For over 30 years the Saint John String Quartet [SJSQ] 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. From their sixth recording Canadian Hits: Unplugged, the ensemble takes us on a visual journey through Stan Rogers iconic “Northwest Passage”.
Through the depths of a lush forest canopy to the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Fundy, video director – Lauchlan Ough highlights the beauty of New Brunswick, Canada perfectly while SJSQ effortlessly serenades us with one of Canada’s best-known folk songs. The music is fittingly paired with the dramatic nature landscape filmed at Minister’s Face Nature Reserve overlooking the Kennebecasis River and the wide-open coastline of the Bay of Fundy. All being captured at dawn and dusk and creatively paralleled with the dense harmonic climaxes and expressions of the music.
Saint John String Quartet (violinists David Adams and Danielle Sametz, violist Christopher Buckley and cellist Sonja Adams) has stood among Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles for over 30 years. Renowned for their flexibility, SJSQ is equally comfortable collaborating with blues artists and rock superstars as with its own performances of Classical masterworks.
SJSQ performs over 125 concerts annually and serves as musicians-in-residence for Symphony New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick. They have performed for many heads of state and at prestigious venues in Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and in October 2019, South America.
Credited with numerous recordings including their sixth and most recent Canadian Hits: Unplugged. Previous albums have earned a Juno nomination (Classical Composition of the Year) and won an East Coast Music Award (Best Classical Album of the Year) and a Music NB award (Best Album of the Year). Their albums feature innovative works and under-appreciated classical gems.
Recognized for many ground-breaking achievements, including their profound contributions to musical development in New Brunswick, the SJSQ presented the first chamber music concert ever broadcast online.
SAINT JOHN STRING QUARTET Follow SJSQ on FACEBOOK WATCH AND SHARE“NORTHWEST PASSAGE”HERE
In honour of Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburgerpresents Chamber Symphonies Nos.1&2, featuring Ensemble Caprice and l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal. While confronting serious and challenging themes, these works are imbued with hope and optimism.
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, and an original contribution for the project ‘400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music’. He was recently commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, to be premiered by Lavinia Meijer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021. 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 Vancouver 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. This release follows the August 21, 2020 release of Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto, on Leaf Music.
Chamber Symphony No. 1 “Remember to Forget” Ensemble Caprice under the direction of Matthias Maute Produced by: Martha de Francisco Recorded in studio: Église St-Augustin, Mirabel, QC (17/11/2019 – 18/11/2019)
“Remember to Forget” is a phrase from Tenach, The Old Testament. The sentence alludes to the notion that doubt (“I should have…I could have…”), rather than being critical (“Where can I improve?”), is inherently self-destructive. We are not necessarily in control of the outcome of events, but that should not deter us from working hard and striving for the best, all toward the positives in life. “Remember to Forget” is a tone poem, using the colours and structures of sound to advance that story, inspired by the biography of György Ligeti (1923-2006).This symphony in two movements is an apostrophe to one of the great musical minds of the age. Ligeti’s own influences stretched back to the 15th century and the richness of polyphony, from folk inspirations and a drenched chromaticism through to jazz and polyrhythm of every description. His work is best known through the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey. This work is a metaphor of a train journey, moving from youth to catastrophe, and through survival to rebuilding, forgiveness, and ultimately to the lessons of the biblical Joseph: to live, work, build, create, and love to the best of your abilities, under all circumstances, every day.
Chamber Symphony No. 2 “Children’s War Diaries” l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under the direction of Vincent de Kort Produced by:Misha Aster Recorded live at the Violins of Hope concert: Maison symphonique de Montréal (02/11/2019)
“Children’s War Diaries” Five diaries of teenagers who were murdered during the Second World War inspired this piece. These children did not survive, but their diaries did. Twenty years after reading these diaries, composer Jaap Hamburger’s 89-year-old mother, Jannie Moffie-Bolle, published her autobiography “Een hemel zonder vogels” (“A sky without birds”). She too was a teenager at the outbreak of the Nazi war in Europe. The book, among other things, describes her experiences in multiple Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2010, Jaap travelled with her to Israel on the occasion of the presentation of her book at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem. The architecture of the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem is uniquely sobering. It memorializes 1.5 million murdered children, approximately 95% of all Jewish children ages 0-18 years old in occupied Europe. This staggering number is what led Raphael Lemkin to introduce the term “genocide” in his 1944 landmark publication, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. When Jaap – overwhelmed by the starkness of the Children’s Memorial – had left the building and stepped into the blazing Jerusalem sunlight, the contours of a new symphonic work came to mind, virtually complete. The composer went home and wrote it down. “Children’s War Diaries” is a symphony for chamber orchestra in five short movements.
Jaap Nico Hamburger: Chamber Symphonies Nos.1&2 Release date: Nov 6, 2020 Listen Now HERE
Breathing in the Shadows is the debut album from Iranian-Canadian composer, Saman Shahi, set to be released September 25, 2020 through Halifax-based label, Leaf Music. The album includes three song cycles, two of which are based on poetry by women from across the globe. The title cycle, “Breathing in the Shadows” tells stories of oppression through alienation, resistance, and self-actualization. Resonating with many communities that historically have lived through the experiences of these struggles, the poems have an inherent musicality, evocative imagery, and a powerful message of unity and hope. The poets represented in this cycle are Forough Farrokhzad (Iran), Carilda Oliver Labra (Cuba), Dora Gabe (Bulgaria), Zhai Yongming (China), and Titilope Sonuga (Nigeria). “Breathing in the Shadows” features Maureen Batt – Soprano and Tara Scott – Piano. This cycle was commissioned by Maureen Batt with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and premièred through the recital series Crossing Borders.
The second cycle “Orbit” is a work commissioned by tenor Fabián Arciniegas , set to the poetry of Serbian-Canadian Jelena Ćirić. Winner of the inaugural Canadian Amateur Musicians’ Association (CAMMAC) composition competition in 2019. Set within three movements, the poetry highlights the murky areas of human relationships, uncertainties and inner battles we all experience while interacting with others. “Orbit” features Fabián Arciniegas – Tenor and Tara Scott – Piano.
In the third song cycle “Songs of a Wandering Soul,” Saman explores his musical identity rooted in his Western Classical training, minimalism, Contemporary Art music, Progressive Rock, Jazz and Iranian traditional music. The music leaps back and forth between these worlds much like an immigrant trying to figure out a new place to belong. The poetry used in this cycle is drawn from Shahi’s teenage years where he was trying to navigate his new life in Canada with words in the early days of blogging. The work displaces the pulse constantly to create an inner sense of groove that changes from measure to measure. “Songs of a Wandering Soul” features Tiffany Hanus – Soprano, Saman Shahi – Piano, Peter Lutek – Woodwinds, Derek Gray – Percussion, Scott Peterson – Electric and upright bass, Natalie Wong – Violin and Cheryl Ockrant – Cello.
‘Breathing in the Shadows’ is a collection of pieces that I have grown to embrace as some of my most authentic and honest work. I am so humbled to be surrounded by colleagues who believed in my work that enabled the coming to fruition of this album in such high quality and artistic finesse. – Saman Shahi
Saman Shahi is an award-winning and published composer, pianist, conductor and educator based in Toronto. He’s active in classical music, new music, Iranian traditional music, rock and electronic music, and because of his constant activities in Canada and abroad he has become a sought after performer and composer. Saman’s compositions, including some of his short film scores have been performed in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. As a pianist and conductor, Saman has been an avid performer and advocate of new music in Toronto, and he regularly performs with a variety of Ensembles and musicians. Saman is an Affiliate Member of the Canadian League of Composers, Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre as well as a SOCAN member. He is also one of the founders and the executive director at the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto, ICOT, a 7 year old art organization that bridges cultures through music and art. Saman is also an active member of the Circle music band, a rock fusion group in Toronto. He was appointed as the music director at Peterborough concert band in 2019. Saman also works as a composer-educator with the Canadian Opera Company.
Breathing in the Shadows Release date: September 25, 2020 Pre-save/add HERE
A tale of serpent-demons and mortals entwined in forbidden romance, Venom of Love is set to be released September 18, 2020. From one of Canada’s most acclaimed composers, Alice Ping Yee Ho is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including; the 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize and is a two-time Juno nominee.Written as full length dramatic music for dance in 4 acts, Venom of Love is based on “Legend of the White and Green Snakes” a Chinese tale seeped in oral tradition and finally written down during the Ming dynasty more than 600 years ago. Canadian lyric coloratura soprano Vania Chan shares the tale of love, jealousy and betrayal being the active ingredients in a story of amazing transformations and ultimate redemption. Written for electronic tape, live soprano and percussion, 7 dancers, multimedia video and lighting design, Venom of Love was originally commissioned by Toronto’s Little Pear Garden Contemporary Dance Theatre in 2014 was directed and choreographed by Emily Cheung.
Hong Kong-born, composer Alice Ping Yee Ho is one of Canada’s most sought after composers of contemporary works. Critics have called her music dramatic and graceful, while praising its “organic flow of imagination,” “distinctly individual” style”, “colourful orchestration”, and “emotive qualities”. Influences evident in her proudly eclectic approach include Chinese folk and operatic idioms, Japanese Taiko , jazz, pop culture, and other contemporary art forms. Her ongoing goal is to explore new musical styles that are provocative to the ears.
“Colors and tonality are two attractive resources to me: they form certain mental images that connect to audiences in a very basic way.” [AH]
A twice JUNO Award Nominee (2015, 2018), she has an impressive discography released on the Centrediscs, Naxos, Marquis Classics, Blue Griffin, Electra, and Phoenix labels. She has four solo albums (Centrediscs/Naxos) devoted to music written for different genres: “Ming” for percussion, “Glistening Pianos” for two pianos, “The Lesson of Da Di” features her full length award winning opera, and “The Mysterious Boot” features chamber music for flute, cello, and piano. Her fifth album was recently released through Centrediscs/Naxos of her children’s opera The Monkiest King with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. Her new project including a new opera CHINATOWN commissioned by City Opera Vancouver, on a libretto by Canadian renowned writer Madeleine Thien, opens in September, 2021 at the Vancouver Playhouse.
Ms. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition with high distinction from Indiana University and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Toronto. Her teachers have included John Eaton (USA), Brian Ferneyhough(Germany), and John Beckwith (Canada). She is a noted classical pianist and an active advocate of contemporary music. She has performed in many new music festivals, including a solo piano recital recorded by CBC Radio 2 in which she premiered Tan Dun’s solo piano work “Traces II”. She now makes her home in Toronto. https://www.alicepyho.com/
Canadian lyric coloratura soprano Vania Chan received her Master of Music in Classical Voice from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University, Toronto, receiving a B.F.A. with Specialized Honours in Music. Her “gently shimmering coloratura” can be heard in the recording of the Dora Award winning opera THE LESSON OF DA JI (Toronto Masque Theatre), which received a critic’s choice review in Opera News, New York. She often performs with the Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, showcasing their collaborative program “Handel’s Heroines” at the Early Music Festival in Bloomington Indiana, in Toronto, Hamilton, and at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre. https://www.vaniachan.com/
Venom of Love Digital Release only Release date: September 18, 2020 Pre-save/add HERE
Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto from celebrated composer Jaap Nico Hamburger – performed by pianist Assaff Weisman. The recording was produced by Vancouver-based Misha Aster and the work was performed by pianist Assaff Weisman and l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under the direction of Vincent de Kort. This dramatic concerto is full of drive, explosive energy and pathos. While reminiscent of great works by Prokofiev and Shostakovich, it is truly a unique work among Canadian piano concertos and modern classical compositions.
Jaap Nico Hamburger is the current Composer in Residence with Mécénat Musica in Montréal. His compositions include commissions from Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and an original contribution for the project ‘400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music’. He was recently commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, to be premiered by Lavinia Meijer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021. 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 Vancouver music production company; and, a former Director of City Opera Vancouver.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he started his musical education at the age of 3, 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. Anticipated recordings include the release of Jaap Nico Hamburger: Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. (November 6, 2020)
Pianist Assaff Weisman has been captivating audiences with his intensity, lyricism and communicative style since his solo debut at the age of twelve. The Greenville News observed “this piano virtuoso has facile fingers that toss off daredevil passages with ease and a mind for music that is as nimble as his fingers.” Mr. Weisman is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with Herbert Stessin and where he is a member of the Evening Division piano faculty. Prior to his studies in New York Mr. Weisman studied with Professor Victor Derevianko in Israel and was supported by scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. http://www.assaffweisman.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. http://www.vincentdekort.com/
One of Quebec’s leading cultural ambassadors, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal was founded in 1981 on a bold gamble: that the best way to promote symphonic music is by creating strong ties with the public. For 20 years now, the OM has grown alongside its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose career continues to reach new heights. Their exceptional collaborative relationship has given rise to many ambitious musical projects, some of them quite daring, under the leadership of the Montreal conductor. https://orchestremetropolitain.com/en/
May 20, 2020 (Halifax, NS) “The Seeker” from celebrated composer Kevin Lau – performed by pianist Victor Cheng, is released June 5, 2020 through Halifax, NS – based classical record label, Leaf Music.
Kevin Lau is one of Canada’s most active young composers. A prolific composer of orchestral, chamber, ballet, and film music. Described as a “self-assured voice” (Barczablog) with a “masterful control over his idiom” (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau has established himself as one of Canada’s leading young composers. Awarded the 2017 Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award by the Canada Council for Outstanding Achievement, Kevin’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Major works include Le Petit Prince, commissioned by the National Ballet of Canada and choreographed by Guillaume Côté.
“The “Seeker” is an archetype—a person who pursues dramatic experiences in search of meaning, pushing the limits of his/her abilities (and skirting the edge of danger in the process) in order to find transcendence. The music is a sonic and physical exploration of the ‘daredevil’ spirit, found particularly in high-level athletes and performers. The playful, quick-footed tune that opens the piece unfolds largely without a harmonic ‘safety net’, careening through a variety of increasingly daring episodes, before returning to the opening few bars: a tranquil homecoming after a fulfilling journey. I am grateful to Victor Cheng, pianist and athlete extraordinaire, for so perfectly embodying the spirit of the “Seeker”.” – Kevin Lau
Kevin’s discography includes the JUNO-nominated “Spin Cycle” (Centrediscs), featuring the Afiara String Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid; “Encount3rs” (Analekta) featuring the NACO; “Solo Seven” (ATMA Classique) featuring violinist Marc Djokic; “The Sounds of Our Time” (Naxos) featuring cellist Rachel Mercer, “Premieres” (Cambria Records) featuring violinist Conrad Chow and “A Dream of Dawn” (Leaf Music) premiered by the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra at Musikverein, Vienna, Austria . In addition to composing concert music, Kevin is also active as a film composer, arranger, and pianist. He has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Charles Officer’s feature documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018), and has created arrangements for artists such as Sarah Slean, Suzie McNeil, Christos Hatzis, and groups such as the Art of Time Ensemble. He has performed many of his own works and collaborates frequently with artists such as Scott St. John (violin), Lynn Kuo (violin), and Victor Cheng (piano).
April 29, 2020 (Halifax, NS) Halifax-based classical record label, Leaf Music is pleased to announce that Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburger is joining the label’s roster. Jaap Nico Hamburger is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer; President and CEO, Orange Music Inc., a Vancouver music production company; Member of the Board of Directors of City Opera Vancouver (2010-2020); and in 2019 was named Mécénat Musica’s Composer in Residence.
A resident of Vancouver, BC, Hamburger’s compositions include symphonies, solo concertos, chamber music works, and commissions from Discovery Channel, Rex Video London UK, Turning Point Ensemble, and Dutch Television. He is a graduate from the Royal Sweelinck Academy of Music, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with a soloist degree in piano.
Jaap’s first release with Leaf Music will be his piano concerto which was recently recorded at Montréal’s Maison Symphonique with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, with pianist Assaff Weisman and conductor Vincent de Kort – set to be released July 2020 – followed by two symphonies to be released in November 2020. Additional releases for 2021 include a group of chamber works, along with his first opera Goldwasser, currently in development, which is expected to bring Canadian culture to the world stage with a highly anticipated premiere in New York in 2021-22.
“We are delighted to welcome Jaap Nico Hamburger to our roster. He is poised to become recognized as one of the great composers of our time. His wide palette of orchestral colours, clever use of folk song elements and driving energy are sure to delight music listeners in concert halls and streaming platforms alike in the years to come. We are consistently impressed by Jaap Nico Hamburger’s bold and visionary approach to addressing difficult and challenging themes with hope and optimism through his music. It’s a privilege for Leaf Music to help bring his growing repertoire to the world.” – Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
29 avril 2020 (Halifax, N.-É.) – Leaf Music, maison de disques de musique classique d’Halifax, a le plaisir d’annoncer la signature du compositeur canadien Jaap Nico Hamburger. M. Hamburger est un compositeur agréé du Centre de musique canadienne. Il est aussi président et chef de la direction d’Orange Music Inc., entreprise de production musicale de Vancouver. Il est membre du conseil d’administration de l’Opéra de la ville de Vancouver (depuis 2010) et, en 2019, il a été nommé « compositeur en résidence » par Mécénat Musica.
M. Hamburger habite à Vancouver, en Colombie-Britannique. Ses compositions comprennent des symphonies, des concertos en solo, des oeuvres de musique de chambre et des oeuvres de commande pour la chaîne de télévision Discovery, pour Rex Video London UK, pour le Turning Point Ensemble et pour la télévision néerlandaise. Il est diplômé de l’Académie royale de musique Sweelinck d’Amsterdam, aux Pays-Bas, avec un diplôme de pianiste soliste.
Le premier disque de M. Hamburger pour Leaf Music sera son concerto pour piano, qui a été récemment enregistré avec l’Orchestre métropolitain de Montréal, à la Maison symphonique de Montréal, avec le pianiste Assaff Weisman et le chef d’orchestre Vincent de Kort. La parution de ce disque est prévue pour juillet 2020. Viendront ensuite deux symphonies, en novembre 2020. D’autres parutions sont prévues en 2021, dont une série d’oeuvres de musique de chambre, ainsi que son premier opéra, intitulé Goldwasser, actuellement en cours de composition. On s’attend à ce que cet opéra donne à la culture canadienne un retentissement mondial, avec une première très attendue à New York en 2021–2022.
« Nous sommes ravis d’accueillir Jaap Nico Hamburger dans notre maison. Il va être reconnu comme étant un des grands compositeurs de notre époque. Sa vaste palette de couleurs orchestrales, son utilisation futée d’éléments de musique folklorique et son énergie contagieuse raviront à n’en pas douter les auditeurs des salles de concert et des plateformes de diffusion en continu dans les années à venir. Nous sommes régulièrement impressionnés par l’approche ambitieuse et visionnaire de Jaap Nico Hamburger, qui s’attaque, dans sa musique, à des thèmes ardus et difficiles avec espoir et optimisme. C’est un privilège pour Leaf Music de pouvoir contribuer à la diffusion dans notre monde de son répertoire grandissant. » — Jeremy VanSlyke, propriétaire de Leaf Music
Leaf Music is proud to present Bael Shem “Nigun” from celebrated cellist Christine Walevska and pianist Akimi Fukuhara. Released April 17, 2020, this is presented on the 50th anniversary of Walevska’s debut recording on the Philips Classics label of Bloch’s Schelomo, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, with Schumann’s Cello Concerto. Upon release in 1970, the San Francisco Chronicle called it “the greatest recording in the cello catalog“. After 50 years of concertizing across the globe many times over, in 2019 Walevska went to Montreal, Canada with pianist Akimi Fukuhara to record Bloch’s Nigun with former Philips Classics producer, Martha de Francisco.
Bloch’s Nigun is a nod to the composer’s Jewish heritage and in memoriam of his mother. “Nigun” is literally “improvisation” or “melody” carrying recognizable melodies and gestures of Jewish folk music. Nigun is the second movement from Bael Shem: Three Pictures of Hassidic Life for Violin and Piano.
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the independence of Poland and in celebration of this Christine played with pianist Jerzy Stryjniack in Carnegie Hall. During the month of March 2019, Walevska and Fukuhara played concerts in Japan, China and Taiwan. Following the concert in the magnificent National Theatre of Taiwan, Walevska returned to her home in New York City and flew to Argentina only two days later where she played two gala concerts opening the newly renovated Mendoza Theatre with pianist Daniel Goldstein. Together in Buenos Aires with Goldstein, she recorded a CD of Argentine compositions titled “Christine Walevska and Friends”.
To purchase any of Christine Walevska’s previous recordings including the 17 cello concertos Walevska recorded on the Philips Classics label put into a five CD Decca boxed set titled, “The Legendary Recordings of Christine Walevska” and “Goddess of the Cello” or to find out more information, please visit www.christinewalevska.com
CHRISTINE WALEVSKA, cello AKIMI FUKUHARA, piano
Bloch – BAEL SHEM, B.47: II.Nigun
Release date: April 17, 2020 Download or Stream here
Exceptional Duo Becomes First Canadian Artists to Record Exquisite Sonatas Unearthed from a Manchester, UK Library in 1973.
“I’d be glad to hear these gentlemen play anything … they make me want to hear whatever else they want to do. The ensemble and intonation are perfect …” – American Record Guide
Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of Vivaldi’s Manchester Sonatas featuring violinist Mark Fewer and harpsichordist Hank Knox. This is the first Canadian recording of the “Manchester” sonatas of Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), a masterful collection of 12 works brought to light only in 1973. A follow up to their acclaimed 2018 recording of the Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord by J.S. Bach, this new recording from Fewer and Knox is available as of January 17, 2020. These remarkable sonatas changed a great many hands over the centuries. When Cardinal Ottoboni – a patron of Vivaldi’s – died in 1740, a large number of manuscripts from his private collection were purchased by English classical scholar Edward Holdsworth. These manuscripts were then passed on to Charles Jennens, librettist of Handel’s Messiah. The scores came into the possession of several more collectors before coming to auction at Sotheby’s in London in 1918 and were acquired by renowned musicologist Newman Flower. When Flower died in 1964, his musical holdings were purchased by the Manchester Public Library, attracting the international attention of scholars and the media alike; Flower’s reputation as an eminent Handel scholar implied that important revelations concerning the musical giant were forthcoming. However, a nearly exclusive focus on Handel resulted in the neglect of some of the other manuscripts, including these sonatas by Vivaldi which, despite being housed in Manchester’s Henry Watson Music Library from 1965 onward, were only discovered by British musicologist Michael Talbot in 1973. The 12 “Manchester” sonatas, heard on the new album as arranged and recorded by Fewer and Knox in January 2019 at Eglise St. Augustin in Mirabel, Quebec, represent a high point of Vivaldi’s chamber music. The violin part offers complex compound melodies while the bass focuses primarily on its harmonic role, with both instruments free to improvise on the written score. Gramophone calls the sonatas “music of great beauty and vitality which will delight most if not all lovers of the late baroque.” Known for his exceptional versatility, violinist Mark Fewer has been described as “intrepid” (The Globe and Mail) and “profound” (The WholeNote). His musical diet includes performances from the early baroque to the avantgarde, performing worldwide in famous halls such as Wigmore, Carnegie, and Pleyel, to smaller venues such as Le Poisson Rouge (NY), Bartok House (Budapest), and The Forum (Taipei). As a soloist, he has performed with the symphonies of Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Quebec, San Francisco and Melbourne, as well as with groups such as the Fodens-Richardson Brass Band (UK), the Zapp Quartet (Amsterdam), and as a featured guest with Stevie Wonder and his band. He was a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio, has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players for over 15 years, and was violinist with the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Stanford University. Artistic Director of the SweetWater Music Festival for 16 years, Fewer was appointed Artistic Director of Stratford Summer Music in 2019. A Juno and Prix Opus winner, he is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto. 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 and has also directed a great number of baroque operas.
Download or stream Vivaldi Manchester Sonatas here
Halifax violinist Gillian Smith will launch her debut album, Into the Stone, featuring music for solo violin by five Canadian women composers on September 25. Featured composers include Ana Sokolović. Kati Agócs, Alice Ping Yee Ho, Veronika Krausas and Chantale Laplante. The album is supported by The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), and is on the Leaf Music label. It will be available on digital music services as of September 27 including iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify and can be pre-ordered on Amazon and iTunes. The CD draws its title from Krausas’s composition Inside the Stone inspired by a line by Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwen, “What lives inside the stone? Miracles, strange light.”
A dynamic and intuitive performer, Gillian Smith enjoys a varied and exciting performance career as a violinist. Deeply committed to performing music by contemporary composers, she has recorded two CDs with members of the Acadia New Music Society on the Centrediscs label: Live Wired, which features the music of Derek Charke, Jérôme Blais, and Anthony Genge, and In Sonorous Falling Tones, which features the music of Derek Charke and which was nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Classical Recording of the Year in 2018. She can also be heard on a recording of the chamber music of Carmen Braden that will be released in November 2019.
Gillian Smith has appeared at such series and festivals as the Acadia Performing Arts Series, the East Coast Music Awards, Inner Space Concerts, the Music Room Chamber Players, Open Waters Festival, Shattering the Silence Festival, and Sunday Music in the Garden Room. She has also performed and recorded as an orchestral musician with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony, and Symphony Nova Scotia.
A dedicated teacher, Gillian Smith serves as instructor of violin and viola at the Acadia University School of Music and as head of the upper strings department at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. Her students have won top prizes and awards in regional and national competitions.
Gillian Smith holds degrees in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music (B.Mus.), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.Mus.), and the University of Minnesota (D.M.A). Her teachers have included Jorja Fleezanis, Camilla Wicks, Peter Salaff, and Philippe Djokic. You can learn more about her at https://gilliansmithviolin.com
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.