North Okanagan Community Concert Association
Diversity... and excellence
A concert series presented by the
North Okanagan Community Concert Association
67th Concert Season • 2019 - 2020
$62.50 Youth 18 and under
Saguenay and Lafayette String QuartetsGala Evening
The Saguenay String Quartet, formerly known as the Alcan Quartet - violinists Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin, and cellist David Ellis, has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation in 1989. Celebrating 25 years, the Quartet’s originality, contagious enthusiasm, unique sonority, and remarkable cohesion have all contributed to its long-term success. The ensemble’s list of accomplishments is impressive: 1000 concerts; over 100 live radio broadcasts, numerous television appearances; tours throughout North America, Europe, Asia; and a number of commissioned pieces and first performances.
The Quartet’s recent tours have led the Quartet in Italy, France, the United States, Asia and all over Canada. Its last visit to the Lanaudière Festival, accompanied by pianist Alain Lefèvre, was hailed by more than 6,000 people and welcomed by enthusiastic critics. This concert was also awarded the Opus Prize for the concert of the year by the Conseil québécois de la musique, as well as a Félix (Adisq) prize for the recording of the same André Mathieu repertoire.
Another cornerstone in the Quartet's history, is the release of its highly anticipated Complete cycle of Beethoven's 16 string quartets as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. In addition to its performing career, the Quartet is regularly invited to teach and conduct master classes at universities, conservatories, and summer chamber music institutes both in Quebec and abroad. The Saguenay String Quartet is based in Chicoutimi, Québec, where it receives the unconditional support of the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay.
The Lafayette String Quartet - violinists Ann Elliott-Goldschmidt and Sharon Stanis, violist Joanna Hood, and cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni. In July 1986, these four young musicians, based in Detroit and just beginning their professional careers, performed together for the first time as the Lafayette String Quartet. Today the LSQ continues to flourish with its original personnel. The members of the Lafayette String Quartet divide their time between entertaining audiences all over North America and Europe and teaching some of Canada’s finest young string players. Their residency at the University of Victoria is rich in local performances and community involvement. Their concerts in Canada and abroad are hailed as “Passionate, riveting, and with flawless ensemble.”
The LSQ’s extraordinary musicianship was recognized early on. Already in 1988, it was ranked among the magazine Musical America’s “Young Artists to Watch,” and in its first years it won the Grand prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and prizes at the Portsmouth (now City of London) International String Quartet Competition, and the Chicago Discovery Competition. As winners of the 1988 Cleveland String Quartet Competition, the LSQ had the opportunity to study for two years with the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, New York.
In 1991, the four women became artists-in-residence at the University of Victoria’s School of Music, in British Columbia—positions they still hold today. They received honorary doctorates from University Canada West and were honored with the inaugural Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression in 2010 from the University of Victoria.
The LSQ has performed across Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe, with concerts often allied with masterclasses and workshops. They often collaborate with other string quartets including the Saguenay (Alcan), the New Zealand, the Penderecki, the Molinari, the Emily Carr, and the Quarteto Latinoamericano.
The music of Russian-Canadian composer and conductor Airat Ichmouratov, has been performed by a wide range of ensembles and musicians in countries around the world.
Ichmouratov was named as Resident Composer 2012 at Concerts aux îles du Bic (Canada), In 2013 he was the Composer of Summer at Orford Arts Centre (Canada) and in 2015 Summer Composer at 17e edition of the Festival Classique des Hautes- Laurentides (Canada). As of 2010, Ichmouratov is the Associate Composer with Canadian Music Centre.
Born in Kazan, Russia, Airat Ichmouratov studied clarinet at the Kazan State Conservatory. In 1993, when he was appointed as Associate clarinetist of the Tatarstan’s Opera and Ballet Theatre, and of the Kazan State Symphony Orchestra, he began to extensively tour Europe. In 2000, he obtained a Master degree at the University of Montreal. He then founded the Muczynski Trio, which won first prize and the Grand Award at the National Music Festival (Canada, 2002) and First Prize at the 8th International Chamber Music Competition in Krakow (Poland, 2004). The Trio has also recorded for CBC and has given performances in Canada, China, Russia, and Europe.
In 2000, Mr. Ichmouratov joined the Klezmer group Kleztory, in which he plays the clarinet, composes, and arranges. In 2004, Kleztory recorded a very unique CD; Klezmer Music with I Musici de Montreal and Yuli Turovsky, recorded on the “Chandos” label (Great Britain). In 2007 Kleztory’s album “Nomade” won the Opus Prize. His most recent (2014) Album Arrival was nominated as Best album of the Year in the Traditional music category by ADISQ. In 2012, Kleztory won Klezmer Furth Prize at International Klezmer festival and Competition in Amsterdam, and as a result, appeared at the Furth Klezmer Festival during the following spring. With Kleztory Ichmouratov has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Les Violons du Roy, and Brussels Chamber Orchestra and toured intensively in Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Romany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, and China.
Georgian Music review – Glorious Strings by Catherine Waffle
With the opening notes of this concert, it became apparent to the Barrie audience in the Georgian Music series that they were witnessing and hearing world-class talent! The aptly-titled concert, “Glorious Strings”, featured not one, but two of the greatest string quartets based in Canada. The Lafayette Quartet has been the quartet in residence at the University of Victoria in BC since 1991. These four talented women have performed together for more than 30 years. Today they combined forces with The Saguenay Quartet from Chicoutimi, Quebec to present a programme of String Octets – a bit of a rarity in the musical world. The Saguenay musicians have also been together for decades and their solid cohesion was evident.
String Octets present an interesting and challenging form. Unlike other ensembles, where instrument groups, such as violins, all play the same part – the octet offers 8 individual parts playing simultaneously. It allows for rich sonorities, a depth of sound and it requires that all 8 musicians be of equal, virtuosic ability. These musicians did not disappoint! They began with a little-known Swedish composer (Niels Wilhelm Gade) from the 19th century. His Octet in four movements featured subtle, moving parts beneath longer, more melodic lines from other parts in the Allegro opening. The Andantino section offered a solo melody from the first violin which was then passed to other instruments in turn. A languid and mellow mood was achieved in the minor key. The contrasting Scherzo followed with energetic, rhythmic, pizzicato effects. A brighter mood capped off this work with the Finale.
The second selection was a complex work by a 20th century composer – A. Ichmouratov (b. 1973). Subtitled, “The Letter”, this composition was based on a short novel with that title. A story of unrequited love and secrets revealed only after death in a powerful letter was realized in this most evocative and haunting piece. Mournful melodic lines were pitted against agitated sections. High/low contrasts were evident. Special effects, such as pizzicato or tremolo on harmonic notes created the mood. A hushed, breathless ending capped off the drama.
Mendelssohn’s String Octet, Op. 20, one of the crowning achievements in this genre, provided the audience with enough excitement to last indefinitely! The octet moved through the piece, from the dazzling melody on the first violin through the serene moments of the Andante, the sustained tension of the Scherzo, with its rapid passages and tightly controlled energy, to an exhilarating, climactic Presto! The cello launched into this brilliant opening and passed the melody on to each instrument from bottom to top like a ‘hot potato’! One wondered how opposites could co-exist: playing with such abandon and yet so tightly controlled. It was like dancing on a high-wire without a safety net. A thrilling experience for a most appreciative audience!
‘An Evening Celebrating Beethoven’ will be presented in honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. The program will include both the C minor and the Archduke trios, also Brahms’ lively Hungarian Dance #6 arranged for trio, Ravel’s rhapsodic Tzigane for violin and piano, and ‘when the world was young’ for cello and piano premiered in 2018, composed by Luke Severn. This is a program designed to display the virtuosity of the performers, the mastery of the composers, and the timelessness of this superb music.
Andrew Sords - American-born violinist Andrew Sords has a celebrated career as one of the most prolific soloists of his generation. Having appeared on 4 continents as a concerto soloist and with his piano trio, Sords has been cited for combining visceral virtuosity with a ravishing tone, while international critics endorse Sords as “a fully formed artist” (Kalisz-Poland News), “utterly radiant” (Canada’s Arts Forum), and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful” (St. Maarten’s Daily Herald). Closer to home, ClevelandClassical.com gushed: “the stunner of the afternoon was a breathless but magnificently controlled performance of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata, which Sords charged through with giddy aplomb.” Sords has received numerous awards and distinctions reflecting his career trajectory, including the 2012 Pittsburgh Concert Society Career Grant and the 2005 National Shirley Valentin Award.
Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and asked for piano lessons at age five. A year later, he began studying violin with Liza Grossman, and continued studies with Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at the ENCORE School for Strings, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Southern Methodist University. As a teenager, Sords garnered prizes from concerto competitions, signed with management, and has since collaborated with 300 orchestras worldwide. Of Sords’ debut in Australia, the Melbourne Age declared, “Sords made a voluble soloist in the A Major Turkish concerto, forging his statements with an admirably firm clarity and bringing out the work's virtuosity as often as possible. His bowing arm showed an attractive suppleness and an attention to variety of phrasing that made even the episodic finale a pleasure.”
In 2019/20, Andrew Sords will tour with the Beethoven sonata cycle, piano trio cycle, Triple Concerto, and Violin Concerto in celebration of the composer's 250th anniversary. These appearances will include far-flung venues such as Australia, Mexico, British Columbia, the Caribbean, Yukon Territory, and across the United States. In recent seasons, Sords has appeared with the El Paso Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, Brevard Symphony, Pueblo Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Southeastern Ohio Symphony, Des Moines Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony, Durham Chamber Orchestra, Longmont Symphony, Guatemala’s “Festival Bravissimo”, Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Motor City Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic (Poland), North State Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Gulf Coast Symphony, Melbourne Chamber Symphony, and both the Elgar and Dvorak concerti at Toronto’s famed Glenn Gould Studio. In 2017, Sords made his UK debut with concerts in Edinburgh and Scotland (Tchaikovsky concerto) with the Glasgow Philharmonia, and his Guatemala City debut (Bruch concerto). In his hometown, Sords returned to his childhood orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra (Barber concerto), and performances in the Cleveland area include the Cleveland Philharmonic, Solon Philharmonic, Euclid Symphony, Parma Symphony, Shaker Heights Symphony, Heights Chamber Orchestra, Lakeland Orchestra, Earth and Air String Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony, and the Brahms and Schumann sonata cycles for the Trinity Cathedral Concert Series. Sords’ July 4th outdoor appearances have included shows with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and an audience of 30,000, while a 2018 collaboration with the El Paso Symphony had 15,000 onlookers - both evenings featured the Tchaikovsky concerto. No stranger to presenting obscure concerti, a debut with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and the Arensky concerto had Opus Colorado declaring: “[Sords’] remarkably flexible bow arm and relaxed left hand created the impression that he was having no difficulty whatsoever”.
As a prolific recitalist, Sords has appeared in La Jolla, Washington, D.C., Maui, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and at St. Augustine’s (FL) EMMA Series at Flagler College. Sords has toured to Australia on numerous occasions with concerti by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Vaughan-Williams, as well as recital programs for the Brunswick Beethoven Festival and the Arden Crescent Series. Inspired by his duo and trio collaborations, Sords has united with cellists John Walz, Joseph Johnson, Sawyer Thomson, and Scott Lykins in performances of the Brahms “Double” concerto and appears with his trio on notable series. A 2015 Canada tour with the Mendelssohn Piano Trios and Violin Sonata was reprised with Cheryl Duvall and Luke Severn in an all-Brahms program in Oshawa, Montreal, Guelph, and Toronto - the trio will showcase the Beethoven Trio cycle in 2019/20 in British Columbia, Ontario, the Yukon Territory, and Quebec. First invited by San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s ProMusica Series in 2011, Sords has returned with six varied recitals; performed two programs for West Palm Beach’s Norton Museum Series; and toured with an all-French program to numerous venues in the Midwest with Eriko Izumida, pianist. As a frequent soloist in the Caribbean, Sords has appeared in Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Grand Cayman, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and “STRINGS MAGAZINE” profiled a series of performances with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic. From a recent Cleveland recital, the review enthused: “Expertly performed, he brought a full and rich sound and gave a heroic performance of Ravel’s ‘Tzigane’, powerful and in control of the many notes. Sords impressed with his total command of technique, consummate musicianship and bravura as he tossed of scads of notes and sang out like a diva…he and Izumida kept the audience in the palm of their hands all afternoon.” (Cleveland Classical).
A man of diverse interests, Sords has competed in the charity fundraiser “Pittsburgh’s Dancing With The Stars” as the first classical artist to do so. Passionate about social causes, Sords has performed numerous times for LGBT outreach, including Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”, the Tchaikovsky, and the Beethoven concerti in collaborations with the Minnesota Philharmonic, the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, and the Atlanta Philharmonic. Along with Liana Izakadze’s World Virtuosi, Sords appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, and will perform the Sibelius and Dvorak concerti in 2019 appearances with the Jackson Symphony and Brevard Symphony. Sords is a popular guest for various media platforms: featured four times on Sirius XM’s Derek and Romaine Show and profiled by “OUT Magazine”, NPR’S Morning Edition, and hundreds of media outlets, Sords also performed the National Anthem for ESPN2’s WNBA Pride Game (2014) and a sold-out Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field. Sords’s recent collaboration with Sean Christopher on the New-Age album “Transcendence” has been a commercial and critical success, with reviews stating: “much of this is owed to the gorgeous and precise playing by Andrew Sords, whose violin adds a thrumming undercurrent of pure life throughout the album’s stainless-steel structure.” This album is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and CDBaby.
Sords makes his home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and can be found on the web at http://www.andrewsords.com.
Luke Severn - Concert cellist, composer, and musical director, Luke Severn possesses a musical voice of great versatility and passion. Noted for his expressive performances and dynamic and engaging personality he is emerging as an artistic tour de force in the Australian musical landscape.
As a soloist, Luke is a champion of both the standard concerto literature and new exciting works for cello and orchestra. In recent seasons he has performed as a soloist with The Monash Academy Orchestra, The Essendon Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Sinfonia among others. In 2018, through Spark Youth Dance Company’s production of Ariadne, Luke gave the Australian Premiere of the Concerto for Cello and Strings (2008) by British-Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova.
A highly sought-after chamber musician, Luke has performed in festivals and chamber music series throughout Australia, Europe and North America. Performing alongside duo partner and pianist Elyane Laussade, he performs across Australia throughout the year. He completed a Piano Trio tour of Canada in 2017 with North American virtuosi Andrew Sords, violin, and Cheryl Duvall, piano. He engages in many other chamber ensemble performances as a freelance artist in Victoria, including appearances with the Blackwood Ensemble, Casey Chamber Musicians, and Allotropy String Quartet.
In 2018 Luke and pianist, Elyane Laussade collaborated on what was to be his debut recording project, Humanation. A celebration of music by five different queer composers in commemoration of landmark progress of LGBT rights in Australia. Presented by the Laussade Studio in Melbourne the programme was performed in June of 2018, coinciding with international pride month.
As a composer, Luke’s works represent a deep level of empathy towards time, place and emotions, with a particular focus on the intimacy of chamber ensembles. 2018 marked the premieres of two new chamber works, Beneath the Surface for soprano and string quartet (commissioned and premiered by Australian soprano, Kelsey Cotton) and “...when the world was young” for cello and piano. Both works represent a personal reflection on changes experienced through life, both in love and loss and the shared experience of a changing environment. Luke’s first full length stage work will be premiered in October 2019 by Spark Youth Dance Company.
A protégé of Russian cellist Karine Georgian, Luke holds a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours from Monash University in Melbourne. Prior to this he studied at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, under the tutelage of noted Australian chamber musician and pedagogue Josephine Vains, and has performed in masterclasses for Lynn Harrell, Richard Aaron, and Maria Kliegel. Having had some extraordinary teachers and mentors, Luke has become a passionate educator himself and enjoys teaching in his private studio in Melbourne as well as directing many community music initiatives.
in Melbourne as well as directing many community music initiatives.
Cheryl Duvall is a multifaceted pianist with a penchant for musical risk taking and adventure. Equally comfortable in many different musical roles, she regularly appears as a soloist, collaborative pianist, adjudicator, teacher, producer and panelist, and has toured and performed throughout Canada, Europe, Argentina, the U.S and Japan. Cheryl’s strong affinity for boundary-pushing and innovative music making led her along with friend and violinist, Ilana Waniuk to co-found the Toronto-based Thin Edge New Music Collective, “One of Toronto hottest and bravest new music collectives” (Michael Vincent - Musical Toronto), now in their eighth season. In her role as Co-Artistic Director of TENMC, she has been at the helm of many large scale collaborative projects, including ‘Raging Against the Machine’, a collaborative concert, touring and recording project with Montreal-based Ensemble Paramirabo, and ‘Balancing on the Edge’, a radical collaboration integrating new music with new circus practices into a unique and thought-provoking production. Under the leadership of both Cheryl and Ilana, TENMC has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works for chamber ensemble to date with 9 more slated for their upcoming season and have garnered an exceptional international reputation through tours to Japan, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina and across Canada.
As a person who is constantly inspired through collaboration and community building within the arts, Cheryl regularly collaborates with many arts organizations, instrumentalist and vocalists, including Essential Opera, soprano Maureen Batt, and American violinist Andrew Sords. She recently appeared in the Peggy Baker Dance Company’s production, ‘Map by Years’, performing solo piano alongside veteran dancer, Jessica Runge. She is also the collaborative pianist for the internationally renowned Oakville Choir for Children and Youth, to which she has toured and competed internationally with gold standings as well as recorded numerous albums of choral repertoire.
Cheryl has performed on the stages of the Canadian Music Centre, Ottawa New Music Creators, Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Music Society, New Works Edmonton, New Music Calgary, Music on Main and The Little Chamber Music Series that Could in Vancouver, Open Space in Victoria, Salle de concert du Conservatoire in Montreal, The Music Room in Halifax, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Manitoba, The Music Gallery, Guelph Connections, Clarington Concert Band, the NUMUS, Open Ears Festival, University of Toronto, Ciclo de Música Contemporánea at the Teatro Nacional Cervantes in Buenos Aires, SoundSCAPE festival of new music in Italy, Le Pantographe in Switzerland and The World Choir Games in both Cincinnati and Latvia. She has attended the Casalmaggiore Music Festival in Italy, the Palazzo Ricci masterclass series, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and held three artistic residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Recently, she was shortlisted as the finalist for the 2016 F.M. Hunter Artist Awards in Music through the Ontario Arts Council and Foundation and in 2009, she was awarded a SSHRC grant for her pedagogical research on how to incorporate aspects of the Alexander Technique into lessons with beginner piano students. Besides performing, she maintains a full private piano studio, adjudicates piano competitions across Canada and appears as guest speaker in university classroom and festival panels. Cheryl completed an Honours Bachelor of Music, majoring in Piano Performance and Theory and a Diploma of Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Master’s of Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto. Her main teachers and influences include Guy Few, Chris Foley, Midori Koga, Carmen Piazzinni, Nina Tichman, Henri-Paul Sicsic, and Anya Alexeyev.
Silver medalist and laureate of the Krystian Zimerman Prize at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin is standing out today as one of the most important musicians of his generation. In 2014, he also won the second prize at the Concours Musical International de Montréal and the third prize at the Seoul International Music Competition in South Korea. Charles is the recipient of the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec and the prestigious Career Development Award offered by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.
He has appeared in various prestigious festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron in France, the Prague Spring Festival, the “Chopin and his Europe” Festival in Warsaw and the Lanaudière Festival in Canada. As a soloist, he has performed with more than fifty ensembles including the main symphony orchestras of Canada (Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Métropolitain, Québec, Edmonton, Calgary…) as well as with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, OFUNAM (Mexico), Les Violons du Roy and I Musici de Montréal. He has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Kent Nagano, Antoni Wit, Vasily Petrenko, Jacek Kaspszyk, Aziz Shokhakimov, Peter Oundjian, Jacques Lacombe, Fabien Gabel, Carlo Rizzi, Alexander Prior, Giancarlo Guerrero, Christoph Campestrini, Lan Shui and Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Charles Richard-Hamelin is a graduate from McGill University, the Yale School of Music, the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and has studied with Paul Surdulescu, Sara Laimon, Boris Berman, André Laplante et Jean Saulnier.
His first solo recording, which features late works by Chopin, was released in September 2015 on the Analekta label and received widespread acclaim from critics throughout the world (Diapason, BBC Music Magazine, Le Devoir) as well as a Felix Award (ADISQ). A second album, recorded live at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City with music by Beethoven, Enescu and Chopin, was released in the fall of 2016 and also had a very positive welcome (Gramophone, La Presse, The WholeNote). The first volume of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the OSM, was released in the fall of 2018 and his next projects include both Chopin Concertos with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Kent Nagano.
What the media says…
“One of the main points of interest of the finals was to compare 24-year-old Charles Richard-Hamelin to international competitors. He did wonderfully well. First, for his rich and warm sound. Then, for his integrity and humble expressiveness. His hands seemed to caress and melt into the keyboard.” — Christophe Huss, Le Devoir (June 4, 2014)
“Charles Richard-Hamelin ended the semis with a superbly absorbing concert where he seemed to follow his hands like a child after a butterfly. After an astonishing Pour le Piano by Debussy and some sweetly imaginative Scriabin, he performed Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 opulently and with unbelievable ease. He transmits love for the instrument.” — Lev Bratishenko, The Gazette (June 1, 2014)
“Charles Richard-Hamelin immediately captured our interest with a depth of musicianship and maturity that was evident from the opening of the Bach Partita. The tone that he produced from the piano was beyond the capabilities of the actual instrument. In turn, he created sounds that were orchestral and soloistic, and wove intricate and beautifully voiced lines as a seasoned string quartet might. His structural and musical understanding of the large-scale Chopin sonata was exceptional, and as one juror remarked “perhaps one of the finest performances of this work I have ever heard on any professional stage”.” — Press release from the jury of the 2015 WMCT CDA Competition (Midori Koga, Kerry Stratton, Wiwona Zelenka) (May 7, 2015)
“The newcomer is already a pianist of high calibre, with an extremely solid technique, a vivid musicality and a great care for sonority.” — Claude Gingras, La Presse (July 8, 2010)
“Charles Richard-Hamelin went for an intimate bonding with Rach 2 that transformed the concerto into a mesmerizing symphonic fantasy.” — Laurence Vittes, The Huffington Post (June 6, 2014)
“Charles Richard-Hamelin’s delicate, well-articulated and stylistically appropriate touch could be observed in a marvelous performance of Mozart’s G-major piano trio.” — Jens Christian Hansen, Viborg Stifts Folkeblad (Denmark) (August 21, 2014)
“Pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin was especially impressive driving the Chopin concerto with flair.” — Sujata Dey, roverarts.com (May 2, 2014)
“Richard-Hamelin is a supremely artistic, highly sensitive yet thoroughly masculine young pianist, whose strikingly original ideas remain true to the spirit of Chopin.” Patrick Rucker, December 2016
“Performing during the first night of the finals, he chose Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. With precision and a palette of nuances, he led the audience through a musical journey, brimming with musicality and sustaining the tension throughout. In the adagio, Richard-Hamelin revealed a softer side and created a crystal-like melody. He also succeeded in showcasing multiple contrasting voices. One hopes to hear him in concert more often during the upcoming years.” — Christine ML Lee, La Scena Musicale (October 2014 Vol. 20-2)
Il Violoncello Italiano!
Il Violoncello Italiano! celebrates the cello music of the Italian Baroque’s best-known composer, Antonio Vivaldi, alongside his cellist colleague Antonio Vandini. The program also presents cello sonatas from thirty years before Vivaldi when Milanese cellist Angelo Maria Fiore wrote some of the very first cello sonatas, and more than thirty years after Vivaldi with music from Giuseppe Maria Dall’Abaco. The Trio will also perform a piece composed by current Canadian composer, Maxime McKinley. Included in the program will be a solo harpsichord Toccata by Scarlatti, and a solo archlute suite by Zamboni.
Fascinated with the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Frey’s honors include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, and American Musicological Society and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Ensemble Caprice, Tafelmusik, Les Idées hereuses, and Bradamante, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenear Competition in Utrecht.
Frey’s debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky. Her two releases on the Belgian label Passacaille include the upcoming Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano and the recent release, La voce del violoncello, praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard.
Organist and harpsichordist Christina Hutten has presented recitals in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She performs regularly with Pacific Baroque Orchestra and has appeared as concerto soloist with the Okanagan Symphony, the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, and the Arizona State University Chamber Orchestra. Christina is also an enthusiastic teacher. She coaches and helps to coordinate the early music ensembles at the University of British Columbia and has given masterclasses and workshops at institutions including Brandon University, the University of Manitoba, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada’s National Music Centre in Calgary, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.
Funded by a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, she pursued historical keyboard studies in Europe with Francesco Cera, François Espinasse, and Bernard Winsemius. She participated in the Britten-Pears Programme, led by Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halperin, for which she was awarded the Loewen Prize. Christina obtained a Master’s Degree in Organ Performance from Arizona State University under the direction of Kimberly Marshall and an Advanced Certificate in Harpsichord Performance from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Charlotte Nediger. She is now a doctoral candidate in musicology at UBC.
Lucas Harris discovered the lute during his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He then studied early music in Italy at the Civica scuola di musica di Milano (as a scholar of the Marco Fodella Foundation) and then in Germany at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. After several years in New York City, he moved to Toronto in 2004 and became the regular lutenist for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Toronto Continuo Collective, the Vesuvius Ensemble (dedicated to Southern Italian folk music), and the Lute Legends Ensemble (a multi-ethnic trio of lute, pipa, and oud). Lucas plays with many other ensembles in Canada and the USA, including the Helicon Foundation (New York) and the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington, D.C.). He is on faculty at the Tafelmusik Summer and Winter Baroque Institutes, Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, and Vancouver Early Music’s Baroque Vocal Programme. In 2014 Lucas completed graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Toronto, the degree having been funded by a prestigious SSHRC research grant not often awarded to performers. Upon graduating, Lucas was chosen as the Artistic Director of the Toronto Chamber Choir, for which he has created and conducted over a dozen themed concert programs. He has also directed projects for the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, the Ohio State University Opera Program, Les voix baroques, and the Toronto Consort. Last year Lucas became a Canadian citizen and is also the proud father of Daphnée (age 7).
Since its foundation in September 2002, Buzz Brass quintet has given over 1,500 chamber-music performances and won over more than 300,000 spectators in North America, Europe and China. Listeners and journalists alike are constantly singing its praises, as attested by the numerous awards, including the 2014 OPUS Award for “Concert of the Year – Multiple Repertoire”, nominations and distinctions the quintet has earned both throughout Canada and abroad for its various concert programmes, shows and recordings. In the course of its productions, the group has built up a unique repertoire for itself while the exceptional originality and quality of its performances, and tremendously energetic and humorous stage productions elevates the ensemble to be among the best brass quintets in Canada. Since its appearance at the celebrated Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Buzz Brass has been shining forth overseas. The group represented Canada at the opening concert of the 15th edition of Meet in Beijing Arts Festival—China’s most important international arts festival—and is preparing new tours of China as well as the release of a new recording.
Long overdue with their return to Vernon, these five musicians who produce an orchestral-like sound despite their diminutive number will bring their program ‘Famous Inspirations’ to our Performing Arts stage. Buzz Brass brilliantly displays all of its musicianship with this striking repertoire from the turn of the 20th century. Inspired by folklore, literature, nature or their peers, the composers of these works have in turn been able to inspire and touch audiences through time. The quintet has you rediscover these famous inspirations—first written for piano, organ, strings or orchestra—in original transcriptions for brass. The program contains such varied works as Claude Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair” to Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance”, Antonin Dvorak’s String Quartet #12 in F major, Fran Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody #2” and many more! From the classics to the planets, Buzz Brass is a force of wind to be reckoned with and presents their music as “if it had been written for two trumpets, one horn and two trombones”. “Simply exceptional”. Catch the “buzz” at the Performing Arts Centre, April 26, 2020 at 7:30 PM.
What the press are saying…
“A first-class brass quintet, with a likeable flair for humour and for pleasing a crowd without uttering a word.”
Three Weeks Edinburgh newspaper, August 2015
“Amazing. The instruments go beyond complementing one another, they achieve the extension of one another to ensure the flow of the discourse.”
Montreal’s daily La Presse, November 2015
“Five very serious musicians and an MC with an art for clowning and communication. An absolute must for any music lover.”
Fringe Review, August 2015
“Style and intelligence. Impossible to resist.”
Le Journal de Montréal Daily, October 2015
“The music is skillful and so engagingly played as to be worth recommending to all ages.”
The List, August 2015
“These five musicians are fearless! The Montreal quintet tackles major works and its rendition gives the impression they have been written for its two trombones, two trumpets and horn.”
Montreal’s Voir cultural weekly the magnificent brass quintet Buzz presented an unforgettable evening of musical entertainment last night. Buzz made a real connection to our Sarnia Concert Association audience with their informative and hilarious introductions, and brilliant sensitive playing. The transcription of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 was astonishing. The precisely synchronized double tonguing and rapidly moving scales gave the impression of a huge concert grand piano. In contrast to this, the quintet demonstrated a delicate string-like sound with their beautiful arrangement of Debussy’s The Girl with the Flaxen Hair. Gershwin’s An American in Paris demonstrated a wonderful orchestral sonority. These daring arrangements are the hallmark of a mature ensemble that has found its unique quality of expression. After the concert, which ended with a double standing ovation, Buzz indicated very strongly that they would love to come back to Sarnia soon. We will look forward to their return! They are an outstanding treasure!”
David J. Nichols, Associate Composer, Canadian Music Centre and President and Chair, Program Selection Committee, Sarnia Concert Association, March 2017, October 2015