LSM Newswire

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Holocaust Education Week Concert at Grace Church on the Hill November 15

Nov. 6 at Grace Church on-the-Hill/Nov. 15 at Temple Sinai

The Temple Sinai Ensemble Choir, Toronto Jewish Folk Choir and Upper Canada Choristers join forces this November to remember the Holocaust, at an Anglican church and a Jewish temple. The concert, titled Voices from the Whirlwind, is an hour of emotionally powerful songs from or related to the Holocaust and the destruction of war.

The evening is part of National Narratives – Giving Voice, the 33rd Annual Holocaust Education Week.  It takes place at the two hosting venues –Wednesday, November 6, 8 p.m. at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road (Spadina-St. Clair area); and Friday, November 15, 9 p.m. (following 8 p.m. Sabbath services) at Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Avenue (between Avenue Road and Bathurst).

The concerts are open to the public, with free admission.  More information will be posted at Further information may be obtained by phoning 416-488-7884(Grace Church on-the-Hill) or 416-487-4161 (Temple Sinai).

The evening brings together the following:
* Cantor Charles Osborne (tenor) and Cantor Katie Oringel (soprano) of Temple Sinai as soloists
* Temple Sinai Ensemble Choir, Cantor Charles Osborne, conductor; Sue Piltch, piano
* Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, Alexander Veprinsky, conductor; Lina Zemelman, piano
* Upper Canada Choristers, Laurie Evan Fraser, conductor; Blair Salter, piano

Highlighting the evening of songs in Yiddish, English and Russian is Charles Osborne’s original composition, I Didn’t Speak Out, with the unforgettably rueful words of German anti-Nazi theologian Martin Niemoeller.  Senior Cantor Osborne will conduct, with Temple Sinai’s Cantor Katie Oringel as soloist.  It will be one of several pieces performed jointly by the three choirs.

As well, the Folk Choir and Temple Singers will perform Holocaust songs in Yiddish, with Cantor Osborne as soloist; and the Russian song Zhuravli(Cranes), about soldiers killed in war.   The Upper Canada Choristers will perform Voices From the Whirlwind, by U.S. composer Annetta Lockhart.  Texts include writings by children living in the Warsaw Ghetto.

The evening will include writings from the Holocaust, read by Barbara Blaser.

More information on the Upper Canada Choristers is at; the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, Temple Sinai at, and Grace Church on-the-Hill

The Toronto Jewish Folk Choir season is made possible in part by a grant from the Toronto Arts Council, the Choir Foundation and friends.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jan Lisiecki Wins Gramophone's Young Artist of the Year

Calgary’s Jan Lisiecki Honoured as Young Artist of the Year

Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki (Photo: IMG Artists)

The British classical magazine Gramophone announced 18-year-old Royal Conservatory student Jan Lisiecki as the winner of its2013 Young Artist of the Year Award at a ceremony on Tuesday, September 17 at LSO St Luke's, the London Symphony Orchestra's Music Education Centre. Lisiecki is the first North American to win the award.

“The Gramophone Classical Music Awards honouring Glenn Gould School student Jan Lisiecki as Young Artist of the Year is a testament to the high calibre of artists being trained and developed by the internationally-celebrated faculty of The Conservatory,” saysDr. Peter Simon, President of The Royal Conservatory. “Our students, whose instructors and mentors include members of the Grammy Award-nominated ARC Ensemble, continue to earn the recognition and respect of the classical music field around the world.”

Studying in Toronto in the Performance Diploma Program of The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School (GGS) on a full scholarship supported by The Ihnatowycz Prize in Piano, Lisiecki’s flourishing career further strengthens The Conservatory’s global standing as an incubator of artistic excellence, and his success inspires greatness in his fellow students. The young pianist from Calgary won the illustrious Leonard Bernstein Award for 2013 and was nominated for a Juno Award earlier this year. He recently released his second album on the esteemed classical label Deutsche GrammophonChopin Étude, and performed at this year’sBBC Proms to rave reviews. Lisiecki returns to London for his Wigmore Hall debut on September 29.

Jan Lisiecki is one of many Royal Conservatory scholarship students to have won major international awards in 2013. Emma Meinrenken, a 14-year-old student of The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, won First Laureate at The Stradivarius International Violin Competition’s International Junior Division, Conservatory students earned Grand Prizes in every category of the 2013 Canadian Music Competition, and GGS students Luri Lee (a Rebanks Family Fellow) and Jesse Je Young Kim won the first and second prizes at The 2013 Shean Strings Competition.

Launched in 1977, the Gramophone Classical Music Awards are among the most esteemed prizes in the classical music industry. Annual winners are selected by critics for Gramophone magazine as well as industry experts including arts administrators, broadcasters, and musicians. Awards are presented in London each September. Past winners of the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award include baritone Bryn Terfel, violinist Maxim Vengerov, and pianist Yuja Wang.
The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music and arts education institutions in the world. Providing the definitive standard of excellence in music education through its curriculum, assessment, performances, 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 leadership in music and arts education, 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 visit

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Thursday, September 12, 2013


Communiqué de presse/Analekta :


Nominations recueillies par : Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal sous la direction de Kent Nagano,  Alain Lefèvre, Ensemble Caprice, Daniel Taylor, Stéphane Tétreault, Philippe Sly, Hélène Guilmette ainsi que Clavecin en Concert.

Montréal, le 11 septembre 2013 - Analekta est fière d'annoncer qu'elle a reçu 10 nominations au gala de l'ADISQ 2013. Les enregistrements de l'étiquette ont encore une fois été largement représentés cette année.

Dans la catégorie « Album classique de l'année - orchestre et grand ensemble », 3 enregistrements Analekta sont en nomination :

- Musique de jeux vidéo par Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà a été retenu, grâce à l'originalité de son              programme musical et la performance de haut calibre de la violoniste virtuose et de son ensemble à             cordes. 
-Bach : Concertos brande bourgeois, Shostakovich : Préludes Op. 87 enregistré par l'Ensemble Caprice sous la direction de Matthias Maute s'est également distingué, pour le renouveau apporté à ces œuvres et la beauté de sa performance.

- Stéphane Tétreault, le jeune violoncelliste de 20 ans, a également été nommé pour son premier album, Saint-Saëns & Tchaikovsky, enregistré avec l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec sous la direction de Fabien Gabel.

Dans la catégorie « Album de l'année - Soliste et petit ensemble », on retrouve :

-Le pianiste Alain Lefèvre, pour son dernier enregistrement des 24 Préludes composés par François Dompierre

-Luc Beauséjour et son ensemble Clavecin en concert pour ses interprétations de Couperin: Concerts royaux, dont l'élégance et la virtuosité ont été saluées par la critique.

Dans la catégorie « Album de l'année - classique vocal », 4 enregistrements Analekta sont en nomination parmi les 5 sélectionnés :

-L'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal et le baryton-basse Christian Gerhaher sous la direction de Kent Nagano ont été retenus par le jury pour leur enregistrement impressionnant de Mahler: Orchesterlieder.  

-Philippe Sly, l'un des barytons les plus en vue du moment a su trouver sa place dans la sélection avec son premier album, En rêves accompagné par le pianiste, Michael McMahon.

-Le contre-ténor Daniel Taylor, accompagné des ensembles Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal et le Theatre of Early Music a  quant à lui été sélectionné pour son dernier album, Ave Maria. 

-Le baryton Philippe Sly, et la soprano Hélène Guilmette,  accompagnés de l'ensemble musical Clavecin en concert dirigé par Luc Beauséjour ont eux aussi su séduire l'Adisq, grâce à leur performance pour leur enregistrement, Rameau : Les Amants trahis.

 Dans la catégorie « Arrangeur de l'année»

-François Vallières, Gilles Ouellet, Anthony Rozankovic, Claude Lemay et Antoine Bareil ont été nommés pour l'originalité et la qualité exceptionnelle des arrangements de Musique de jeux vidéo, d'Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà

Avec ces nominations, Analekta, qui fête cette année ses 25 ans, confirme une fois encore son flair pour développer des projets avec des artistes de talent et le travail d'excellence qu'elle accorde à la production de ses enregistrements. De par son ambition et sa passion pour la musique, Analekta continue d'entretenir la place unique qu'elle détient sur le marché canadien de la musique classique.
L'ADISQ (Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo), qui en est à sa 35e année d'existence, annoncera le nom des gagnants lors d'un gala qui se tiendra à la Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier de la Place des Arts à Montréal le 22 octobre à 20h (diffusion à MusiquePlus, Musimax et sur Internet dès 20 h).

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Media Release - Lucerne Festival Orchestra

Lucerne, 11 September 2013 . On the recommendation of his doctors, Claudio Abbado has been compelled on short notice to cancel his plans to conduct the four concerts with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in Suntory Hall in Tokyo on 15, 17, 20, and 21 October 2013 as well as the concert in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA on 12 October 2013. Please find his personal statement below. The four concerts in Suntory Hall will not take place. The new program and the musicians for the concert in LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA on 12 October will be published at a later time. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA in Matsushima will be opened on 27 September.

My dear friends, 

We have many unforgettable memories in our hearts from our last project in 2006, and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and I were greatly looking forward to visiting Japan again. I myself was excited by the prospect of being able to share time with Japanese music lovers this coming October.However, I deeply regret that we have no choice but to cancel all our concerts in Tokyo due to reasons of my health. I ask for your kind understanding. 
Claudio Abbado

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Ninth Annual Opera News Awards Honorees Announced

The editors of Opera News are pleased to announce the honorees for the ninth annual Opera News Awards, paying tribute to five superb artists who have made invaluable contributions to the art form: director Patrice Chéreau, tenor Juan Diego Flórez, mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, bass-baritone James Morris and soprano Nina Stemme. The Opera News Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 13 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. All the winners – and a host of the city’s cultural, civic, and social luminaries – will be present at the gala awards dinner, which will feature celebrity presenters speaking about the awardees and introducing video performance clips.

Created in 2005, the Opera News Awards recognize five individuals each year for distinguished achievement in the field of opera. Proceeds from the gala evening on April 13 will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. The official announcement of this year’s honorees appears in the October 2013 issue of Opera News, which is available on September 11 and has composer Nico Muhly on the cover, in connection with the performance of his opera Two Boys at the Met. The April 2014 issue of Opera News will contain tributes to the five awardees, all distinguished members of the international opera community.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Opera News Awards includes a special sweepstakes that will give a lucky winner round-trip air transportation for two to New York, provided by American Airlines, as well as a two-night stay at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and VIP tickets to the Opera News Awards. No purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes; details are available at

The editors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Opera News have offered brief pre-publication accolades to this year’s award recipients. Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll praises Mr. Chéreau:

“With his brilliant Bayreuth staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Patrice Chéreau gave Wagner’s masterwork new vitality and relevance. Chéreau challenges and enlightens audiences with his supremely intelligent and uncompromising work in opera, theater and film. His Met production of From the House of the Dead was one of the great opera experiences of the last decade, and his recent staging of Strauss's Elektra at the Aix Festival was the unquestioned triumph of the summer season in Europe.”

Associate Editor Tristan Kraft applauds Mr. Flórez:
“Juan Diego Flórez has that combination of style, taste, acting ability, and vocal prowess that would have made him a star in any era, not just ours. He has a way of reminding opera-goers that singing opera not only requires great talent but can be great fun.”

Senior Editor Louise Guinther pays tribute to Ms. Ludwig:
“The career of Christa Ludwig shines as a beacon of compleat artistry; she inhabited the distinct worlds of opera and lieder with equal measures of grace, generosity, and sophistication, bringing her lush, unmistakable mezzo timbre and her extraordinary textual acuity to the most overtly dramatic role of the lyric stage, as well as to the most delicately shaded nuance of art song.”

Features Editor Brian Kellow extols the gifts of Mr. Morris:
“James Morris’s best performances have been marked by both grandeur and subtlety, a combination of qualities that made him the leading Wotan of his generation. An impressive, imposing sound was never quite enough for him; he could also take us by surprise with moments of great beauty and finesse.”

Online Editor Adam Wasserman salutes Ms. Stemme:
 “Nina Stemme has emerged as the indisputable dramatic soprano of her generation. With her molten midrange, gleaming top and generous phrasing, Stemme makes real the joys and sorrows of Wagner, Strauss, and Puccini heroines in a manner that is at once classic in style and unlike anything we’ve heard before.”

Commenting further about the winners of the ninth annual Opera News Awards, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, F. Paul Driscoll, notes:
“The depth and range of achievements of this year's five honorees is breathtaking.  With their total commitment to the art form, these artists represent the very best in the world of opera, and the editors of Opera News look forward with enthusiasm to celebrating their work at the gala in April.”

Beyond offering the opportunity to pay tribute to the distinguished achievements of some of the leading artists of our time, the Opera News Awards gala dinner has become an important and much-anticipated date on the opera community’s calendar: a time for singers, artistic administrators, and managers – as well as those social and political leaders who support opera – to come together in a spirit of camaraderie and celebration.

American Airlines and Trump International Hotel and Tower are the presenting sponsors for the Opera News Awards sweepstakes.

Opera News has been published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936; it has the largest circulation of any classical music magazine in the United States. The magazine, published monthly, is a winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in music journalism.

Previous Opera News Awards honorees:

Eighth (2012-13): Mirella Freni, Dawn Upshaw, David Daniels, Simon Keenlyside, Eric Owens
Seventh (2011-12): Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Peter Mattei, Karita Mattila, Anja Silja, Peter Sellars
Sixth (2010-11): Jonas Kaufmann, Riccardo Muti, Patricia Racette, Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel
Fifth (2009-10): Martina Arroyo, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Philip Glass, Shirley Verrett
Fourth (2008-9): John Adams, Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes
Third (2007-8): Olga Borodina, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Leontyne Price, Julius Rudel
Second (2006-7): Ben Heppner, James Levine, René Pape, Renata Scotto, Deborah Voigt

First (2005-6): James Conlon, Régine Crespin, Plácido Domingo, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick

Opera News Awards: honoree bios


Patrice Chéreau was born in Lézigné, Maine-et-Loire, France, and began directing professionally for the theater at the age of 19. Chéreau made opera history in 1976, with his revolutionary staging of Wagner’s Ring at the Bayreuth Festival. Chéreau's production set the action of the trilogy in the context of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and has been called one of the most influential opera stagings of all time. The Chéreau Ring was taped at Bayreuth and later televised internationally.

Also acclaimed as a film director, Chéreau's movies include L’homme blessé (1983), Queen Margot (1994), Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998), Intimacy (2001), Son frère (2003), Gabrielle (2005), and Persécution (2009). In 2010, Chéreau was a guest curator at the Louvre, where he incorporated dance, opera, theater, film, and painting in a show titled Les visages et les corps (Faces and Bodies). Chéreau’s film appearances as an actor include General Montcalm in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Max in Claude Berri’s Lucie Aubrac (1997), and Thomas Brandt in Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf (2003).

In 2009, Chéreau made his Met debut with his production of Janácek’s From the House of the Dead, which was also seen in Vienna, Milan, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Chéreau’s staging of Richard Strauss’s Elektra was the smash hit of the 2013 Aix Festival, and will be seen in spring 2014 at La Scala, Milan. A co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, the Chéreau Elektra will bow in New York in a future season.


Tenor Juan Diego Flórez is the bel canto tenor of choice at the leading opera houses of the world. His fluid, expressive singing and dazzling virtuosity have won him acclaim in the works of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini. Born in Lima, Peru, Flórez was educated at Peru’s National Conservatory of Music and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Flórez attracted worldwide attention at the age of 23, when he stepped into the leading role of Corradino in Matilde di Shabran at the 1996 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. He scored an enormous success in a very difficult role, and his international career was soon underway. That same year, he made his debut at La Scala on the opening night of the season, under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Since then, Flórez has established himself as an audience and critical favorite at every important opera house and festival in Europe and North America, with a repertoire that now includes more than 30 operas.

Flórez made his Met debut in 2002, as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He has sung more than 90 performances with the company to date, including leading roles in new Met productions of Barbiere, Don Pasquale, Le comte Ory, La Sonnambula, and La fille du régiment. This season, Flórez returns to the Met as Prince Ramiro in La Cenerentola, which will be transmitted worldwide as part of The Met: Live in HD series. In 2007, Flórez was awarded the Order of the Sun, Grand Cross, by his native country of Peru. He was given the honorary title of Kammersänger by the Minister of Cultural Affairs of Austria in 2012.


Mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig is one of opera’s authentic legends. An incomparable singer of lieder and concert repertoire as well as opera, Ludwig was born in Berlin. Her parents were both singers, and her first voice teacher was her mother, mezzo-soprano Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig. Ludwig made her opera debut in 1946, as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at the Frankfurt State Opera. She made her Salzburg debut in 1954, as Cherubino, and arrived at the Vienna State Opera the following year, at the invitation of Karl Böhm. Ludwig sang in Vienna for more than 30 years and was named a Kammersängerin in 1962. Her repertoire in Vienna ranged from the heroines of Mozart to Carmen, Leonore in Fidelio, Venus in Tannhäuser, Ortrud, and Claire in the 1971 world premiere of Gottfried von Einem’s opera Besuch der alten Dame. She made her Bayreuth debut in 1966 as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde.

Ludwig’s first U.S. opera appearance was in 1959, as Dorabella at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She made her Met debut later the same year, as Cherubino, and went on to appear with the company in 15 different roles, including the Dyer’s Wife in the 1966 Met premiere of Die Frau ohne Schatten, the Marschallin, Klytämnestra, Fricka, Kundry, Didon in Les Troyens and Charlotte in Werther. She made her last Met appearance in 1993, as Fricka to the Wotan of her fellow Opera News Awards honoree, James Morris.

Ludwig has sung under all the great conductors of her era, enjoying especially productive working relationships with James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, and Karl Böhm. Ludwig’s concert and recital repertoire was vast, but she was especially admired for her performances of Mahler, Brahms, and Schubert in partnership with pianists Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons.


James Morris made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1971, as the King in Aida, and has sung 940 performances with the company in New York and on tour. The bass-baritone is universally celebrated for his monumental interpretation of Wotan in Wagner’s cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, which he sang under James Levine’s baton in the Met’s first video recording of the Ring, televised in 1990, and in two complete “Ring” cycles on disc – one for Deutsche Grammophon under James Levine and one for EMI under Bernard Haitink. Morris has also appeared as Wotan at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and San Francisco Opera. Morris’s other signature roles include Wagner’s Dutchman and Hans Sachs; the four villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann; Scarpia in Tosca; Mozart’s Figaro and Don Giovanni; Méphistophélès; and Claggart in Billy Budd.

This season, Morris will debut the role of Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma at the Metropolitan Opera. He recently returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Hans Sachs in a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, and made his role debut as the Doctor in Berg’s Wozzeck with the English National Opera. In 2010, Morris sang leading roles in two transmissions in the Met: Live in HD series – Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, in which he sang Fiesco, and Thomas’s Hamlet, in which he was Claudius.

Born and educated in Baltimore, Morris studied at the Peabody Conservatory and with Rosa Ponselle. He continued his education at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied with bass Nicola Moscona, and made his professional debut in 1967, at Baltimore Opera, as Crespel in Les contes d'Hoffmann.


Nina Stemme, one of the world’s leading dramatic sopranos, was born and educated in Stockholm. She made her opera debut as Cherubino in Cortona, Italy, in 1989 and was named winner of the Operalia competition in 1993. A remarkable interpreter of the heroines of Richard Wagner, Stemme has sung Isolde at the Bayreuth Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Zurich Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and has brought her Brünnhilde to Munich, Milan, Vienna, and San Francisco.

 Stemme made her Met debut in 2000, as Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer, and returned in 2010 for Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Met appearances as Strauss’s Elektra and Wagner’s Isolde are planned for future seasons. In 2012, Stemme made a triumphant concert appearance with the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in the title role of Salome. Her other roles range from Wagner's Elisabeth, Eva, Elsa, Sieglinde, and Senta to Verdi’s Aida and Amelia, Puccini’s Tosca, Turandot, Mimì, Minnie, and Cio-Cio-San and Strauss’s Arabella and the Marschallin.

Stemme was named a Swedish Royal Court Singer in 2006 and received the title Kammersängerin of the Vienna State Opera in 2012. A winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Tristan und Isolde at Covent Garden, Stemme was chosen as Singer of the Year by Opernwelt and won the first Opera Award in London in 2013.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


September 10, 2013 / Curtis News Release -  Building upon a rich tradition of distinguished conducting faculty and alumni, the Curtis Institute of Music launches a new conducting program this fall with Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its first mentor conductor.

Designed for emerging young conductors at a crucial time in their development, the program combines personalized attention from a renowned conductor with frequent podium time, both in performances and rehearsal with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Opera Theatre, Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, and others, in keeping with the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy.

“Transmission of knowledge, sharing experiences, inspiring younger musicians to find their own true personality—this is how we keep bringing wonderful music to life for so many centuries,” notes Mr. Nézet-Séguin. “I have become the musician and conductor I am today because of every teacher I have had, and it is with this in mind that I look forward to becoming the first mentor conductor at Curtis. It is an honor to join in the work of one of Philadelphia’s and the world’s most important educational institutions, providing guidance and inspiration to the musical leaders of tomorrow.”

As the first mentor conductor for the program, Mr. Nézet-Séguin provides musical and professional guidance, working one-on-one with the conducting fellow for the 2013–14 season.  Kensho Watanabe, the first Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, hails from Greenwich, Conn., and earned a diploma in conducting from Curtis in 2013.

The Curtis conducting program combines individual attention from a top music director with numerous public performance opportunities. In the 2013-14 season, Kensho Watanabe will conduct the fall Curtis Opera Theatre production of The Emperor of Atlantis and leads the opening work on each of the three Curtis Symphony Orchestra concerts in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

In addition to frequent performances, the conducting fellow will lead sectional rehearsals, work with visiting conductors, and complete high-level training in musical studies, analysis, and conducting techniques. Auditions take place in the spring and conducting fellows are expected to enter the program at a high artistic level, prepared to lead Curtis ensembles in rehearsal and performance.  The program has been funded through the 2016–17 school year by longtime Curtis supporters Rita and Gustave Hauser. Application and audition information is available at

In addition to his role as mentor conductor, Mr. Nézet-Séguin will also lead the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center on January 26, and throughout the year will conduct readings with the orchestra and work with Mr. Watanabe in Curtis Lab Orchestra and mentoring sessions. The mentor conductor guides the conducting fellow throughout the year and provides a firsthand look at the operations of a major orchestra.

The connection between the Curtis conducting program and the Philadelphia Orchestra stretches back to its founding by the legendary Leopold Stokowski. Later faculty members included Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, and most recently Otto-Werner Mueller. A host of illustrious conductors have graduated from Curtis since its founding including Leonard Bernstein (’41); Alan Gilbert (’92), music director of the New York Philharmonic; and Robert Spano (’85), music director of both the Atlanta Symphony and Aspen Music Festival and School.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of innovation in music-making.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin triumphantly opened his inaugural season as the eighth artistic leader of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the fall of 2012. His highly collaborative style, deeply-rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm, paired with a fresh approach to orchestral programming, have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called Nézet-Séguin “phenomenal,” adding that under his baton, “the ensemble … has never sounded better.” He is embraced by the musicians of the Orchestra, audiences, and the community itself. His concerts of diverse repertoire attract sold-out houses, and he has established a regular forum for connecting with concert-goers through Post-Concert Conversations.

The Philadelphia Orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level. Since Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore’s arrival in 2010 the Orchestra has reinvigorated or launched new partnerships with Opera Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Live Arts (Fringe Festival), Philadanco, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Ridge Theater Company, and stage director James Alexander, among others. For more information, visit

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians for careers as performing artists on the highest professional level. One of the world’s leading conservatories, Curtis provides its 171 students with full-tuition scholarships and personalized attention from a celebrated faculty. Its distinctive “learn by doing” approach has produced an impressive number of notable artists, from such legends as Samuel Barber to current stars Jonathan Biss, Juan Diego Flórez, Hilary Hahn, Jennifer Higdon, and Lang Lang. Curtis alumni hold principal chairs in every major American orchestra, and each season they are featured as guest soloists with the world’s leading orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music series

Curtis’s innovative programs encourage students to perform often and hone 21st-century musical skills. The school’s facilities offer superb spaces for music-making, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to enhance learning. In addition to more than 200 performances in and around Philadelphia each year, students perform internationally with Curtis On Tour. When they graduate, they become musical leaders, making a profound impact on music around the globe. To learn more, visit

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tafelmusik launches 2013-14 Season

Tafelmusik launches 13-14 season with
Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 under guest director Bruno Weil,
at Koerner Hall, September 19, 20, 22, 2013
Conductor Weil and the Tafelmusik Orchestra have had a lengthy and fruitful relationship, lasting longer than two decades, and he simply brings out the best in this orchestra … Weil is so sure in his interpretations, so clear in his direction, that the musicians of the orchestra seem to feel an abandon in their playing that is rare, even for them.                — Globe and Mail, 2013
Toronto, Canada, September 10, 2013 … Tafelmusik launches its 2013-14 season with Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, and the Prometheus overture, September 19, 20 and 22, 2013 at Koerner Hall. Long-time Tafelmusik collaborator Bruno Weil conducts these performances, which will be recorded live for a two-CD set for November release on the Tafelmusik Media label. The set also includes live recordings of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4, as well as the Coriolan and Egmont Overtures.
Tafelmusik has performed all nine Beethoven symphonies in Toronto under the direction of Bruno Weil. For the first time, Toronto audiences heard Tafelmusik perform these works on the instruments for which they were written. The Beethoven symphony cycle began in earnest in 1998 when he led a performance of the Symphony No.1 in Irsee, with a repeat performance in February 1999 at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
Tafelmusik began its cycle of Beethoven symphony recordings in 1998 on the Analekta and Sony Classical labels under Bruno Weil’s direction. Previously released recordings include the JUNO Award-winning Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 CD, and the JUNO Award-nominated Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 CD and DVD. During Tafelmusik’s nineteen-year tenure as orchestra-in-residence at the Klang und Raum Festival in Irsee, Germany, Weil also directed the orchestra in internationally acclaimed performances of Beethoven symphonies.
Tafelmusik’s 2012 live recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, “Eroica”, on the Tafelmusik Media label was selected as Album of the Week by Classic FM in London, and has garnered praise for “vigour with bitingly crisp tone and dynamic playing … Lyrical phrases are smooth and graceful. Bold, concentrated tone color enriches the middle movements, and clean, swift counterpoint enhances the finale.” (New Jersey Star-Ledger)
Dates + Times:                                  Koerner Hall
                                                                Thurs Sept 19Fri Sept 20 at 8pm
                                                                Sun Sept 22 at 3:30 pm

Select Tafelmusik musicians offer Talkbacks with audience members after each concert.

Ticket Prices:
                                     Regular: $47-$105
65+: $35-$89
Ages 35 and Under: $25-$89

                                                Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St W, Toronto ON
Box Office:                               
Weston Family Box Office:  416.408.0208


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Honens Pushes Boundaries with its 2013-14 Concert Season



honens pushes boundaries with its latest concert offerings

tickets on sale now for 2013/14 on stage and bison noir concerts

CALGARY, AB, September 9, 2013—Honens shakes up its concert line-up for 2013/14 by offering unique experiences for the musically curious. Tickets are on sale today for Honens On Stage concerts featuring British pianists Paul Lewis and Stephen Hough and Honens Bison Noir concerts with pianists Katherine Chi and Hinrich Alpers, and turntable artist/electro-acoustic composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei) and French futuristic electro-jazz ensemble Cabaret Contemporain. 

"There are now several outstanding recital series in our city.  Honens aims to lead the pack by presenting memorable musical experiences," says Stephen McHolm, President & Artistic Director of Honens. "Honens On Stage lets audiences experience the talent of some of the world's biggest classical music stars in a truly unique way while Honens Bison Noir proves that classical music can be enjoyed alongside non-classical genres even amidst the clinking of beer bottles and pockets of hubbub." 

Honens On Stage allows audiences to witness prominent international classical musicians up-close in performance.  On Stage audiences are seated with performer on the stage of EPCOR CENTRE's Jack Singer Concert Hall for all concerts.  Tickets are available exclusively for on-stage seats and in the Jack Singer's choir loft.

A resounding hit at Honens 2012, Honens Bison Noir brings ‘cool’ to Calgary’s classical music scene.  With a nod to ‘Le Poisson Rouge’—New York’s ‘it’ venue for cutting-edge performing arts in a bar/club setting—Honens Bison Noir fuses performances of classical and post-classical music in a cabaret setting and removes formal traditions, allowing audiences to feel comfortable wearing casual clothing, getting there when they can, and not worrying about small noises made during the concert.  Concerts take place at Local 522 Public Tavern and feature Laureates of the Honens Prize for Piano in collaboration with cutting-edge international guests.  See Backgrounder for concerts listings.

Tickets to these Honens concerts range in price from $18 to $65 and are available online at or by calling the Honens Box Office at (403) 299-0140.  Discounts are available for seniors aged 65 and older and ‘A440’ members, aged 18 to 39. 

Honens discovers, nurtures and presents Complete Artists—21st century pianists for 21st century audiences. Honens Laureates are critically acclaimed the world-over and the triennial ‘Search for the Complete Artist’ awards the largest prize of its kind.  Honens also presents concerts and mentorship opportunities to audiences and aspiring musicians across Canada. 

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Benefit Concert for Hurricane Sandy Victims by Classical Guitarist Atsumasa Nakabayashi


Program includes classic Spanish pieces; Latin American suite, arrangements based on Japanese Koto music

Born in pre-war Japan, Atsumasa Nakabayashi's life-long love affair with the guitar started at age 13 when he heard guitar music on the radio. Fascinated, he learned how to play, using a steel-string guitar borrowed from his elder brother. During wartime, when he went to bomb shelters during air raid alerts holding his guitar, he was greeted with “What are you doing bringing that enemy instrument in here?” He persisted, however, and in 1949 was accepted as a student by Yasumasa Obara and then by Fumio Hayasaka. Hayasaka was an avant-garde musician and guitarist, who provided music for the movie Seven Samurai and other films. Nakabayashi provided the music for eight films made in Kyoto during 1955-57, and more after that, as well as more than 40 broadcast commercials. He lived in Kyoto until 1957, and exchanged music lessons for tutoring in Spanish by college students. He then decided to go to Spain to study. This was a great challenge for Japanese at the time owing to government restrictions and the amount of funds that could be taken out of Japan. Nakabayashi thought that the only way to get clearance to go was to win a prize in a major Japanese guitar concours. He entered what is now known as the Tokyo International Guitar Competition, and made second place; the following year he was No. 1. Soon thereafter, by chance, in Madrid Nakabayashi was heard by an executive of the national copyright organization, who proposed that he give a joint concert with another Japanese man then studying there. He was able to give his first public performance in Spain in 1962. In Spain he studied guitar with Narciso Yepes and composition under Federico Moreno Tórroba. 
Since then he has performed in Paris, New York’s Carnegie Hall as the first Japanese guitarist to play there, (this concert commemorates his first performance in the noble hall), and in concerts and National Radio recitals in Bern and Montreux. As an invited guest at the Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza de Granada, he performed his own composition for ballet, Granada 1492, in the Alhambra Palace with the Spanish National Symphony Orchestra and later performed it in Russia with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He gave a guest performance at the Music Festival commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Santa Prisca Cathedral in Taxco, at the National Museum’s Diego Rivera Hall, Guadalajara,  and Oaxaca, all in Mexico, Tokyo Opera City Hall, and Latin America. Over the past 30 years he gave more than 100 recitals in Spain. His testimonials include comments by Andrés Segovia and Joaquin Rodrigo.
During the past 32 years Nakabayashi has driven more than 10,000 kilometers and performed for more than 200,000 persons in Japan giving “Serenade Concerts” in relatively isolated communities shunned by top performers. By these concerts, Nakabayashi has raised more than 15 million yen for the Japanese Red Cross, and has been given a citation of appreciation for this. Nakabayashi provided all of the background music, playing guitar, for a Japanese CD release of Gregory Peck’s reading of The Old Man and the Sea.

All tickets: $40; available from Carnegie Charge, telephone: 212-247-7800; the box office; online at
Place and time: Weill Recital Hall; 154 West 57th Street, November 26, at 8:00 PM 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Dover Quartet wins first prize at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 - Media Release / The Banff Centre - This evening, competition director Barry Shiffman announced that the Dover Quartet (USA) has been awarded First Prize in the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) at The Banff Centre. Following six days of juried concerts focused on classical, Romantic, and contemporary repertoire, the winner was chosen from a group of the world’s most accomplished young string quartets.

“In a competition that was remarkable for the very high standard of performances, the Dover Quartet consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of maturity, poise and artistry,” said Barry Shiffman, Executive Director of BISQC. “This young group is ready for a major performing career, and we look forward to working together to help make that happen.

The RBC Awards First Prize package includes a prize of $25,000 (CND), an extensive  three-year career development program including concert tours in Europe and North America, Banff Centre residencies, including the production of a CD recorded and produced by the Centre’s Audio department, and public relations assistance. As well, the first prize includes a quartet of custom bows by renowned bow maker François Malo, and a concert in Paris produced by ProQuartet.

The evening’s other RBC Award winners include:

• Second Prize ($12,000) – Quatuor Cavatine (France)
• Third Prize ($8,000) – Navarra Quartet (UK/Ireland/Netherlands)
• Székely Prize ($3,000 awarded for the best performance of a Schubert quartet) – Dover Quartet
• Canadian Commission Prize ($2,000 awarded for the best performance of Canadian composer Vivian Fung’s String Quartet No. 3, commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Banff Centre for the competition) – Dover Quartet
• R.S. Williams & Sons Haydn Prize ($3,000 awarded for the best performance of a Haydn Quartet) – Dover Quartet
• Esterhazy Foundation Prize (Recital in Haydn Hall at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, for the First Prize laureate, including €2000 artist fee and travel expenses)

Founded in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of The Banff Centre, BISQC is a triennial competition that helps support emerging careers. Recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, it is among the top events of its kind.

The BISQC preliminary jury, charged with selecting the competition’s 10 finalists included former member of the Concord Quartet and current coordinator of chamber music at the Tanglewood Music Centre Norman Fischer, violinist Jerzy Kaplanek of the Penderecki String Quartet, and violist and former member of the Takács Quartet Roger Tapping. The seven competition jurors include violist Miguel de Silva, who plays for the Ysaÿe Quartet; cellist András Fejér, founder of the Takács Quartet; violinist Kikuei Ikeda of the Tokyo String Quartet and faculty member at the Yale School of Music; Garth Knox, former violist of the Arditti Quartet; violinist Nicolas Kitchen, founder of the Borromeo String Quartet; cellist Richard Lester of the London Haydn Quartet; and violinist Scott St. John of the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

The Dover Quartet
Joel Link, violin
Bryan Lee, violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
Camden Shaw, cello

Considered one of the most remarkably talented young string quartets ever to emerge at such a young age, the Dover Quartet (formerly known as the Old City String Quartet) was the grand prize-winner of the 2010 Fischoff Competition. Formed at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2008, when its members were just 19 years old, the quartet draws from the musical lineage of both the Vermeer and Guarneri quartets, but brings a youthful enthusiasm and musical conviction to the repertoire that is truly its own. The Strad recently raved that the Dover Quartet is "already pulling away from their peers with their exceptional interpretative maturity, tonal refinement and taut ensemble."

The Dover Quartet has won prizes at the London International String Quartet Competition; and has taken part in festivals such as Artosphere, La Jolla SummerFest, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. Recent performances include those for such influential series as the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Peoples' Symphony, Schneider Concerts, Kneisel Hall, and the Houston Friends of Chamber Music. The Dover Quartet will be continuing their close collaboration with violist Roberto Díaz on an extensive European tour in spring 2013 including performances throughout Germany, Austria, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Individual members of the quartet have appeared as soloists with some of the world's finest orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, and BBC Concert Orchestra. The group's recording of the Mendelssohn and Debussy quartets (Unipheye Music) was awarded the Blue Moon Award by the highly respected audiophile website The album's review by David Kan proclaimed that "...the maturity in these interpretations is phenomenal and disproportionate to the age [of the group]."
The ensemble has worked intensively at the Curtis Institute with such renowned chamber musicians as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Arnold Steinhardt, Joseph Silverstein, and Peter Wiley; and is currently the graduate string quartet-in-residence at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Canadian Opera Company mourns the passing of former general director Lotfi Mansouri

Lotfi Mansouri (June 15 1929 - August 30 2013) 
(Photo: Mike Kepka / The Chronicle)

The following is a press release from the Canadian Opera Company:

August 31, 2013

Toronto, ON - The Canadian Opera Company is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of former general director Lotfi Mansouri, who guided the company from 1976 to 1988. 

“Lotfi Mansouri was a legend. There is no question he was one of opera’s most influential general directors; whether it be his passion for promoting young performers, his zeal for attracting new audiences to the art form, or his undeniable love of opera and all its idiosyncrasies,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef.  “The international prestige that this company now enjoys is due in no small part to his strong leadership and tireless efforts.  I am personally very grateful for his friendship and the advice he shared with me ever since I joined the COC.”

Mansouri was the COC’s third general director and played a significant role in launching the COC’s international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation, and growing the company into the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America.  During his tenure, Mansouri’s focus was on implementing a longer performance season, audience development, more adventurous repertoire and productions, and advance planning both financially and artistically, the accomplishments of which are essential elements of the COC’s operations today.  

The COC’s international reputation was most certainly launched with the growing number of singers of world-renown that Mansouri was able to attract to the company with greater regularity.  Mansouri brought with him to the COC an extensive network of friends and associates developed during his time as a resident stage director at Zurich Opera and Geneva Opera, as well as guest director at major opera houses in Italy and the United States.  Not long into his term the COC presented what has been called an unprecedented season with preeminent opera stars of the day Joan Sutherland, Tatiana Troyanos, Elisabeth Söderström and James McCracken all appearing in the 1980 – 1981 performance year. 

Mansouri is also credited with establishing the COC Orchestra and COC Chorus, which have become two of the company’s most distinguished attributes.  The company’s orchestra and chorus are internationally acclaimed for the skill and musicianship possessed by their artists. 

A great ambition of Mansouri’s was the creation of a specialized training program for young opera artists that would serve as a bridge to professional life.  This goal was realized in 1980 with the launch of the COC Ensemble Studio, which has become Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.  To date, over 180 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio, claiming such alumni as Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

It was also during Mansouri’s time as general director that the COC established permanent administrative offices at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre and its own production shop, an essential requirement of any major opera company. 

Under Mansouri’s tenure, one of the greatest contributions to the COC and the opera world was the creation of SURTITLES™, which were unveiled at the company’s 1983 production of Elektra.  The occasion marked the very first time any opera house in the world had projected a simultaneous translation of the opera for its audience, and the advent of SURTITLES™ allowed the COC to make opera more accessible to audiences.  The idea of titles, once revolutionary to the international opera community, is now accepted practice in all major opera houses worldwide.

Mansouri left the COC in 1988 to become general director of San Francisco Opera.  He returned on multiple occasions to give masterclasses to the young opera professionals of the Ensemble Studio and to direct on the company’s mainstage.

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