lNQUODLIBETPeter DeSotto: Reinventing Quartetto GelatoDECEMBER 2006 CynthiaSteljes, co-founder of QuartettoGelato, died after a short but intensebattle with an asbestos-relatedform of lung cancer. After atwo-year period of reconstruction,now with two new members, andwith the next two seasonsplanned, including an autumn2009 Asian tour, the ensemble hasbeen re-incarnated. Its other cofounder,violinist, tenor and Cynthia's widower, Peter DeSotto,brings continuity; and managementis provided by entrepreneurand graphic designer DarleneKulig. The group celebrates itsrebirth with CD launch concertsat the National Gallery of Canadain Ottawa on March 19 and at Toronto'sGlenn Gould Studio onMarch 21.Allan Pulker talked to Peter inmid February about the ensemble,its meteoric ascent, the tragicloss of Cynthia, its members, wayof working and the new CD andconcert.Allan: How did you.find the strength and thewill to keep going after Cynthia 's death? Itwas a devastating loss, for you as her husband,of course, but also for the other membersof the quartet as well.Peter: I have a lot of trouble talking about it.Cynthia was a real sweetie. But I made acommitment to her that I would keep thegroup going; and it's also a commitment tomyself as an artist. This is what makes lifeworthwhile.A: You had been doing this for over fifteenyears when Cynthia died. ls this what youwanted to be doing?P: Yes, we were deliriously happy and wewere lucky like no other group was. We hadjust amazing opportunities and we used themwell. Her death was very unexpected.Everything was going just great, then suddenlyshe was hit and in six months she wasgone. She had surgery in which her lung wasremoved and two weeks later she startedplaying again, with one lung, and she soundedgreat. We were all celebrating; we thoughtwe had won ... she can play with one lung, noproblem, we're thrilled, let's go ... then twoweeks later we found out that the cancer hadspread to the other lung, and that was theend.by Allan PulkerA: Not many people have had to endure whatyou've endured.P: I have amazing friends , fans and family,people who really carried me through thiswhole thing. With their help I was able to doit. But, you know, it's these experiences thatmake you a great musician, a person who actuallyhas something to say. You don't live apassive life, a life without anything happeningto you and come out with profound performances.A: Let's go back to Quartetto Gelato 's beginnings.How and when did it get started?P: We always say that we started the day westarted our bank account in 1993; but wewere actually performing for at least a yearbefore that.In 1992 I was a member of the TorontoSymphony Orchestra. I went to Gunther Herbigand told him that I was going to needsome time off. He asked how much and I saidI needed seventy concerts off. His reply leftno doubt that this was the point at which I hadto make a decision whether I was going to bea Toronto Symphony player or a QuartettoGelatian!A: So you took the plunge.P: By this point we were booked to do the DebutAtlantic tour - forty engagements. Wewon the NPR Artist of the YearAward, and then immediately everybodyin Canada started booking us likecrazy! Immediately after that IMGArtists in New York got wind of us,and they signed us on and suddenly wewere all over the United States. Wesold 50,000 copies of our first CD,which was unprecedented - we wereactually outselling the three tenors.A: You can't have known it was goingto take off like this!P: No idea. It was music to entertainourselves. We did the repertoire wewanted to play, the way we wanted tohear it. I wanted to do my operaticarias, of course, and I had been astrolling violinist to put myselfthrough school. So, I said, I'll dosome strolling violin, and Cynthiawanted to do some virtuosic showpieces,so virtuosity and tenor ariasbecame the group's themes. We addedfolk music, then tango and it justwent on and on.A: Was there a role model, a groupthat was an inspiration for you?P: The Canadian Brass, our mentors. Theywere the first and we were the second classicalcrossover entrepreneurs. They make aliving at it and so do we; like us, and unlikemost other chamber ensembles, they don' thave a residency to fall back on.A: Tell me about the other members.P: Our cellist is Carina Reeves. Carina isvery theatrical, flamboyant, beautiful, both tolook at and a great musician. Our clarinetist,Kornel Woleck, is the fastest clarinetist I' veever heard. He came here to study withJoaquin Valdepefias - the clarinet guru of theworld - who told me he was the most talentedstudent he'd ever had. We snatched him up ,and are lucky to have him.As for Alex [Sevastian], there are veryfew accordionists who can play the way heplays. He's a four time world champion - hewins competitions for a hobby!I really like this combination of people. I'mfeeling so confident with them, and we ' regetting audience reaction like we've neverhad.A: How do CDs fit into the business?P: CD sales have dropped off substantiallysince the MP3 and musical downloading, butat the same time more people are coming to ourconcerts and we' re getting a broader audience.10WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMMARCH 1 - APR IL 7 2009
DON'T MISS THIS UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNIextraordinary space, the new home of The Glenn GGGS OPERA BRIAN CURRENT ANAGNOSON & KINTON ATIS BANKASTHE GLENN GOULD SCHOOLPRESENTSThursday, April 2, 2009 7:30pmFriday, April 3, 2009 7:30pmSunday, April S, 2009, 2:00pmTuesday, April 7, 2009, 1:00pmRising Stars SeriesGGS Opera: MOZART'S cosi FAN TUTTEGlenn Gould School Opera Ensemble andthe Royal Conservatory OrchestraMARIO BERNARDI, Music DirectorJENNIFER PARR, Stage DirectorMaestro Mario Bernardi returns for a secondseason to conductThe GGS Opera Ensemble in aconcert version of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte.Location: Mazzoleni Hall, The RoyalConservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.Tickets: Free (donations in support ofThe GGSOpera Ensemble gratefully accepted)Thursday, April 16, 2009, 8:00pmRising Stars SeriesNEW MUSIC EMSEMBLEBRIAN CURRENT, conductorJoin The GGS New Music Ensemble for an hour ofcutting-edge contemporary music for acoustic andelectronic media.Location: The Conservatory Theatre, The RoyalConservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.Tickets: Free (donations in support ofThe GGS NewMusic Ensemble gratefully accepted)THE ROYAL CON ERVATORYPRESENTSLocation: All concerts at Mazzoleni Hall -The Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH RCM BOX OFFICE(General Admission)Sunday, March 1, 200Great Artists SeriesANAGNOSON & KINTO , piano duoProgramme: ARENSKI Suite No. 1BRAHMS Variation on a Th me by HaydnDVORAK Selected 1 Piano, hands worksGERSHWIN Rhapsody in BI eTickets: adult, stu entsSunday, March 8, 200 2:00pmGreat Artists SeriesNADINA MACKIE JACKS N, bassoonGUY FEW, trumpetWith a guest string ensem leProgramme: BALDASSARE onata No. 1,VIVALDI Concerto No. 26, LAC NER Concertina Op 43,LUSSIER Bacchanale, and o hersTickets: adult, stu entsDIANNE WERNERFriday, April 17, 2009 8:00pmGreat Artists SeriesATIS BANKAS, violinDIANNE WERNER, pianoLUIS MARIO OCHOAThis concert will feature Karol Shimanovsky'sNocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28, Leos Janecek'sBallade and two of the greatest works written forthese instruments, the Frank Sonata for Violin &Piano and Debussy Sonata for Violin and Piano.Tickets: adult, studentsThursday, April 23, 2009 7:30pmWorld Music ConcertsLUIS MARIO OCHOA QUINTET, Cubanand Latin jazzCuban-born Luis Mario Ochoa leads his newlyformed quintet in a program featuring music fromhis latest CD Momentos Cubanos.Tickets: adult, studentsPlease visit RCMUSIC.CA for a list of allour other free concerts, master classesand events.JOIN US FOR THE CONTINUINGBEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTO LECTURESERIES WITH INTERNATIONALLYACCLAIMED PIANIST ANTON KUERTIFriday, March 20, 2009 and Friday, April 3, 20092:00pm atThe Royal Conservatory. Admissionis free.
and instrumental accompaniment that
and instrumental accompaniment that