Archive pour July, 2011

Karina Gauvin and the OAO! in Magog tomorrow

30 July 2011

The Orford Academy Orchestra (OAO!), featuring gifted musicians from all over the world working under the direction of conductor Jean-François Rivest, taught by several first chairs of the OSM, will perform tomorrow afternoon in Saint-Jean-Bosco Church in Magog.

Soprano Karina Gauvin will be the soloist of Mahler’s magnificent Fourth Symphony.

Details of the program, featuring as well pianist Marc-André Hamelin, can be found here

The Israel Chamber Orchestra performs Wagner in Bayreuth

28 July 2011

The 100th edition of the mythical Bayreuth Festival got under way on Monday with a performance of Tannhäuser. Of course, controverse had to play some part. After the tumultuous saga surrounding the artistic direction of the festival, the Israel Chamber Orchestra (invited to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt, friend and father-in-law of Wagner) became the first Israeli orchestra to perform Wagner in Germany with his Siegfried-Idyll. Needless to say, the German composer is still very much taboo in Israel, even though, 10 years back already, Daniel Barenboim led the Berlin Philharmonic in an excerpt from Tristan und Isolde in Jerusalem.

Musicians (who started to rehearse the piece only 48 hours before the concert, while in Germany) were prepared to perform amidst the hisses, but in the end, music prevailed. Katharina Wagner, codirector of the festival and great-grand-daughter of the composer, who sponsored the orchestra’s trip, was sitting in the first row throughout the program.

“I’ve come to Bayreuth every year since 1951,” explained Mechtild Habiger, an 80-year-old music lover. “We just witnessed an historical moment. It was truly a great moment, plus the orchestra was excellent. They played really well, with much empathy, and the stand-up ovation from the audience was well-deserved.”

Tempers boiling

26 July 2011

It seems that the heat wave which hit North America in the last couple of days may have hit in a different matter in Switzerland. I was away from it all but now realise that the Verbier Festival’s 18th edition is by no means business as usual. It all started a few days ago when violinist Gidon Kremer decided to pull out of a stellar evening at the festival. At first, it was mentioned that he was ill, but Kremer quickly sent a public letter explaining that he was not unwell but just hated the hype surrounding the event.

“Stepping out of a festival with a high profile and great ratings, I do question the integrity of those gifted musicians who are ready to trade their talent for symbolic “recognition” on the wall of “stars”.

I simply want to distance myself from the hype of “eventful gatherings”. My goal has always been to SERVE music and composers, and it will always remain to be. To please crowds, promoters and managers is another issue,” he writes.

“To become a real artist, to nurture one’s talent, to discover ones own path in life, this in music takes TIME and EFFORT.

It seems that the music market and its certain “rules” aiming for a quick promotion do often neglect these aspects of creative growth.

Therefore, many wonderful young and gifted artists become victims of a well-orchestrated success, which in fact becomes a real hindrance for them to discover………themselves.”

(You can read the full letter here...)

(The letter that was sent to the Festival can be accessed here…)

Composer-in-residence Lera Auerbach also sent a public response to Kremer.

“You will be missed here this summer. I am personally sorry not to hear you play. I am sure that the children, brought from Urals and Siberia, will be sorry not to hear you this summer and it may be very difficult for them to be able to attend your concerts any time soon. I am sure that the Academy and Orchestra’s young artists will miss you as well as your numerous friends and colleagues.
followers, your colleagues.
To take a stand and refuse to share your gift by canceling a concert requires courage, maybe as much courage as going on stage, if not more, but we are the ones getting hurt by it; we who love you, who  admire your playing, your audiences, your friends, your students, your
The show must go on even when the walls around are falling down, because this is part of being an artist – accepting the  imperfections of the world around and transcending the reality, transcending the gravity, creating regardless of circumstances and above all – sharing the gift of music.”
What a way for me to get back to reality! Will music prevail? Most certainly, and this is the most important thing here.

On the road…

18 July 2011

Sometimes, musicians need a little silence or would rather listen to the sound of the waves rather than that of their favourite instrument or mp3 player. I am no exception to this rule and will be gone for a week. One slight regret perhaps: missing the concerts of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Festival de Lanaudière on July 23 and 24, especially since I’ll be in Philadelphia for a couple of days at the beginning of my trip!

Meanwhile, if you’ve always wondered what was happening behind closed doors at an international music competition, you will be delighted to views this series of short clips, filmed with one of the contestant’s iPhone. The first of six shorts can be viewed here…

See you next week!

Hommage to Vienna… in Orford

15 July 2011

Tomorrow night, at the Orford Festival, the Alcan Quartet will join mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour and several others, in a program devoted to magnificent Vienna, under Jean-François Rivest’s direction.

You can hear them here in a totally different repertoire, hispanic, by Del Aguila.

The Gryphon Trio in Midland tomorrow

13 July 2011

The Gryphon Trio has been keeping itself extremely busy lately. Last week, it was in France to perform its saluted Constantinople project and tomorrow, it will perform in Midland and next Tuesday at the Festival of the Sound!

The musicians of the trio are as well renowned for getting closely involved with communities hosting them. In early April, the small Ontario town of Almonte  was the first beneficiary of Listen Up!, a project designed by the Gryphon Trio to engage entire communities in the development of active listening and collaborative arts creation. For this pilot project, participants from Almonte’s Naismith Memorial Public School were joined by the Gryphon Trio, Rob Kapilow and composer Andrew Staniland, in the writing and the performance of a cross-disciplinary work for student choir and piano trio entitled The Seasons of Almonte, based on the student’s own works of poetry and music fragments. Who can say after reading this that chamber music is passé? The project will continue next season in Hamilton and… Midland.

To listen to the Gryphons in Constantinople

A wind of youth?

11 July 2011

News in the symphonic world are generally bleak. Everyone is complaining about low attendance in general, of the greying (in some case whithing would work best) of the audience and the impossible task of getting the young generation interested in classical music. For once, the news are good, if we are to believe this article published in the Los Angeles Times a little over a week ago… and, hold and behold, it’s happening right here, in Canada!

Indeed, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra reported that 35% of its audience is now younger than 35 years old! Wow! Just ten years ago, plagued by a recent musicians’ strike and multiple leaves from top people, the orchestra was considering bankrupcy. With nothing to lose, the TSO decided to start actively to reach out to the younger gang, with programs designed to fin into their schedule, including social events to mingle and perhaps find love, including the tsoundcheck program, which offers tickets to the 18 to 35 crowd for just $14. Last year, 23,000 tickets were sold — four times more than the first year the program was offered.

To learn more about this success story…

Lorraine Desmarais in Orford tonight

8 July 2011

It is sunny, warm but not too humid. So why not pack a picnic basket and head for a festival tonight? You could for example consider heading towards the Eastern Townships and listen to jazzwoman Lorraine Desmarais in Orford’s completely renovated concert hall. With her trio, she will perform jazz standards from master tone painter Bill Evans, considered by some as the “Mozart of jazz”, with scores both perfect and inspired. Details are here…

You can also listen to Lorrain Desmaris, live at Club Soda

Daniel Trifonov wins the Tchaikovsky

6 July 2011

Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov seems to be on a roll: after  winning the Rubinstein Masters at the end of May, he is now the star of the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. At the ripe age of 20, he has quickly become one of the most interesting pianists of his generation and sky seems to be the limit from now on.

In 2010, Trifonov was as well a medalist of the XVI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he won Third Prize and the Special Prize of Polish Radio for the best mazurkas performance. In Tel-Aviv, he also received the Pnina Salzman Prize for the Best Performer of a Chopin piece, the Prize for the Best Performer of Chamber Music and the Audience Favorite Prize . In Moscow last week, Trifonov was awarded the coveted First Prize, Gold Medal, and Grand Prix, as well as the Audience Award and the Award for the Best Performance of a Chamber Concerto. Impressive!

Alain Lefèvre appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

4 July 2011

The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced a few days ago (on June 30) 50 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The Canadian pianist and composer Alain Lefèvre is appointed Officer to the Order of Canada  “for his contributions to the arts as a pianist and champion of Canadian music”.

Recently, he won the JUNO Award 2010 for Best Classical Album of the Year, in the category “Large ensemble or soloist with large ensemble”, for his recording with the London Mozart Players, featuring the CD premiere of André Mathieu’s Concertino No. 2. Congrats Alain!