Archive pour August, 2013

All to Tremblant for the 15th Fête de la musique

29 August 2013

Labour Day weekend is meant to forget about dealing with back to school issues and just enjoying oneself once more, as if summer was still in full swing. Why not head for beautiful Mont-Tremblant and take in a few concerts presented as part of the 15th edition fo the Fête de la musique, an event founded by Angèle Dubeau, which features an eclectic of music old and new, performed by renowned artists and up-and-coming musicians?

François Dompierre will celebrate 50 years of career and his 70th birthday on Friday August 31.

On August 1, tenor Gino Quilico will perform songs from his upcoming album, Serata d’amore, filled with Italian favourites. He will be accompanied by Triosphère. On the same day, you can also catch the winner of the 2012 OSM Standard Life Competition, pianist Xiaoyu Liu, 15 years old, who has already performed with orchestras in Canada and the USA.

On Sunday September 2, Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà will be on stage in the popular “Infernal Violins” program and harpist Valérie Milot and violinist Antoine Bareil performs masterpieces from the repertoire arranged for the formation.

More details at

The Piano Tuner

26 August 2013

After he didn’t fare so well at an international competition, a pianist decides to rethink his life choices and becomes a piano tuner. Since most people assume that blind piano tuners are better at their job than the others, he decides to become a character, wearing his sunglasses every time he steps out of his appartment and goes to work. By doing so, he can witness some rather peculiar moments, people being sure that he can’t see. All is exciting and well until…

This short film directed by Olivier Treiner, a beautiful homage to Schumann’s music as well, was launched in 2010 and presented in 100 festivals. It won an astounding number of awards: 55! Find out why…

A doodle for Debussy’s 151st birthday

22 August 2013

Google celebrates Claude Debussy’s 151st birthday in style today with a beautiful animation on “Clair de lune,” an excerpt from his Suite bergamasque. In the clip, lights are almost tenderly scintillating in rhythm with this very popular piece. It was used in many films, among which Seven Years in Tibet, Ocean’s Eleven (the breath taking final scene) and of course in the Twilight saga.

Animators of the doodle hoped to capture the attention of the viewer so much that, if you switch pages, the melody will just disappear (not the case of course with this Youtube version)…


You can hear the full version here, in a version for harp, as performed by Valérie Milot…

John Paulson new owner of Steinway

19 August 2013

The sale of the mythical piano company has apparently become a real soap opera. On Friday, billionaire John Paulson spent a hefty 512 millions for Steinway… but the deal gives Steinway the right to accept the offer of yet another buyer. We are certainly talking about a lot of money here!

Two days after Kohlberg and Company put 438 millions on the table and thought they had sealed the deal, Paulson decided to top it  and offered 475 millions. This wasn’t quite enough and the stakes grew yet higher. In the end, he won it all with a check for 512 millions. How does it hope to make money with this? By exploring new markets, especially the ever so growing Asian clientèle who may also, like a lot of other pianists, dream of owning such a legendary instrument.

“When a pianist sits in front of a piano a relationship is struck along with the keys,” explains British pianist Stephen Hough in a recent blog. “For that evening the partnership is inseparable. You might have technique for the most luminously voiced trills but if the action sticks they will remain in your imagination. Steinway’s consistent performance as a reliable, exciting partner under pressure has contributed to its prominence in the concert halls of the world.”

Is this the end of the turmoil? Future will tell…

A record audience for the OSM at the big O last night

15 August 2013

Maybe it wasn’t the warmest of summer’s evenings, but that didn’t prevent a record 30 000 to attend the OSM concert on the Esplanade of the Olympic Stadium last night. Staples from the classical repertoire (including Chabrier’s Espana) were mixed with an Italian serenade (sung by host of the evening, tenor Marc Hervieux, born in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood), some Québécois folklore with Yves Lambert and Rhapsody in Blue.

The Gershwin classic was not played by one but ten pianists, in a new setting  by Blair Thomas, and jazz pianist Lorraine Desmarais certainly stood out as the queen of the evening, with improvisation segments that kept musicians of the OSM on the edge of their seats, music director Kent Nagano smiling and audience members almost breathless.

Pop music even was part of the offering as the Beatles’ classic Let it be, sung by audience members, replaced the usual Ravel Boléro.

You can (re)live the evening in photos here…

A cool classical journey

12 August 2013

Some Québécois festivals have ended their season already, but Montrealers will be thrilled to be able to take part in the 2nd edition of the OSM‘s Cool Classical Journey. A total of 30 concerts of about 45 minutes each will be presented next Friday and Saturday, in 4 different Place des Arts venues: Maison symphonique de Montréal, 5e Salle, Studio-Théâtre and Beverley Webster Rolph Hall. A special emphasis is placed this year on Mozart and his contemporaries, as well as on the clarinet.

Among the featured artists, one finds clarinettist Jorg Widman (also taking part in the event as a composer), pianists Alexandre Tharaud, Menahem Pressler (one of the event’s ambassadors) and Angela Hewitt. The event will also introduce the new OSM organist in residence, Jean-Willy Kunz. Young and upcoming artists abound, including pianist Kit Armstrong (his two concerts are already sold out) and cellist Stéphane Tétreault. The OSM will perform under Kent Nagano’s direction in an all-Mozart program starring violinist Augustin Dumay, in Mozart’s Requiem and in his famous Clarinet Concerto.

Once more, various free activities are offered in Foyer Georges-Émile-Lapalme and at the Salon urbain on Saturday: demo kiosks, talks, singing performances, games and programs for the kids, offered in partnership with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.

You can find the details here…


Cheaper by the dozen?

8 August 2013

Ten limber fingers can do great things, especially if they’re a musician’s. Wouln’t 120 be even better? Here is the proof, as Haskell Small signs a rather contagious take of Monti’s famous Czardas (one of those violonists’ war horses), for only one piano indeed but 12 pianists, all members of the Washington Conservatory Piano Faculty.

Will they have to fight for space on the keyboard or attention? You will find out while watching this video.

Mozart’s skull

5 August 2013

From time to time, new theories about Mozart’s death surface. While one can obviously discard the murder one (though it may have fuelled Amadeus the play and the film), others are still very much in the air, like the food poisoning one (we have a letter talking about pork chops eaten shortly before Mozart became fatally ill), the possible degenerative disease one or the fall(s) one. Some testimonies talk about a fall in the stairs (could Mozart have suffered from a fatal commotion?), others insinuate that Mozart may have fallen quite a few times after ingesting one too many glasses of alcohol. All this is difficult to assess.

Studies were made on a skull at Salzburg Mozarteum Museum, but some scientists believe it may not be Mozart’s in the end (another skull was dug up a couple of years ago but analysis were not convicing) or at least that the findings (comparaison to paintings, reconstruction with photos) are unconclusive.

Will we ever find out the truth? Possibly not, but you can read an extended article with all the possible cause of this great genius’ death, updated a couple of months ago, here…