8 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 8 - May 2007

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  • Jazz
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WE ARE ALL Music's

WE ARE ALL Music's CHILDRENcontinued from page 25APRIL'S CHILDRENRussell and Adi ·Braunspent their childhood and teen years in Frankfurt and Bavaria,the children of Canadian baritone Victor Braun andGerman mezzo-soprano Eraine Schwing-Braun.The breathtaking success of Adi's lateral move seven yearsago from classical music to jazz, and Russell's ascendingstardom as one of the most sought-after lyric baritones on theinternational stage, are fine histories in the making. They cameto Canada as young people with their families, bringingwith them musical talent and drive and childhood experiences.Nurtured by family, partners, mentors and their musiccommunities, they are realizing their dreams,and contributing back.Ask either of these two articulate and emotionallyintelligent singers how music figured intheir childhoods and they will draw breath toreply, and then there will be a long pause, followedby a sigh. It's at once an expression ofpleasure and of not knowing where to begin.Well now! ... they both say ... . music wasjust ... everywhere.One parent or the other was always vocalising.Their childhood homes rang withpowerful voices: operatic music, lieder, themusic theatre favourites of their parents'North American friends.There was the classical repertoire commonto all young people who have piano lessons.Both speak of a visionary young piano teacherwhose lessons sometimes consisted of"just listening to great music, and talking.about it", despite a (sometimes) authoritarian .father who demanded to know why theywere not practising more scales.More fundamentally, they were exposedto the richness of the folk and popular musictraditions from their mother's German family- including a grandmother who spent 14years farming in South Africa - and the complexcif music that came from their father'supbringing as a Mennonite in North America:Here comes Peter Cottontail meets SarieMarais ... in Europe.Russell's earliest memories include lyingunder the piano during musical parties, andwatching mom exercise to Harry,Belafonterecords. Adi's vivid memories of singing inthe car mirror her brother's: "You are mySunshine" and "Sometimes I feel like aMotherless Child" in four-part harmony,from Munich to Frankfurt.There was room in their lives, as individuatingteens, for shared fascination with ManhattanTransfer, and Abba. Adi, in her basement. bedroom.was already secretly gorging herself ·on Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland, andplaying· her bongo drums to Santana recordings.At 19 she presented her parents with afait accompli demo recording - four jazz/musictheatre songs. Her parents were proud and admiring,but their father in particular assertedthat classical music was a better career choice.By the time of moving to Canada (Adiwas 20, Russell was 17) both were alreadyserious music students -Adi as.a classicalsinger, and Russell as a pianist. His move tosinging began with a teacher, also an accom-56 .panist, who increasingly had Russell "justsing this", and offered a little coaching.Music was always for sharing ... they bothsay this, too.Through his teens, Russell would play forhis mother while ~he sang Schumann's Frauenliebeun Leben, much in the same way thatpeople might share a favourite book or watch amovie together. Recalling his parents' toleranceof his teenage appetite for Queen, Russell commentsthat his own child right now is askingfor an I-Pod or similar device. Russell's reluctanceis only partly out of concern for Benjamin'sundamaged hearing. Russell says he'drather the music was cranked up on speakerswhere they can both hear it: "I want his musicto be something we can share."And he'll tell you for sure how much heloves to hear his sister sing: admiring the courageand honesty it took to step away from themusic she was groomed to perform, to sharewithout apology the music that is colourfullyhers.Adi will tell you that it ~as her partner,Linda Ippolito, who entered her in a talent contestwhere she would finally perform i:he musicshe hungered for, and her clo~e friend sopranoA.drienne Pieczonka who affirmed "Oh ... that'sreally you!", on hearing her sing a jazz tune:the cues she takes professionally are personal.Inspired by improvisation and collaborationduring a recent Banff Centre residency, Adiaffirms over and over again that·music is forsharing (she might also tell you that shesings for her appreciative cat).They both say that it's still SO easy tofind their mother in any audience: how sheradiates pleasure, including (discreetly wearinglittle blue earplugs) listening in barswhere their brother Torsten (ten yearsyounger than Russell), fronts a metal bandand plays keyboards:Adi:"Teaching is a very important part ofmy life: all ages, all backgrounds.It completesthe cycle of giving and receiving. Musicis the great transcender"Russell: "I hesitate to say this, because itmight sound a little peculiar, but I believethat music is one of the most fundamentalways in which ... not in any weird kind ofway ...... people ... consummate .... their relationshipswith each other. "Lucky people.WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMmJ BuellMUSICAL LIFE 1Willing Slaves Raise the Roofat Singsations Saturdayby mJ buellSaturday morning, late in April: Cameron Hall atY orkminster Park Baptist Church is bursting atthe seams with an array of ordinary-looking peopleof all ages, stretching, buzzing their lips, singingwarm-up exercises with a conductor.There's coffee and tea brewing, fruit and cookieson side tables, piles of scores circU!ating, peoplescrambling for chairs, shuffling pages.Just another choir practice? Not at all. There'sa rare buzz in the air, and a hungry look in theeyes of the assembly.After a brief review of Italian phonics, the pianistbegins to strum the introduction. One byone people transform as they start to sing. Eyesbrighten, chins lift, chests swell, spirits soar,and the sound is astonishing: a potent reminderthat opera choruses, often people who'd liketo be opera singers, often do not sound at alllike slaves, or servants, or soldiers, or villagepeople. Maybe they should."Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate;va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colliove olezzano tepide e mollil'aure dolci de! suolo natal! ... ,,The beloved, familiar Chorus of the HebrewSlaves from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Nabuccois well served by people bound by 'a commonpassion, seeking freedom: in this case the passionis singing and the emotional freedom enabledby singing. The event is called SingsationSaturdays, a programme of the TorontoMendelssohn Choir. · 'Engagingly directed by Ann Cooper Gay,whose years of experience in both opera and choralconducting made her an.ideal candidate for thejob, they sight-read choruses from Carmen, MerryWidow, Flederdmaus, La Traviata, The resultswere powerfully heartfelt, and remarkably accomplished.They were also treated to an impromptu,high-spirited performance by membersof the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus (AnnCooper Gay is their regular conductor).The TMC began these volunteer-run publicworkshops (a brainchild of Noel Edison's) in1999 as an outreach initiative. People come tosing major repertoire with 'a guest conductorand members of the TMC. Guest conductors shareinsights into the music, the composer, and thehistoric context of the composition.These days, including TMC members, regularsand newbies, it attracts upwards of 75singers per session. The programme hasevolved over the years to include having a Ca.­nadian composer/conductor lead one of the nowfive yearly sessions, and a Gospel workshop,usually during Black History month..Singsation Saturday workshops: 10:30 1:00 p.m.; per person per session,scores available to borrow for the day. There'sa social break with refreshments: a cham:e tomeet the conductor and visit with other singers.Participants are encouraged to either callthe TMC office at (416) 598-0422 ext.24 oremailKimber Jonah toregister.M AY 1·J UNE 7 2007

MUSICAL LIFE 2AUDIENCE WANTED:Young Canadian PianistsCompete for Incredible Prizesby ml BuellTwenty five years ago the TorontoSymphony Volunteer Committeelaunched a competition to encourageand foster talented young local pianists.By 1994 it was a national competition,the winner performing inthe TSO's Light Classic Series.From 2001 to 2005 this biennialcompetition was sponsored by TD.Today it is the Bosendorfer NationalPiano Concerto Competition,expanded from two days to threeto accommodate an increasingnumber of participants.The Bosendorfer com1ection isnew this year, raising the bar interms of extraordinary prizes andopportunities for the winners.Spearheaded by Robert Lowrey, thisgiant step forward arose thoughLowrey's association with the TSO(the Mozart Festival, the New CreationsFestival), and Maestro PeterOundjian's appreciation for theSchimmel and Bosendorfer pianoswhich are the basis of Lowrey'sbusiness (Robert Lowrey's PianoExperts).TSO Vice President of Marketing& Business Development MikeForrester mentioned that the ConcertoCompetition was without a sponsor,and Lowrey found himself thinkingthat as a higher-profile event, it couldbe more profoundly effective in assistingyoung musicians. And at theend of a year of Mozart, how fittingit would be that Austrian-basedBosendorfer could be involved.It's a good fit: what better wayfor Bosendorfer (who produce onlyabout 500 of their hand-made instrumentsper year), to secure their ownfuture than by embracing one youngardent musician at a time.The first prize winner gets aBosendorfer practice instrument fora full year, Bosendorfer instrumentsfor public performances, and a performancein the Bosendorfer hall inVienna, 00 Roy Thomson Hall ·cash prize, and an autumn performancewith the TSO in the Light Classicsseries. That's just the.first prize.Second prize: 00 from the TorontoSymphony Volunteer Committee,and a performance with MooredaleConcerts, particularly auspiciousthis year because of the death ofKristine Bogyo, and (her husband)pianist Anton Kuerti' s commitmentCONTINUES NEXT PAGErz11/l/l/l#,'l/l/l/,ll/l/l/L#l/l/l/I tt~~314 Churchill Ave~~ Toronto, Ontario ~~ M2R 1 E7 Canada ~~ Tel: 416-224-1956 '~ Fax: 416-224-2964 ¥. ~ MIKROKOSMOS f~ l l~w e b uyyour ~' classical LP ~~ ~~ cone·ction ~~ ~~ r' (classical, such as ~~ Beethoven, Mozart, ~' Stockhausen) ~i ; ~~ we travel anywhere ~~ for good collections ~~ ~#p' 1/1/1/l ·H /l / I /.# ff I/I/I /I I/I /I/I I~AUDITIONSFOR THE 2007-2008 SEASON•WEDNESDAY EVENINGJUNE 6TH, 2007•WEDNESDAY EVENINGAUGUST 29TH, 2007Openings for All Treble Voices - S1, S2, Ai, A2ORIANA Women's Choir is a well-establishedclassical treble-voice choir in Toronto.Rehearsals Wednesday Evenings3 Subscription Concerts, Various OthersFor information contact ORIANA Women's Choir:Tel: 416-923-3123 Email: Web: l8~~~ torontdartsbauncil ~ A c.nadaCouncil ConHlldnArts~ NEWS •o • ...,., loo•'" h

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