of the music it performs. The Eybler Quartet has been widely praised for their committed, lively, and energizing performances, and razor-sharp ensemble skills. Adding to their superb discography, which includes music by Mozart and Haydn as well as lesser-known composers like Vanhal and their namesake Joseph Leopold Eybler, the group’s new Beethoven album will be released on March 2.

Beethoven’s Opus 18 represents the composer’s supremely confident first step towards what would become his total mastery of the Classical String Quartet. As violist Patrick Jordan points out in his colourfully descriptive liner notes, much of the Eybler’s repertoire draws from the two or three generations of composers preceding Beethoven, which is unusual for a string quartet. The Eybler Quartet’s experience of approaching Beethoven’s Opus 18 as “new music” profoundly influenced their readings of the works. Working from two different editions of the score, the Quartet confronted contradictory information, and delved deeply into exhaustive critical notes on the works. “Regardless of the edition one uses,” comments Jordan, “Beethoven’s work immediately stands apart from that of those working around him: articulations and dynamics are more frequent, detailed, and specific, and we find more special instructions. Beethoven represents a sudden step up in complexity, rather than a smooth point along the curve.”

The Eybler Quartet have chosen to take Beethoven “at his word,” putting aside their received ideas and intuitions to “unlearn” the works and subsequently reconstruct them with Beethoven’s instructions front of mind. One dramatic change is the Eybler’s commitment to respect the tempi that Beethoven himself indicated, some much quicker than we’re accustomed to, some considerably slower. Says Jordan: “There would appear to be no end of debate on this fiery topic, and I am sure that whatever I have to offer will merely fan the flames rather than extinguish anything!”

The Eybler Quartet’s most recent album, featuring the string quartets of Czech composer and Mozart contemporary Johann Baptist Vanhal, was widely acclaimed, “The ensemble is in its element here,” said The San Francisco Chronicle, “ and gives the music the vividness and polish required.” Boston’s WCRB praised the quartet’s for its “intimacy perfectly balanced with an electrifying passion” in choosing it as CD of the Week, while Early Music America was charmed by the ensemble’s “infectious vivacity, dynamism, and edge.”

CORO Connections is an imprint of the award-winning CORO record label. All of the artists on CORO Connections have links to Harry Christophers, The Sixteen, or the Handel and Haydn Society. Eybler Quartet violinist Aisslinn Nosky is concertmaster of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society.

The Eybler Quartet brings a unique combination of talents and skills: years of collective experience as chamber musicians, technical prowess, years of experience in period instrument performance, and an unquenchable passion for the repertoire. Violinist Julia Wedman and violist Patrick G. Jordan are members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Violinist Aisslinn Nosky is concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society and Principal Guest Conductor of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra; Julia and Aisslinn are also members of I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble. Cellist Margaret Gay is much in demand as both a modern and period instrument player.

Canada’s Largest Composition Prize Announced

The Azrieli Foundation is proud to announce that composer Avner Dorman is the winner of the 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music for his composition, Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra. The $50,000 cash prize is granted biennially to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish Music, and is accompanied by a world premiere gala performance and a professional recording of the prize-winning work.

Avner Dorman, an Israeli-born composer who now lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has garnered numerous awards and prizes. At the age of 25, he became the youngest composer to win Israel’s prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for his Ellef Symphony. He has gone on to earn several international awards from ASCAP, ACUM and the Asian Composers League. He holds a doctorate in composition from the Juilliard School and currently serves as Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College and as Music Director of the CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra.

Dorman explains the genesis of his composition. “When writing Nigunim, I was most interested in exploring the music of various Jewish traditions from around the world. The diversity and wealth of musical traditions I discovered astounded me, ranging from North African cantillation to Central Asian wedding music, and from Balkan rhythms to ancient prayers. I tried to embody both the unique features and deep commonalities of these traditions in my composition.” Dorman credits the Azrieli Music Prizes as an impetus for the completion of a fresh new orchestration for Nigunim, where past attempts had been musically unsatisfying.  “I am honoured that the jury of the Azrieli Prize have embraced the diversity of this piece.”

Azrieli Foundation Board Director, Dr. Sharon Azrieli, who initially conceived the Prize and has been leading its growth, says she is thrilled with the jury’s decision. “I am equally pleased to invite Avner into our growing community of Prize laureates. His Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra has within it all the elements we were seeking when we created these prizes. With its gravitas and expressivity, it conveys the meaning and continuity of the Jewish soul. It also remarkably unites the many styles of music of Jewish communities from around the world. I am confident that this is another work that will enter the repertoire to become a well-known and beloved concerto among violinists and audiences alike.” Jury member Aaron Jay Kernis adds,Avner Dorman’s music is marked by soulful expression joined to rich, inventive orchestral colour and virtuosic flair. The jury is delighted that his violin concerto is the second worthy winner of this important prize.”

In September, the Azrieli Foundation announced that Kelly-Marie Murphy won the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish music. Both compositions will be performed at the Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert on October 15, 2018 at the Maison symphonique de Montreal featuring the McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and Guest Conductor Yoav Talmi.

Avner Dorman’s music is exclusively published by G. Schirmer.

About the Azrieli Music Prizes
Established in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation, the Azrieli Music Prizes offer opportunities for the discovery, performance and celebration of excellence in new Jewish Music. Open to the international music community, works are nominated by individuals and institutions from all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, and submitted to the jury through the biennial open call for scores. Past Prize winners include Canadian composer Brian Current and US-based Polish composer Wlad Marhulets.

About The Azrieli Foundation
For 25 years, the Azrieli Foundation has funded institutions as well as operated programs on the ground in Canada and in Israel. The Foundation supports music and the arts, scientific and medical research, higher education, Holocaust education, youth empowerment and school perseverance, architecture, and quality of life initiatives for people with developmental disabilities.

Maestro Kent Nagano Conducts the McGill Symphony Orchestra

The Schulich School of Music’s McGill Symphony Orchestra performs under the baton of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Music Director Maestro Kent Nagano for the first time and for one night only on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm at Maison symphonique, in collaboration with the OSM. The superb, young orchestra performs a sumptuous programme including Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, Wagner’s Siegfried-Idyll, and Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) featuring violinist Andrew Wan – an Assistant Professor at the Schulich School as well as OSM concertmaster – as soloist.

Kent Nagano comments: “It is not only a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with young talented musicians, it is an important part of our responsibility as artists. One senses in them a thirst for knowledge and improvement, so essential to the development of their craft. A part of obtaining knowledge is to pass it on by investing in the next generation, as they will carry our tradition forward into the next century for our children and their children.  I am thrilled to perform with the McGill Symphony Orchestra, and proud to host them on stage of the Maison symphonique for this collaborative event between the OSM and the Schulich School of Music.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have our students perform at Maison symphonique under the baton of Maestro Kent Nagano,” comments Brenda Ravenscroft, Dean of the Schulich School of Music, “It is a tremendous opportunity to showcase their outstanding musicianship while gaining invaluable insight from a master, on one of the great stages of the world. I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience for our orchestra – and for the audience as well.” 

In advance of its final rehearsals with Maestro Nagano, the MGSO will prepare for the concert with conductor Nicolas Ellis. Ellis, who earned his Master of Music in Conducting from the Schulich School of Music in 2015, is the recent winner of the $50,000 Fernand-Lindsay career prize. He is currently assistant conductor in residence with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, as well as the Artistic Director and Founder of the Orchestre Symphonique de l’Agora.

The orchestra performs Robert Schumann’s youthful Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 38, known as Schumann’s “Spring Symphony.” The composer, until then primarily known for his works for piano and voice, composed this first work for orchestra in early 1841. It was premiered that March in Leipzig under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn. Richard Wagner composed his gorgeous Siegfried Idyll as a gift to his second wife after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. Wagner later incorporated music from the Idyll into the final scene of his opera Siegfried. The orchestra will also perform, with violin soloist Andrew Wan, Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium). Bernstein himself conducted the 1954 premiere of this 5-movement work, written for his friend Isaac Stern. While the composer stressed that the Serenade has “no literal program,” the work resulted from his rereading of Plato’s charming dialogue, The Symposium, about the nature and purpose of love. Currently, the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth is being celebrated with numerous performances of music around the world.

Each year, the McGill Symphony Orchestra presents a varied cross-section of orchestral music from early 18th century classics to celebrated contemporary composers. Its home venue is Pollack Hall, but it also performs regularly in venues such as the Église St. Jean-Baptiste and Montreal’s Maison symphonique. High professional standards are required from every member of the orchestra, since one of its objectives is to prepare young musicians for successful auditions with major orchestras around the globe. Along with two performances each of six concert programs, the MGSO’s annual activities include collaborations with Opera McGill, winners of the School’s concerto competitions, distinguished members of the Schulich School of Music faculty, and with internationally acclaimed guest artists and conductors. The MGSO is often heard on CBC and presents regular audio/video webcasts for an ever-growing international audience. The MGSO has performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall and made its debut in Toronto’s Koerner Hall in November 2015.

Kent Nagano Conducts the McGill Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm

Maison symphonique, 1600 Rue Saint-Urbain

Tickets: $39/ $24 | or 514 842-9951

Philip Glass Headlines 2018 Winnipeg New Music Festival

Each year, at the peak of its frigid winter, Winnipeg transforms into an oasis of the most inspiring, adventurous, and riveting music of our time. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival presents its 27th season from January 27 through February 2, 2018, reveling in the music of today, inspiring artists and igniting abundant audiences of all ages. The week-long internationally-acclaimed celebration of creativity is known for bringing together the biggest luminaries in the music and art world – such as Steve Reich, Jim Jarmusch, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and John Corigliano, to name just a few – to explore, debate, and discover. And concert attendance of over 7,000 makes it one of the best attended new music festivals in the world. WSO Artistic Director Alexander Mickelthwate anticipates, “This year will be nothing short of extraordinary, as we bring you the most famous minimalist composer worldwide, the most beautiful Icelandic soundscapes, the most iconic Canadian visual artist, and the most energetic new talent you can imagine.”

The Winnipeg New Music Festival is thrilled to have iconic American composer Philip Glass in residence as composer and performer. The Festival presents the world premiere of Glass’ String Quartet No. 8 with the JACK Quartet – deemed “superheroes of the new music world” by The Boston Globe – as well as the Canadian premiere of the composer’s Symphony No. 11 (2017). Glass will also be among the stellar pianists in an evening of his complete Piano Etudes. “Seeing the work of two decades compressed into an evening [of Piano Etudes] was immensely satisfying, as America’s greatest living composer stakes his claim for immortality,” said The Guardian. Another evening, devoted to choral works, presents excerpts from several of Glass’ operas. Coming off his 80th birthday season, celebrated worldwide with tributes, premieres, and performances at Carnegie Hall, in San Francisco, in London (UK), and elsewhere, as well as several new recordings, Philip Glass continues to expand his extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

On a momentous opening night (Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 pm), the Festival will reunite Philip Glass with Michael Snow, jazz musician, filmmaker, visionary, and “the eminence grise of Canadian art” (Toronto Star). Glass and Snow, along with Steve Reich and Richard Serra, created a revolutionary new minimalist aesthetic in the late 1960s in New York, a touchstone still felt by composers today. On the same program as the Canadian premiere of Glass’ Symphony No. 11 (2017), Snow presents his first-ever work for orchestra, a collaboration with Festival curator and composer Matthew Patton. “Philip Glass and Michael Snow, along with Reich and Serra, changed everything about how art was experienced, bending time with repetitive structures and bending perceptions with radical insight,” says Patton, “To have both men, now in their 80s, together here in Winnipeg to premiere their works, is nothing short of historic.”

The WNMF maintains a special connection with the astounding music scene in the tiny country of Iceland, half the population of Winnipeg. The 2018 Festival presents a number of world premieres by Icelandic composers including a major new work for orchestra and choir by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, about whose emotionally-charged film scores Opus has said: Forget about what you thought beauty was about. [This music will] cut into your heart like a scalpel.” Also featured is a premiere choral work by two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner for Best Score Jóhann Jóhannsson, and a Canadian premiere by Björk.

Several more of today’s major composers join the Festival for striking and unique new works. Montreal-born, Paris/Berlin–based composer and conductor Samy Moussapresents his recent Symphony No. 1, Concordia, commissioned by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal to celebrate the city’s 375th anniversary. The Montreal Gazettepraised the “stimulating and ultimately stirring” work by a composer whose “music is rich, communicative.” American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Symphony No. 3, called a “striking, sumptuous and somber work” (Newsday), was composed for the New York Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary. And, on opening night, the Festival presents the world premiere by WSO Composer-in-Residence and Festival Director Harry StafylakisA Parable for End Times is a setting of an apocalyptic text by Winnipeg-raised author Steven Erikson, for choir and orchestra.

Stafylakis comments, “WNMF 2018 features a remarkable range of musical styles and sound worlds. I’m equally thrilled by our lineup of world-class guest artists. The WSO continues its commitment to contemporary Canadian art with the WNMF Composers Institute, an evening devoted to world premieres of six emerging composers from across the country, plus the winner of the CMC Prairie Region’s Emerging Composer Competition, Luis Ramirez. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be in the heart of winter!”

And, for the first time, WNMF is stepping out into the daylight for bite-sized performances during the lunch hour. Join us around Winnipeg during the Festival for free concerts. See the schedule at

Festival goers will also have the opportunity to discover Portal Zero, a new 16-foot installation residing in the lobby of Centennial Concert Hall throughout WNMF. Part maze, part listening booth, part architectural marvel, Portal Zero is created in collaboration with StorefrontMB.

Directly following the official festival is the premiere of a new, live film score to Dawson City: Frozen Time. Film director Bill Morrison pieces together the bizarre, true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1990s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was the final stop for a distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom returned. The Dawson City Collection was uncovered in 1978 when a bulldozer dug up a horde of film cans. These permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, paired with archival footage, interviews, and historical photographs, get a new live score by Sigur Rós producer/collaborator Alex Somers (of Jonsi and Alex, and Riceboy Sleeps). The screening with live music takes place on Saturday, February 3 at 8:00 pm at Knox United Church ($35 advance $40 at the door). In collaboration with Jazz Winnipeg.

For the full line-up of the 2018 Winnipeg New Music Festival Line Up please see:

The WSO is integral to Winnipeg’s rich cultural life, delighting more than 225,000 audience members each year with innovative programming and musical excellence. The WSO presents educational programs for more than 40,000 students annually and tours to communities across Manitoba.



Violinist Nuné Melik Makes Recording Debut with Hidden Treasure

When violinist Nuné Melik moved from Moscow to Montreal alone in 2009 she felt déracinée, or rootless. To combat her loneliness, the Siberian-born violinist of Armenian and Georgian heritage began to play music from composers she had heard and loved growing up. Soon, Melik became inspired to dig more deeply into the music of her homeland, igniting a passion for research – including three trips to Armenia over the past seven years – and the desire to bring this music to a wider audience. Since forming a partnership with pianist Michel-Alexandre Broekaert in 2010, Melik has performed the music of Hidden Treasure to audiences across North America and beyond, and has also delivered numerous lectures, in four languages, about her research. Melik calls this very personal album “a celebration of the survival spirit and creativity of the Armenian people.”

Hidden Treasure is released digitally on October 7 and the CD will be available beginning October 15. The duo will perform the music of Hidden Treasure in a series of concerts this fall in Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles (details below).

Considered one of Canada’s most prominent up-and-coming violinists, Nuné Melik made her debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium last fall, performing the Sibelius Concerto, and is a winner of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank competition, which has provided a Carlo Ferdinando violin (1750) for her use. To date, music from the Hidden Treasure project has been presented to audiences at Carnegie Hall in New York and broadcast on CBC Radio’s In Concert. The program has been selected as part of the next national tour of Jeunesses Musicales Canada, and a tour of China in 2019.

Some of the music of Hidden Treasure, with its idiomatic folk melodies and themes, was composed under the shadow of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, a humanitarian tragedy with more than 1.5 million casualties. Among this music are works by Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935), considered to be a founder of Armenian classical music. In his sorrowful “Apricot Tree,” as arranged for violin and piano, the singer entreats the tree not to bear fruit because his grief is so deep. The composer’s “Krunk” (Crane), in which a crane is asked for news from the motherland left behind, became the symbol of a nation’s exile. In contrast, in Vardapet’s more lyrical “Keler Tsoler” (Striding, Beaming), arranged for violin and piano, a woman tenderly addresses her lover.

More commonly-known outside of Armenia is the music of Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), the first composer who successfully combined Caucasian folk music and European traditional music. Khachaturian’s masterful “Song-Poem after Ashugs” refers to the country’s street musician-poets. And, from the same ballet score as the composer’s trademark “Sabre Dance” comes his “Nuné’s Variation,” dedicated to his daughter. The arrangement for violin and piano expresses all the virtuosic energy and whimsical humor of the original.

An enourmously successful virtuoso pianist, Arno Babadjanian’s (1921-1983) eccentric musical style and charismatic personality is in evidence in his three-movement Sonata for Violin and Piano of 1959, deemed a “masterpiece” by his close friend Dimitri Shostakovich. In the composer’s “Elegy,” he transforms a simple ashug melody into a virtuosic classical work for piano. Alexander Spendiarian (1871-1928) is one of the most influential composers in Armenian classical music. His “Khaidarma,” a reminiscence of composer’s childhood, is a Crimean-Tartar dance which became a part of the symphonic cycle Yerevan Etudes/Crimea Sketches in 1903.

A violinist who “has proven the theory of self-actualization” (Strings Magazine), Nuné Melik made her debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in September 2016, which was followed by an invitation to perform at the United Nations. Melik has appeared as a soloist with Sinfonia Toronto, Senior Orchestra of New York, Gnessin Virtuosi, the Moscow State Chamber Orchestra, and the Miami Chamber Orchestra, where she is Artist-in-Residence. She was winner of the Waldo Mayo Competition for 2016 and has also earned prizes at the Andrea Postacchini Competition (Italy) and the I Oistrakh International Competition (Russia). A multi-talented artist, Melik has published anthologies of Russian poetry, which have been translated into Armenian, French, and now English. She recently starred in the award-winning short film “Where is Music” about the music of Armenia. Melik studied at the Moscow State Conservatory and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Montreal where she was the program’s youngest graduate, at age 20. She is currently a Doctoral candidate at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, studying with Andrew Wan.

Opera magazine says of Michel-Alexandre Broekaert, “He demonstrates both excellent listening … and a remarkable touch. Under his fingers, the music breathes and blossoms.” A pianist and coach at the University of Montreal and McGill University, Broekaert completed his doctorate under the tutelage of Jean Saulnier, followed by studies in Vienna with Avedis Kouyoumdjian.

En 2009, lorsque la violoniste Nuné Melik partit seule de Moscou pour venir s’installer à Montréal, elle se sentit déracinée. Pour combattre sa solitude, la violoniste d’origine arménienne et géorgienne née en Sibérie se mit à jouer de la musique de compositeurs qui avait bercé son enfance. Elle devint rapidement désireuse d’en apprendre plus sur la musique de ses origines; curiosité qui nourrit rapidement une nouvelle passion pour la recherche (et qui la mena trois fois en Arménie au cours des sept dernières années), ainsi qu’une volonté de partager cette musique avec le grand public. Depuis les débuts de sa collaboration avec le pianiste Michel-Alexandre Broekaert en 2010, Melik a joué la musique de Hidden Treasure pour des auditoires partout en Amérique du Nord et ailleurs, donnant également de multiples conférences ayant trait à sa recherche, et ce, dans quatre langues. Melik parle de cet album très personnel comme étant « une célébration de l’esprit de survie et de la créativité du peuple arménien. »

Hidden Treasure paraîtra en version numérique le 7 octobre, et le CD sera distribué sous l’étiquette française Dom Forlane le 15 octobre. Le duo jouera la musique de Hidden Treasure lors d’une série de concerts cet automne à Boston, Montréal, Toronto, Washington DC, New York, et Los Angeles.

Considérée comme étant l’une des violonistes les plus prometteuses au Canada, Nuné Melik a fait ses débuts au Stern Auditorium de Carnegie Hall l’automne dernier en interprétant le concerto de Sibelius. Elle est l’une des gagnantes du concours de la Banque d’instruments de musique du Conseil des arts du Canada, concours qui lui a valu l’attribution d’un violon Carlo Ferdinando (1750). Jusqu’à maintenant, la musique du projet Hidden Treasure fut présentée au Carnegie Hall à New York et fut diffusé sur les ondes de CBC Radio lors de l’émission In Concert. Le programme fut sélectionné pour la prochaine tournée des Jeunesses Musicales Canada, et fera l’objet d’une tournée en Chine en 2019.

Une partie de la musique de Hidden Treasure, avec ses mélodies et thèmes folkloriques, fut composée sous l’ombre du génocide arménien de 1915, une tragédie humanitaire dont plus de 1.5 million d’Arméniens ont été victimes. Au cœur de cette musique se trouvent des œuvres de Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935), compositeur pionnier de la musique classique arménienne. Le douloureux « Abricotier » (ici arrangé pour violon et piano) est une chanson folklorique dans laquelle un protagoniste demande à l’arbre de ne pas porter de fruits tant sa souffrance est grande. La pièce « Krunk » (Grue) du même compositeur, dans laquelle une grue demande des nouvelles d’une mère patrie désertée, devint le symbole d’une nation exilée. En contraste, le « Keler Tsoler » (foulée radieuse, œuvre arrangée pour violon et piano) présente une femme qui parle tendrement à son amant.

Bien connu en dehors de l’Arménie, le compositeur Aram Khatchatourian (1903-1978) fut le premier compositeur à combiner de manière fructueuse la musique folklorique caucasienne et la tradition musicale européenne. Le magistral « Chant-Poème (en l’honneur d’un Ashik) » fait référence aux poètes ambulants du pays. Tirées du même ballet que la très populaire « Danse du sabre », les « variations de Nuné » sont dédiées à la fille du compositeur. L’arrangement pour violon et piano de cette pièce exprime toute l’énergie et l’humour fantasque du ballet original.

Pianiste virtuose aux succès remarquables, Arno Babadjanian (1921-1983) fait montre de son style musical excentrique et de sa personnalité charismatique dans sa Sonate pour violon et piano (1959), sonate qui fut sacrée « chef-d’œuvre » par le proche ami du compositeur, Dimitri Chostakovitch. Dans son Élégie, le compositeur transforme une simple mélodie folklorique ashug en un ouvrage de virtuosité pour piano. Alexander Spendiarian (1871-1928) est l’un des compositeurs les plus influents dans le domaine de la musique classique arménienne. Son « Khaidarma », un souvenir de l’enfance du compositeur, est une danse tartare de Crimée qui fait partie du cycle symphonique Études d’Erevan/Esquisses de Crimée (1903).

Une violoniste qui a su « prouver la théorie de l’épanouissement personnel, » (Strings Magazine) Nuné Melik a fait ses débuts au Stern Auditorium de Carnegie Hall en septembre 2016, prestation à la suite de laquelle elle fut invitée à jouer pour les Nations Unies. On a pu voir Melik en tant que soliste avec le Sinfonia Toronto, avec le Senior Orchestra of New York, Gnessin Virtuosi, l’Orchestre de chambre de Moscou et le Miami Chamber Orchestra où elle est artiste en résidence. Elle fut la gagnante du Waldo Mayo Competition en 2016 et a également gagné des prix au Concours Andrea Postacchini  (Italie) et au Concours international David Oistrakh (Russie). Une artiste aux talents multiples, Melik a publié des anthologies de poésie russe qui ont été traduites en arménien, en français, et maintenant en anglais. Elle apparaît dans le récent court métrage « Where is Music » – film honoré par la critique et qui porte sur la musique en Arménie. Melik a étudié au Conservatoire Tchaïkovski de Moscou et détient un diplôme de maîtrise de l’Université de Montréal où elle fut la plus jeune diplômée du programme, à 20 ans. Elle est actuellement candidate au doctorat à l’Université McGill où elle étudie avec Andrew Wan.

La Revue Opéra dit de Michel-Alexandre Broekaert qu’il « démontre à la fois une excellente écoute… et un touché remarquable. Sous ses doigts, la musique respire et s’épanouit. » Pianiste et coach vocal à l’Université de Montréal et à l’Université McGill, Broekaert a complété son doctorat sous la tutelle de Jean Saulnier pour ensuite poursuivre ses études à Vienne avec Avedis Kouyoumdjian.

The Shaman & Arctic Symphony ~ Orchestral Works by Vincent Ho

Ho’s brilliant and compelling (The New York Times) Shaman Concerto featuring astounding percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie is paired with his chilling and “beautifully thought-provoking” (Winnipeg Free Press) Arctic Symphony in live recordings by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate, in a new release from Centrediscs.

Striking live recordings of two monumental orchestral works by Canadian composer Vincent Ho, commissioned by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), are brought together on a new release from Centrediscs, available October 13. The WSO and conductor Alexander Mickelthwate perform The Shaman: Concerto for Percussion & Orchestra, featuring a tour-de-force role for Dame Evelyn Glennie, and Arctic Symphony, Ho’s mesmerizing atmospheric musical portrait of the north, co-commissioned by climate change scientist Dr. David Barber of the University of Manitoba. The remastered CBC Radio live recordings beautifully showcase the compelling sound world of Vincent Ho, whose music John Corigliano describes as “wild and fanciful … [Ho] takes us to the limits of sonic energy, but it is also intimate and tender, for he is not afraid to reveal his truly lyrical soul.

Meeting Evelyn Glennie inspired Ho to compose The Shaman: “I have always been fascinated by the concept of shamanism,“ says Ho, “Shamans treat physical ailments by mending the person’s soul while connecting them to supernatural realms. This is how I see Dame Evelyn Glennie; her performances are spiritual events. She has the uncanny ability to draw the audience into a magical world and take them through wondrous journeys that are beyond material existence.”

Glennie inhabits the role of the shaman, making a ceremonial entrance while surrounded by otherworldly sounds. Casting her spell on the audience, the music develops into a primal dance that harkens the ancient rituals of tribal celebrations. A free-form impromptu offers Glennie a virtuoso improvisatory opportunity, followed by an interlude where the soloist summons up the “spirits of the earth” (the orchestra) as they prepare for the explosive finale. Inspired by the primitivism and unbridled energy in works like Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Ho unleashes his inner inferno in the final “Fire Dance.” The widely acclaimed work has been performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and in several Asian cities, as well as at Carnegie Hall’s Spring for Music festival in 2014, with Mickelthwate and the WSO, where The New York Times declared it “brilliant and compelling” and New York Classical Review called it “swaggering, satisfying and often spectacular.”

In 2008, Vincent Ho had the opportunity to visit the Arctic region as part of an “Artist on Board” program through the Circumpolar Flaw Lead Systems Study organization. This unique program was created by scientist Dr. David Barber whose vision was to invite artists of various disciplines to visit the region and create their own interpretation of the land. The unique experience – which included learning from leading climate change scientists and visits to indigenous communities – inspired the Arctic Symphony. In advance of the work’s 2010 premiere, conductor Alexander Mickelthwate commented to The Globe and Mail, “Vincent created these incredible soundscapes that feel like landscapes. You literally see and feel the ice.”

Enchanted by the Arctic but immersed in Northern environmental concerns, Ho wondered: “If the land could sing, what would it say or sound like?” The composer’s creative journey took the form of an extended song without words, where emotional statement and sorrowful cry manifested in cascading harmonies and free-floating melodies, drifting in and out like Northern winds. In his finale, Ho aimed to bring together the two cultures of his guides: scientists and elders. “Though their experiences and relationship with the Arctic came from differing perspectives, they had a common concern for the region’s plight,” says Ho. Bookending the symphony are two songs by the Inuit youth ensemble, the Nunavut Sivuniksavut performers, with an evocative backdrop of Arctic environmental sounds. The chilling work resonates even more strongly today, as climate change concerns dominate the news and politics.

Vincent Ho is a multi-award winning composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and theatre music. His awards have included Harvard University’s Fromm Music Commission, The Canada Council for the Arts Robert Fleming Prize, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award, four SOCAN Young Composers Awards, and CBC Radio’s Audience Choice Award (2009 Young Composers Competition). Dr. Ho served as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence from 2007-2014, and became Artistic Director of Calgary’s Land’s End Ensemble in 2015, a chamber music organization devoted commissioning, performing, and recording new works by Canadian and international composers. In 2016, he was appointed New Music Advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Following studies in Calgary, Toronto, and Paris, Ho earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California.

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists. Evelyn’s solo recordings, which now exceed 30 CDs, are as diverse as her career on-stage. A double GRAMMY award winner, Glennie is a leading commissioner of new works for solo percussion and has more than 200 pieces to her name from many of the world’s most eminent composers. Profoundly deaf since age 12, Evelyn’s film Touch the Sound and her enlightening TED Talk remain key testimonies to her approach to sound-creation. With over 80 international awards to date, including the Polar Music Prize, a Damehood, and the Companion of Honour, Evelyn continues to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has toured throughout Canada, and made its first appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1979. The orchestra has worked closely with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation since 1954, with numerous recordings on the CBC label and thousands of national radio broadcasts. The WSO is known internationally for its annual New Music Festival, which provides an environment rich in exploration and discovery of new works by composers from Canada and around the world.

This recording project was made possible by the generous support of Marten Duhoux and Joanne DeFehr, and FT3 Architecture.

Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley Explore Music of the Slavic Soul in TROIKA

Acclaimed for their adventurous and wide-ranging recording projects – from Beethoven Sonatas on period instruments to genre-bending arrangements of Radiohead and Arcade Fire – the endlessly inventive duo of cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley returns to explore music of the Slavic soul. Anchored by the cello sonatas of the iconic triumvirate of Russian composers – Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich – and inspired by the subversive irony of Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, TROIKA also delves into more recently-written, unexpected, and popular works. Whether subtle or blatantly rebellious, each work potently reveals the strength of the artistic voice in the face of political repression in mother Russia. The 2-SACD recording on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series will be released in North America on October 20, with a special advance digital release on September 29.

Shostakovich’s Waltz from his 1956 Suite for Variety Orchestra, sets the tone. Made famous by its iconic placement in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, the work conjures up worlds of repressed sexuality and nostalgia. The Waltz acts as an overture to the composer’s 1934 Sonata for Cello and Piano, from its deathly slow, marching coda to its rising folk tunes and swirling harmonies. From the same year comes Prokofiev’s Troika, from his film music to Lt Kije – a wistful winter’s journey of sleigh bells and balalaikas, from an exiled composer longing to return to his homeland. In 1948, the Soviet Cultural Committee banned Prokofiev’s music, calling it “hostile to the spirit of the people.” The dedicatees of his inspired Cello Sonata, Op. 119, the great Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter, had to audition the work multiple times before it was allowed to be performed in Moscow. Completing the album’s troika is Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, from 1901, along with the composer’s beloved wordless “Vocalise” of 1915.

TROIKA’s second disc goes farther afield, from the popular anthem Kukushka by Viktor Tsoi – one of Russia’s most influential and revered singer-songwriters, who died in 1990 at the age of 28 – to the layered irony of The BeatlesBack in the U.S.S.R.. Finally, with their cover of Pussy Riot’s Punk Prayer, Haimovitz and O’Riley celebrate the band’s courage and the spirit of protest in an age of Orwellian intimidation. Haimovitz and O’Riley actually recorded these works in early 2016, months before, as Haimovitz says, “the maelstrom of Russian interference in world politics that swirls around us today. The composers and songwriters of TROIKA, each in their own way, use the power of their voices to warn and to cajole, to resist and to remember.”

The New York Times has said: “If any artists were destined to collaborate, it was surely this pair.”  About their most recent collaboration on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series, BEETHOVEN, Period., Gramophone enthused:  “Haimovitz and O’Riley play the living daylights out of these works. They lap up Beethoven’s combative style like hungry lions anticipating raw steak.” Haimovitz and O’Riley have performed music from their wide-ranging album Shuffle.Play.Listen, reissued on the PENTATONE Oxingale Series earlier this year, in dozens of cities across North America. All Music said: “The boundaries between rock and classical are erased here not just by juxtaposition but by cognizance of interpenetration.”

MATT HAIMOVITZ is praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles” and by The New Yorker as “remarkable virtuoso” who “never turns in a predictable performance.” His album of solo cello music by Philip Glass, on the composer’s Orange Mountain Music label, was released this summer and featured the world premiere of Glass’s Partita No.2. This season will also see the release of Haimovitz’s live recording, with the Bruckner Orchestra and conductor Dennis Russell Davies, of the cello concerto by Isang Yun, commemorating the 100- year anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Acclaimed for his “infectious passion” by The Los Angeles Times, pianist CHRISTOPHER O’RILEY is known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top. Now in his seventeenth year on air, O’Riley introduces the next generation of classical-music stars to almost a million listeners each week. Living by the Duke Ellington adage “There are only two kinds of music, good music and bad,” O’Riley – a proponent of the former in all of its guises – has received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and an equally coveted four-star review from Rolling Stone. O’Riley performs piano arrangements of music by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana alongside traditional classical repertoire.

The Azrieli Foundation Awards the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music to Kelly-Marie Murphy

Kelly-Marie Murphy

The Azrieli Foundation is proud to announce that composer Kelly-Marie Murphy is the winner of the 2018 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music. This is the second time that the Foundation has awarded the $50,000 CAD prize – the largest of its kind in Canada – which is granted to a Canadian composer based on a proposal for a new work which expresses an aspect of the Jewish experience with the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence. Established by the Azrieli Foundation in 2015, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) also include a $50,000 international prize, granted to the composer of the best new major work of Jewish Music written in the last ten years. For 2018, the Azrieli Music Prizes highlight new works for chamber orchestra, and will culminate with the Azrieli Music Prizes Gala Concert with the McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and Guest Conductor Yoav Talmi on October 15, 2018 at Maison symphonique de Montreal.

Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy’s music has been described as “imaginative and expressive” (The National Post) and “striking … full of brilliant tours” (The Globe and Mail). As one of the most recognized voices on the Canadian music scene, Murphy has created a number of memorable works for some of Canada’s leading performers and ensembles, including the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. Born on a NATO base in Sardegna, Italy, Murphy grew up on Canadian Armed Forces bases all across Canada. She began her studies in composition at the University of Calgary and later received a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Leeds, England. After living for many years in the Washington D.C. area where she was designated “an alien of extraordinary ability”, she is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Music, University of Ottawa.

Kelly-Marie Murphy’s new work, a double concerto for cello and harp, will explore Sephardic music and how it impacted other cultures as the diaspora settled in Morocco, Tunisia, and parts of Europe. “What fascinates me is how music travels, and how it can subtly influence cultures throughout its journey,” says Murphy. She will draw from Sephardic folk and liturgical melodies for the new concerto, “to build on this use of source material as a respectful attendant and contributor to a vibrant, living culture.” Murphy adds, “The Azrieli Foundation has created a wonderful opportunity to encourage Canadian composers to write significant works on a grand scale.  This tremendous award means acknowledgement of the work that I have done and trust in the work that I have yet to do.  It is both an honour and a renewal.”

Dr. Sharon Azrieli, who created the awards on behalf of the Azrieli Foundation, comments, “I am thrilled with the jury’s choice of Kelly-Marie Murphy, an innovative and exciting composer with a distinctive voice and vision. Her new concerto will serve to enrich a repertoire of Jewish orchestral music. Thus, in winning the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, she is the next vital and integral partner to my vision of sustaining the glorious continuity of Jewish music and our culture.”

Jury member, composer Ana Sokolović, adds, “Kelly-Marie Murphy is one of our best-known Canadian composers. Her work is honest, direct, and of great competence and we are confident that she will give us a work that is worthy of the Prize.” Sokolović serves on the AMP jury for the second time along with conductor Boris Brott, composer Aaron Jay Kernis, musicologist Neil Levin and conductor and composer Steven Mercurio.

The inaugural Azrieli Music Prize winners were Brian Current and Wlad Marhulets, whose works were performed on October 19, 2016 with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal,, conducted by Maestro Kent Nagano at Maison symphonique de Montréal. This month, the winning works will be recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and Mixed Choir in Prague under the baton of Maestro Steven Mercurio, and also receive a live performance in Prague’s Smetana Hall on September 18. Canadian composer Brian Current’s The Seven Heavenly Halls, the first part of his six-movement River of Light cycle, will feature tenor soloist Richard Troxell, who has been released from the Metropolitan Opera specifically for this project. Wlad Marhulets, from Poland and now based in Los Angeles, will have his Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet performed by the orchestra, along with acclaimed clarinetist David Krakauer, for whom he created the work. Dr. Sharon Azrieli will be representing the Foundation in Prague and also will perform at the September 18 concert. A noted operatic soprano and scholar of Jewish and cantorial music, she will sing “Set me as a Seal” from American composer Lukas Foss’ song cycle, Song of Songs.

The 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music call for submissions remains open until November 5, 2017. Submissions are being accepted, without entry fee, from composers of all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds, affiliations and experience levels. For submission details, please visit


For 25 years, the Azrieli Foundation has quietly funded institutions as well as operated programs on the ground. The Foundation supports music and the arts, scientific and medical research, higher education, youth empowerment and school perseverance, architecture, Holocaust education and quality of life initiatives for people with developmental disabilities.


Live Recording Captures Inaugural Concert Season of TIPPET RISE Art Center in Montana

Music by Scriabin, Chopin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, and Antón García Abril

From a summer of world-class performances in the intimacy of a concert barn, located on a 10,260-acre, working ranch dotted with majestic large-scale sculptures – all nestled against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains – comes Tippet Rise OPUS 2016: Domo, new from the PENTATONE Oxingale Series. In a centennial Scriabin year, music by the Russian mystic composer, alongside Chopin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, and Antón García Abril, are realized live by pianists Yevgeny Sudbin, Svetlana Smolina, Christopher O’Riley, Anne-Marie McDermott, Stephen Hough, Jenny Chen and Julien Brocal with cellist Matt Haimovitz, trumpeter Elmer Churampi, and soprano Emily Helenbrook. The inspiration of artists Cathy and Peter Halstead, the Tippet Rise Art Center celebrates the concept that art, music, architecture, and nature are inextricably linked in the human experience, each amplifying the other. Reflecting that bold and expansive mission, Tippet Rise OPUS 2016 presents a cornucopia of virtuosity, fantasy, and transcendence. 

The album’s cover reveals a view of the megalith, Domo, the largest outdoor sculpture at Tippet Rise: a giant’s table in the mystical shape of a neolithic dolmen, designed and created by architects Antón García-Abril & Débora Mesa of Madrid’s Ensamble Studio. Under the spreading canopy of this colossal structure, music can be heard spinning out over the hilly prairie. But when the wind whips up, or storm clouds barrel down, we return to the comfort of the Olivier Music Barn, where pianists have their pick of a veritable Eden of instruments – ten Steinway pianos grace the Tippet Rise collection.

Oxingale’s Luna Pearl Woolf and Matt Haimovitz curated this compilation. “This first summer at Tippet Rise, themes and symmetries emerge organically from live performances by extraordinary artists. The OPUS 2016 program, oscillating back and forth between solo piano and duos of varying formation, celebrates the expansive, symphonic dialogue of human imagination and nature at Tippet. Nothing can replace the combined intimacy and grandeur of attending these concerts live, but with the new Tippet Rise OPUS series, we hope to share these musical moments, and their captivating surroundings, with the world.”

The ecstatic music of Alexander Scriabin frames this album: pianist Yevgeny Sudbin’s Sonata No. 5, and Poème de l’extase, arranged for two pianos and trumpet, performed by Christopher O’Riley and Svetlana Smolina with Elmer Churampi. More Russian masters are represented by cellist Matt Haimovitz and O’Riley, with Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, a magical moment previewing the pair’s 2-CD album of Russian music, TROIKA, to be released fall 2017. We continue with “La semaine grasse” from Stravinsky’s solo piano arrangement of Petrushka with Jenny Chen, and Rachmaninoff’s La nuit … L’amour, movement II of the Suite No. 1, Op. 5 (Fantaisie-Tableaux for two pianos) with O’Riley and Anne-Marie McDermott. Yet another superb pianist, Stephen Hough, entrances with Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 15, No. 2 in F-sharp major. Antón García Abril, a venerated Spanish composer and father to one half of Domo-creators Ensamble Studio, was commissioned to write a new song cycle for this inaugural season. A selection from his setting of seven poems by Tippet Rise’s co-founder Peter Halstead is performed by O’Riley and soprano Emily Helenbrook. Pianist-composer Julian Brocal contributes his own composition, Souvenirs, as an exclusive addition to the digital album.

“Scriabin believed that a weeklong concert outdoors, complete with dancing and drinking, would result in the Apocalypse. We’re delighted Tippet Rise has proved him wrong,” said Tippet Rise founders Cathy and Peter Halstead. “We can aver that a season long outdoor concert series results in musical epiphanies, personal revelations, and a visceral empathy with nature. The pieces chosen for this CD captures how the soul of Tippet Rise’s 10,260 acres is reflected and enhanced by the music made here.

In joining the PENTATONE Oxingale Series, we are thrilled to be in the same company as the classic Philips repertoire and as the great cellist Matt Haimovitz, linking the finest achievements of the past with the technology of the future. We look forward to many more years of our partnership, which brings our audience closer to the ambiance that shapes our summer concerts.”

Tippet Rise OPUS 2016: Domo is available now in HD and SD digital and will be released worldwide on August 4, 2017. An integral part of Montana’s musical scene, the album is always available as a souvenir from the Art Center itself.

For information on the upcoming season (July 7–September 16, 2017), which includes performances by pianists Yevgeny Sudbin, Jenny Chen, Anne Marie McDermott, and Jeffrey Kahane; the Ariel, Escher, and St. Lawrence String Quartets; a world premiere by Aaron Jay Kernis, performed by pianist Pedja Muzijevic and cellist Matt Haimovitz; as well as numerous additional artists and events, please see:

About Tippet Rise Art Center

Tippet Rise Art Center is located in Fishtail, Montana against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains, roughly midway between Billings and Bozeman and north of Yellowstone National Park. Set on a 10,260 acre working sheep and cattle ranch, Tippet Rise hosts classical music performances and exhibits large-scale outdoor sculptures. Tippet Rise believes that art, music, architecture, and nature rise to a new level when they collaborate.

As an institution founded to serve its neighbors in Montana as much as visiting musicians, artists, and audiences, Tippet Rise develops and supports year-round education programs in schools at the K-12 level, in local colleges and universities, and other organizations.