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Volume 12 - Issue 5 - February 2007

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  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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continued from page 11AP: 1 understand you wanted to be a conductor at a very,young age. ·What attracted you then? Have your reasons changed since then?YN-S: At the age of ten I knew I wanted to be a conductor, but I hadno idea why. It felt like a call, something I had to do, a tremendousattraction. For me now it's about the balance between the very individualwork of studying the scores and the very gregarious work of makingmusic with other people. That contrast is what I enjoy. When I amwith the musicians it is very important to create an atmosphere, an ambience,of work - not that we're doing this because we have to butbecause we want to. Then the miisic is so different.AP: The Orchestre Mhropolitain de Grand Montreal was a realbreak that enabled you to establish yourself as an orchestral conductor.What goals did you set when you began there and to what extenthave you succeeded in achieving those goals?\YN-S: The Orchestre Metropolitain was the big example of peopleputting their trust in me. I could never have imagined that at 2.5 Iwould become the music director of an important organization in Montreal,my home town. We have done good work together over the pastseven years. The place and the mission of the orchestra and their playingare all better than when I began and beyond what I expected. I enjoyth~ orchestra very much and it will always remain very close to myheart. So, even with Rotterdam I don't plan to leave it. What I wantedto do was to .secure the personality of the orchestra, its identity throughthe character of the music-making and its sound.AP: Can you say a little about that personality?YN-S: I am always searching in concert for the intensity of the playing.Yes, the beauty of the sound, the accuracy, but above all, therisk-taking and the electricity in the performance. I don't say that wesucceed every time, but we're trying to create that special energy.AP: . Will you be looking for more of the same in Rotterdam?!YN-S: Absolutely! It's an 0rchestra with such a drive, it's incredible.They're extremely virtuosic, extremely proud and there's a raw energythere which is incomparable. It's extraordinary, and I'm so much lookingforward.to this.Meanwhile we WholeNote readers are thrice blessed - three gloriouslyvarious opportunities to acquaint ourselves with Yannick Nezet­Seguin 's work this month. You ccm be sure such opportunities will berarer for us as he continues his rise.DISCOGRAPHYAs conductorNino ROTA February 2003(all with Orchestre Metropolitain du BrandMontreal unless noted):WEILL - ROT A September 2006BRUCKNER 7 Feb 2007As pianist:Camille SAINT-SAENS Symphonie no 3 With Suzie LeBlanc (soprano): MOZART -March 2006 lieder January 2006 .Kurt WEILL March 2005With David DO Lee (countertenor): Arianna aWith Vlaams Radio Orkest: Flemish Connexion Naxos September 2004 ·. Vol 5: Arthur DE GREEF Etcetera Oct 2004 With Alain Trudel (conductor): ConversationsGustav MAHLER Symphonie no 4 Feb 2004 September 2003With one exception (noted above), all of Yannick's CDs have been released by ATMA Classique.Ge~o ; .& Co. LimitedCONSERVATORS & PURVEYORS201 Church St., Toronto, ON. M5B IY7 Email: ghcl@idirect.comTel: 416-363-0093 ·Fax: 41 6-363-0053· www.georgeheinl.comCanada•s foremost violin ·experts.Proud of our heritage. Excited about the future.I . 0 . Musical Diaryby Colin EatockWorld Music Goes MainstreamJanuary 10, 2007: The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the- newFour Seasons Centre is almost full when I arrive for a free concert presentedby Canadian Opera Company. The programme is an unusualmixture of East and West: the Via Salzburg Chamber Orchestra, witherhu-player George Gao as a guest soloist.Gao's instrument (as he himself explains) is a kind of smallChinese cello, held on the lap and played with a bow. And as he performshis own arrangements of such Chinese melodies as "GallopingHorses," and "Crying by the River," the distinctive tone of his erhu 'cuts through the chamber orchestra like a hot knife. A fascinated audience- a mixture of connoisseurs of Chinese music and people whohave probably never seen an erhu before in their lives - enthusiasticallyapplauds Gao's virtuosity.At home, I check the COC's website and discover that there's alot of World Music happening at the Four Seasons Centre these days:mixed up with Mozart and Verdi are an African dance company and anIndian tabla player. Does this mean that World Music is becoming"mainstream"?January 13, 2007: The resona_nt acoustic of the Church of the HolyTrinity lends a glow to Kavkasia - a vocal trio that sings folk musicfrom the Republic of Georgia, in Georgian costume (although the performersare all North Americans). Like Gao's performance, Kavkasiahas attracted a mixed audience of cognoscenti. and the curious - and likeGao, the performers take the time to. explain their repertoire and instrumentsfqr the benefit of those new to Georgian music. The members ofKavkasia do not fail to impress, as they negotiate the complexities of thissurprisingly intricate music with apparent ease.After the performance, I speak to Alan Gasser (a member of thegroup who lives in Toronto) about the growing popularity of WorldMusic. "People' are looking for something new," he observes, "somethingfresh and exotic." A man seizes his hand and shakes it vigorously,"Tonight," he says in heavily accented English, "I was in Georgia!"January 20, 2007: There's a cold January wind blowing off LakeOntario, but that doesn't deter a capacity audienee from coming down tothe Harbourfront Theatre for the Chakavak 'Ensemble. This group performsfolk, classical and contemporary Persian inusic, and seems tohave a loyal following amongst Toronto's Iranian community: there's noneed to explain to this audience what a Tombak is. Dispensing withsuch gestures, the eight members of Chakavak give polished performancesof an elegant and subtle music.As a relative newcomer to the thriving world of World Music, Ifind myself comparing it to the culture of Western classical music -something I know much more about. Is World Music Toronto's "new ·classical music"? In other words, does it appeal to listeners who are 'looking for something more rarified and sophisticated than.pop music -people who, forty years ago, would have turned to the string quartets ofBeethoven or Shostakovich?And if I may further refine this little theory, I'm struck by World Music'ssimilarities to the Early (classical) Music movement of a few decadesago. Like Early Music, the ethos of World Music is at least implicitlybased on the concept of "authenticity," and its audience is amixture of novices and the initiated. And when World Music performerspause to talk about their instruments, I'm reminded of the days when theEarly Music people felt the need to say, "This is a harpsichord. It's likea piano, but its strings are plucked, instead of struck with hammers."(There was even a time when Tafelmusik experimented with periodattire, much as some World Music groups perform in national costumes- but apparently it was hard to play a cello while wearing a corset.)', Is World Music poised to burst its esoteric boundaries and becomea Big Thing? Only time will tell - bµt I, for one, am curious tosee what IJ.appens.\Colin Eatock is a Toronto-based composer and writer, who frequentlycontributes to the Globe and Mail and other publications.14 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE. COM F EB RUARY 1 - M ARCH 7 2007

World Viewby Karen AgesFebruary is Black History Month,and the music c9mmunity cel.ebrateswith several events on this theme.One that stands out in particular is aCD release concert by soprano DeniseWilliams, titled Walk TogetherChildren, featuring a mix of Blackand Jewish music, Feb 11 at the AlGreen Theatre (Miles Nadal JCC).The Antiguan-born Williams,who has a sciences background andworked in a research lab for 111anyyears before devoting herself tomusic full time, is known for herdiverse repertoire of opera, oratorio,art song, spirituals, music theatre andjazz. She has sung as soloist withthe likes of Toronto MendelssohnChoir and the Nathaniel Dett Choralein concert with the TSO. She is...also well versed in Yiddish, Ladinoand Hebrew songs, and has per­. formed at Toronto's Ashkenaz festivaland many synagogues.Her interest in Jewish music arosewhen she· was hired as a supportsinger with the Toronto Jewish FolkChoir. "There is a deep affinity betweenthe historic struggles of Blacksand Jews and a rich common groundin their· music as well," says Williams."They have each faced centuriesof oppression and have foughtlong and hard for equality and freedom,often supporting one anotherin the struggle, The songs of bothpeoples carry the suffering they endured,together with hope, faith, andthe saving grace of humour."Feb 11 she will be joined by pianistBrahmGoldhamer, NinaShapilskyonkeyboards, percussionist Sam Donkoh,guitarist Tonian Morgan, the Antiguan­Canadian choir Voices of Paradise andmembers of the Toronto Jewish FolkChoir.The aforementioned Nathaniel.Dett Chorale (an auditioned chorusdevoted to Afro-centric music, ofwhich Denise Williams was a foundingmember) presents Voices of theDiaspora, Let My People Go, February23 at the George Weston RecitalHall. The next evening, twochildren's choirs celebrate BlackHistory Month: The Oakville Children'sChoir presents Great Day!featuring spirituals, freedom songs,story telling, and African drummingand dancing, at Clearview ReformedChurch; and the Toronto MendelssohnYouth Choir presentsAfrican Celebration, featuring musicfrom several regions of Africaand Chilcott's The Making of the· Drum, with percussionist AndyMorris, at Christ Church Deer Park.Denise WilliamsA NEW INITIATIVE, the CaribouProject (St. Philip the Apostle AnglicanChurch, 201 Caribou Rd,Bathurst & Lawrence area) willshowcase contemporary artworkscreated by artists of different faithsand cultural backgrounds, exploringspirituality and soda! justice. Fibreart, photography, conceptual bookart, sculpture and puppetry are in~eluded. The Project launches February25 with a performance by Freelance'Rhythm (Teddy DinganiMesaku and Selain Melles Teclu).Through storytelling and the musicand dance of Eritrea and Zimbabwe,the performance addresses issuesfaced by youth in Africa, the Diasporaand Toronto.The CaribouProject runs from February to December2007.Not be missed, the Soweto GospelChoir from South Africa performsat the Hummingbird Centre,February 27 .and 28. The programwill include spirituals, traditionalZulu, Xhosa and Sotho gospelsongs, and folk songs. They'll bejoined by a four-piece band and traditionaldancers and drummers.Harbourfront Centre celebratesBlack History Month with Kuumba,a mini festival running February9-11. Most of the events are free,and details can be found at.www. harbourfrontcentre. com.There are two ticketed events: Griotst' Garage: A Musical Historyof the African Diaspora, journeysthrough 500 years of Afro-centricmusic, from 16th century West Africanrhythms to jazz and hip-hop.Performances are February 10, 11,13 and 14 in the Studio Theatre.And. Vieux Farka Toure, son ofMalian musician Ali Farka Toure,plays his debut CD release concerton Feb 10 in the Brigantine Room.Proceeds of the CD wili benefit thefight against malaria, the leadingcause of de;tth in African children.Harbourfront also hosts the CanAsianDance Festival, Feb 22-24.Visit www .canasiandancefestival.com for details.In Maq:h, the Karen SchuesslerSingers' Road to Freedom, March3 at First Grantham United Churchin St. Catharines, features_ classicaland other works, and stories of blacksettlers in the Niagara region, andthe Underground Railroad.February also heralds ChineseNew Year! The Canadian Sinfonietta's Feb 24 concert celebrateswith classical works and a couple ofpieces for Yang Qin and strings, featuringAnna Guo on this traditionalinstrument. The Kitchener-WaterlooChamber Music Societypresents the traditional Chinese instrumentalOrchid Ensemble, February22 (57 Young St. W in Waterloo);they also perform at McMaster'sUniversity Hall Feb 27. AndCHOIR DIRECTOR REQUIREDNew Music Concerts presents aprogram of contemporary music fromBeijing, featuring several works forPipa and ensemble, with Wei-WeiLan, soloist, I:'ebruary 16 at GlennGould Studio. ·Just a couple of mentions before .I sign off: the Hungarian StateFolk Ensemble at Roy ThomsonHall Feb 26; renowned Israeli singer/songwriter/peaceactivist ChavaAlberstein at the George WestonRecital Hall Feb 27; and W Al1003, Maori vocal harmonies andbody percussion, March 2 at Brampton'sRose Theatre.Karen Ages, a freelance oboist who hasalso been a member of several worldmusic ensembles, can be reached atworldmusic@thewlwlenote.comor 416-323-2232.A part-time Music Director for four youth choirs, ages 4-18, isrequired in Cobourg, Ontario. The La Jeunesse Girls' Choir isa 4 time international gold medal winner. The choirs haverecorded four CD's and performed many commissionedworks by well known Canadian composers.The successful candidate will be responsible for: music andartistic direction; weekly rehearsals; performances, recordings;partnering with other musical organizations; andtouring. In addition, the Choir Director must providevisionary leadership and possess the ability to motivateand inspire young choir members. A post-secondary degree inmusic with experience in choral conducting. preferred. Formore information refer to w.ww.lajeunessechoirs.ca. Sendresume to choir@haylestrom.com.Note: Additional part-time music positions are available inCobourg, including private studio opportunities.Violins, violas, cellos, and bowsComplete line ~f strings and accessoriesExpert repairs and rehairsCanada's largest stock ofstring musicFast mail order service.-----------------·-·-- ···--·-·--·--·-·-- ·---FEBRUARY 1 2007 - MARCH 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 15

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Volume 25 Issue 7 - April 2020
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