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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 12, No. 7 April 2007


by Wah Keung Chan / April 30, 2007

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Spring has finally arrived…or so we hope, given the snow that lingers stubbornly on the ground. Nevertheless, signs of nature's annual awakening are evident everywhere we turn, compelling even the most lethargic individual to feel energized. To some extent, the sense of rebirth that comes with this season is reflected in the current issue, where you'll discover a “bouquet” of themes that profile rising stars, alternative careers in music and the celebration of anniversaries and musical passions

In this issue, Réjean Beaucage interviews the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal's (ECM) Véronique Lacroix about the organization's 20 years of active support for promising young composers of new music from Quebec. In recognition of rising stars, Joseph So profiles tenor Joseph Kaiser, who is blazing his way into opera stardom. Tamara Bernstein zones in on some very interesting women (the Cecilia String Quartet and young marimbist Anne-Julie Caron) who are finding their own career paths in music. My delightful conversation with Bathroom Diva Season 2 winner, Elaine Jean Brown, gives proof that the definition of “rising star” has nothing at all to do with age but everything to do with raw talent.

Conductor Miklós Takács shares his thoughts with Gabor Csepregi about Zoltán Kodály, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Hungarian composer's birth, while Quebec baritone Vincent Ranallo takes inspiration for his doctoral work from Quebec composer Gilles Tremblay, a pioneer in contemporary music. Philippe Gervais' chat with internationally renowned musicologist and broadcaster Gilles Cantagrel sheds light on this Baroque specialist's passion.

Like the rest of this issue, our cover story exemplifies a fierce passion for music and the search for alternative ways of expressing it. Chants Libres' artistic director Pauline Vaillancourt is clearly a woman with a purpose - to carve a solid place for new music (“augmented opera”) alongside traditional opera. Other profiles of people who are successfully contributing to the world of music through alternative means (luthier/violin-making, piano-tuning, music librarian, copiest or public relations agent) are also presented in this issue.

Watch for our upcoming music festival guides in the next two issues. This year, the guide to jazz, world and folk music will be available in May, while the classical music festival guide will be included in the June issue.

To those of you who are already planning ahead for Mother's Day, consider celebrating this special occasion with us during La Scena Musicale's Mother's Day Dinner, featuring favourite Quebec baritone Robert Savoie (see ad inside).

With the arrival of spring, a sense of passion and renewal is definitely in the air. Let's just hope that the new political landscape following the recent provincial election bodes well for the future of arts and culture in La Belle Province!

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