Carissa Klopoushak and Julia MacLaine perform at the first Ottawa Chamberfest City Series concert, playing Bartok, Honegger, Schulhoff, and folk music in the lobby of Ottawa City Hall.
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Grand announcement time!
I'm thrilled to let you all know that I'll be recording an album with Philip Chiu, performing sonatas by Leos Janacek, Claude Debussy, and Healey Willan, and shorter pieces by Pat Carrabré and Claude Vivier.
Aside from the obvious reasons for recording (it's so much fun!), I'm nearing the end of my tenure with the Canada Council Instrument Bank's 1869 Vuillaume violin and Vuillaume workshop bow - and there's no better way to celebrate than to record! The pieces we're recording are things that the Phil and I have performed together a great many times, starting as early as the 2009 Eckhardt-Grammatté competition winner's tour (Carrabré's Chaconne was the commissioned piece that year), and more recently on our 2013 Debut Atlantic Tour.
We've just finished a couple of private house concerts in Montreal and Gatineau, QC, and are excited to bring the show to Toronto on Tuesday, December 9th, at Gallery 345. Please come! Bring friends!
I'm currently on the road with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, touring England and Scotland to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. To date, we've performed in Edinburgh and Nottingham, and last night we performed a joint concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir which culminated in a boisterous rendition of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Oh yes, and HRH Prince Charles was in attendance :)
My many MANY tour photos will come at a later date, but for now, here's a little clip from the 4th movement, the "Ode to Joy":
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whn1urlpWvw] Off to Salisbury tomorrow, where we will perform in the renowned Cathedral. That performance will be broadcast on CBC Radio 2 on November 9th and 11th, and on CBC Television sometime during the holiday season. Stay tuned!
I'm very pleased to be performing as part of the Toronto Summer Music Festival's Shuffle Concert series next week. The Shuffle series, inspired by the mix of music you'd typically find on an iPod, are informal, eclectic one-hour performances by Festival Artists, special guests, and next-generation emerging artists. I'll be joined by my friends Alexandru Sura (cimbalom) and JC Lizotte (cello), playing Eastern European Folk Music (mostly Ukrainian). We'll finish the program with a new arrangement of Ravel's Tzigane. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave
Pay What You Can
Directly after Ritornello Fest, I flew to Montreal to participate in a series of concerts with my friends and fellow laureates of the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank competition. The laureates took turns performing on the noon-hour series called "Bach's Lunch." Kerry DuWors and I took the opportunity to play together, performing Bach's 2-part Inventions for violin and viola, solo Bach movements, and other violin duos by Leclair and Bartok. You can read all about the noon hour concerts, reviewed by All Things Strings, here.
In addition the lunch-time concerts, we had the marvellous privilege to perform the orchestral parts to Martin Beaver's Four Seasons and to Mozart's 5 violin concerti, performed so generously by Cho-Liang Lin.
This past weekend, the 6th Annual Ritornello Chamber Music Festival took place in Saskatoon. Ritornello Fest is the annual festival that my co-director Jacqueline Woods and I founded, which showcases exciting, Canadian musicians who are currently pursuing professional careers across the country and around the globe. This year's Fest featured the Cecilia String Quartet, pianist Philip Chiu, and cellist Scott McKnight performing alongside the two directors. Saturday's concert also featured a Saskatoon poet, Brendan Flaherty. Here are a few photos of the festival, taken by Michael Morien. To see all the high-res photos, check out our Flickr.com Slideshow.
As I explained in the last blog post, a major focus of this Debut Atlantic tour is education - and good thing - as some of these experiences are becoming the most memorable for me. For example, Phil and I drove from Halifax to New Ross, NS, to play for a group of about 100 students between the ages of 4 and 14, where much to our surprise, we were greeted by name in the parking lot by a group of students! Their teachers had prepared them well with the educational materials provided by Debut Atlantic. In addition, they listened to the tracks on my website where Phil and I play together - and they even listened to some music by my Ukrainian band Тут і Там. Phil and I performed our program which included music of Prokofiev, Janacek, Debussy, and Brahms. We spoke to them about these pieces, and took questions from the audience. We also asked for their impressions of the pieces, and were pleased at the insightfulness of their comments. We then got to sign a couple autographs, which always feels nice/strange, and took a picture together with the older kids (the "littles," as they are called, had to go eat lunch):
After that great experience, Phil and I experienced one of the touring life's greatest treasures: traveling through scenic landscapes... and enjoying food. To get to Yarmouth, our next destination, we had to drive past the exit to Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site. So we stopped in for lunch! We had heard that there was a great place to eat there called the Salt Shaker Deli. We (once again) had an exorbitant amount of seafood, this time featuring muscles, chowder, and lobster mac & cheese:
We then saw some of the sites of Lunenburg (see top photo), grabbed a coffee, and continued on our way to Yarmouth. In Yarmouth (where it is generally very, very windy, we performed for two groups of school children. Again, great questions and emotional responses to our music and questions!
Yarmouth boasts a lovely Main Street and very cleverly named free wifi (pictured below):
From Yarmouth, we drove back to Halifax, where we would share in some real Haligonian hospitality and eat lobster. They were delicious!!!
Our last tour duty was to coach the students of Dalhousie Univeristy's collaborative piano class. We listened to some very talented and hard-working students perform, and did our best to help their already impressive performances develop further. We capped off the end of the class by performing a couple movements of the Prokofiev sonata we had been performing on tour. It was a lovely way to finish the week.
I'd like to thank everyone at Debut Atlantic, all of the concert presenters, the students and our audience members across the maritimes for such a wonderful experience. It was lovely to perform and to get acquainted with so many wonderful people, and I hope to visit and perform in the region again soon.
Greetings from the road! Phil Chiu and I are currently in Halifax, having performed recitals this past weekend in Moncton, NB and Antigonish, NS. We were treated to really wonderful, attentive crowds with whom we really enjoyed visiting after the concerts (sometimes over a glass or two). Phil and I also have enjoyed some great cuisine, especially at the Tide and Boar in Moncton!
Our scheduled Sunday house concert had to be rescheduled (sadly, even presenters get the flu!); however, Phil and I, intent on playing, found ourselves another venue - a friendly house concert in Halifax with many Symphony Nova Scotia players in attendance. It was a great time, where we got to reacquaint with old friends and meet some new ones.
Our tour features a really strong educational component. Today, we performed for 400 great kids at Elmsdale elementary school, just outside of Halifax (seen above). The students there were truly great listeners, and asked some really insightful questions afterwards. We're slightly biased towards this school now, because they gave us each a great new mug!
We also participated in a really great educational venture through Newfoundland’s Department of Education’s Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) and Memorial University, where we performed a program over a live internet stream to hundreds of students in Newfoundland and across Canada. In the remaining few days of the tour, we will perform an additional three school concerts in New Ross and Yarmouth - we hear there's great lobster there - and then come back to Dalhousie University to coach the collaborative piano class in some duo and trio chamber music.
This past June, I had the incredible opportunity to work with the much talked about Australian Chamber Orchestra. (If you aren't familiar with their work, check out their site and their many videos - you'll thank me!)
By some stroke of cosmic intervention, my Ukrainian band was approached to perform at the 65th Anniversary celebrations of Ukrainian Immigration to Australia celebrations the weekend preceding my work with the ACO. We were well hosted by the Aussie Ukes, and were fortunate enough to perform in the Sydney Town Hall, a truly marvellous venue:
After an incredible weekend, the rest of the band returned to Canada as I began rehearsing with the ACO2, a group comprised of members of the ACO as well as former and current participants of the ACO's Emerging Artists program.
We prepared a unique and well-compiled program of Rautavaara, Vivaldi, Stravinsky, Handel, and Bartok for a six-city National tour. I was fortunate enough to see nearly all major Australian cities, drank (too much) coffee, and worked with some truly creative and inspired musicians.
I look forward to working with the ACO again for three months in 2014.
The ACO rehearses inside the tall buildings on the right. What a view...