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Volume 16 Issue 5 - February 2011

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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R E M E M B E R I N

R E M E M B E R I N GAhmed Hassan, circa 1980.Marrying Music and Dance: Ahmed Hassan (1955–2011)for choreographers, exploring together the ancient marriage of dance and music. AhmedHassan, who died in Toronto on January 19 aged 55 did just that, moreover developing hispassion into a successful career.Born in New York City to Egyptian parents, Hassan’s family moved to Cairo, thensettling in Halifax in 1969. While a student of biochemistry at Dalhousie University, hislife’s path took a decisive turn toward music after encountering the charismatic drummerRicardo Abreut of the Toronto Dance Theatre, another self-taught dance musician.Starting in the late 1970s Hassan began playing for dance classes and collaborating witha long list of leading Canadian modern dance choreographers. Hassan moved to Torontoin the early 1980s to work with the Desrosiers Dance Theatre. With fellow composer JohnLang, Hassan co-composed the music for Desrosiers’ acclaimed Blue SnakeInner Rhythmrecords the composers’ creative process. Hassan also played a role in the city’s emergingworld music scene. For a time his home was the base for Arabic music classes whereSable/SandAward for choreography for Serge Bennathan, Dancemakers’ Artistic Director. Thecolleague the renowned dancer-choreographer Peggy Baker. Hassan’s last creative projectFourteen Remembered, a requiem to commemorate the lives of the murdered women ofMontréal’s École Polytechnique, was performed annually from 1998 to 2001 at variousToronto venues including Massey Hall.Hassan had suffered from progressive MS since 1987; nevertheless he courageouslycontinued to perform into the mid-1990s with Peggy Baker.—Andrew TimarPHOTO JOHN LAUENERA Life Well-Lived: Antonín Kubálek (1935–2011)ANTONÍN KUBÁLEK WAS A GREAT AND GOOD MAN whom I had the honour ofin the absurd. Life never failed to supply him with suitable material, even in his childhood.however he was required to wear a bag over his head in the classroom so that his comradesshould not feel disadvantaged! Later, as a rising young pianist, he would be sent out on toursaccordion laid out for him. He knew from experience to always have a packed bag ready, soat the Canadian Embassy, he was shown a map and chose a city called Toronto, because heHis arrival here soon caught the attention of Glenn Gould, who produced a unique albumof his playing. Anton was incredulous that in the middle of July Gould still stuck with histrademark overcoat, cap and gloves in the sweltering Eaton Auditorium. The CBC also tooknote; producer David Jaeger in particular employed Anton to bring to life numerous newrecorded in Troy, N.Y. in the 1990s for the Dorian label, which he independently re-releasedthis past summer on-line at CDbaby.com.His last decade was blessed by the presence of two angels, his second wife Pat anddaughter Karolina. They had travelled as a family to Prague this fall and planned to spenda year there so that Karolina could advance her piano studies. Cruel though it is to have losthim there so unexpectedly, I cannot imagine a happier end to a fruitful life, so thoroughlyenjoyed and savoured, than to be surrounded by those he loved best.—Daniel FoleyRecent photo, courtesy of Patricia Kubálek.56 thewholenote.comNovember 1 - December 7, 2010

We Are All Music’s ChildrenSweetheart SpecialMJ BUELLDid you know there’s a sculpture and plaque for Mary Pickford in front of Hospitalfor Sick Children? “America’s Sweetheart,” a founder and vice-president of UnitedArtists, and icon from the early days of moving pictures, was born Gladys MarySmith in a home on University Avenue near Gerrard. Her father died when she was quiteyoung and left the family near-destitute. Mary’s mother took in sewing and was workingToronto stock theatre.Here are photos of “February’s Children” in WholeNote from the past 6 years. a pair of tickets to SWEETHEART: The Mary Pickford Story, a musical by Dan Burry,presented at Spadina Museum (February 10 - 27).FEBRUARY’S CHILDREN, 2005-2010February 2005 >February 2010February 2009February 2006February 2008February 2007 >Music’s Children gratefully acknowledges Christine, Stephanie, Roberta, Vanessa, and all ofFebruary’s Children.WHO IS FEBRUARY’S CHILD?Already smiling on the podium!Never choirboy material, butHis gospel, as a mentor, and thesecret to having rhythmic chops? Concertsin the GTAand in Concerts Beyond the GTA sharingYour challenge? not only who the little guy isFebruary!Send your best guess to musicschildren@thewholenote.commailing address just in case your name isdrawn!Winners will be selected by randomdraw among correct replies received byÉglise St. Joseph, Montreal, 1973.February 1 - March 7, 2011 thewholenote.com 57

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