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First single release from Infusion Baroque’s Virtuosa

Infusion Baroque releases “Sonata No. 1 in G Minor”

Infusion Baroque is pleased to release the first single from their upcoming album Virtuosa (set to be released June 2022)  Released through Halifax-based record label Leaf Music, Sonata No. 1 in G Minor” was composed by Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, a French composer, harpsichordist, organist, virtuoso and teacher. “Sonata No. 1 in G minor” is one of the only collections of instrumental chamber works she composed for two treble instruments and basso continuo. 

The single release marks the beginning of a series of releases for the album Virtuosa, to be released June 10, 2021. The 2-disc recording encompasses 15 works that were either composed or performed by women, and were recorded on historical instruments.

Since 2017, one of Infusion Baroque’s primary initiatives has been The Virtuosa Project, a series of concerts, lectures, and web videos dedicated to women musicians of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. This project, which highlights over a dozen relatively unknown women who made substantial contributions to Western classical music, has generated a great amount of interest at a local and international level, resulting in requests from international presenters for the ensemble to tour the Virtuosa program in the United States, France and the U.K.  

The CD will include a comprehensive booklet and companion website which will include stories, images, and archival material pertaining to the women featured on the recording. The objective is to provide cultural and socio-economic context for the women’s lives as well as for their music, and to highlight their accomplishments in the face of adversity. Many of the featured women were pioneers in their field.

(Illustration – Parissa Mohit)

Infusion Baroque draws new audiences to early music through a truly captivating concert experience, deftly combining seasoned musicianship with theatrical elements. Playing music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on historical instruments, the four women of Infusion Baroque enthrall audiences across North America with their creative and interactive programming.

Infusion Baroque’s performances have been described as “dynamic and alive” (Early Music America) with “polish, energy, and finely-honed style… merrily breaking established traditions” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Winners of the Grand Prize and Audience Prize at the 2014 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition, the ensemble charms audiences with its dynamic programs such as “Who Killed Leclair?” (an interactive murder mystery soirée based on the unsolved murder of the famous musician); “Rebels and Rivalries” (featuring scandalous stories from the lives of great composers); and “Son of a Bach!” (narrating the multigenerational saga of the famous musical family).

Infusion Baroque has released two recordings with the Canadian label Leaf Music to critical acclaim. The ensemble’s latest album, a world-premiere recording of quintets by Georg Anton Kreüsser, was nominated for an Opus Prize by the Conseil Québecois de la musique.  According to Fanfare, “the playing of these musicians … is superb. They play with a liveliness and unforced energy that seems to grow naturally out of the music… combining spontaneity and abandon with technical perfection.” The ensemble’s debut recording of trio sonatas by C.P.E. Bach was described as “real baroque … gripping and full of character” (Radio-Canada).

Since 2017, Infusion Baroque has been exploring the lives of historical women performers through The Virtuosa Project. Fascinated by the great number of women who made their mark as musical performers despite considerable barriers and stigma, Infusion Baroque devoted an entire concert season in 2018-19 to exploring their lives and music. The ensemble also produced a web series which tells the story of four female musicians of the past, and is looking forward to producing a CD recording and documentary on this exciting topic to be released in 2021.

InInfusion Baroque: Sonata No. 1 in G Minor
Release date: Oct 1, 2021
Digital Release
Stream/Download HERE

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Hank Knox | Scarlatti: Essercizi Per Gravicembalo

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.

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Hank Knox| Scarlatti: Essercizi Per Gravicembalo
Release date: Oct 1, 2021
Physical/Digital Release
Listen/Buy HERE

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VC2 Cello Duo Added to Leaf Music Roster

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.

vc2celloduo.com 

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Rosebud String Quartet added to Leaf Music Roster

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

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Maureen Batt & Grej | Lighthouse

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

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. 

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Grej 

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. 

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Maureen Batt | Grej – Lighthouse
Release date: August 6, 2021
Vinyl & Digital Release
Listen/Buy www.leafmusic.ca/LM243 

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Luminous Voices | Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti

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

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Luminous Voices | Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti
Release date: May 7, 2021
Physical & Digital Release
Listen/Buy HERE

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HALIFAX CAMERATA SINGERS PRESENT ‘MUSIC OF THE SPHERES’

Halifax-based chamber choir, Halifax Camerata Singers is proud to present Music of the Spheres, recorded live from their 2018-19 ‘Look Up to the Heavens’ season. Under the direction of Jeff Joudrey, and in collaboration with pianist Lynette Wahlstrom and narrators Lara Lewis, Lucy Haché, Elyse Delaney, with special guest narrator Ben Caplan, listen and remember your sense of limitless wonder while imagining the Milky Way on a crystal-clear night. Throughout the album’s twenty-one tracks, let lush harmonies of the music and the beauty of the poetry reflect like light through the world’s many challenges. Through this celestial journey of music and poetry, may a sense of awe, marvel, and hope in something much greater than we see around us linger long after the closing chords.

Music of the Spheres
Release date: April 23, 2021
Digital Release ONLY
Listen Here: https://leaf-music.lnk.to/LM241

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New Harp Concerto – World Premiere Performance

Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburger presents the world-premiere performance of his new concerto for harp and orchestra. This work was commissioned by the Government of the Netherlands on occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The performance which aired April 18, 2021, features the world-renowned harpist Lavinia Meijer live from the Museon with the The Residentie Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Vincent de Kort.

The concerto is in three movements, intertwined with brief addresses by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Mayor of The Hague.

Jaap Nico Hamburger | Harp Concerto  can be viewed online:

Jaap Nico Hamburger is the Composer in Residence with Mécénat Musica in Montréal. His compositions include commissions from Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, Arts-Quebec Vocal Ensemble, and an original contribution for the project ‘400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music’. He was commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, premiered by Lavinia Meijer. Other commissions include works for Discovery Channel, and broadcasting companies in the UK and the Netherlands. He is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer, President and CEO, Orange Music Inc., a music production company; and, a former member of the Board of Directors of City Opera Vancouver.Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he started his musical education at the age of three, and studied piano with Ruben Lifschitz, Alexandre Hrisanide and Youri Egorov. He graduated from the Royal Sweelinck Conservatorium of Music, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with a soloist degree in piano. He has lived in Canada since August 2000. In 2020, Hamburger released Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto and Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1&2 through Canadian classical label, Leaf Music. https://www.jaaphamburger.com/

Harpist Lavinia Meijer performs solo concerts in venues worldwide from Carnegie Hall NYC to the Berlin Philharmonie, being one of the most important, pioneering and exciting musicians of our times. Ms. Meijer has performed on international stages such as Carnegie Hall, NYC; Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Paradiso, Amsterdam; Musikverein, Vienna; Carré, Amsterdam; Philharmonie, Berlin, Cité de la Musique, Paris; Bronfman Auditorium,Tel Aviv; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and Seoul Arts Center. Recently she released both Voyage, her seventh solo album with music by Debussy, Tiersen, Satie and Ravel, a live-recording with bandoneonist, Carel Kraayenhof: In Concert and The Glass Effect, to celebrate Philip Glass’s 80th birthday in 2017. https://www.laviniameijer.com/ 

Conductor Vincent de Kort, born in the Netherlands, is very much in demand as a symphonic as well as an opera conductor. Recently he made very successful debuts at the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as well as at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (invited by Valery Gergiev). He is a regular guest at the opera houses of Dresden, Stockholm, Edinburg, Leipzig, Tokyo, Vienna, Vilnius, Tours, Luzern, Bern, Magdeburg, Johannesburg, Hawaii, Kazan. He studied with Mariss Jansons in Oslo and in St. Petersburg with the legendary Professor Ilya Musin, who was also the teacher of Valery Gergiev, and was the assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and William Christie. In 2021, he was the recipient of the Honorary Award of the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Kiev, Ukraine http://www.vincentdekort.com/ 

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Rossini | 6 Sonate a Quattro

6 Sonate a Quattro are the brilliant compositions from Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, written during the summer of 1804 at the young age of 12. These works, at the time, were commonly performed by wind quartet and it wasn’t until 1954 when the original manuscripts were discovered in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. showing their original arrangement for string quartet. 
This recording of Rossini: 6 Sonate a Quattro features two of Canada’s most respected and beloved performers – Mark Fewer (violin), and Joel Quarrington (bass) – and two of North America’s rising stars – Yolanda Bruno (violin), and Julian Schwarz (cello) and was produced by JUNO award-winning producer John D.S. Adams. These performances, from November 2017, were recorded in collaboration with the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance using the newly released (2014) Critical Edition published by the Fondazione Rossini Pesaro. 


Rossini: 6 Sonate a Quattro
Release date: March 19, 2021
Listen HERE

Violinist Mark Fewer leads a multi-disciplined life in music. Violin soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, artistic director, conductor, arranger, teacher, jazz violinist, recording artist and occasional radio host, he has performed worldwide to great critical acclaim. Described as “intrepid” (The Globe and Mail), “genre-bending” (National Post), “profound” (The WholeNote), and “freaky good”(The Gazette), he has performed around the world in halls such as Carnegie, Wigmore and Salle Pleyel, and is equally at home in recital venues such as Bartok House (Budapest) to Le Poisson Rouge (NYC) to The Forum (Taipei). His latest album, Vivaldi: Manchester Sonatas (with Hank Knox) has been streamed more than 300k times since its release in January 2020.  https://www.markfewer.com/ 

Violinist Yolanda Bruno has been praised for her “total control of her instrument with infinite variety in the sound palette” (La Presse) and was recently named on CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30. Yolanda has performed across North America and Europe including solos with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Métropolitain, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and the London Mozart Players. She has appeared in festivals including the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music Festival, the BBC Proms and the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove.  Yolanda’s performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, ICI Musique as well as on BBC Radio 3. A devoted chamber musician, Yolanda has collaborated with Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler, Paul Lewis and Levon Chilingirian. https://www.yolandabruno.com/

Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palette are hallmarks of his style. After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he made his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since being awarded first prize at the inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in 2013, he has led an active career as soloist. https://www.julianschwarz.com/ 

Born in Toronto, Joel Quarrington began his formal studies of the double bass when he was thirteen. Upon graduation from the University of Toronto, he was awarded the “Eaton Scholarship” as the school’s most outstanding graduate. Joel is a winner of the Geneva International Competition and the CBC Talent Competition, and has made solo appearances across Canada, the United States, Europe and China. His recording of Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Yefim Bronfman became an instant classic. He is particularly honoured to have been a part of a 1982 recording session with the legendary Glenn Gould for the soundtrack of Timothy Findley’s The Wars. Written for solo cello and bass and based on Brahms’ Intermezzi, this turned out to be the last music composed by Gould before his untimely death. https://joelquarrington.com/ 

Recording producer/engineer John D.S. Adams has been passionate about sound for 30 years. His artistic collaborations vary widely across the disciplines of recording, design and performance. As a producer/engineer Adams has worked with James Ehnes, John Cage, Neil Young, Jane Bunnett, Emanuel Ax, The Getty Center, Kevin Fox, to name a few. Many of these collaborations have resulted in multiple JUNO awards and nominations. Adams’ sound designs have been commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Blue Rider Ensemble, composer Peter Hatch, and Barishnykov’s White Oak Dance Project.
https://www.stonehousesound.com/ 

Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP) is an international center for advanced studies in performance and interpretation. Like the gifted young artists it trains, LAMP is propelled by passion and ambition. In a short time, it has emerged as one of the most innovative and exciting post-graduate music schools in Canada offering immersive instruction with the world’s most versatile and accomplished masters in disciplines like opera, strings, piano and composition. Burt Wathen is founder and artistic director of the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (LAMP). Raised in New Brunswick, he was longtime principal violist of the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Italy. While there, he developed his deep love of Rossini and befriended conductor Alberto Zedda, the world’s foremost authority on the composer. In 2014, Zedda led LAMP’s inaugural program focused on Rossini opera. http://www.lampns.ca/

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Luminous Voices Celebrates First JUNO Nomination

Halifax, NS; March 9, 2021 – Calgary based professional choir, Luminous Voices are thrilled to be nominated for a JUNO award. Announced earlier today during the official press conference, the ensemble received their first JUNO nomination for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral for their album, Sea Dreams. This celebration is just in time for the announcement of their upcoming album, Artem Vedel, set to be released May 7, 2021 through Halifax-based label Leaf Music. 

“We are thrilled and deeply honoured to be nominated in this very special 50th anniversary year of the JUNOS!! To be recognized among other vocal/choral luminaries during this difficult COVID-19 year means the world to us.” – Dr. Timothy Shantz, Founder & Artistic Director

Sea Dreams features the work of the same title by Canadian composer Peter-Anthony Togni. “Sea Dreams” is written for double mixed choirs and two flutes and features two top Canadian flutists Sara Hahn-Scinocco and Sarah MacDonald. The piece was commissioned by Luminous Voices and Sara Hahn-Scinocco with the support from the Canada Council for the Arts and Paul and Elwyn Brown, and was premiered on February 25, 2018 at the Bella Concert Hall, Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.

“Sea Dreams is a work that reflects my relationship to the ocean and my thoughts about a journey of faith, a journey full of questions, fears, longings, hopes, dreams, and the gifts of disappointment,” says Halifax-based composer Peter-Anthony Togni. “Each choir represents a ship on the water. Getting into a boat or on a ship is a kind of leap of faith: we can only pray and trust that the journey will be successful.”

Sea Dreams also includes other works by Togni, including Totus Tuus, Requiem et Lux, Earth Voices, Psaume 98, and more. Guest artists include bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly, soprano Katie Partridge, and tenor Oliver Munar.