Tag Archive | "Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal"

Creative, Contemporary Programs

Creative, Contemporary Programs

April and May are shaping up to be banner months for creative programming for ensembles from across Canada. Here are some upcoming programs of note:

On April 20, the Hamilton Philharmonic closes its 2012-13 season (and its What Next Festival for 2013) with a program entitled Fiesta! It’s an all-North American program with works Bernstein, Gershwin, Copland, Jimmy Lopez , Michael Torke, and a world premiere by HPO resident Abigail Richardson-Schulte, entitled City Synesthesia, and inspired by different elements of Hamilton city life as portrayed by local artists Paul Elia, Christina Sealey, Claudette Losier, and Sylvia Simpson. The artists’ work will be on display in the lobby at Hamilton Place on April 20. Featured soloist on the program is Canadian pianist Lucille Chung. Music Director James Sommerville will conduct. But that’s not all: during intermission, students from Westmount Secondary School will perform the premiere of Wind, a piece composed by Richardson-Schulte and dedicated to the passionate pursuit of music by all who have been members of the Westmount Wind Orchestra.

On May 1, the intrepid Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, led by music director Veronique Lacroix, presents a program featuring Alban Berg’s classic Chamber Concerto (for solo violin, solo piano and winds) paired with a new work by composer-author Nicolas Gilbert, entitled Vertiges, which features narrator Jean Marchard. In keeping with ECM+’s aesthetic, the stage at the Salle Pierre-Mercure will be specially dressed for the occasion with scenic elements commissioned for the concert; as well, the Berg concerto will be accompanied by four acrobats. The program will also be performed in Sherbrooke on April 21.

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Creative Programs from Near and Far

Creative Programs from Near and Far

This Thursday, January 31, Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra (led by founder/music director Alex Pauk) celebrates its 30th anniversary with a massive program at Koerner Hall. The program includes Claude Vivier’s Orion, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and a brand new work by Paul Frehner, entitled Phantom Suns, and commissioned by Esprit in celebration of the orchestra’s 30th anniversary season. The work draws its inspiration from sundogs, an atmospheric phenomenon in which mock suns appear as lustrous spots of light in the sky on either side of the sun. They can be observed anywhere in the world, but are most often seen when the sun is low on the horizon.

On February 7 and 8, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (led by music director Edwin Outwater) explores the world of classical Indian music and the Bollywood phenomenom on their innovative Intersections series. The program features mridangam master Trichy Sankaran (who has been teaching at York University for over 40 years) and his daughter Suba Sankaran (of the crossover group Autorickshaw), and they’ll trace the roots and impact of classical Indian music…from Bollywood to Britney Spears. For more information, please visit kwsymphony.ca.

On February 12, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+), led by music director Véronique Lacroix, presents a program entitled Les Quatre Éléments (The Four Elements) at the Concert Hall at the Conservatoire du Musique de Montréal. Featured composers include Montrealers Éric Champagne and Emily Hall as well as Vancouverites Jocelyn Morlock and Edward Top, who have written music inspired by water, wind, fire, and earth for flute octet Alizé and solo cello. The concert will also feature Ana Sokolovic’s Vez for solo cello, and a concluding work by M. Champagne for “spatial flutes”, inspired by the British “Land Art” pioneer, Andy Goldsworthy. The program will be repeated (with different artistic personnel) in Vancouver in May. For more information, please visit ecm.qc.ca.

On March 15, the Victoria Symphony (led by Music Director Tania Miller) will give the world premiere performance of Chan Ka Nin’s Harmonious Interest for orchestra. The premiere takes place during the culminating concert of the Victoria Symphony’s month-long celebration of the 155th anniversary of Victoria’s Chinatown. The festival unites culinary, fine, and performing arts to celebrate the history of Victoria’s Chinatown—and the new work is equally embracing, as it includes theatre, dance, text (by playwright Mark Brownell) and music. Also included in the program: Dorothy Chang’s Strange Air, and the celebrated Butterfly Lovers Concerto featuring violinist Terence Tam. For more information, please visit victoriasymphony.ca.

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7th Canadian Tour for ECM+ and the Generation 2012 project

7th Canadian Tour for ECM+ and the Generation 2012 project

The Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (led by artistic director Véronique Lacroix) is in the midst of its seventh Canadian tour, starting in Banff, wrapping up in Ottawa, and including stops in Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, and London.
Typically for ECM+, it’s no typical program, either: they are touring with four new Canadian works chosen through the Generation 2012 contest, now one of the most popular composition competitions in the country. This year’s winners are Gabriel Dharmoo (Québec), Annesley Black (Ontario), Marielle Groven (Nova Scotia) and Riho Esko Maimets (Ontario). Also featured on the tour is writer and composer Nicolas Gilbert, who will (in collaboration with Ms Lacroix) guide the audience through the works; as well, one of the works is a concertante piece featuring violinist Véronique Mathieu.

To learn more about the project, to watch YouTube interviews with the composers, and to get information on nearby performances, please visit ecm.qc.ca.

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New Seasons

New Seasons

Two Montréal-based ensembles have recently announced their performance plans for the 2012-13 season.

The Appassionata Chamber Orchestra, led by Daniel Myssyk, will present a season whose context is set by three Haydn symphonies: Le Matin, Midi and Le Soir. Partnerships are also a key theme, with the orchestra celebrating links with the Camp musical Père Lindsay, Canadian Music Competitions, and Virginia’s Commonwealth University (where Maestro Myssyk also conducts) through its selection of soloists and guest ensembles. The Appassionata season kicks off with a special gala partnership with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal on September 19, with original video by Foumalade and featured soloists mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne and guitarist Tim Brady. For more information, please visit appassionata.ca.

The Quatuor Molinari (quartet in residence at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal) celebrates a busy 15th season replete with world premieres (including finalist works from its 5th annual international composition competition), repeat performances of commissioned works, and a Shostakovich cycle. For more information, please visit quatuormolinari.qc.ca.

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Imaginative Partnership in Montreal

Imaginative Partnership in Montreal

Two of Montreal’s most innovative classical ensembles are working together on a joint performance at the end of May: on May 30, Appassionata and the Ensemble contemporain de Montreal are partnering on a program entitled L’Amour Sorcier. The concert will be jointly conducted by ECM+ artistic director Veronique Lacroix and Appassionata music director Daniel Myssyk, and it features two new pieces written specially for the occasion by composers Analia Llugdar and Andrew Staniland, along with Ana Sokolović’s Nine Proverbs, and Manuel de Falla’s El amor brujo. Not only is it a musically rich evening, the presentation will also feature original videos, projected onto a giant transparent screen with the musicians and soloists also visible on stage. Soloists for the evening are singer Julie Boulianne and electric guitarist Tim Brady, and the event takes place at the acoustically-superb Salle Pierre-Mercure.


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Multi-media Programs for Music-Lovers of All Ages

Multi-media Programs for Music-Lovers of All Ages

A certain pattern has emerged in this week’s media releases from Canadian orchestras and ensembles: a remarkable number are announcing family-friendly, multi-media programs. Here’s a west-to-east round-up of what we’ve seen:

November 19 and 20, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (with guest conductor George Daugherty) is presenting 3 performances of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony.

November 13, the Calgary Philharmonic (led by resident conductor Melanie Leonard) teamed up with Storyfair Productions for a performance of Winter Solstice: A Rocky Mountain Fairy Tale – a family program that incorporates storytelling, dramatic visuals and music.

This month and next, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (led by their music director, Veronique Lacroix) presents eight performances of André Ristic’s Les Aventures de Madame Merveille, a quasi-operatic event that unites live performance of Ristic’s score by the 7-member ensemble and 4 guest soloists with giant projections of original cartoons by noted graphic artists Michael Cho, Pascal Girard, Scott Hepburn and Cameron Stewart. The tour kicks off with performances in a number of different venues in Montreal, and continues with performances in Lennoxville and Sherbrooke.

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Creative Programming in Montreal

Creative Programming in Montreal

May 2 and 3, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Music Director Kent Nagano) continue their short but vital tradition of celebrating unique Canadians in the context of standard symphonic programs. This time, the OSM presents a concert of music by Liszt (with Yefim Bronfman in the Piano Concerto #2) and Shostakovich, enriched by the world premiere of a work by Jean Lesage entitled Beatudines. This last work, introduced by actor Yves Desgagnés, is a tribute to Father Emmett Johns, founder of “Le Bon Dieu dans la rue” and known as “Pops” to his protégés. Father Johns has been doing street outreach work in Montreal for almost 25 years, and has helped countless street-involved youth. Speaking about the commission, Jean Lesage notes that “it struck me that a musical metaphor inspired by one of the most beautiful texts in the Gospels – the Beatitudes, contained in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew – would be an appropriate way to pay tribute to a man of faith whose social involvement seems to be directly inspired by a moral teaching that was highly subversive to the extent that it ran counter to accepted wisdom.”

On Wednesday, May 4 the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal led by Véronique Lacroix presents a program of three world premieres by Quebec composers David Adamcyk, Serge Arcuri and Pierre Klanac, featuring five outstanding soloists. What sets this program apart from the usual run of contemporary premieres, though, is its musical and visual juxtaposition of cutting-edge contemporary repertoire and imagery with the music of 14th Century composer Baude Cordier, rendered by period music specialist and director Matthias Maute, the video artists Foumalade, and lighting designer Lucie Bazzo. The goal? « A surprising dialogue between the 14th century and our own era.”

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Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) on Tour!

Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) on Tour!

November 5-16, Music Director Véronique Lacroix will lead the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM+) on its sixth Canadian tour, a tour that will also conclude the intrepid group’s Generation 2010 project.

Tour performances are scheduled in Victoria, Vancouver, Banff, Toronto, Ottawa, hometown Montreal, and St. John’s, and featured composers include Simon Martin (Quebec), Christopher Mayo (Ontario), Cassandra Miller (British Columbia), and Gordon Williamson (Ontario). Montreal composer Nicolas Gilbert will host the programs, designed to help audience members “experience the process of musical creation from inside the composer’s mind, to hear four composers, along with the conductor and host, reveal some of the secrets of their work on stage.”

You can watch video interviews of the composers on the ensemble’s website at ecm.qc.ca.

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People

People

Late last week, Joseph L. Rotman, Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, announced the reappointment of Robert Sirman as Director and CEO of the Canada Council for a second four-year term. Mr. Rotman characterized this as “excellent news. Mr. Sirman’s leadership over the last four years has been exemplary…Under Mr. Sirman’s leadership, the Council underwent two significant reviews: a Special Examination by the Auditor General of Canada, which said the Council was doing a good job of managing its affairs, and a Strategic Review of all of its programs, which resulted in the 2010 federal budget stating that the Council’s programs were aligned with the priorities of Canadians. The Board and I look forward to drawing upon Mr. Sirman’s wealth of experience and expertise in our continuing efforts to ensure that Canadians enjoy an abundance of arts experiences of exceptional quality across the land.”

Congratulations to Maestro John Morris Russell, Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, who has been presented with the Herb Gray Harmony Award by the Multicultural Council of Windsor, recognizing the diverse and inclusive concert series and musical programs he has developed to celebrate and promote multiculturalism in Windsor/Essex. In the announcement of the award, he was cited in this way: Maestro Russell is an advocate for Windsor/Essex and strives to reach out to all members of society. Music has given him a means of connecting with the residents of Windsor/Essex and increasing the quality of life. His diverse programming has given cultures a voice and a way through which to educate others. His education concerts specifically target students to create an awareness of other cultures early on and give composers from different cultures a medium to present their work. John Morris Russell has made Windsor/Essex a welcoming place for artists from different cultures and a city with diverse artistic talents.

The Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in piano has announced its 2010 winners. The laureates include grand prize winner Claudia Chan, a 20-year-old pianist from Ottawa currently studying in Toronto; second prize and Brandon Prize winner, Andrea Lodge of Bonavista, N.L.; third prize winner, Christopher Morano, originally of Sault Ste. Marie ON.  As well, the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers presented its Friends of Canadian Music Award to Montréal-based conductor Véronique Lacroix - also founder and artistic director of the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal – who has conducted over 200 Canadian works during her career.

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New Seasons

New Seasons

We recently received information from the Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal (ECM+) about their six-concert 2009-10 season, under the direction of founder and music director Veronique LaCroix.  Highlights include a program focusing on prize-winning ECM+ commissions, workshops and mini-concerts with rising young Canadian composers, a program of new works from France and Quebec featuring Michael Gonneville‘s Microphone Songs, a comic-strip opera by André Ristic et Cecil Castellucci , and more!  For more information on ECM+, you can visit their website here.

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