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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 16, No. 5


Par/by Crystal Chan / February 3, 2011

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New English CBC Manager Announced

Kirstine Stewart, the interim head of CBC English Services, has been officially appointed as the new English CBC manager, stepping up to the role after former head Richard Stursberg left under controversial circumstances. Stursberg was much criticized for his overhaul of the system, including the axing of CBC Radio 2 under his tenure. Stewart has been the General Manager of CBC Television since April 2006, before which she was Senior VP of Programming at Alliance Atlantis.

El Sistema Cuts Ties with Boston Conservatory

The New England Conservatory, the first U.S. base of the worldwide music education program el Sistema, will no longer host the Venezuelan phenomenon. The association between el Sistema and the New England Conservatory has been an almost decade-long story. When el Sistema founder Dr. José Abreu was awarded a $100,000 TED prize in February 2009 he solidified the connection by asking support for the creation of a U.S. el Sistema program to be run from the NEC. The program officially began in October 2009. The NEC cites its denial of funds for expansion requested by el Sistema as the reason for the split.

British Violinist Wins Guinness World Record for Speedy Playing

Oliver Lewis, a native of London, England, has been named by the Guinness World Records as the world's fastest violin player. The title follows an October 2010 performance of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ live on BBC1’s Blue Peter in 1 minute 3.356 seconds; that's more than 13 notes per second in parts. Following his record, Lewis won engagements such as a one-man show in Hong Kong and a tour in the rest of China, followed by a tour of the US, which began this January.

Lewis started playing at the age of eight. He led Great Britain's National Children's Orchestra at an early age and debuted before the age of 10. He studied at the Purcell School of Music, Guildhall School of Music, and Berne Conservatoire. Following his studies he soloed with the Berne Symphony Orchestra and led the Heidelberg Chamber Orchestra. Lewis is also regular performer for musical theatre and other stage shows, including Oliver! The Musical and Spirit of the Dance. Musical projects also include recordings and contemporary music commissions.

Honens Piano Competition Changes Strategy

The internationally-esteemed Honens Piano Competition based out of Calgary announced new directions for its 2012 competition (to take place October 17 to 26). Seeking to brand itself as a public audition for promising musicians, Honens will bar professionally-managed pianists from applying. The numbers of pianists that make each cut has also been severly cut: only 50 (formerly 90) will make the quarterfinals, only 10 (formerly 21) will make the semifinals, and only one competition laureate (formerly three) will be named. New additions to the competition include two professional arts journalist interviews in order to evaluate the distinctiveness of the musician’s voice and personality in front of the press. The whole competition process will be shorted from 16 to 10 days, and a new Mentor-in-Residence Program will also kick off in 2012. The Honens Laureate will walk away with $100,000, the largest international prize available to emerging concert musicians, on top of a half-million dollar three-year Artistic & Career Development Program.

The 2011 Jutra-Hommage Prize Goes to Jean Lapointe

Actor Jean Lapointe has been named the winner of the Prix Jutra-Hommage 2011. He will be presented with the prize at the 13th Annual Jutra Awards for film in Quebec on March 13. Significant roles in film include Michel Brault's Les ordres and Jean Beaudin's J.A. Martin photographe. For his performance in Érik Canuel's Le dernier tunnel, Lapointe won the Best Supporting Actor Jutra and Génie prizes. His latest film is 2010's À l'origine d'un cri. Lapointe was also a successful singer and was appointed a senator by Jean Chrétien in 2001. He held that post until December 2010. A great art lover, Lapointe was a co-founder of the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Gallery.

digital music sales slowing

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has announced the figures for digital music sales in 2010, and the figures are not looking good for the music industry: sales in the digital music form are only up six per cent worldwide from the year before, whereas overall music sales have shrunk nine per cent. Taking control of digital music sales, long thought to be the solution for music companies facing loss in CD sales, does not seem like the magic solution after all.

Oscar Nominees Announced

The Quebec film Incendies is the Canadian hopeful at this year’s Oscar Awards ceremonies, which will take place February 27th. Incendies is directed by Denis Villeneuve and is an adaptation of a play by Wajdi Mouawad which premiered in 2003. The film will compete against four others in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category. Quebec writerMordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version, which received the screen treatment this year, has been nominated in the ‘Best Makeup’ category.


Les auditions pour l’Orchestre de la Francophonie (OF) auront lieu à travers le Canada en mars prochain. Les musiciens choisis participeront à une résidence intensive à la fin juin et au début juillet 2011 à Ottawa et à Montréal. Plusieurs professeurs réputés leur offriront alors un enseignement avancé ainsi que des cours de maître. L'orchestre entreprendra ensuite une tournée au Québec et en Ontario. Des concerts de musique classique et populaire, l'enregistrement d'un album ainsi que des séances de travail auprès de différents compositeurs et chefs d'orchestre figurent également au programme. Les repas, ainsi que les frais de déplacement et de séjour des musiciens seront pris en charge par l'OF, et une bourse leur sera remise pour leur participation. Tous les instrumentistes d'un orchestre symphonique sont appelés à poser leur candidature.La date butoir pour envoyer sa candidature est le : vendredi 11 février.


NY Times Critic Names Top 10 Composers

New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini has listed a ‘Top 10’ of classical music composers in history. Living composers were not eligible. The list followed a series of articles exploring the most influential, most celebrated, and sometimes most overlooked composers, period by period. The series received more than 1,500 comments from readers and sparked overall debate about the merits of different composers as well as the criteria upon which composers can be judged—or whether they should be. Tommasini often engaged with commentators and stressed that open debate was one of the main reasons for his embarking on the project.

The final list:
1. Johann Sebastian Bach
2. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)
4. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)
5. Claude Achille Debussy (1862-1918)
6. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
7. Johannes Brahms (1833-97)
8. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
9. Richard Wagner (1813-83)
10. Béla Bartók (1881-1945)

Youtube Symphony Members Announced

This March, 101 handpicked musicians from around the globe will convene in Sydney, Australia, to rehearse and perform together for the very first time. It's the second edition of the Youtube Symphony Orchestra, a phenomenon which launched December 1, 2010, when musicians of all backgrounds were invited to 'audition by youtube.' Contestants posted a video of their performance of Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 'Eroica' and another preset audition piece. Finalists were chosen by judges and then voted on by the public.

This year's orchestra auditions followed a similar process, with hopeful musicians performing Mothership, which was composed especially for the Youtube Symphony Orchestra by American composer Mason Bates. There were over 300 finalists, and the lucky 101 include a vuvuzela player.

The musicians represent 30 countries and their ages range from 14 to 49. They form a mix of professional and amateur musicians. The piece features four soloists; their instruments are: electric guitar (Brazil), violin (USA), the guzheng (China), and electric double bass (Australia). Canadian members include violist Sarah Tradewell (Victoria), flutist Paul Hung (Vancouver), violinist Allene Chomyn (Langley), double bassist Richard Carnegie (Burlington, Ont), and percussionist Michelle Hwu (Toronto). All five are music professionals or music students.

The ensemble's March 20, 2011, performance from the Syndney Opera House, led by Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, will be broadcast live.


Une malencontreuse erreur s'est glissée dans la recension du disque de David Jalbert le mois dernier. Une référence y a été faite à un enregistrement du Zodiaque de Migot, qui était plutôt signé par le pianiste Stéphane Lemelin.

(c) La Scena Musicale