Halifax-based classical record label Leaf Music is pleased to announce that east coast violist Kate Read is joining the label’s roster.
After almost a decade performing in ensembles (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, The Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, MiNensemblet) and touring Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the USA, the Far East and South America, Kate Read returned to Newfoundland and rejoined the Atlantic String Quartet (winners of Music NL Classical Musicians of the year, 2021) and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra as Principal Violist.
Kate has long been active in multimedia productions, in the various roles of performer, producer, commissioner and visual designer. Co-founder and co-producer of multimedia Ensemble Meduse (2004-2008), Kate has also collaborated in productions with Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Sound Symposium (NL), Memorial University (NL), Arkora (Canada), Bodø Sinfonietta (Norway) and Opera North (UK). Kate recently co-founded the Harbourlight Quartet. Kate is currently working on an improvisation project with Michelle Lacour, musician and sound engineer based in St. John’s.
As part of her first project with Leaf, Read is recording her debut solo album, featuring works by B Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Nico Muhly and J.S.Bach as well as two new commissions by Andrew Staniland and Benton Roark and an improvised piece with Michelle LaCour on electronics.
“We are so excited to welcome Kate Read, the first artist from The Rock to join our roster. Kate spent several years abroad playing in some of the world’s best orchestras. We are thrilled that she has now joined our team to work toward our shared vision of championing new Canadian works on her upcoming debut album. It’s a privilege to be a part of her team as she shares her talent in the coming years.” –Ben B. Creelman, associate producer – Leaf Music
Kate is beyond thrilled to have joined Leaf Music’s roster and to have them oversee the production of her first solo album. She looks forward to collaborating with this amazing team of creative individuals.
Accomplished Nova Scotian Cellist Catherine Little is pleased to present: Taking Five, released through Halifax-based Leaf Music Distribution. Little is on a mission to build a bridge to classical music with the debut release.The pieces she chose to record have relatable melodies, harmonies and emotional language that is sure to resonate with audiences; they have hooks, are ‘singable’, and an inviting warmth. The entire project is a friendly and enticing invitation into the world of classical music, with the hope of leaving audiences asking for more.
A release event for Taking Five will be taking place at the Cole Harbour Woodside United Church, Cole Harbour, Sunday November 28, at 3PM. Catherine will be joined by album collaborator Gregory Myra, performing all five tracks from the album, as well as some additional pieces. Tickets are available on Catherine’s website, www.catherinelittle.com/tickets
(Album Art by Lisa at Scribble and Script Calligraphy and designed by Rebecca at Paper Chain Stationery)
Cellist Catherine Little is on a mission to build a bridge to classical music. She is no stranger to other genres- she’s played with the likes of rocker Rod Stewart and has recorded pop, folk, blues and rap. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she’s had the advantage of living in a rich song and celtic culture too. This varied exposure has given her a unique perspective on music and audiences.
Catherine has an Honours Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (2007), and a Master’s in Music Performance from the Université de Montréal (2010)..Little has performed with the cello sections of The National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Montreal’s Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia under conductors Yoav Talmi, Lorraine Vaillancourt, Bernhard Gueller, and Baldur Brönnimann.
Catherine was the solo “pit” cellist for seven musicals at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre and has played on stage with pop acts like Jenn Grant and Il Divo. Between 2012 and 2020, she gave numerous classical string duo, quartet and piano trio concerts. Other projects of note include performing as a cello duo for Phin Dance’s The Grand Hotel in 2013, and in 2016, The Bells of Baddeck, A Music Drama, and Handel’s baroque opera, Rodelinda (Halifax Opera Festival).
November 19, 2021 (Halifax) – Leaf Music Distribution is pleased to present Canadian viola soloist Pemi Paull’s debut album, Musicum Umbrarum. The album features five solo works by 20th and 21st century composers Mahler / Ljova, Ligeti, Finnissy, Godin, and Enescu. Musicum Umbrarum will be available on all streaming platforms November 19, 2021.
Musicum Umbrarum represents a unique collection of music for solo viola, featuring works adapted to the instrument (Enescu, Mahler), a recently commissioned piece for the viola by the Canadian composer Scott Godin, and two late- 20th century masterpieces: Obrecht Motetten III by Michael Finnissy, and, perhaps the most challenging and monumental work for the viola, the sonata for solo viola by György Ligeti.
The Whole Note writes: “The central work on the CD is the towering Sonata for Viola Solo by György Ligeti. A relatively late work from 1991-94 it has a fascinating and original construction: a first movement played entirely on the low C string; a second of frantic double stops; a third movement of torment and struggle; a muted perpetual motion fourth; a fifth mostly in parallel seconds and sevenths; and a Chaconne chromatique to finish.Paull meets every challenge with ease and authority.”
Pemi Paull has been performing extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, nationally and internationally, for more than 20 years, cultivating deep roots in Canada’s contemporary, historical, chamber music and improvised music communities, as well as Montreal’s indie community. Pemi’s activities have brought him to the forefront of Canada’s contemporary music world, as artistic director of Montreal-based Warhol Dervish, a genre bending chamber music collective, and he collaborates frequently with two important new music ensembles, Bradyworks and SMCQ, and was previously a member of the pioneering KORE ensemble, led by Michael Oesterle and Marc Couroux.
In the sphere of historical performance, Pemi is a member of Ensemble Caprice, with whom he has recorded nine albums, winning one Juno (Canadian Grammy) in the process, as well as recordings with Arion, Theatre of Early Music, and Notturna, among others.
“I’m thrilled that Leaf Music is launching ‘Leaf Music Distribution,’ our new distribution service. This platform will help broaden the number of artists we can serve and, notably, support emerging artists, composers, and ensembles to reach new audiences.
Leaf Music is pleased to announce the company’s new distribution service: Leaf Music Distribution. The new service is a Naxos of Americadistributed label, and assists clients in delivering their music through major digital retailers and streaming platforms.
Leaf Music has offered marketing and publicity services to artists working with other labels and distributors for many years. Sometimes, we encountered distribution problems outside our control that led to costly delays. We hope to put those days behind us. Offering access to the same high-quality and reliable content services as the artists on our roster through Leaf Music Distribution increases the value we can provide to all our clients.”-– Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
November 19, 2021, marks the first two releases under Leaf Music Distribution.
Pemi Paull, Montreal based violist, releases his debut album Musicum Umbrarum. The album features five solo works by 20th and 21st century composers Mahler / Ljova, Ligeti, Finnissy, Godin, and Enescu. Musicum Umbrarum will be available on all streaming platforms November 19, 2021. Paull’s release announcement can be found HERE
Catherine Little, Halifax based Cellist, releases her debut EP Taking Fivewith pianist Gregory Myra. Little is on a mission to build a bridge to classical music with the debut release.The pieces she chose to record have relatable melodies, harmonies and emotional language that is sure to resonate with audiences. Little’s announcement can be found HERE
Excerpts from the Handel’s Masterpiece Featuring Acclaimed Soprano Karina Gauvin
Plus New Works by Composers Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute
Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of highlights from Handel’s Messiah, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin and bookended by two new choral works by Montreal-based composers, Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute. Maute also conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in these vibrant new choral recordings, which will be available for purchase, download, and on all streaming platforms as of November 5, 2021.
Matthias Maute conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in performances of Handel’s Messiah throughout the month of December, including Maison symphonique in Montreal (Dec 12) and Palais Montcalm in Quebec (Dec 17). See the complete schedule here
While Handel’s masterpiece has been heard and recorded often, the musicians experienced a feeling of renewal this year: “During the live recording, in an empty hall, it felt like we all were hearing this famous oratorio for the very first time,” says Maute, “After the long drought brought on by the pandemic, this first reunion of choir and orchestra in a wonderful concert hall felt like the rebirth of the spirit of music!”
While sanitary restrictions necessitated a small number of singers – the ensemble has just 12 voices – this is not out of character for the work, though many are used to hearing massive musical forces for the bombastic Hallelujah chorus. Handel himself had a choir of only 16 singers at his disposal when he travelled from London to lead the first performance of his oratorio in 1742 in Dublin. “The flexibility and lightness of a12-voice choir reveals fascinating layers of the work,” comments Maute.
The new recording also includes a short dialogue between Handel and two living composers, with new choral works from the two Mécénat Musica composers in residence, Jaap Nico Hamburger’s Hope and Belief, on a Yiddish text by Isaac Leib Peretz,and Matthias Maute’s O magnum mysterium, which aims to grasp something of the elusive mystery of music. These two works set the theme for the Mécénat MusicaMini-Concerts Santé in the summer of 2020, which delivered music to thousands during lockdown, spreading the magical force of music to help get through the crisis.
Two-time JUNO Award-winning conductor, composer, recorder and flute soloist Matthias Maute has achieved an international reputation. In 2016 he was named artistic director of the Bach Society of Minnesota and in 2019 of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec. Maute is co-artistic director of the Montreal Baroque Festival and artistic director of the Mécénat Musica Concerts Noncerto concert series and has released 20 recordings on various labels.
Maute founded Ensemble Caprice, praised by The New York Times as “imaginative, even powerful; and the playing is topflight.” Known for an innovative and adventuresome approach to an expanding musical repertoire, Ensemble Caprice has performed in 11 festivals, embarked upon its first Latin American tour, and made its third trip to China in addition to an inaugural tour in South Africa. Instigator of the Mini-ConcertsSanté, Ensemble Caprice received the Opus Award for Musical Event of the Year 2020 for this project. Through 1,700 musician hires of professional singers and instrumentalists who perform with 184 classical music organizations, $464,000 were paid directly to the artists who were out of work due to COVID-19.
In 2019, Maute was named Artistic Director of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec, a professional choir steeped in the grand tradition of choral music in Quebec. The choir’s director, Maute, received one of his two JUNO awards for his album with choir, entitled Vivaldi and His Angels, From 2021 to 2023, Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec is embarking upon a unique project: Art Choral, the history of choral singing through six centuries.
Renowned for her performances of Baroque repertoire, Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sings the music of the 20thand 21st-centuries with equal success. She has received many prestigious distinctions, including “Soloist of the Year,” awarded by the Communauté internationale des radios publiques de langue française, the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Maggie Teyte Memorial Prize in London. Performing in opera and with symphony orchestras throughout the world, Gauvin boasts a discography of over 50 titles, garnering three Grammy nominations, and multiple JUNOs and Opus Prizes.
Messiah Release Date: Nov 5, 2021 Physical/Digital Release Stream/Download HERE
October 1, 2021 (Halifax) Award-winning artist and early-music musician Hank Knox is pleased to present Scarlatti: Essercizi Per Gravicembalo, released through Halifax-based record label Leaf Music. Like so many musicians, Knox found himself with a lot of time on his hands during the pandemic. He spent the past 10 months completely immersed in Domenico Scarlatti’s only authorized publication, a collection of thirty sonatas first published in 1739 in London, England. Knox’s recording of the Essercizi Per Gravicembalo offers the listener a deep dive into Scarlatti’s richly inventive and imaginative musical world. Essercizi Per Gravicembalo, meaning “Exercises for Harpsichord,” is a virtuosic collection that has been in uninterrupted print since its publication 275 years ago. The collection was dedicated to King John V of Portugal, father of Scarlatti’s longtime pupil and patron, Queen Maria Barbara of Spain. Essercizi Per Gravicembalo was recorded by Hank Knox in April 2021 at Église St. Augustin, Mirabel, QC.
“Hank Knox reveals virtuosity, imagination and a keen sense of rhythm.”
— Musica Sett (Italy)
Hailed internationally for his “colorful, kinetic performances,” Hank Knox performs on harpsichord in concert halls, churches, museums, galleries and homes around the globe. A founding member of Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra, with whom he has toured North and South America, Europe, and Japan, Knox also regularly performs and tours with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, among other groups, ensembles and orchestras.
He has released a number of acclaimed recordings on rare antique instruments as well as copies of historical instruments. He teaches in the Early Music program at McGill University where he conducts the McGill Baroque Orchestra. He has directed a great number of Baroque operas for Opera McGill, including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Agrippina, Giulio Cesare, Alcina and Rinaldo.
Hank Knox collaborates regularly with Canadian violinist, Mark Fewer. Their complete recording of the J.S Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1014-1019 was released on Leaf Music in 2017. The Vivaldi: Manchester Sonatas were arranged and recorded by Fewer and Knox and were released on Leaf Music in 2020. This is the first recording of the works by Canadian artists.
Leaf Music is pleased to announce that Canadian cello duo VC2 is joining the label’s roster.
Comprised of cellists Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt, CBC Radio describes VC2 as “a tight unit, with excellent intonation and expression.” They present artistically challenging, yet accessible programs in venues ranging from intimate cabarets to Roy Thomson Hall.
As respected cellists, they have performed as part of leading music organizations including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Soundstreams, Art of Time Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Music, New Music Concerts, Music in the Barns, Thin Edge New Music Collective, and others.
“We are delighted to welcome VC2 Cello Duo to our roster. Bryan and Amahl are known for their virtuosic energy and playfulness on stage. Moreover, their growing reputation as new music champions makes them an excellent fit for Leaf Music and our shared goal of sharing top-tier Canadian artists and composers with the world. It’s a privilege for Leaf Music to work with this talented duo to present brand new music from composers Laura Sgroi, Kati Agócs, Chris Paul Harman, Vincent Ho, Youell Domenico, Jocelyn Morlock and Kelly-Marie Murphy.” – Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
Leaf Music is looking forward to VC2 Cello Duo’s first project with the label set to be released in the fall of 2022.
August 18, 2021 (Halifax, NS) – Halifax based classical record label Leaf Music is pleased to announce that Canadian quartet Rosebud String Quartet is joining the label’s roster. Comprised of principal players from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada, the RSQ is one of Canada’s most exciting young string quartets with a unique voice and a special love for the music of Joseph Haydn.
The Rosebud String Quartet (violinists Aaron Schwebel and Sheila Jaffé, violist Keith Hamm, and cellist Leana Rutt) was formed in 2013 in Rosebud, Alberta at the inaugural Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, an annual summertime chamber music showcase in the Alberta Badlands. The RSQ performs regularly in series across Canada, including Stratford Summer Music Festival, Xenia Concerts, Stereo Live, Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Chamber Music Series, Echo Chamber Toronto, Pocket Concerts, and Music Mondays. The quartet was recently featured in CBC Radio 2 ‘In Concert’.
The Rosebud String Quartet’s first release with Leaf Music will be in the spring of 2022. The album will feature the Franz Haydn String Quartets Op. 77, No. 1 & 2, and Mozart Viola Quintet, K. 614.The ensemble will be joined by world-renowned Canadian violist Steven Dann for the Mozart.
In addition to recording their debut album, the ensemble has had a full slate of performances booked throughout Canada for the summer of 2021 including Toronto Summer Music Festival, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Sweetwater Music Festival, and the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Rosebud String Quartet to our roster. They are four of the top young chamber musicians in Canada and we are delighted to be part of their upcoming album. Their musicianship and passion will continue to connect with music listeners in concert halls and streaming platforms alike in the years to come. It’s a privilege for Leaf Music to help bring their music to the world.” – Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
Released August 6, 2021 Maureen Batt & Grej (Gregory Harrison) are excited to present Lighthouse. Lighthouse is for anyone who has experienced the loss of someone close. It is, above all else, a love story… This album was created from letters and journals written on a journey through grief. And while the inspiration for the album came from a dear friend, its message is universal.
This album as a whole represents a journey through grief that has been separated into 9 tracks. The music was composed by Grej (Gregory Harrison) in collaboration with Maureen Batt. The concept is a marriage between classical and electronic genres that utilizes voice, piano, harmonium, synthesizer, and field recordings.
“It’s hard to believe it, but it’s here. Lighthouse is here. With every project I give my whole heart; and somehow, for this project, I gave even more. It would mean the world to me if you had a listen. This album is for everyone. Gratitude is a big theme here and I have it in abundance.” – Maureen Batt
Maureen Batt is celebrated for her “rich, warm sound and masterful acting” (Opera Canada). Maureen’s solo career is focused on promoting Canadian classical contemporary repertoire by collaborating with established and emerging composers to commission, première, and re-perform their works. Her debut album, Lady of the Lake includes song cycles by Schubert and Halifax-based composer Fiona Ryan and was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year (2018) by ECMA and Music Nova Scotia. She is also featured on Saman Shahi’s album Breathing in the Shadows with Tara Scott on piano. Aunt Helen, an opera short EP will be released on Leaf Music in May 2021 with Simon Docking on piano. Lighthouse is Maureen’s second full-length album with Leaf Music.
Toronto-based percussionist and Dora-nominated composer Greg Harrison is emerging as one of Canada’s finest talents in contemporary music. His extensive resume spans artists and groups including Jeremy Dutcher, Cirque du Soleil, Video Games Live, R. Murray Schafer, and Fred Penner. Described as a “percussion & electronics wizard” (Bob Boilen – NPR Music), Harrison’s performative and compositional style merge his classical music background with his passion for electronic music.
In recent years, Harrison’s commissions have been coveted by Kaeja D’dance, ProArte Danza, Toronto Dance Theatre, Human Body Expression, Architek Percussion, Fifth Wind Quintet, CCDT, Dr. Morris Palter (University of Arizona), Popular Demand Pictures Inc., NB Tourism, and Division 85 Films. Greg is also co-founder of his groups Mear and Taktus marimba duo.
Juno nominated chamber choir Luminous Voices along with Spiritus Chamber Choir are excited to present Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti by Ukranian composer Artem Vedel (1767-1808). Vedel is considered one of Ukraine’s ‘Golden Three’ composers of the 18th century; these masterpieces of Ukrainian Classical Choral Music include Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti & Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Shantz and with support from the Ukrainian Millennium Foundation, the works of Vedel continue to be associated with the boisterous wave of national rebirth, imbued with a connection and influence of national folklore.
“It is with an immense amount of gratitude that we release this double-CD recording of choral music by Ukrainian composer Artem Vedel. Vedel’s music is emotionally and politically charged, setting portions of various Psalm texts to great effect. The concerti are nearly all multi-movement works with extensive solo passages performed beautifully by the singers. As an ensemble of mostly English-speaking singers, I am curious to learn how it is received in the broader Ukrainian community. It was an intense project from beginning to end, involving many collaborators and colleagues who devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy into its completion. A journey that began seven years ago with Spiritus Chamber Choir saw its completion with Luminous Voices.” – Timothy Shantz, Artistic Director