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Saman Shahi – Breathing in the Shadows

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 Shadowsfeatures 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

SamanShahiMusic.com

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Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto

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/ 

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“The Seeker” from Canadian composer Kevin Lau

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

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).

kevinlaumusic.com

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Jaap Nico Hamburger added to Leaf Music Roster

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

jaaphamburger.com


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

jaaphamburger.com