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Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018

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In this issue: Canadian Stage, Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera collaborate to take Gogol’s short story The Overcoat to the operatic stage; Montreal-based Sam Shalabi brings his ensemble Land of Kush, and his newest composition, to Toronto; Five Canadian composers, each with a different CBC connection, are nominated for JUNOs; and The WholeNote team presents its annual Summer Music Education Directory, a directory of summer music camps, programs and courses across the province and beyond.


FOR THE RECORD JUNO NOMINATIONS FOR CLASSICAL CANADIAN COMPOSERS DAVID JAEGER The five composers who have works nominated in this year’s JUNO category for Classical Composition of the Year form a formidable group of mid-career Canadian creators: James Rolfe, Alice Ho, Andrew Staniland, Jocelyn Morlock and Vincent Ho. I first met them as emerging young composers through my work at CBC Radio; since then, all have developed into significant artists, shaping the future of Canadian composition. I recently asked each of them to frame their currently nominated piece in the context of their past and current work. James Rolfe: When I first met James Rolfe (b.1961) he was a prize winner in the CBC/Radio- Canada National Competition for Young Composers in 1990, which I coordinated for CBC Radio. His winning composition, Four Songs on Poems by Walt Whitman for bass voice and piano, revealed early evidence of his gift for writing for the voice. In 1998, his opera Beatrice Chancy, commissioned by Queen of Puddings and the first of his ten operas, at the current count, introduced the vocal world to soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Rolfe’s current JUNO-nominated composition Breathe was commissioned in 2010 by Soundstreams Canada. The impetus for the commission was to provide a new Canadian work for Soundstreams to bring together the vocalists in the European group, Trio Medieval, and the musicians of the Toronto Consort, directed by David Fallis. Breathe appears on a Centrediscs release, and also gives the CD its title. Rolfe says the JUNO nomination is welcome recognition for all the great artists who made this CD – writers, singers, musicians and production team. “The three pieces on it are dear to my heart: my collaborations with their writers (André Alexis, Anna Chatterton, Steven Heighton) led me to places I had never been – lyrical, emotional and playful places I still return to in my current work, places I can still find new means of expression, new ways to weave voices together.” In addition to Breathe (libretto by Anna Chatterton), the CD includes two dramatic Rolfe works commissioned by Toronto Masque Theatre, Europa (libretto by Steven Heighton) and Aeneas and Dido (libretto by André Alexis). Towards the end of March, and just a few days after JUNO night, Rolfe’s newest opera The Overcoat will have its world premiere at the St. Lawrence Centre in a co-presentation by Canadian Stage and Tapestry. Morris Panych is the librettist, whose book is based on the short story of the same name by the 19th-century author Nicolai Gogol (1809–1852). Alice Ping Yee Ho: My first encounter with the music of Alice Ping Yee Ho (b.1960) was in 1994 and during another CBC Radio broadcast of a composers’ competition, when we broadcast her orchestral work, Ice Path from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s (WSO) New Music Festival. Ho’s work was a finalist in the WSO Canadian Composers’ Competition, and her music already bore the trademarks of her vividly colourful style. Ho’s Glistening Pianos was nominated in the 2015 JUNO Classical Composition of the Year category, and her duo for violin and piano, Coeur à Coeur, is nominated in that same category this year. The work was written especially for the husband-and-wife team, Duo Concertante: violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves. Ho explains: “The idea of the commission came at a sushi dinner in Toronto, with the idea of a composition about Nancy and Tim’s life. Their beautiful story of two lovers and artists struggling and pursuing their dreams is real and inspiring. The element of writing from the heart becomes something I cherish in my ongoing works, regardless of styles or genre.” The recording is on a CD titled Incarnation on the Marquis label. Alice Ho recently completed a children’s opera with librettist Marjorie Chan, The Monkiest King, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus. Public performances of the opera will be at the Lyric Theatre, Toronto Centre for the Arts on May 26 and 27. Ho’s most recent recording will be launched shortly after JUNO night. It’s a CD of her chamber music titled The Mysterious Boot, featuring flutist Susan Hoeppner, cellist Winona Zelenka and pianist Lydia Wong on the Centrediscs label. continued on page 86 84 | March 2018

KOERNER HALL IS: “ A beautiful space for music “ THE GLOBE AND MAIL Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus The Glenn Gould School Opera 2018 WED., MAR. 14, & FRI., MAR. 16, 7:30PM PRE-CONCERT TALK 7PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only The extraordinary artists of The Glenn Gould School vocal program and Royal Conservatory Orchestra perform their annual staged opera, Die Fledermaus, a thoroughly high-spirited operetta of disguises and partly mistaken identities. Clemens Hagen with Kirill Gerstein SUN., MAR. 18, 3PM PRE-CONCERT TALK 2PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only Austrian cellist Clemens Hagen and Russian-born pianist Kirill Gerstein, described as “brilliant, perceptive and stunningly fresh” by The New York Times, will perform an all Ludwig van Beethoven program. Generously supported by David G. Broadhurst and Brayton Polka. Takács Quartet SUN., MAR. 25, 3PM PRE-CONCERT TALK 2PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only The New York Times lauded the ensemble for “revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more.” Program includes works by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. Generously supported by David G. Broadhurst Bernstein @ 100 featuring Jamie Bernstein, Wallis Giunta, Sebastian Knauer, and the ARC Ensemble FRI., APR. 6, 8PM / PRE-CONCERT TALK 7PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only A joyful celebration of Leonard Bernstein on the occasion of his centenary, with German pianist, Sebastian Knauer, Jamie Berstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein, Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, and The ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory). Generously supported by David G. Broadhurst Presented in memory of Gary Miles KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra and David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana SAT., APR. 7, 8PM KOERNER HALL Tickets start at only KUNÉ, Canada’s Global Orchestra, features top notch musicians from all over the world now living in Canada, who have been brought together by The Royal Conservatory. At this special concert, KUNÉ launches their debut recording with Universal Music. They are joined by award-winning trumpeter and composer, David Buchbinder, and Grammy Award nominated Cuban piano master, Hilario Durán, with their band, Odessa/Havana. Generously supported by Diana & Philip Weinstein Rolston String Quartet with Robert McDonald SUN., APR. 8, 2PM MAZZOLENI CONCERT HALL Free tickets can be reserved starting Mon., April. 2. Canada’s Rolston String Quartet, comprised of alumni of The Glenn Gould School, captured the musical world’s attention by winning the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. They will perform Debussy’s String Quartet and will be joined by pianist Robert McDonald for Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat Major, op. 44. Generously supported by Dorothy Cohen Shoichet TICKETS & SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! 416.408.0208 WWW.RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR 237 BLOOR ST. & AVENUE STREET RD.) WEST TORONTO (BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO

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