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Saint John String Quartet launches new album called “Canadian Hits: Unplugged”


Saint John String Quartet Releases New Album, Canadian Hits: Unplugged

The Saint John String Quartet continues to make their mark on the Canadian music scene with the release of their new album, Canadian Hits: Unplugged. This album represents a step outside of a string quartet’s norm with 16 pop hits from Canadian icons, including Leonard Cohen, the Arkells, Joni Mitchell and The Tragically Hip.

“Each arrangement is completely different with a number of elements that will surprise listeners. The recordings are fun, fresh and innovative takes on Canadian pop songs,” says Sonja Adams, cellist with the quartet.

The Saint John String Quartet brings a new dimension to the listening experience of old favorites like “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers’ “Northwest Passage” or Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” as well as newer songs like the award-winning “Francis” by Quebec artist Coeur de pirate and the bluesy “Spring to Come” by First Nations duo Digging Roots.

The dazzling arrangements were created exclusively for the group by Toronto-based tunesmith Rebecca Pellett, who has orchestrated for the likes of David Myles, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and several IMAX and Hollywood film productions. Fredericton-born producer/engineer and owner of Halifax-based Leaf Music, Jeremy VanSlyke, recorded the album over four days, supported by the pristine acoustics of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Rothesay. The album cover art features “Laurel” by Saint John artist Deanna Musgrave along with graphic design by local singer-songwriter Jessica Rhaye.

This is the sixth recording release by the Quartet, and follows in the inventive direction of the group’s previous offerings. For more than 30 years, the Quartet has stood among Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles. The stylistic and energetic troupe is highly sought after for special collaborations within different musical genres – a reflection of their versatility and flexibility.

In July, Quartet violinists David Adams and Danielle Sametz, along with violist Christopher Buckley and cellist Sonja Adams will be promoting the new album on an Atlantic tour. Canadian Hits: Unplugged will be available in stores and on major streaming platforms starting July 5, 2019.


About Saint John String Quartet

For more than 30 years, the Saint John String Quartet has stood among Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles. Renowned for its flexibility, the Quartet is equally comfortable collaborating with blues artists and rock superstars, and performing Classical masterworks on its own.

The Quartet performs more than 125 concerts annually and serves as musicians-in-residence for both Symphony New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick. It has performed for numerous heads of state and at prestigious venues the world over, including many countries in the Far East, Europe, and South America.

With many recordings to its credit, it has earned a Juno nomination for Classical Composition of the Year, and won an East Coast Music Award for Best Classical Album of the Year and a Music NB award for Best Album of the Year. Its albums feature new and innovative works to underappreciated classical gems.

The Saint John String Quartet has been recognized for many groundbreaking achievements, including its leadership and contributions to musical development in New Brunswick.

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“Ex Tempore” from Charke Cormier Duo wins East Coast Music Award



Charke-Cormier Duo “Ex Tempore” named Classical Composition
of the Year award at 2019 East Coast Music Awards


May 4, 2019 (Charlottetown, PE) – Derek Charke and Eugene Cormier, members of the Charke Cormier Duo accepted the East Coast Music Award for Classical Composition of the Year this evening at the East Coast Music Awards’ “Classical Stage” at Trinity United Church in Charlottetown, PE for their work “Ex Tempore.”

The work appears on an album by the same name released on the Leaf Music label on May 4, 2018.  The work, for flute and guitar, includes improvised passages so no two performances are exactly alike.  Hear the album…

Derek Charke (flute / composer) and Eugene Cormier (guitar / arranger) are professors at Acadia University’s school of music.  In 2018, the group’s recording of Celso Machado’s “Sambossa” from Musiques Populaires Brésiliennes earned a coveted position on Spotify’s Top 50 Classical Picks playlist, helping the group generate buzz across North America, Europe, Brazil and Mexico and over 35,000 on-demand audio streams of the work on the Spotify platform alone.

“The track Ex Tempore, composed by Charke, is a composed/improvised work for bass flute and guitar that lives up to its title. Note-bending during lengthy dramatic extended-technique bass flute phrases is heard against the guitar-driven rhythm and tonality, all in a spontaneous yet controlled direction, until the final satisfying guitar tone fades.”   Read more…
– Tiina Kiik, The Whole Note Magazine, Aug. 2018

Leaf Music is an independent recording label with an emphasis on high quality classical recordings by Atlantic Canadian artists and composers. The label is based in Halifax Nova Scotia and was established in 2012 by Fredericton-born music producer Jeremy VanSlyke.



About Leaf Music

Leaf Music is the first integrated recording label in Atlantic Canada with a focus on the production of high quality classical recordings.  The label’s catalog is distributed worldwide by Naxos of America.

Learn more at

For more information please contact:

Jeremy VanSlyke
Leaf Music

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Platti’s Flute Sonatas played by Alexa Raine-Wright coming May 10

Montreal, April 23rd, 2019. Leaf Music is proud to announce that the album Platti Flute Sonatas Op. 3, dedicated to the works composed by the Italian Composer Giovanni Benedetto Platti, will be available in stores as of May 10th. These rare pieces are performed by Alexa Raine-Wright (baroque flute), accompanied by Camille Paquette-Roy (baroque cello), Sylvain Bergeron (archlute and baroque guitar) and Rona Nadler (harpsichord).

“Italian composer Giovanni Benedetto Platti (1697–1763) spent his early years in Venice under the tutelage of Francesco Gasparini, as well as Ospedale della Pietà composer Antonio Vivaldi (though evidence of their encounter is scant). In 1722, he moved to Würzburg, Germany where he spent the rest of his life working as a composer, instrumentalist, and tenor. In a commemorative note written to Padre Martini in 1764, Florentine musician Domenico Palafuti remembered Platti as “the Paduan master…who composed celebrated sonatas for the hammer cembalo [most likely Cristofori’s famous fortepiano] that he got to know in Siena, as well as church music and chamber music.” Indeed, it was for his keyboard music that Platti first came to widespread attention, upon the publication of his VI. Sonates pour le clavessin sur le goût italien in 1742. The historical emphasis placed on these pieces, however, has cast a shadow over the composer’s other works, many of which are deserving of our attention. In particular, his Sei sonate a flauto traversiere solo con violoncello overo cembalo, Op. 3, feature an impressive palette of affects. As Platti’s flute sonatas make clear, the composer had one foot planted firmly in the Baroque, and the other foot pointed toward the Classical style. One can only hope that time is the only hurdle that stands between these important works and the wider audience of performers, scholars, and listeners they deserve…” Andrew Schartmann.

Sonata No. 1 in D major

[1] I. Adagio

[2] II. Allegro

[3] III. Andantino: Cantabile

[4] IV. Tempo di Minuet

Sonata No. 2 in G major

[5] I. Grave

[6] II. Allegro

[7] III. Largo

[8] IV. Allegro molto

Sonata No. 3 in E minor

[9] I. Allegro mà non molto

[10] II. Larghetto

[11] III. Minuet – Trio alternat: Amoroso

[12] IV. Giga

Sonata No. 4 in A major

[13] I. Grave e cantabile

[14] II. Allegro

[15] III. Larghetto

[16] IV. Allegro moderato

Sonata No. 5 in C major

[17] I. Pastorale: Allegro

[18] II. Non tanto adagio

[19] III. Allegro assai: Alla breve

Sonata No. 6 in G major

[20] I. Siciliana: Adagio

[21] II. Allegro

[22] III. Non tanto adagio mà cantabile

[23] IV. Arietta con Variazioni: Non tanto allegro

Alexa Raine-Wright will launch this album in collaboration with Leaf Music, in Montreal on le Thursday, May 2nd at 5:30 PM, salle Joseph-Rouleau (Jeunesses Musicales Canada), 305, avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montreal.

Producer and Recording Engineer: Jeremy VanSlyke

Assistant Recording Engineer: Ben B. Creelman

Editing: Jeremy VanSlyke, Ben B. Creelman

Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel (Québec), Canada – May 2018

Graphic design: © Kimberly Reine Design Studio

Photos: © Elizabeth Delage

Special thanks: Jonathan Addleman, Hank Knox, Claire Guimond



Alexa Raine-Wright:

Information and interviews: IXION Communications, 514 495-8176,

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This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

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Charke Cormier Duo to release debut album May 4



Leaf Music is pleased to announce the release of Ex Tempore from the Charke-Cormier Duo Friday May 4. This is the debut release for the Nova Scotia ensemble. Prominent musicians and Acadia University faculty Derek Charke (flute) and Eugene Cormier (guitar) produced the album in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

The album includes Musiques Populaires Brésiliennes, a suite of six pieces by Canadian/Brazilian composer Celso Macado with titles named for popular Brazilian sweets such as Paçoca, and Algodão Doce (Cotton Candy.)

The recording also features original arrangements of Scarlatti Sonatas for flute and guitar by Eugene Cormier and published by Productions d’Oz (Québec). The album’s title track “Ex Tempore” is a brand new 6-minute work by Charke, who in addition to being a celebrated flute performer is a JUNO and East Coast Music Award-winning composer. “Ex Tempore” includes driving rhythms and pushes the sonic limits of the flute and guitar combination while also exploring the boundaries between fully-composed material and extemporaneous (or improvised) music.
The album will be available on popular music services including iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. CDs will also be available from, Renaud-Bray, Barnes and Noble and other fine retailers. The Charke-Cormier duo will be hosting album launch events in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (May 12) and Halifax (May 20) to celebrate their debut recording. Visit for more details.

– 30 –

About Charke-Cormier Duo

Derek Charke (flutes) and Eugene Cormier (guitar) formed the Charke-Cormier Duo several years ago culminating in a debut recital at the KC Irving Centre in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. This sonorous union of flute and guitar continues to charm audiences across the Maritimes. Their repertoire includes many of the most important works for this pairing of instruments, and creates a sonic journey for audiences from the street corners of Argentina to the halls of Europe, as well as introducing fresh new works created today. Both performers are highly accomplished musicians who are on the teaching faculty at Acadia University’s School of Music.

About Leaf Music

Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that specializes in high quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.)  Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral and chamber music is distributed by Naxos of America to the world’s most important music retail, download and streaming providers.

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OSCAR®-winning composer Howard Shore collaborates with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra

“Sea to Sea”, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra’s Canada 150
Celebration song to be released on iTunes December 8
OSCAR®-winning composer Howard Shore collaborates with the NBYO.
Nov 23, 2017 (Halifax, NS) – The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) has something extra special to celebrate this December with the release on iTunes of “Sea to Sea”, the song it commissioned by OSCAR®-winning Canadian composer Howard Shore.

“Howard Shore is one of the most celebrated composers in the world,” says Ken MacLeod, CEO of the NBYO. “We are thrilled that he created this special celebration music for the talented young musicians of the NBYO. Written for orchestra, soloist and choir, the music and lyrics celebrate our Canadian landscape and diverse culture. We are excited to share it with audiences around the world.”
Shore’s music is heard in dozens of top Hollywood films including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gangs of New York, Silence of the Lambs and the recent Academy Award-winner Spotlight. It is unprecedented for a Canadian youth orchestra to work directly with a living composer of this calibre.
“Sea to Sea” premiered in Moncton on Canada Day weekend and featured internationally renowned soprano Measha Brueggergosman along with a 120-voice choir. The outdoor event, which took place along the shores of the scenic Petitcodiac River, attracted more than 7,500 people, the largest audience ever for an NBYO performance.
In continuing its Canada 150 celebrations, the NBYO performed ‘Sea to Sea’ during its eastern Canadian tour this summer, receiving standing ovations at Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts in St. Andrews, NB, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and at the prestigious Maison symphonique de Montréal.

During the 2017-2018 concert season, ‘Sea to Sea’ is being performed in communities across New Brunswick, including Woodstock, Caraquet, Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton. In total, the NBYO performances of “Sea to Sea” will engage more than 500 local musicians and singers and more than 20,000 audience members.
The recording ‘Sea to Sea’ will be the orchestra’s sixth release, produced by Atlantic Canadian classical label Leaf Music and distributed by Naxos of Canada.
About the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra
The mission of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra is to inspire children and youth to achieve their full potential through learning and performing orchestral music. The NBYO is one of the most innovative and distinguished youth orchestras in Canada, and features some of the province’s most talented young musicians. The NBYO has performed in some of the world’s great concert halls, including Carnegie Hall in New York, The Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China and the Musikverein, the home stage of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, in Vienna, Austria. In 2011, the Orchestra was awarded first place in the category of Symphony Orchestra at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna, Austria.  It has six CD recordings and has received an East Coast Music Award for best classical recording.  In addition to performing with a high level of excellence, the Orchestra continues to commission original works, collaborate with guest conductors and performers, and tour both in New Brunswick, Canada and internationally. The NBYO’s key goals are to develop an outstanding provincial youth orchestra, expand the participation of young people, and create greater awareness and appreciation for orchestral music in New Brunswick.  For more information about the orchestra, members and upcoming events across the province, visit


Producer: Jeremy VanSlyke

Engineer: Rod Sneddon

Assistant Engineer: Ben B. Creelman

About Leaf Music
Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that specializes in classical music recordings by artists and composers from Atlantic Canada.  Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral and chamber music is distributed worldwide.

For more information, please contact:
Mariam Mesbah
New Brunswick Youth Orchestra
L’Orchestre des jeunes du Nouveau-Brunswick
Jeremy VanSlyke
Leaf Music

With the participation of the Government of Canada

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Maureen Batt met en vedette “Lady of the Lake” de Walter Scott

Maureen Batt, une chanteuse soprano basée à Halifax, lance cette année son premier album Lady of the Lake, qui met en vedette sa voix captivante ainsi qu’une rencontre entre les univers de Schubert et de la compositrice canadienne Fiona Ryan.

“La musique d’une autre époque rejoint celle de Fiona, qui apporte aussi une voix moderne aux morceaux de Schubert. C’est spécial.”

Cette relation entre les mondes est soulignée sur Lady of the Lake par la contribution des deux compositeurs qui se sont inspirés du même poème de Sir Walter Scott. Batt livre ceux-ci avec brio, en saisissant les subtilités de chacun des univers musicaux, vocaux et lyriques de Schubert et Ryan.

“La musique classique moderne capte mon attention. J’aime chanter des oeuvres écrites par mes collègues et amis. Ça me donne de l’énergie.”

Batt avoue être enthousiaste à l’idée d’avoir endisqué les chansons de Ryan, écrites exclusivement pour ce disque.

“On connaît déjà bien l’oeuvre de Schubert. Tandis que beaucoup de compositeurs écrivent pour des musiciens, Fiona sait aussi écrire pour les chanteurs. C’est un talent spécial, selon moi. Nous sommes si chanceux d’avoir Fiona, ici, à Halifax.”

Lady of the Lake fut lancé cet été via l’étiquette Leaf Music et distribué par Naxos. L’initiative de faire appel à un compositeur canadien fut lancé par le propriétaire de Leaf Music.

“Je lui ai suggéré de demander à Fiona. Le projet au complet a pris trois ans, avec un total de six jours d’enregistrements, étalés sur deux semaines.”

Bien qu’elle ait étudié la musique, avec une maîtrise et un baccalauréat en poche, respectivement des universités de Toronto et Dalhousie, la relation de Fiona avec cette discipline artistique remonte à d’autres instruments comme le piano, le violon ou le saxophone.

“Quand j’étais adolescente, je faisais partie d’une chorale. D’autres filles me disaient qu’elles avaient des cours de chant en privée et j’ai fait part de cette information à ma mère.”

C’est là que c’est fait le déclic chez elle.

“Chanter c’était organique et bien plus naturel que lorsque j’étais au piano.”

C’est à l’école secondaire, à Fredericton, qu’elle s’est mise à perfectionner sa pratique grâce à des cours de chants qui lui ont permis de trouver sa voix.

“En dixième année, mon école secondaire présentait la comédie musicale Carousel, composée par Richard Rodgers. On a fait des auditions pendant une longue période de temps pour les divers rôles. Je voulais celui de Nettie qui interprète You’ll Never Walk Alone, qui allie la comédie musicale au chant classique. En répétant ce morceau avec ma professeure, j’ai commencé à apprendre à chanter d’une manière classique.”

De là, elle mène une carrière avec brio qui l’a amené tant à chanter, qu’à étudier, peaufiner et enseigner sa technique au Canada et aux États-Unis, en plus d’avoir également cofondé diverses compagnies.

“À l’école, on apprend l’histoire, les différents styles et la diction lyrique, mais il faut pratiquer le métier pour le comprendre. C’est un style de vie être chanteuse et il faut savoir prendre des risques et vivre ces expériences pleinement.”