Étoiles montantes / Rising Stars
Par/by Danielle Dubois
/ March 16, 2005
Scena Musicale a une tradition de présentation des jeunes musiciens
canadiens, tels que Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marie-Nicole Lemieux et James Ehnes,
alors que leur talent est en pleine ascension. Pour cette première édition de
notre dossier annuel Étoiles montantes, nous avons demandé aux principales
écoles de musique du Canada de nous présenter leurs étudiants les plus
prometteurs. Voici nos choix parmi les réponses que nous avons reçues.
La Scena Musicale has had a tradition of
featuring young Canadian musicians, such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Marie-Nicole
Lemieux and James Ehnes, at the ascent of their talents. In our first annual
Rising Stars feature, we contacted Canada's major music schools to recommend
their most promising students, from which we find an ecletic cast.
Sean Rice, clarinetist
hometown: St. John's, NL
school: Memorial University
teacher: Paul Bendozsa
favourite performers: Kimball Sykes, James
Campbell, Richard Stoltzman
Sean Rice likes to perform music that pushes his
limits. "Beethoven and Mozart are greats but I like to present balanced
programs with a variety of pieces," says the lover of contemporary music, whose
favourite piece is Aaron Copland's Concerto for Clarinet and Strings.
"Work ethics are key," adds Rice. Having set his
sights on a solo career, the two-time National Music Festival winner certainly
does not lack performance experience. In 2003, he performed with Symphony Nova
Scotia at the National Arts Centre and was invited to give his own concert in
the Canadian capital. "The audience was great," recalls Rice, who finds
auditions much more nerve-racking than performances. His immediate plans are to
complete his Bachelor in Music Performance, after which he intends to pursue a
Master's and a Doctorate degree in Music. "I'm expanding my technique and I
still have a lot to learn," says Rice, who tries to practice between 4 and 5
hours a day.
Nicolas Bernier, compositeur (musique
âge : 27
ville : Hull, QC
école : Université de Montréal
professeurs : Robert Normandeau, Jean Piché
compositeurs préférés : Maurizio Martusciello
(Italie), Robert Normandeau, Louis Dufort, Gilles Gobeil, Francis Dhomont,
Stéphane Roy, Martin Bédard (d'Amours métal), Luc Ferrari, Serge Gainsbourg
« À chaque fois que je gagne un prix ou qu'une de mes
pièces est sélectionnée pour un festival, je suis bouche bée », raconte Nicolas
Bernier, qui a d'abord essayé d'approfondir ses connaissances sur la musique
électroacoustique en lisant des traités. Moins de cinq ans plus tard, il ne
cesse de décrocher prix et stages un peu partout.
Son approche de la composition est simple : « Je crois
que le meilleur sort quand la composition se fait rapidement et intensément. »
Il affirme fonctionner d'abord avec ses oreilles; le travail intellectuel vient
Nicolas est reconnaissant envers ses amis, qui lui
font découvrir des musiques qui ne sont pas étudiées à l'université. Bien que
certains d'entre eux considèrent sa musique abstraite, ils sont capables de
De l'enthousiasme, Nicolas en a en réserve, pour une
carrière qu'il entrevoit comme hétéroclite. « Je veux toucher à tout tout tout
! Musique acousmatique, musique électro plus populaire, installation, vidéo,
développement d'outils, etc. » À plus long terme, Nicolas souhaite développer
la scène culturelle dans sa région natale de l'Outaouais. Son prochain projet:
une installation avec haut-parleurs et vidéo sous l'eau, dans une piscine. « Un
projet très excitant, qui nous permettra de renouveler nos maillots de bain !
Marie-Ève Poupart, violoniste
âge : 17 ans
ville : Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
école : Conservatoire de musique du Québec à
professeurs : Angèle Dubeau, Anne Robert,
interprètes préférés : David Oistrakh, Jascha
répertoire préféré : Romantique, baroque,
Bien que plusieurs juges lui aient fait le commentaire
qu'une belle carrière s'ouvrait devant elle, ce n'est que cette année que
Marie-Ève Poupart a commencé à les prendre au sérieux.
Elle ne manque pourtant pas d'expérience. Marie-Ève
s'est déjà produite comme soliste avec l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
(OSM), l'Orchestre symphonique de Longueil et l'Ensemble Amati, entre autres. «
J'adore aller sur scène. Quand on sent le public réagir, c'est vraiment
agréable », raconte la violoniste qui remportait récemment la bourse « Paul
Merkelo » à la 65e édition du concours de l'OSM.
« Après mes prestations, les gens me remercient
souvent pour les beaux après-midi ou les belles soirées que je leur fais passer
», ajoute Marie-Ève qui dit s'efforcer que chaque note soit belle.
Une fois ses études au Conservatoire terminées,
Marie-Ève compte se rendre aux États-Unis ou en Europe afin de se perfectionner
avec de grands maîtres. Et pour la suite ? « Des voyages à travers le monde et
des concerts dans le plus de pays possible. »
Jessica Muirhead, soprano
hometown: Aurora, ON
teachers: Lucile Evans (voice teacher), Robert K.
Evans and Michael McMahon (coaches) favourite composers: Mozart, Strauss
For Jessica Muirhead, performing is in large part
about being honest. "I only want to perform music that I love because otherwise
I feel like such a fraud!" says the soprano, who makes a point of analyzing
music and researching the prose before she chooses her repertoire. "In the long
run, my main objective is to stay true to myself and to the music," adds
Muirhead. Her main obstacle is being objective about her own performances.
A fan of Renée Fleming and Joan Sutherland, Muirhead
is determined to have an international career. "Twenty years from now I would
still like to be performing but I could also see myself starting up my own
voice studio," she says. Muirhead will be beginning her Master's degree in the
fall. Coming up is a performance of Beethoven's Mass in C Major and Dvorak's Te
Deum with Cantabile in Lachine. Muirhead will also be busy learning Pamina for
her European operatic debut in Vienna with the Volksoper Wien set for next
Mark Laver, jazz saxophonist
hometown: Scarborough, ON
school: University of Toronto
teachers: Kirk MacDonald, Alex Dean, Mike
Murley, Len McCarthy, Phil Nimmons
favourite composers: Debussy, Ravel, Benjamin
Britten, Steve Reich, Thad Jones, Gil Evans, Phil Nimmons
favourite jazz players: Lee Konitz, Paul
Desmond, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Frisell, Ed Bickert
Mark Laver appreciates the flexibility of jazz. "I
played the first Bach Cello Suite on alto in a concert in Cookstown, and we did
a group improvisation based on the theme from Bach's The Art of the Fugue," he
says. A member of the See Through Trio and the Toronto Jazz Orchestra, Laver
still gets the jitters before getting up on stage. "I think I usually perform
best if I'm a little bit on edge, at least initially."
Although he loves performing, Laver thinks his future
has other things in store for him. "I'd like to be able to balance an academic
and a performance career. I think that I would feel very unfulfilled and
unhappy if I were to give up either one." Teaching during the year, touring
during the summer, and a little composing in between – why not? "I've recently
written a piece for saxophone quartet based on the fourth movement of T.S.
Eliot's 'The Wasteland,' and a setting of Eliot's 'Marina,'" says the
self-professed avid reader. And after all, in jazz, anything is possible.
Sasa Gerzelj, pianist
hometown: Maribor, Slovenia
school: Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory
of Music, Toronto
main Teachers: Walter Kamper (Vienna), John Perry
favorite composers: Schumann, Mozart, Haydn,
favorite interpreters: Vladimir Horowitz, Alfrel
Brendel, Claudio Arrau
Sasa Gerzelj finds inspiration everywhere. "I just try
to have my ears, eyes and soul as open as possible. Life itself is like a huge
encyclopedia; you can find almost everything if you look hard enough," she
says. Gerzelj, a concert pianist in training, made her debut with an orchestra
in Slovenia in 1992. This paved the way for solo recitals, recordings for RTV
Slovenia, ORF (Austria), RNE (Spain), as well as solo performances in festivals
around the world.
And the pace isn't letting up. This year Gerzelj
played Strauss' Burleske with the Rotterdam Orchestra under the direction of
Maestro Conrad von Alphen. She also recently recorded a CD produced by RNE,
Music for two Pianos, with duo partner Regulo Martinez, also a student at the
Glenn Gould School.
"The main thing is to prepare myself really well so
that I feel confident. But when I play, I just let the music take hold and I
try to be honest. And when I do that, the public appreciates it."
Gerzelj has followed master classes with teachers John
Perry, Leon Fleisher, Marc Durand, Jacob Lateiner and S.I. Gadzijev, among
others. Although her focus is her performing career, she has given teaching
some thought. "I think it is something I will enjoy."
Rebecca and Richelle Kruisselbrink, pianists
age: 20 and 19
hometown: Tara, ON
school: Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo
teacher: Anya Alexeyev
favourite interpreters: piano duo James
Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton
favourite repertoire: Romantic
Rebecca and Richelle Kruisselbrink might be proof that
talent has something to do with genes. Respectively in their fourth and third
year of the Honours Music Program, the two share almost everything, including
concerts. They made their orchestral debut performing Mozart's Concerto for Two
Pianos with the Georgian Bay Symphony (GBS) in February 2003, as well as Victor
Davies' Mennonite Piano Concerto. In October 2004, their sister Renee joined
them in a performance of Mozart's Three-piano Concerto, again with the GBS.
Although Rebecca and Richelle are very committed to
music, the chemistry and physics lab partners hope to study medicine. The way
they see it, a medical career, although demanding, does not rule out a musical
one. Already experienced soloists, the pair has played a number of concerts,
often benefit ones, in Canada and the Unites States. They are sometimes joined
by the other four Kruisselbrink sisters, also musicians and singers. Their
secret? "We set goals, manage our time well and get up early," say the sisters,
who are very thankful they have such a supportive family.
Heather Hindman, composer
school: University of Alberta
teachers: Howard Bashaw and Laurie Radford
favourite composers: Ligeti, R. Murray,
Beethoven, Liszt, Messiaen
"The sounds we hear each day, the mass media we are
bombarded with, the actions and reactions of individuals in our society, the
effects of technology and capitalistic greed" – it is from these phenomena that
Heather Hindman draws inspiration for her works. Composing is for her both a
personal and difficult experience. "I need to have a clear idea of a piece
before I write a note, aesthetically, musically, and formally," says the winner
of a 2004 SOCAN award.
It is by exploring different artistic environments
that Hindman sees new music developing its social and cultural understanding of
contemporary society, something she deems essential. She herself would like to
explore as many of these environments as possible, composing for dance,
theater, installations, in addition to concert music. As she searches for a
style that is uniquely hers, she continues to reflect on the education needed
for people to value new music. For the moment, she is busy writing a collection
of pieces for solo saxophone, and tackling her first choral composition before
she begins a Master's degree in composition in the fall.
Amir Koushkani, Performer (Tar) and Composer
age: 35 ans
hometown: Teheran, Iran
school: Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
teacher: Owen Underhill
favourite composers: Stravinsky, Bartók,
Why would a man, a master of the tar with years of
musical study behind him, return to university to study music?
"I wanted to learn about classical music," says Amir
Koushkani, who is finishing up a BA in music composition.
Classes in harmony and orchestration gave him the
tools he needed to write his Concerto no. 1 for Tar and Orchestra, which the
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performed last March.
"When people were crying after the performance, I knew
I transferred some of the feeling."
Although he's the first to admit his performing
abilities far surpass his composing ones – he has played in a number of
ensembles and has already recorded four CDs of persian music – Koushkani has
some definite goals with respect to his newly acquired knowledge. "I want to
compose for orchestras and play in them," he says. Koushkani, who also plays
the sitar and sings, draws inspiration from his past, spirituality and poetry.
"It has to be unique, I never use another person's music."
Coming up: two concerts with the Pacific Baroque
Orchestra, which commissioned a piece with him as soloist for the occasion.
Victoria Medeiros, soprano
hometown: 100 Mile House
school: Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM)
teacher: Joanne Hounsell
favourite repertoire: French art song
"Music is my goal and I will pursue it any way that I
can," says Victoria Meideros, who is just finishing up her diploma at the VCM.
The first step will be obtaining a Bachelor in Performance from either McGill
or the University of Toronto and then doing a Master's degree. When asked where
she'll be in ten years, Meideros doesn't hesitate long: "Probably studying." A
fan of Renée Fleming, she sees herself eventually migrating to Europe or the US
in order to perfect her voice.
For inspiration, she looks to teacher Joanne Hounsell,
who has helped define the route she wants her singing to take. Meideros's
predilection at the moment is for the songs of Poulenc, Debussy and Satie. "I
love the textures and the atmosphere in the music as well as the symbolism in
the poetry," declares the soprano of Portuguese descent. "Singing keeps the
rest of my life in balance."
Meideros has placed on different occasions at the
Provincial Festival of the Arts.