LSM Newswire

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Group of Twenty-seven Presents the Music of Norbert Palej

Group of Twenty-seven (g27) Presents the Music of Norbert Palej on April 1, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011 -- 8:00pm
Grace Church-on-the-Hill, Toronto

Haydn – Armida Overture
Palej – The Poet & the War (song-cycle)
Palej – Rorate Coeli
Berlioz – Les nuits d’été (song-cycle)

Tickets are $20 / $15 for students and may be ordered online by clicking here or at the door.


TORONTO – March 16, 2011 -- group of twenty-seven is a chamber orchestra comprised of some of Canada’s top musicians, dedicated to exploring the classical repertoire in vibrant, world-class performances. The orchestra's performances present fresh interpretations of well-known masterworks and challenge listeners with new music written in our time and commissioned for this unique group. Orchestra musicians include members of the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, soloists from across Canada, and professional chamber musicians whose expertise combine for an electrifying experience.

Conductor Eric Paetkau is known for his intense musicality, musical integrity, and vibrant performances. As Music Director and founder of group of twenty-seven and Resident Conductor of the Quebec-based Les Violons du Roy, Eric has displayed his gift for connecting with audiences and bringing the music to life in an electrifying way.

group of twenty-seven is collaborating with Polish-born composer Norbert Palej on a new project to record selected works by Palej. The recording will also include works by Haydn and Berlioz and will feature Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer.

Soprano Shannon Mercer -- Her voice has been described as luminous, dazzling and shining and her acting witty, delightful, and feisty - Shannon Mercer is taking on the opera world as one of Canada's most promising young stars. Critically acclaimed by the international press for her musical artistry, she has been hailed as "one of Canada's most promising young sopranos" and a "Leader of Tomorrow (Maclean's)”.

Originally from Cracow, Poland, Norbert Palej has been increasingly recognized for his “first-rate and genuinely original work” (American Composers Orchestra), and a musical language that generates “visceral excitement” (The Boston Globe).

Norbert Palej has been Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Toronto since 2008. He also serves as the director of the University of Toronto gamUT chamber orchestra, and as coordinator of the annual New Music Festival. He holds composition degrees from Cornell University (D.M.A.), The Juilliard School (M.M.), and the New England Conservatory (B.M.). He studied conducting at the Academy of Music in Cracow (Poland) and at The Juilliard School in New York. Palej is also an active concert pianist.

Recent commissions include operas for the Tapestry New Opera and the Canadian Children's Opera Company, a string quartet for the Penderecki String Quartet, a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie, and a choral work for Soundstreams Canada, featuring the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Polish Chamber Choir, and the Toronto Children's Chorus. His music has been heard in Canada, USA, Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain, and Costa Rica.

Norbert Palej’s The Poet and the War is a song cycle for soprano and chamber orchestra, based on the poetry by K. K. Baczynski – a legendary Polish poet murdered by the Nazis in the early days of the tragic Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when he was only 23 years old. The composer selected five poems from Baczynski’s output that evoke the time of World War II and the trials it imposed upon human existence.

Palej’s Rorate Coeli (Drop Down Dew, Ye Heavens) for string orchestra is inspired by a poem by Baczynski with the same title, which expresses a yearning for the relief of suffering, and for the advent of the world’s spiritual renewal.

Haydn considered Armida to be his finest opera. It is unusual in that it has three short movements; the overture encapsulates the opera plot in purely instrumental terms.

Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été is a collection of six songs based on six poems by Théophile Gaithier. The cycle was originally written for voice and piano, but was later orchestrated by Berlioz himself; written for six different singers that he knew - each had their own movement.


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