LSM Newswire

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dairine Ni Mheadhra Wins Canada Council's Molson Prize

Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize winners
bring new insights to Canadian opera and Aboriginal languages

Ottawa, May 31, 2012 – The 2012 winners of the Canada Council Molson Prizes are developing new Canadian voices through song and the spoken word. Dáirine Ní Mheadhra, winner of the Molson Prize in the arts, is known for producing provocative award-winning Canadian operas that have toured around the world. Keren Rice, winner of the Molson Prize in the social sciences and humanities, is recognized for her work to preserve, revitalize and document Canada’s Aboriginal languages.

Two Canada Council Molson Prizes, worth $50,000 each, are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences and humanities. Established in 1964, the prize is funded from the income of a $1 million endowment given to the Canada Council by the Molson Family Foundation and recognizes the recipients’ outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada. The Canada Council administers these awards in co-operation with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and both laureates were selected by a joint peer assessment committee.

“Breathing new life into traditional languages is a common theme of this year’s Canada Council Molson Prizes,” said Robert Sirman, Canada Council Director and CEO. “Dáirine Ní Mheadhra and Keren Rice have expanded the public reach of both contemporary opera and Aboriginal languages, and done so with an exemplary combination of innovation and excellence.”

“Our partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts for the Molson Prizes demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary and multisectoral collaboration and highlights the breadth of scholarly and artistic excellence to Canada and the world,” said Dr. Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. “We congratulate Dáirine Ní Mheadhra and Keren Rice on being awarded this prestigious prize. Their contributions to Canada’s cultural heritage and scholarly excellence reflect the important role of the social sciences and humanities in our society today, and for the future.”

Read the complete news release here or by copying and pasting the following URL into your web browser’s address bar:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico on CBC's This is My Music June 2


Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico shares her favorite music and memories on This is My Music, Saturday, June 2, 10:05 a.m.- noon EDT and west; 11:05 ADT, 11:35 NDT on CBC Radio 2.  

Highly regarded internationally for her performances of contemporary music as well as standard repertoire, Petrowska Quilico recalls her teenage studies at the Juilliard School in New York.  Her teacher, the revered but fearsome Ukrainian-born Rosina Lhévinne, loved the borsht made by Petrowska Quilico’s mother, who was also from Eastern Europe. As well, she talks about her work with another demanding musician, French composer Pierre Boulez, who pushed her to play his sonata even faster than the tempestuous tempo he had already set. 

Her two late husbands – Quebec composer Michel-Georges Brégent and famed Metropolitan Opera baritone Louis Quilico – are also remembered on the program.  Petrowska Quilico recorded albums with Louis Quilico, and a CD of the music of Brégent.

This spring, Petrowska Quilico performed the music of Ann Southam live with Toronto Dance Theatre in Rivers, a new dance work choreographed by Christopher House.  As well, she joined violinist Jacques Israelievitch and cellist Winona Zelenka in a program of contemporary works and a Mozart trio at Toronto’s Gallery 345.  She also performed new pieces composed by Constantine Caravassilis, at the Heliconian Hall.

This is My Music is produced by Hele Montagna.

More information on Christina Petrowska Quilico is at

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pianist Ricker Choi Gives Benefit Concert at Glenn Gould Studio June 23

Ricker Choi: Prize Winning Amateur Pianist at Glenn Gould Studio on June 23, 2012 - 7:30 pm
 net proceeds donated to United Way

TORONTO, ON, June 23, 2012 (SAT) - 7:30 pm - Ricker Choi (, 2nd prize winner of the Berlin International Amateur Piano Competition and 3rd prize winner of Paris International Competition for Outstanding Piano Amateurs, will be performing at Glenn Gould Studio on June 23, 2012 (SAT), 7:30 pm.  Program includes piano works by Liszt, Brahms and Bartok.   Joining Ricker Choi on stage will be winners of 2012 North York Music Festival grand prize winners.
Venue: Glenn Gould Studio (250 Front St. West, Toronto)
Tickets: $20 adult / $10 student   (all net proceeds will be donated to United Way)
Contact:;; 416-889-9461

Ricker Choi is both a pianist and full-time financial risk consultant.  He came from Hong Kong to Canada at the age of 13 when he began his formal studies of piano.  Studying with Boris Zarankin, who became his long-time piano teacher, he received his A.R.C.T, Piano Performance Diploma in just five years.

Ricker’s piano career took a twelve-year hiatus, when in 1993, he enrolled in York University’s Schulich School of Business, earning an M.B.A.  He also holds FRM , CFA and PMP designations.  In 2005 Ricker returned to piano studies with Boris Zarankin.  In 2010, he also started coaching with Michael Esch, concurrent with his studies under Boris Zarankin.

Ricker has won grand prizes from North York Music Festival, Markham Music Festival and CCC Music Festival.  In 2010 he won second prize at the Berlin International Amateur Piano Competition, performing with the Berlin Sibelius Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonic’s 2500 seat Großer Saal.  In 2012 he won third prize at the Paris International Competition for Outstanding Piano Amateurs, performing at Paris' 1200 seat Salle Gaveau.  His performances had been heard on 96.3 FM classical radio (Toronto) and Radio Classique (Paris).
Ricker has been featured in the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival’s “Emerging Artists in Concert” at Walter Hall and has performed in the Off Centre Music Salon at Glenn Gould Studio.  On November 22, 2011, he gave a solo recital at the Four Season’s Centre for the Performing Arts.
Ricker has participated in master classes with pianists Andre LaPlante, Olga Kern, Anton Kuerti, Marietta Orlov, and Joseph Banowetz.   Ricker founded Music Heals! in 2006, a series of fund-raising concerts for charity organizations such as Oxfam Canada.

Ricker Choi in action at the Berlin Philharmonie 2010

(Visit for Ricker’s concert appearances.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Toronto Jewish Folk Choir Spring Concert June 3


Honoring the Memory of Ben Shek, Milton Barnes, Myrna Levine,
Mordechai Gebirtig and Adrienne Cooper

Lively and evocative music for choir and klezmer musicians celebrates the memory of three individuals who did much for the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, when the choir gives its 86thannual spring concert, Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m. at Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Avenue, Toronto.

Alexander Veprinsky conducts the Choir, in his ninth season, with pianist Lina Zemelman in her 36th season as accompanist.

Titled Saluting Ben Shek, the entire afternoon will celebrate the memory of the choir’s longtime leader and generous donor Ben Shek, who died in June 2011.  Shek, his parents and wife Jean had been among the small group to keep the choir going after the death of conductor Emil Gartner in 1960.  Ben and Jean had remained pillars of the Choir for decades.

Tickets for the performance are $25; seniors and students, $20; children 12 and under free.  Information and ticket reservations may be obtained by calling (905) 669-5906 or   More information on the choir is at

The central work June 3 is Dos Naye Lid (The New Song) a six-part Yiddish suite for choir and klezmer band by Canadian composer Milton Barnes (1931-2001).  Barnes would have been 80 in December 2011.  Drummer Daniel Barnes, one of the composer’s three sons, joins Shtetl Shpil members Isabella Fedorovsky, violin; Janusz Borowiec, cello; Sasha Fedorovsky, clarinet and Slava Chakhnevitch, trumpet. 

The performance also honors the memory of choir member Myrna Levine, who commissioned the suite about 12 years ago.  Another generous donor, she passed away in July 2011 after a short illness. 

The program includes music by Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942), composer of countless beloved Yiddish songs, in commemoration of the 135th anniversary of his birth and 70th anniversary of his death in the Holocaust.  The Ballad of the Triangle Fire, describing the tragic death of 146 young girls in the infamous 1911 sweatshop fire, will be sung in memory of the great Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper, who died earlier this year.

Also on the program will be songs in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) and Russian.  Among the soloists are tenors Nick Gough, Martin Houtman and bass Herman Rombouts.  

The June 3 concert is presented with the assistance of the Toronto Arts Council, and Choir members and friends.

Founded in 1925 primarily by immigrant garment workers, the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir is Canada’s longest continuing Jewish performance group, with an illustrious history.  While singing in many languages, the Choir prides itself on helping to keep the Yiddish language alive through its repertoire.  More information on the Choir is at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chinese-Canadian Performance Arts Festival presents Gala Concert June 3

CAST art work - thumbnail.jpg

Presented by the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto

Top Chinese-Canadian soloists perform music from their birth country and the West, in the 2012 Chinese-Canadian Performing Arts Festival Celebration Gala, Sunday, June 3, 7:30 p.m. at the Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto. 

Tickets, $28, are available from the Roy Thomson Hall box office, or by phone at 416-872-4255.  For more concert information, call (416) 733-4644.

The concert is presented by CAST, the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto.  Headed by Violinist Alec Hou and composer-conductor Erhei Liang, the organization showcases stunning young soloists and new compositions in its annual Celebration Gala concert – the opening event of the 2012 Chinese-Canadian Performing Arts Festival, which features 10 performances in various genres in June and July 2012.

Maestro Hou and Liang leads the CAST Philomusica Orchestra in a evening certain to delight audiences keen to hear outstanding musicians and a colorful program by Chinese composers representing different periods and various styles. 

The program opens with the Concert Overture to “Wang Gui and Li Xiang Xiang”, by Erhei Liang, based on four songs from  the 1950 opera Wang Gui and Li Xiang Xiang, the first Chinese opera translated and adapted in Western countries.  The opera was written by his father, Hanguang Liang (1917-1989).

Among the soloists appearing with the CAST Philomusica are soprano Yi-ping Chao in a set of songs by various Chinese composers with distinctive styles; and Chun-jie Wang in a work for Chinese flute and orchestra, a virtuosic piece for Chinese flute, recently arranged with orchestral accompaniment.  

Under the baton of Alec Hou, the orchestra plays Fantasy by Toronto composer Mizi Tan, with (western) flutist Samantha Chang (“lyricism, resourcefulness, and strong personal commitment to the flute” – The WholeNote) and harpist Andrew Chan (“a rare charisma” – the National Post) as soloists. 

Pianist Langning Liu (“a sensitive, extremely compelling artist...elegant pianism, warmth and artistic maturity” – New York Times) plays Chopin’s Barcarolle, Op. 60, and joins Erhei Liang and the orchestra for the fourth movement of the famed Yellow River Concerto.

The Celebration Gala is presented with funding from the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

Erhei Liang is a conductor and composer, trained at the Shanghai Conservatory and at Louisiana State University,   He has composed symphonies, concertos, chamber and electronic music, solo and choral works.  His works have been telecast and performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. An immigrant to Toronto in 1991, he is president of the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto, executive director of the Toronto Chinese Piano & String Teachers’ Association, artistic director of the Academy of Chamber Music for Young Musicians, and composer-in-residence of Hong Kong Chamber Chorus, for which he has composed many choral works.  The Canadian Music Centre recorded his recent multidisciplinary work Songs of Love at its November 2009 premiere in Toronto.

PROGRAM – 2012 Chinese-Canadian Performing Arts Festival Celebration Gala:

Hanguang Liang/Erhei Liang : Overture: Wang Gui and Li Xiang Xiang                     
CAST Philomusica Orchestra, Conductor: Erhei Liang

Ting-jiang Hu:              Listening to the Sea                                                     
Hanguang Liang:          Teams of mules cross mountains, from the film Cradle on Horseback                      
Pei-dong Xu:                Hometown Accent and Nostalgia                                
Yi-ping Chao, soprano; CAST Philomusica Orchestra, Conductor: Erhei Liang

Wei-de Nan, Zheng Li:            Under Green Mountains                                             
Chun-jie Wang, Chinese flute; CAST Philomusica Orchestra, Conductor: Erhei Liang

Mizi Tan:                     Fantasy                                                                                   
Samantha Chang, flute; Harp: Andrew Chan, harp; CAST Philomusica Orchestra, Conductor: Alec Hou

Chopin:                                    Barcarolle Op. 60                                                       
Langning Liu, piano

The Central Orchestra:             Yellow River Concerto, 4th Movement                                   
Langning Liu, piano; CAST Philomusica Orchestra, Conductor: Erhei Liang