7 years ago

Volume 6 Issue 8 - May 2001

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Symphony
  • Singers
  • Arts
  • Concerts
  • Wholenote
  • Choral


MEMBERS WRITE The CANADIAN CHILDREN'S OPERA CHORUS is excitedly preparing for their first European tour! The chorus departs ~fay 17 for Germany and the Netherlands, where they will do staged perfo~ances of their opera The Snow Queen, and participate in joint choral concerts with host choirs in both countries. ST. MICHAEL'S CHOIR SCHOOL's 16-day concert tour of England and Ireland took place in April. Included in their performances was a specially commissioned piece by Tomas Dusatko, dedicated to the memory of John Arab, a leading Canadian tenor and faculty member of SMCS. Outstanding young musicians from across Canada competed in the final round of SINFONIA TORONTO's National Concerto Competition. Finalists ages 12 to 25 played complete concertos before a seven-member jury and an appreciative audience. Prize winners were violinist Nikki Chooi of Victoria, cellist Soohyun Nam of Toronto and pianist Gregory Millar ofLachine. T AFELMUSIK Goes for Baroque as they tour northern Ontario with a new education and outreach approach from April 24 to May 4. The tour alternates free ln-schooi education concerts with lectureenhanced public performances in cities from Sault Ste. Marie to Deep River, and includes a worldpremiere by composer Marjan Mozetich. · TORONTO SINFONIETTA is igniting a new spark in youth audiences with its INSTRUMENT TASTING programme. At 6:30 prior to each concert, concert-goers aged 6 to 12 are invited to a handson session with the orchestra's professional musicians, learning about, hearing and actually trying out their instruments with coaching from the pros. The TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA's Eastern Ontario Tour took place April 23 to 27, with performances, educational workshops and masterclasses in Port Hope, Kingston, Cornwall and Ottawa. Works by Prokofiev, Ryan, Stravinsky and Mozart were performed, with soloists Scott St. John, Nora Shulman and Judy Loman, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste. 20 wholenote MAY 1, 2001 - JuNE 7, 2001 Buying Instruments (2): Strings Last nwnth we looked at buying cl.arinets. This nwnth it's strings, with the help of Quentin Playfmr, luJhier, and Michael Remenyi and Sergei 'Zhukovsky of House of Remenyi. Back articles are on our website. Q: There is a vast array out there. How do you decide? . Quentin: First, be honest about what you want it for. The needs of a professional, carrying to the back of a hall are completely different from occasionally playing for pleasure. Why have a 171ii century Cremonese instrument whose range you cannot exploit? Sergei: If it's a child's first violin, ask about trade-up programs. At the beginner stage there is nothing wrong with a basic factory made intrument, which will cost between 0-00. Michael: The first upgrade happens beyond playing just in the school orchestra - taking private lessons, playing in a chamber ensemble. At this point you look for some semblance of hand-making and individuality, in the 00-5 ,000 range. A turn of the century European instrument or a good new instrument are what you are looking for at this stage. Q: Are price and sound directly linked? Quentin: No, absurd as it seems. It is impossible to codify an individual bowed instrument. Different players get very different results from the same instrument. An astute buyer may find a suitable instrument in a lower price bracket. But be warned! it's value to you will not inflate the price when you sell. The overall reputation of the maker will determine the resale price Q: VWzo can supply me with a new instrwnent? Sergei: Many sources - stores that specialise, teachers, friends or acquaintances, small ads in the papers. There is no definitive, 'right' way, but the more money I was spending, the closer I would stick to the stores. Michael: It is not a question of a higher moral position. It is a question of reputation. Reputation is hard to come by and easy to lose. Avoid the "too good to be true scenario." There are many unethical alterations to once-fine instruments. If you buy privately it is "caveat emptor." WholeNote: Shoukl I have a trial period? Quentin: Anything above a beginner's, any respectable store or dealer will permit a trial period of a week or two. The client signs a document taking responsibility for it while it is on trial. I would be very suspicious of any one asking me to choose on the spot for any instrument over 00. On the other hand, I have no patience with those buyers who exploit the situation. Sergei: Our policy is up to two instruments at a time for up to a week. WholeNote:. Shoukl I get a secpnd opinion? Quentin: Yes, but go to someone who really knows. Most people in the trade will not mind giving a free verbal comment as to the condition and value of an instrument. I would hesitate to mention where it came from - the fact that it is a competitor's stock can sometimes distort judgement a little! Michael: If you think about it, for a dealer, to be asked about a competitor's stock is a no-win situation. Sergei: Someone like Zoltan Ari in our workshop can read a violin as you would a book. Can tell you the story not only of its history but also its condition. A violin is not something that you just buy and use. It is one of the most fragile instruments, requiring ongoing professional support. You have to be able to trust your dealer, to be there for you when your instrument needs repair. It's a relationship. Q. Shoukl I check with my teacher? Quentin:. Yes, of course. But be careful. Some teachers are involved in dealing instruments, either directly or receiving commissions on sales. Michael: Teachers' role is absolutely critical in recognizing when the need for an upgrade is there to benefit the student. But I would be wary of the teacher who says "I know just the instrument for you." Sergei: The teacher becomes crucial in terms of the times to upgrade; and , recommendations about sound and tone for a particular student. Q. Shoukl I buy a new or an old instrwnent? Quentin: The best without doubt are those made 300 years ago in noithern Italy. They are also stunningly expensive. But they are not masterpieces just because they are old. I would ignore age as a ~actor. There are many good makers today. There are also many good older instruments. Don't make the mistake of fi~lling in love with an elderly wreck . A violin is a tool from which you can extract emotion in musical terms. It should not be the focus of too much emotion itself. ' Musicians in our Midst: John Greer interviewed by Allan Pul~er · As the conductor of Toronto Operetta Theatre's production of Lg_o, the Royal Cadet (May 2- 6) and the composer of the opera, The Snow Queen, which will be performed by the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus on May 12 & 13, John Greer is very much in our midst in May --more so than usual, these days. While he was very active as a musician in Toronto from 1979 to 1996, he now lives in Rochester, where he is Director of the Eastman School of M~sic Opera Theatre. And in July and August he is the musical director of two of the four productions mounted by the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. _ Only in his mid-forties, John Greer is building a musical career of considerable consequence. "How," I asked him over lunch in mid-April before a Leo rehearsal, "did he get to where he is now?" A native of Winnipeg, he studied piano there as a child and played the cello at school. He began writing music at a very young age and as a teenager was writing arrangements for his school orchestra. At the University of Manitoba he continued his piano studies and studied composition with Boyd McDonald. He went on to do graduate work at the University of Southern California, specializing in accompanying under the direction of Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Brooks Smith. In the summer of 1979 he studied with renowned accompanist, Dalton Baldwin, who suggested that if he wished to return to Canada he should .go to Toronto. Coming here in the fall of 1979, he found work as a vocal coach at the Opera School at the University of Toronto. In this job, which lie modestly describes

as his "professional apprenticeship" he worked with many singers, including Russell Braun, Tracy Dahl, Adrianne Pieczonka, Kimberly Barber, John Fanning and Catherine Robbin. Greer describes himself as "obsessed" with vocal music and with theatre. It was, therefore, a natural move for him, in addition to his work as a piano accompanist, to write arrangements of Canadian folk songs for the singers he was working with 'and also to begin directing productions for the G and S Society. What really launched him as a composer was Catherine Robbins' request in 1988 to write a song cycle for her. Once started he couldn't stop, going on to write nine more song cycles. In 1990 he was commissioned by the CCOC to compose The Snow Queen to a libretto by Jeremy James Taylor, director of the National Youth Music Theatre in England. Premiered in 1993, it led to a second commission, The Star Child, premiered in May 2qoo. With such an impressive track record as a composer of operas, John Greer was the ideal musician to take on the musical direction of Leo, the Royal Cadet. The original ~core, by Oscar Telgmann, a German-born Canadian, had problems: long, structurally. weak, the solo tessitura frequently unnecessarily limited or not well-suited to singers' actual ranges, the choral writing simplistic, and the harmonizations not always showing the composer's considerable melodic gift to advantage. Working closely with Virginia Reh, who edited the libretto, he rewrote the score, omitting weaker songs to shorten it, and composing a new finale to Act 1 to help with the structural weakness. He also re-orchestrated it for 13 instruments, emulating the chamber opera scores of his 20th century composer idol, Benjamin Britten. "Britten has taught me more about craftsmanship and personal forays into finding my own voice" than any other composer. TOT artistic director Guillermo Silva-Marin lauds Greer's "incredible enthusiasm for the music of this show - he has fallen in love with Leo - so all of us have too. He has been an inspiration!" The resulting show, with its engaging story and Telgmann's delightful melodies, promises to be a hit, both in Toronto and in Kingston where it will be presented the following weekend. In its revised, more artistically satisfying form with the new, compact, and therefore affordable, orchestration, it should be seeing many more productions across Canada. Composer, arranger, music director/conductor/teacher and collaborative pianist, John Greer epitomizes the complete working musician. We are fortunate to have him back with us, even if only for a while. ·Footnote: On May 6 Concertsingers will perform John Greer's choral arrangement of the Newfoundland folk song, "All Around the Circle:" see the listings for details. mid$umme/t music By tbe Lake Gloria Saarinen, B.Mu •• LR.s.M., A.R.A.M. Artistic Director And International Guest Faculty August 20 - 26, 2001 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuition 0.00 plus GST ' held at Tiie RCM in Mississauga, Adamson Estate on tile sllores of Lake Ontario, MISS/SSA VGA, ONT ARIO SUMMER WORKSHOP *BACH & BEYOND *ALL INSTRUMENTS INDIVIDUAL & ENSEMBLE COACHINGS WITH FIRST CLASS PERFORMER-TEACHERS *COMPOSITION*IMPROV*JAZZ PERFORMANCE* PRACTICE TIME *RECORDING SEMINAR HERITAGE WALKS *RECREATION TIME *MAXIMUM 40 PLAY, PLAY, PLAY FOR THE FUN OF IT! At MidSummer Music we work hard and we play hard! SPONSORS Drs. Ray & John Bozek, Orthodontists I Frid & Russell/ Kelly Culin Insurance Agency Ltd. Pocket Press I Royal & SunAlliance Financial For Information or Brochures: 905.825.1475 or 905.333.3357 Email Website: hnp:// Amateur Music-making is Focus of Summer Music Centre for Adults Fur 23 years, CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicians/ Musiciens Amateurs du Canada) has been operating a Summer Music Centre in Ontario. Founded in 1953 1 this bilingual, non-profit, national organization also offers summer programs for participating music lovers of all ages and levels at Lake MacDonald, north of Montreal. The Ontario branch, which was held at Cedar Glen Conference 1-----------~ Centre near Bolton for the past CAMMAC CEDAR GLEN Canadian Amateur Musicians/ Musiciens Amateurs du Canada 14 years, caters mostly to .adults. This facility was clo~ed at the start of 2001. CAMMAC has now found a new location for its Summer P .0. Box 400, Stouffville, ON L4A 7Z6 Tel: 416-964-3642 E-mail: Music Centre: Appleby Website: Location of Program: Appleby College, a private school in College in Oakville, Ontario Oakville, only 35 minutes by Program dates: July 29-August 5 car from downtown Toronto. August 5 -12 This new site, with superior Age of participants: Adults and facilities, will allow for growth children under 18 with if desired. accompanying adult Each evening at the Summer Level: amateur at various levels Music Centre there is different Application deadline: July 15, 2001 musical activity, ranging from Music Fees: 0 cabaret style entertainment to Residential Fees: 5-5 cdn formal concerts and informal Day Students: 0, includes jam sessions and sing-alongs. · lunch and dinner. As well as attending the Program focus: up to 6 courses a daytime classes, participants day in various instruments, large may form their own ad hoc and small ensembles, musical theatre, jazz, vocal training, groups and/or relax in the composition, arranging, music swimming pool, at the tennis history, steel pan drums and or squash courts, or enjoy theory. Professional coaching. walking on or off the beautiful '-----------~ · campus at Appleby College. c~c Cedar Glen Summer Music Centre Please note our New Location at APPLEBY COLLEGE, OAKVILLE · on the shores of Lake Ontario 30 minutes west from downtown Toronto Plan the perfe

Volumes 21-25 (2015-2020)

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)