LSM Newswire

Thursday, September 27, 2012

CHANSONGS - A Songwriters Rendezvous at the Royal Conservatory of Music

Come Together for CHANSONGS - A Songwriters Rendezvous
at The Royal Conservatory

If there is one thing all Canadians share, it is our close relationship with the songs that have defined our landscape and character. Acknowledging this common bond, The Royal Conservatory and Alliance Française de Toronto have created Chansongs, a series of rendezvous bringing together songwriters who represent the best of the Montréal and Toronto music scenes.

Curated and hosted by Dominique Denis, Artistic Director at Alliance Française, these bilingual soirées combine music and personal stories to celebrate the craft of songwriting. The Conservatory Theatre’s intimate setting will provide the audience a chance to interact in both languages with the artists.

For the series’ inaugural concert on October 12, Montreal-based singer-songwriter Mario Chenart has a rendezvous with his Toronto counterpart,Elizabeth Shepherd. While Chenart’s exquisitely crafted folk-blues vignettes document life’s ups and downs, Shepherd’s beguiling repertoire reveals a deep love of jazz. These two great artists will swap stories and professional secrets, reminding us that the love of songs - and the desire to share them - is the surest way to bridge the gap between our so-called solitudes.

Born in Lévis, Quebec, in 1961, singer-songwriter Mario Chenart fell in love with the guitar as an adolescent. After being discovered at the Granby Festival in 1990, he took the festival circuit in France, Belgium, and Switzerland by storm. His second album, Boucler le siècle ("Turning the page on the century"), a satirical yet tender look at the world around us, earned him a Félix (Québec’s music awards) as singer-songwriter of the year in 1998. In 2004, he followed up with  J'ai pas dit mon premier mot ("I haven’t said my first word"), which was the outcome of his experience as a new father. Following five years at the helm of the Association professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec, Chenart has resumed his musical career, and is working on songs for his next recording.

Elizabeth Shepherd arrived on the international scene in 2006, when her debut album, Start To Move, was voted one of the top jazz albums of the year by the listeners of the influential Gilles Peterson Show on BBC Radio Worldwide. Since then, the Toronto-based soul-jazz innovator has released two widely acclaimed records and toured extensively in North America, Europe, and Japan. She has sold out legendary clubs from Tokyo to Detroit, played festivals like Montreal and North Sea Jazz Festival, shared the stage with Victor Wooten, Branford Marsalis, and Christian McBride, and opened for Jamie Cullum at The Hollywood Bowl. On her fourth studio album, Rewind, the two-time Juno nominee showcases her skills as an arranger and interpreter, breathing new life – and soul – into songs both familiar and forgotten. 

Chansongs - A Songwriters Rendezvous is presented in partnership with Alliance Française de Toronto as part of the Montréal à Torontoseries, in association with the Songwriters Association of Canada.

Chansongs is also supported by L’Express, GrandToronto, CHOQ FM, and Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

Chansongs: Mario Chenart & Elizabeth Shepherd
Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8:00pm
Conservatory Theatre at The Royal Conservatory
TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Tickets are $25 and include GST and service charges

Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Royal Conservatory Alumni Winners of Instruments from Canada Council Instrument Bank


Dr. Peter Simon, President of The Royal Conservatory, and Barry Shiffman, Director of Chamber Music, The Royal Conservatory, proudly congratulate the alumni who won the 2012 Competition of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank. Fifteen Conservatory alumni –representing over 80% of competition winners – earned the privilege to borrow, for three years, a priceless item from the Canada Council’s collection of rare instruments.

“The finest instruments offer an infinite palette of colour and extraordinary projection of sound,” says Mr. Shiffman. “These exceptional emerging artists will now access the necessary tools to realize their musical potential.”

Available items included fine-stringed instruments (violins and cellos) as well as a cello bow, all created between 1689 and 1929. Winners selected instruments based on their overall placement in the competition.

Fifty-one Canadian musicians applied to the prestigious competition, held every three years. A peer assessment committee selected twenty-eight finalists to undergo auditions and interviews, which took place at The Royal Conservatory.

The 15 winning Royal Conservatory alumni are listed below, along with the instruments they selected:

Nikki Chooi (Victoria): ca. 1700 Taft Stradivari, valued at $5 million
Timothy Chooi (Victoria): 1729 Guarneri del Gesu, valued at $5 million
Kerry DuWors (Saskatoon): 1902 Enrico Rocca, valued at $225,000
Matilda Kaul (Toronto): 1747 Palmason Januarius Gagliano, valued at $350,000
Clarissa Klopoushak (Saskatoon): 1902 Enrico Rocca, valued at $225,000
Iryna Krechkovsky (Toronto): 1689 Baumgartner Stradivari, valued at $5 million
Véronique Mathieu (Quebec City): 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda, valued at $380,000
Boson Mo (Montreal): 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, valued at $250,000
Andréa Tyniec (Montreal): 1900 Stefano Scarampella, valued at $160,000
Emmanuel Vukovich (Montreal): 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano, valued at $350,000
Emily Westell (Calgary): 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivari, valued at $5 million

Arnold Choi (Calgary): 1696 Bonjour Stradivari, valued at $11 million
Rachel Desoer (Hamilton): 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone, valued at $200,000
Karen Ouzounian (Toronto): 1830 Shaw Adam cello bow, valued at $50,000
Se-Doo Park (Toronto): 1824 McConnell Nicolaus Gagliano, valued at $500,000

Now in its 125th anniversary year, The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music education institutions in the world.Providing the definitive standard of excellence in music education through its curriculum, assessment, performance, and teacher education programs, The Conservatory has had a substantial impact on the lives of millions of people globally. In addition, the organization has helped to train a number of internationally celebrated artists including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, David Foster, Sarah McLachlan, Angela Hewitt, and Diana Krall. Motivated by its powerful mission to develop human potential through music and the arts, The Royal Conservatory has emerged over the last two decades as a leader in the development of arts-based programs that address a wide range of social issues. For more information, please


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Mooredale Concerts Presents the New Orford String Quartet October 28 2012


“Flawless... a match made in heaven!” – Classical Music Sentinel
“A performance of rare intensity” – Audiophile Audition
“Nothing short of electrifying... listen and weep.” –The Toronto Star.

Three years after its 2009 debut, the widely heralded successor to Canada’s legendary Orford String Quartet makes its Mooredale Concerts debut, Sunday, October 28, 3:15 p.m. at Walter Hall, 80 Queen’s Park Crescent.

Tickets, $30, may be ordered online at, or phoned in to 416-922-3714 ext. 103.   A special $20 ticket is available to concert-goers under 30.

The Quartet performs three contrasting string quartets – Haydn’s Op. 20 No. 4, Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 2, andQuartet No. 1 by Jacques Hétu – a work written for the original Orford String Quartet. 

Only one week after it first started rehearsing, the New Orford String Quartet gave its first concert and was pronounced “sweet, balanced and technically unassailable” by Arthur Kaptainis of the Montreal Gazette.  It didn’t take long for it to be lauded internationally for its ravishingly beautiful tone as well as for extraordinary technical skills and musicianship.

The Quartet comprises the concertmasters of two leading orchestras – Jonathan Crow of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Wan of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra – as well as the Montreal Symphony’s principal cellist, Brian Manker; and the Toronto Symphony’s assistant principal viola Eric Nowlin.   Their debut album of the final quartets of Schubert and Beethoven, was internationally acclaimed, hailed as one of the top CDs of 2011 by La Presse and CBC Radio’s In Concert, and nominated for a JUNO Award in 2012.

The New Orford String Quartet will also perform a shorter version of their concert at Music & Truffles, Mooredale Concerts’ one-hour, interactive concert for young people 6-15, Sunday, October 28, 1:15 p.m. at Walter Hall, 80 Queen’s Park Crescent.  Adults wishing to learn more about music and music-making are also welcome. 

Tickets are $13, and include a chocolate truffle at the conclusion.  


Sunday, October 28, 2012, 3:15 P.M. at Walter Hall
Haydn: Quartet Op. 20 No. 4
Jacques Hétu: Quartet No. 1
Beethoven: Quartet Op. 59 No. 2

Also: performing a one-hour interactive version of this concert at Music & Truffles: a concert for young people 6-15, at 1:15 p.m.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Glenn Gould's Birthday BACHanalia

Glenn Gould's 80th Anniversary Year: Toronto Events
Starting September 22

Glenn Gould
Photo by Jock Carroll

September 25, 2012 marks Glenn Gould's 80th Birthday.  Not only will The Glenn Gould Foundation be launching the call for nominations for the Tenth Glenn Gould Prize, but the date also marks a wide range of celebratory events around the world from Regina to Reykjavik!  Here's the upcoming event highlights in Gould's hometown of Toronto, Canada.

Saturday September 22 and Sunday September 23

Dreamers Renegades Visionaries: The Glenn Gould Variations

10:00am - 6:00pm, Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto

Mixing high art with pop culture, entertainment with education, this two-day event is a new inter-disciplinary, multimedia creative summit combining performances of all types with technology and talk. Each day as many as 25 ‘dreamers, renegades and visionaries’ will present new work, new interpretations and unexpected collaborations – all inspired by the creative brilliance of iconic Canadian musician Glenn Gould.

Don’t miss: Chilly Gonzales, Marie Chouinard, Lang Lang, Robert Wilson, Atom Egoyan, Bob Ezrin, Adrienne Clarkson, Brent Carver, Katerina Cizek, Cory Doctorow, 2Cellos, Johann Olav Koss, Francois Girard, Lombard Twins, Jayme Stone, Nora Young, Jean-Francois Zygel, Brian Brushwood, Ann Cooper Gay, Uri Caine, Alan Cross, Eve Egoyan, Brett Gaylor, Daniel Kotter, Mani Mazinani, Jordon O'Connor, Jordan B. Peterson, Damiano Pietropaolo, Mark & Tristan Surman, Canadian Children's Opera Company, Jean-Jacques Lemetre, Tod Machover, Michael Cumella, Johannes Debus, Sandy Pearlman, Sandrine Revel, Djanet Sears & more. Hosted by Rick Miller.

Schedule, pricing and tickets are available online at or call TicketKing at 416 872 1212

Presented in association with The Glenn Gould Foundation.Sunday September 23 
David Louie Celebrates Bach and Gould 
7:30pm, Mazzoleni Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music

Pianist/harpsichordist David Louie performs a full Bach program featuring solo and chamber pieces with colleagues Alison Melville (traverse), Kathleen Kajioka (violin) Steven Dann (viola) and Margaret Jordan-Gay (cello).

Tickets are available online 
or call the Weston Family Box Office at 416 408 0208

Monday September 24
The Glenn Gould Legacy: A Symposium
1:30pm to 3:30pm, Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
Free admission

The symposium explores the far-reaching cultural impact left by the Canadian icon. Moderated by Tim Page, with featured speakers James Wright and Paul Théberge (Carleton University), Junichi Miyazawa (Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo), Lucille Mok (Harvard University), Arved Ashby (Ohio State University), Colin Eatock (Toronto arts journalist), and David Jaeger (CBC).

Visit the Faculty of Music website for schedule and topic information.  

Monday September 24
Glenn Gould's Birthday BACHanalia
7:00pm, Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music

RCM BACHanalia

An innovative program featuring an international array of classical, jazz, bluegrass and South Asian artists playing Bach as you have never heard him before.

Gould’s tradition of innovation and improvisation with an all-Bach buffet, featuring some of the most intrepid artists on the music scene. Hear excerpts from the Goldberg Variations on a harp care of Sylvain Blassel, the E Minor Flute Sonata played by harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy, Bach-inspired fiddle improvisations by Mark O’Connor, Oscar Peterson’s ‘Salute to Bach’ played by a jazz trio featuring Oscar’s long-time bass partner Dave Young, an acapella vocal jazz by Retrocity, a South Asian jam session featuring Autorickshaw and Trichy Sankaran, and some of The Conservatory’s most talented current students and hear Gould himself play ‘live’ at the end of this special evening. Gould memorabilia will be on public display and a new Gould-inspired music composition app, ‘Piano Invention’ will make its public debut.

Tickets are available from the Weston Family Box Office by calling 416.408.0208 or purchase online.

BACHanalia is presented in association with The Glenn Gould Foundation, Small World Music and Dreamers, Renegades Visionaries The Glenn Gould Variations.

For more information, visit us online at for celebrations beyond Toronto including Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina and abroad in Japan, Greece and Italy.  

Are you planning a Gould celebration?  Let us know at

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Artscape Announces Major Gifts to Daniels Spectrum

Artscape announces $9.7 Million in Gifts towards $38 Million
DANIELS SPECTRUM (Formerly Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre)

$4 Million Lead Gift from The Daniels Corporation and the John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation
TORONTO, September 20, 2012 - Artscape today announced the individual, foundation and corporate gifts for the $38 Million Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre. The centre has been renamed Daniels Spectrum in appreciation of a $4 Million lead gift from The Daniels Corporation and the John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation. A total of $5.7 million in additional charitable gifts has been contributed to build this new cultural hub and ensure it remains both affordable and sustainable over the long term. This private and corporate philanthropy is in addition to the $24 Million invested by the Governments of Canada and Ontario ($12 Million each) previously announced in 2009, and other sources. Located at 585 Dundas Street East, Daniels Spectrum is a platform for cultural exchange and collaboration, and the newest addition to downtown Toronto’s thriving cultural landscape.
In addition to the lead gift, a $1.5 Million gift from The Slaight Family Foundation will be recognized through the naming of the 400-seat performance space as Ada Slaight Hall. The naming of Artscape Lounge has been made possible by a $1.25 Million gift from an anonymous donor. MDC Partners Courtyard has been named in recognition of a $0.5 Million gift.  The announcement was made by Artscape Campaign Cabinet Co-Chairs Robert J. Foster and Judy Matthews and Tim Jones, President & CEO of Artscape at the official opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at Daniels Spectrum, led byThe Honourable Glen Murray, Member of Provincial Parliament and Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest). The event was attended by Toronto civic leaders, tenant organizations and members of the Regent Park community.
The Daniels Corporation has partnered with Artscape, Toronto Community Housing andmembers of the local community to develop the innovative 60,000-square-foot, purpose-built facility, which is designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. The Daniels Corporation is also partners with Toronto Community Housing in the development and construction of the Regent Park revitalization.
"The concept of giving back to the greater community has always been a cornerstone of Daniels' corporate philosophy,” said Martin Blake, Vice President, The Daniels Corporation. “We are proud that our gift has helped to bring Daniels Spectrum to life in Regent Park. The potential for positive impact of this cultural hub in Regent Park and in the broader community cannot be overstated, and it will ultimately be our legacy."

“Ada Slaight Hall will be an unrivaled performing arts venue in this city. We are thrilled to contribute to the long-term sustainability of this space, and look forward to both established and emerging Canadian artists using it as a platform for their talents,” said Gary Slaight, Chair of The Slaight Family Foundation. “This gift honours my mother Ada Slaight and her legacy as a great supporter of charitable initiatives in Toronto.”

“We are extremely grateful to our government and philanthropic partners whose generosity made this dream possible,” saidRobert Foster and Judy Matthews, Co-Chairs of the Artscape Campaign Cabinet.“This extraordinary support to Artscape Foundation for Daniels Spectrum demonstrates that Toronto is a global city that is creative, diverse, tolerant and caring.”

A summary of major gifts from individuals and corporations is as follows:
Cornerstone Gift
Government of Canada
Gouvernement du Canada
Cornerstone Gift
Government of Ontario
Gouvernement de l’Ontario
Cornerstone Gift
City of Toronto
Toronto Community Housing
Lead Gift
The Daniels Corporation and the John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation
Transformational Leaders
$1,000,000 - $2,000,000
Anonymous Donor
The Slaight Family Foundation
$500,000 - $999,999
MDC Partners Inc.
Ontario Trillium Foundation
$150,000 - $499,999
BMO Financial Group
Aziz Manji Family and Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc.
Masters Insurance Ltd.
Eric Tripp and Maria Smith
$100,000 - $149,999
McLean Smits Family Foundation
The Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation
Tim and Frances Price
RBC Foundation
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
Great Friends
$25,000 - $99,000
Anthony Ciccolini
Catherine Angela Ciccolini
Diamond Schmitt Architects
The W. R. Farquharson Family
Robert and Julia Foster
Pace Family Foundation
The vision for the Daniels Spectrum was developed from the ground up, through a process of community consultation; it is the result of more than four years of collaboration with project partners Artscape, Toronto Community Housing, The Daniels Corporation and members of the Regent Park community. The development of a new cultural hub was a long-standing ambition for Toronto’s Downtown East neighbourhood, and a key element in the social and community development goals of the Regent Park revitalization. This dynamic collaboration is illustrated in a short video, The Making of Daniels Spectrum.
In addition to its role in the ongoing day-to-day management of the Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre, Artscape will continue to bring the Centre to life with dynamic programming for 2013, to be announced later this fall.
For a schedule of fall 2012 events and more information on Daniels Spectrum, including a video mini-documentary seriestenant profiles and a brief history of Regent Park,

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Pianist Rachel Cheung and CAST Philomusica Orchestra celebrates 15th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR

Sunday, October 28 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts



Hong Kong pianist Rachel Cheung, 20, who was already winning international junior piano competitions when she was barely 10,  makes her Canadian debut Sunday, October 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts, 10268 Yonge Street (north of Major MacKenzie). The concert is presented by CAST (Chinese Artists Society of Toronto), and the Multi-Culture & Folk Arts Association of Canada.

She joins conductor Erhei Liang and the CAST Philomusica Orchestra in Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor in a concert that honors the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Also featured are two acclaimed Toronto-area soloists, violinist Conrad Chow (“full, sweet, seductive intensity of Chow's sound” – Halifax Chronicle Herald) and pianist Ka Kit Tam, who has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.  They join the CAST Philomusica Orchestra for Mozart’s Concerto for Violin and Piano in D major, K. Anh. 56 (315f); and play Chinese music for violin and piano.

As well, the concert will feature narration with orchestra, marking the 15th anniversary of the Hong Kong SAR with music arranged from songs reminiscent of Hong Kong. 

In addition, a violin ensemble of 100 children will perform popular Hong Kong songs.

Tickets, $28, $38 and $50, and $88 VIP ticket are available from  or by phone at 905-787-8811.  For more concert information, call (416) 733-4644

Featured soloist Rachel Cheung is the winner of numerous first prizes and awards in international piano competitions, including the 28th Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in Italy in 2008; and Fifth Prize at the 16th Leeds International Piano Competition.  She was recently a semifinalist at the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Besides Rachel Cheung, all of the soloists have a Hong Kong connection.  Ka Kit Tam was born there. He is an active pianist, performing internationally, including in Japan, Germany, Poland, Vienna, Italy and North America. Conrad Chow was born in Toronto to parents from Hong Kong.  Critics have called him a “world-class talent” (Escarpment Views) who “perform[s] with passion . . . leaving the audience deeply intoxicated and spellbound” (Changshu Radio), and have hailed the “full, sweet, seductive intensity of Chow’s sound” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald). Conductor Maestro Liang currently is composer-in-residence with the Hong Kong city Choir.

The Chinese Artists Society of Toronto is headed by Maestro Liang and violinist Alec Hou.  The October 28 concert is presented with funding from the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office.

Currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Yale University studying under famed pianist Peter Frankl, Rachel Cheung won the Elizabeth Parisot Prize as outstanding pianist of the 2011-2012 school year.

After starting piano lessons at 4, she was admitted to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts at 10, and received her Bachelor of Music Degree with First Class Honours in 2011.

Ms. Cheung has won numerous first prizes and awards in such international piano competitions as Italy’s 28th Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in 2008, the 16th Leeds International Piano Competition, the 2004 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition in Salt Lake City (First Prize and a Peer Jury Prize for the most popular finalist), and Ukraine’s 2003 International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz.  In 2010, she was a semifinalist at the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Winner of numerous scholarships, Cheung has been honored by her native Hong Kong, where she frequently performs.  She made her debut at the Hong Kong City Hall and then in Uruguay through the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Chopin Society.  With her solo recital in 2005, she became the youngest soloist ever featured at the 33rd Hong Kong Arts Festival. She has performed as a soloist or with orchestras in China, the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, Poland, Taiwan and Singapore.  In May 2013, she will make her debut at the Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands and Bratislava, Slovakia.

Ms. Cheung’s debut DVD, Rachel Cheung – Keyboard Prodigy Live In Recital, Miami International Piano Festival 2005, was released in 2007 by VAIMUSIC.  Her first CD, under the Alpha Omega Sound label of the Chopin Society of Hong Kong, was released in 2009.

Born and raised in Toronto, violinist Conrad Chow currently teaches on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory's Young Artists Performance Academy.  Having started violin studies at age 3, he holds bachelors and masters degrees from Indiana University and his doctorate from the State University of New York.  His performance with one of his celebrated teachers, Ani Kavafian, was hailed as “ornate and satisfying” by the Albany Times Union.

A laureate at the 2006 International Stepping Stone Competition in Quebec, he has performed at such venues as the Salzburg Mozarteum, Qingdao Music Hall in China, UCLA and Disney Hall in LA, and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. In 2010, he made his Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall alongside flautist Samantha Chang and pianist Ellen Meyer. He was a performer and member of the faculty at the Summit Summer Music Festival in New York. Most recently, he performed and taught at the Shandong College of Arts in Jinan, China in December 2010.

KA KIT TAM, piano

Originally from HONG KONG, Ka Kit Tam has performed extensively in solo, chamber music and concerto performances throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and has been broadcast on many European networks.  As a member of the Canzone Trio, Tam made his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. 

Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1998, Tam was professor of piano at the Royal Northern College of Music, England.  His piano students have won such international competitions as Holland’s Eduard Flipse International Piano Competition, Poland’s Young Rubinstein International Piano Competition, and England’s Dudley International Piano Competition. He has also served as a jury member on many international competitions.

Mr. Tam has been presented in concert at Koerner Hall and many other Canadian venues, as well as festivals and music schools, performed several concerti with the Canadian Sinfonietta, been on the faculty of the International School for Musical Arts, and featured as a Chinese-Canadian pianist in a documentary on OMNI Television. 

His international activity in recent years includes two summers at the Canna International Chamber Music Festival in southern Italy, a four-piano recital in Hong Kong in 2009 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; and – with the Canzone Trio – performances at the 2nd Music in the Summer Air International Festival in Shanghai, and in Taiwan and other cities.

ERHEI LIANG, Conductor
Conductor and composer Erhei Liang trained at the Shanghai Conservatory and at Louisiana State University.  He has composed symphonies, concertos, chamber and electronic music, solo and choral works.  His music has been telecast and performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and other venues. 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 the Hong Kong City Choir, 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.

The CAST Philomusica Orchestra was established in 2003, with violinist Alec Hou as artistic director. The orchestra has given numerous performances, under the batons of Tony Fan, Zhi-pie Liu and Shek Ko. It is currently under conductor Erhei Liang.

Chinese Artists Society of Toronto and the Multi-Culture & Folk Arts Association of Canada
Hong Kong SAR 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert
CAST Philomusica Orchestra conducted by Erhei Liang
Wai-Ching Rachel Cheung, piano
Conrad Chow, violin and Ka Kit Tam, piano
Violin ensemble of 100 children

Sunday, October 28, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts, 10268 Yonge Street

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor
Mozart: Concerto for Violin and Piano in D major, K. Anh. 56 (315f)
Chinese music for violin and piano
Narration with music arranged from songs reminiscent of Hong Kong
Popular Hong Kong songs (children’s ensemble)

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Tapestry New Opera Presents Opera Briefs

Tapestry announces Opera Briefs –
A showcase of bite-size, world premiere opera scenes
created through our opera speed-dating LibLab

TORONTO, ON – Tapestry New Opera is pleased to announce that four leading playwrights, including Toronto starlet Hannah Moscovitch, and four composers including American composer Lembit Beecher who was appointed for a three-year term as the first Composer In Residence of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, will be part of Opera Briefs 2012.  The 16th annual instalment of Opera Briefs, a performance of scenes resulting from its 16th annual Composer-Librettist Laboratory (LibLab), takes place September 21 and 22 at 7:30 pm and September 23 at 3pm at the Ernest Balmer Studio.

Opera Briefs is a unique opportunity to be the first to see freshly created opera scenes. A selection of some of Canada’s leading writers and composers will present their new collaborations publicly for the first time.

The elite writers selected for the 2012 Composer-Librettist Laboratory are Hannah Moscovitch, Liza Balkan, Katherine Koller, and Amy Lee Lavoie. Joining them will be local and international composers Ivan Barbotin, Lembit Beecher, Benjamin Pesetsky, and Benton Roark.

Tapestry has a long history of attracting the very best candidates to our creative dating laboratory.  This year, judged solely on the merit of the submissions, the LIBLAB was sexually polarized, admitting four female playwrights and four malecomposers.  The elite individuals who meet at our LIBLAB have often remained with one lifetime partner, following their final night out at Opera Briefs. Through Opera Briefs, you can see they have juggled multiple partners and in some cases have produced dramatic offspring with more than one partner.  This year’s artists hold great promise, bringing a wealth of diversity and specialization.

The love doctors that make the magic possible include director Michael Mori, artistic director Wayne Strongman and musical directors Dr. Christopher Foley and Jennifer Tung, two of Canada’s premiere collaborative pianists, working with the refined elements of tenor Keith Klassen and mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig, and fresh catalysts: soprano Allison Cecilia Arendsand baritone Geoffrey Sirett.

Since the very first LibLab in 1995, over 50 creative teams have continued to collaborate, many of whom currently have full length operas in development, including: Julie Salverson and Juliet Palmer (Shelter, world premiere November 2012 with Edmonton Opera) and Colleen Murphy and Aaron Gervais (The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G.). Creative artists who have premiered their works at Opera Briefs have also gone on to successfully premiere their new works.  Composer Chan Ka Nin and librettist Mark Brownell met at the inaugural 1995 LibLab. Their opera Iron Road had its world premiere in April 2001 at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Linda Catlin Smith and Don Hannah also met at the 1995 LibLab and their Arctic drama, Facing South, premiered as part of the World Stage Festival in April of 2003. James Rolfe and Camyar Chai met at the 2003 LibLab and their opera Elijah’s Kite, which addresses bullying and children’s relationships, was developed by Tapestry in partnership with the Manhattan School of Music. It had its world premiere in April 2006 in New York City, its Canadian premiere at Rideau Hall in October 2006 and has toured to over 30,000 Ontario students in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons. Marjorie Chan and Abigail Richardson met at the 2003 LibLab and their opera for all ages, Sanctuary Song, premiered as part of the 2008 Luminato Festival after being developed in partnership by Tapestry and Theatre Direct. Alex Poch-Goldin and Omar Daniel met in the 2001 LibLab and premiered The Shadow with Tapestry in May 2009.

Ticket Details:
Subscriptions: 4 shows for only $125 / $110 Renewal Rate (includes HST)
Single Tickets: $29 (includes HST)
416.537.6066 x222 

Opera Briefs PERFORMANCE DETAILS:September 21, 22 at 7:30pm
 (doors open at 7pm) and September 23 at 3pm (doors open at 2:30pm)
*NEW TO TAPESTRY?: Try us out with a special Pay-What-You-Can show September 20 at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm), seating first come first served
Studio location:
Ernest Balmer Studio, Distillery Historic District
9 Trinity Street, Studio 316

Writers: Liza Balkan, Katherine Koller, Amy Lee Lavoie, Hannah Moscovitch
Composers: Ivan Barbotin, Lembit Beecher, Benjamin Pesetsky, Benton Roark
Director: Michael Mori*
Musical Directors: Christopher Foley, Jennifer Tung
Cast: Keith Klassen, Andrea Ludwig, Allison Cecilia Arends and Geoffrey Sirett.

*Michael Mori’s Associate Artistic Director internship position at Tapestry is generously supported by the Metcalf Foundation
The Composer-Librettist Laboratory is generously supported by Mr. Roger D. Moore

Opera Briefs is not recommended for children under the age of 12 as there is strong language and suggested sexual content.

ABOUT THE LIBRETTISTSLiza Balkan is a director, actor, writer, former dancer, singer and arts educator/teacher who has spent over 30 years working in the theatre. Her association with Tapestry New Opera dates back to ’97 when she was involved in the creation of Theresa Tova’s Still The Night (Tapestry/Theatre Passe Muraille) which  subsequently toured the country.  She received a Dora Award for her performance as well as a nomination for Calgary’s Betty Mitchell Award. Liza also directed Tapestry’s Opera Briefs 6 and 7. She directed the site specific Opera on the Rocks (at Pauper’s Pub) created by many  alumnae from past Lib Labs .   Last year, working composer Glenn James, she wrote her first libretto, Dustings, an excerpt of which was shown at Canadian Stage’s Festival of Ideas and Creations. This past spring she directed her verbatim theatre project Out The Window which played to sold-out houses at The Theatre Centre.  Liza is one of the original members of Tapestry’s Studio Company and is thrilled to be participating in this season’s Lib Lab!

Katherine Koller lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and her one-act plays have been produced across Canada.  Of her full-length plays, Coal Valley: the Making of a Miner is included in The Alberta Advantage, published by Playwrights Canada Press. The Seed Savers premiered at Workshop West Theatre in Edmonton in 2009 and in Saskatchewan in 2010 and is included in her collection, Voices of the Land:  The Seed Savers and Other Plays (Athabasca University Press, 2012), with an introduction by Anne Nothof. Katherine also writes for radio, film, ballet and dance. Now in her third season as librettist for Edmonton’s Citie Ballet, she is working on a contemporary ballet, Ariadne’s Gate. Theatre Encounter in Calgary presents her dance drama adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness this fall. Katherine teaches in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta and her website is <>

Amy Lee Lavoie is a graduate of Drama at Bishop’s University and the Playwriting Program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Rabbit Rabbit, conceived in her first year at NTS was part of Infinitheatre's Pipeline series, CanStage's Ideas and Creation Festival, SummerWorks and the Edmonton Fringe. Rabbit Rabbit received its premiere production under the direction of Guy Sprung with Infinitheatre and earned Amy Lee two MECCA’s for Best Text and the Revelation Award. Her play, Tuning Venus also received the Best English Text award at the Montreal Fringe. She has recently completed a Playwriting Residency at Factory Theatre developing her play, Stopheart, which was part of the Factory Wired Festival. Amy Lee is currently a member of the Playwriting Forum at Citadel Theatre and Cahoots Playwright’s Hothouse.

Hannah Moscovitch’s past writing for the stage includes Little One, East of Berlin, The Russian Play, Essay, Mexico City, The Children’s Republic, The Huron Bride (a ghost story), and In This World (for young audiences). Hannah’s plays have been produced across the country, including at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto where she is currently playwright-in-residence, the Factory Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Hannah’s work has won multiple Dora Awards and she’s been nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.  Hannah is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada and she attended the University of Toronto.

ABOUT THE COMPOSERSBorn in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ivan Barbotin began playing guitar at 10. At 13, he became lead guitarist of the rock group Sphinx which soon won the "Soviet Union's Best Youth Band" competition. At 16, he joined Russia's celebrated rock band Forum as lead guitarist, where he was half the age of the other musicians. With Forum he toured the country to sold-out audiences and became Laureate of the Song of the Year Festival in 1989, a career-launching annual TV event.  After moving to Canada in 1990, Ivan turned his attention away from music for almost a decade, during which time he earned a BA with distinction in Languages and Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He also worked as a video editor for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment. He eventually returned to music and began working as a full-time film and television composer. In 2000, Ivan wrote his first ballet score, The Velveteen Rabbit. Two more ballet commissions followed: The Emperor's New Clothes andAnastasia. He has since written numerous compositions for film and television. Ivan's music has been performed and recorded by The Russian Philharmonic, The Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, among many others. His Provence, a composition for soprano and chamber orchestra has recently been released on Harmonia Mundi. Ivan is currently pursuing a doctorate in composition at the University of Toronto.

In the fall of 2011, Lembit Beecher was appointed for a three-year term as the first Composer In Residence of the Opera Company of Philadelphia in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group of New York. Born of Estonian and American parents, he grew up under the redwoods in Santa Cruz, California, a few miles from the wild Pacific. Since then he has lived in Boston, Houston, Ann Arbor, Berlin and New York, earning degrees from Harvard, Rice and the University of Michigan. This varied background has made him particularly sensitive to place, ecology and the strong emotional relationships that people forge with patterns in nature. He is also interested in memory and the various ways we tell stories, from emotional personal narratives to crisp and clean documentaries. Recent pieces have focused on reflections of the immigrant experience and the integration of recorded interviews with music.  While a fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities (2008 – 2009), Lembit wrote And Then I Remember, a multi-media, documentary oratorio based on the World War II stories of his grandmother.  And Then I Remember won the 2010 Opera Vista competition leading to a fully staged production in March of 2011 in Houston, Texas. Active also as a pianist and conductor, his work has been performed at the Tanglewood, Aspen and Cabrillo Music Festivals and he has received awards and grants from the American Music Center, ASCAP, New York Youth Symphony, NewMusic@ECU, Society for New Music and Austin Peay State University. Lembit served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Denison University for the fall of 2009.

After studies at Oberlin Conservatory and three years working in a record store in New York City, Benton Roark moved west to pursue further studies in composition and a career as a multi-disciplinary artist.  Since then he has had work commissioned and performed throughout North America and Europe by a variety of ensembles, artists, and organizations, including the Bozzini Quartet, Redshift New Music, the Aventa Ensemble, Théatre Re, the Erasmus Foundation, and Mark Takeshi McGregor, as well as his own critically acclaimed rock outfit, Rollaway.   He has completed residencies and programs with the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, the Erasmus IP Project in Italy, the Fontainebleau Sessions in France, the Czech American Institute in the Czech Republic, and the Konservatorium Winterthur in Switzerland.  Mr. Roark is active as as President of the Pro Musica Society of Vancouver and will be beginning as co-Artistic Director with Redshift in the fall of 2012.

The music of Benjamin Pesetsky has been performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and WordSong, Inc.  Recent works include Triptych for Chamber Winds and Serpent, commissioned by the New England Conservatory Jordan Winds, and Lear's Shadow, a Shakespearian scene for three voices, viola, and piano premiered at the Morgan Library in New York City.  Mr. Pesetsky has been in residence at the Banff Centre and the Deer Valley Festival and will be a fellow at the Hambidge Center in September.  He began his composition studies in Boston with Howard Frazin and later studied with Joan Tower and George Tsontakis at Bard College Conservatory where he earned a Bachelor of Music in composition.  He also holds a degree in philosophy from Bard College.  Later this year From Winter, a new work for violin, cello, and electric guitar, will be premiered by the Cygnus Ensemble in New York.

ABOUT THE SINGERSTenor Keith Klassen has emerged to become one of Canada's busiest tenors, with engagements across Canada, Scotland, Germany, the United States, Ireland and the Czech Republic. This past season he was featured with the Pax Christi Chorale inElgar the Kingdom and as Prince Edwin in Gypsy Princess with Toronto Operetta Theatre. Appearing frequently with the latter, he has starred in Count of Luxembourg (Count Renee), Die Fledermaus (Alfred), The Bird Sellers (Count Stanislaus), Patience(Reginald Bunthorne), Gondoliers (Marco)and The Chocolate Soldier (Alexius)He has also been seen with the Canadian Opera Company as Nick (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Spoletta (Tosca), with Vancouver Opera as Jimmy (Lillian Alling), with Saskatoon Opera as Don Jose (Carmen), and as Alfred with Opera Hamilton (Die Fledermaus). 
Mezzo Soprano Andrea Ludwig is an artist of tremendous depth, musicality and scope. Andrea has had great success as a performer of contemporary opera, premiering new works as well as in the traditional mezzo soprano repertoire. Her charm and warmth, as well as her easy sense of humour are perfect for stage, and her vibrant musicality makes her a favorite to all her audiences. Her versatility and ability to interpret many styles is impeccable.  Very much in demand for contemporary opera, this June (2012) she was heard with Tapestry New Opera in Toronto in the new opera “The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G” (Gervais/Murphy). Also, as part of the multi Dora nominated Queen of Puddings production of Svadba - Wedding that premiered in Toronto in May 2011, she will be reprising that role in France and Serbia (October 2012), and then again with Edmonton Opera (2013). This coming November she will be heard in Edmonton premiering the opera Shelter (Juliet Palmer) which will be produced by Tapestry New Opera Works. With concert work, Andrea returns to Symphony Nova Scotia next season to premier Peter Lieberson’s songs Neruda Songs, after having been featured in the R. Murray Schafer’s Adieu Robert Schumann (cond. Gueller) for their Orchestral Currents series in 2011.

Western-Canadian soprano, Allison Cecilia Arends, is noted as having a “voice [that] is stunningly beautiful, [which] she uses… with intelligence and great sensitivity”. A recent graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, she completed a Masters at the University of Toronto Opera School and Bachelors at the University of Victoria Voice Performance Program. Allison enjoyed a busy 2011/12 season with appearances in La Bohème at the Arts and Letters Club and Colours of Music Festival, concerts at the Green Door Cabaret, and recitals for the Colours of Music Festival, the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg, and Saskatoon Opera. She also joined the Tallis Choir for Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, the Calgary Civic Symphony and Philharmonic Chorus for Carmina Burana, the Pax Christi Chorale for their Children’s Messiah, the Regina Philharmonic Chorus and Symphony Orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Magnificat, the Toronto Classical Singers and Tallisker Players for Verdi’s Requiem, and the Toronto Concert Orchestra for a Viennese concertShe was selected to participate in the Joy in Singing masterclass series and competition as a semi-finalist in New York and the National Arts Centre’s masterclass with Benita Valente.

Baritone Geoffrey Sirett is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto where he completed a Master of Music degree in opera.  He has performed leading roles in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Bernstein’s Candide, Haydn’s Il Mondo della Luna, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Britten’s Albert Herring.  Previous AOTC credits include ‘Il Conte” in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (2010), ‘Snug’ in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2011).  Geoffrey was a winner in the Canadian Conservatory Competition, the Czech and Slovak International Competition, Ottawa Choral Society Competition, regional finalist of the MONC Auditions, and most recently received 2nd place and the “Best Performance of a Canadian Work” Award at the 2011 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal Competition.  Geoffrey has received support from the Desmarais Foundation for young Canadian opera singers, Vancouver Opera Guild, and Canadian Opera Volunteer Committee.  As winner of the 2010 Norcop Song Prize, Geoffrey presented a recital with pianist Martin Katz.  Geoffrey’s debut album was released in December 2011, featuring Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, Butterworth’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’, and Britten’s Folksong Arrangements.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAMWayne Strongman is one of Canada’s most distinguished music directors, and champion of Canadian writers and composers. As Managing Artistic Director of Tapestry New Opera, he has commissioned and premiered over 30 new Canadian operas including the Cantonese-English Iron Road in 2001 (Brownell/Chan), Facing South (Hannah/Smith), The Shadow (Poch-Goldin/Daniel), and Nigredo Hotel (MacDonald/Gotham) which is the most frequently produced Canadian opera in history.  Music Director/Dramaturge of Tapestry’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory, Mr. Strongman has created a truly collaborative environment for an international roster of composers and writers. His commitment to a contemporary practice within the operatic art form has made Strongman a mentor to many Canadian singers. In 2007 he established the Tapestry New Work Studio Company as a performing resource for the new work creation process which has become Tapestry’s unique calling.  For Tapestry’s 30th anniversary season in 2009-2010, Strongman conducted the world premiere of Dark Star Requiem (Battson/Staniland), his second premiere for Luminato, after Sanctuary Song (Chan/Richardson) in 2008; in 2009, he was named one of 50 Canadian Ambassadors for New Music by the Canadian Music Centre and on January 1, 2010 he was made a member of the Order of Canada, for his innovative leadership of Tapestry and his dedication to the children of Regent Park. In 2011, Strongman conducted the Toronto premiere of Pub Operas (Brock/Williams) and was guest conductor for Wilfred Laurier University’s Fall Opera Showcase featuring new works developed under the Tapestry banner.

Michael Mori joined the Tapestry team as a full time Associate Artistic Director and Metcalf Intern this past January.  Recently nominated for a Juno award, Michael Mori began performing in Opera at the age of nine in NYC. Since then, his training has encompassed theatre, dance, and a Masters in Opera Performance including training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.  Michael has been directing opera and operetta for the past seven years and has recently worked with opera director and luminary Tim Albery as assistant director and will be working with him again in Dallas this coming spring. Michael is new to Toronto and very pleased to be joining Tapestry's talented staff and creative team, championing new Canadian operas and training his own skills in stage directing and conducting. Recent music direction credits include Noor over Afghan at the Festival of Ideas and Creation at Canadian Stage.  Recent directing credits include Tapestry’s March New Opera Showcase, and Marjorie Chan’s Chapel with Fu-gen Theatre company.  In addition to singing with the Vancouver Opera, he has worked as a singer, music director and co-artistic director with Vancouver’s musica intima and with them has toured Europe and North America, been nominated for a Juno, and won best classical album in Western Canada for the all Canadian album Into Light.  Michael has also had his work as a librettist published in WestCoast Line. Nothing is Free with 2010 LibLab composer Iman Habibi premiered in Vancouver at the Spatial Poetics Festival. He is very happy to have found such a fitting family in Tapestry!

In 2010 Christopher Foley was hard at work learning the finer points of programming, marketing, publicity, development, finance, and educational outreach as Tapestry New Opera's very first Leadership Legacy Intern. As a member of the Tapestry New Work Studio Company, he has been a coach/repetiteur for recent productions of Opera to Go (2004-10), The Shadow, Nigredo Hotel, and Facing South, as well as being on the creative team for Tapestry’s unique Composer-Librettist Laboratory. At the Eastman School of Music, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1994, majoring in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music. He now teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music, serving as head of the voice department in the Conservatory School, where he also started the RCM's popular Collaborative Piano class.  Recent performances include the Eastman School of Music’s Faculty Concert Series, the Women in Music Festival, the University of Western Ontario, the Festival of the Sound, Word on the Street, and the Algoma Fall Festival. As author of the Collaborative Piano Blog, he writes about issues of importance to the collaborative pianist, as well as current musical events in Toronto and elsewhere. Dr. Foley was a pianist and coach for the singers featured on the Bravo!Canada reality show Bathroom Divas, was interviewed for CBC Television’s Living in Toronto, and was featured in a Toronto Star article about video games and music education.

Jennifer Tung is one of Ontario’s most sought after vocal coaches, piano accompanists, sopranos, instructors, and adjudicators.  She is currently the Vocal Department Coordinator and a vocal coach at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as the founder, faculty and coordinator of the vocal program for the Glenn Gould School Academy.  In the summer of 2006, Tung was invited to join the faculty of the “Songfest” Young Artist Program in Malibu, California and has been the assistant director and faculty member since 2009. In the summer of 2008, Tung served as a voice teacher, vocal coach and music director at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival in Waimea, Hawaii.  She was also invited to participate in the Schubert master classes as a pianist at the prestigious Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme.  In the summer of 2009, Tung once again joined Hawaii Performing Arts Festival as faculty in both the voice and collaborative piano program. This past summer, in addition to her duties at Songfest, she was on faculty as a vocal coach at the Vianden Music Festival in Luxembourg as well as a collaborative pianist in the Wolf and Strauss art song program at the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme.  An advocate of contemporary music, Tung was appointed as the repetiteur and pianist for the inaugural season of the Tapestry New Opera Studio in the summer of 2007.

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