Notesby Crystal Chan
/ July 1, 2010
Flash version here.
Maureen Forrester Passes Away at Age 79
Just weeks shy of her 80th birthday, acclaimed Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester passed away on June 16, 2010. The Montreal-born Forrester made her professional debut at age 21 with the Montreal Elgar Choir. She debuted with the Montreal Symphony in 1953 and with the Toronto Symphony in 1954. By 1955, she was singing in Europe, the start of an international career spanning more than 30 years.
Forrester will be remembered both as a performer and champion for the arts. In 1984, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed her as head of the Canada Council, a post that she held for four years. Forrester received numerous awards including a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame and Opera Canada’s first Ruby Award. She was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2003 and a MasterWorks honouree of the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada in 2004. Forrester was the subject of La Scena Musicale’s Discovery CD last month. Read the article here.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin New Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra
On June 18, 2010, after four years of deliberation, the Philadelphia Orchestra chose 35-year-old Montreal native Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its Musical Director, effective September 1, 2012. Nézet-Séguin assumes the title of Music Director Designate, a position he will fill for the next two seasons.
This is just the latest triumph for Canada’s most prominent international conductor since Wilfrid Pelletier. Nézet-Séguin is also the Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain—all positions which he will continue to hold after his appointment with the PO.
Nézet-Séguin made his debut with the PO in December 2008, with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist André Watts and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (‘Pathétique’). The last time the PO was under his baton was December 2009, when he conducted Vivier’s Orion, Franck’s Symphony in D minor, and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Nicholas Angelich.
Along with Nézet-Séguin, the PO will be welcoming Allison Vulgamore, the new executive director, and Richard Worley, the new board chairman.
2010 Honourary Degrees
» R. Murray Schafer
Composer R. Murray Schafer received an Honourary Doctorate from Concordia University on June 23, 2010. The degree follows on the heels of other high honours, including a 2009 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the 2005 Walter Carsen Prize, the 2001 SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek Concert Music Award, the 1999 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, the 1993 Canada Council Molson Prize for the Arts, and the first Glenn Gould Prize in 1987 as well as the first Jules Léger Prize in 1978. The opera The Princess of the Stars is one of his most well-known works, and his string quartets are now standard repertoire. But Schafer is equally well-known for his contributions in music research and education. In the 1960s, Schafer initiated soundscape studies at Simon Fraser University; with his World Soundscape Project, Schafer is a pioneer in the field of acoustic ecology.
» Olivier Latry
McGill University bestowed an Honorary Doctorate upon Olivier Latry on June 4, 2010. At just 23, Latry won one of four titular organist positions at Paris’s legendary Notre-Dame cathedral. That was in 1985, and now—in addition to still holding that position—Latry is one of the world’s most sought-after organ concert performers, having performed in more than 50 countries. He is also a Professor at the Conservatoire de Paris.