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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 16, No. 7


by Wah Keung Chan / April 6, 2011

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When the earthquake hit Japan on March 11, the musicians of Tokyo’s NHK Orchestra were within 24 hours of leaving for a North American tour that would take them to Montreal on March 19. Two of the members had to stay, but the other 93 decided to forge ahead because “we believe music can uplift the heart and strengthen the spirit,” according to the orchestra’s manager.

The presence of Japan’s leading orchestra just one week following the tragic events should have made for an ideal fundraising opportunity. Montreal Gazette music critic Arthur Kaptainis and I were both encouraging Place des Arts to turn the concert into a fundraiser starting from March 14. Why wasn’t it? Not enough time, replied Place des Arts; they were still able to invite the Red Cross to collect donations during the intermission, which raised a modest $5,800.

But all it really needed was a bit of imagination. The concert was not sold out, with the upper two sections of Wilfrid-Pelletier blocked off. Why not announce that they would give a part of the receipts? Even 10% would have been significant. Or they could have offered a block of unsold tickets to the Red Cross or the Japanese community to sell as a fundraiser and get a full house. The Gazette was ready to run a story on March 17 and TV would have been happy to help promote the fundraiser. What a missed opportunity.

Meanwhile, as we go to press, Canadians will be heading to another Federal election on May 2nd. As we have done in the past, La Scena Musicale will cover the arts platform of the various parties, but given the timing, the coverage will be published on our website at www.scena.org

This month’s issue consists of two magazines (La SCENA and La Scena Musicale) and consequently, you will find two different covers. Visual arts is under the spotlight this spring at La SCENA. Our arts-focussed issue will feature painter Mona Ciciovan and Kent Monkman as well look at the considerations today for teaching and studying art history. We'll also cover La La La Human Steps as the innovative dance company turns 30, celebrate National Poetry Month, and take a look at Wajdi Mouawad's newest creation during his last year at the CAC. We meet up with Jean-André Élie, named this year’s arts volunteer of the year by the Governor General Performing Arts Awards. Previews of upcoming shows and a complete arts calendar will help you plan an artistic spring.

In our usual music section, we will feature soprano Marianne Fiset. In our maestro’s corner, Alain Trudel discusses about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique,” and Miklos Takacs leads Liszt. Violinist Hélène Plouffe is retiring and we find out why. We also have the scoop on plenty of upcoming contemporary music and multidisciplinary projects (including Mulroney The Opera)—and plenty more, including our regular columns, jazz section, and reviews. Our subscribers will be treated to the monthly Discovery CD of performances by keyboardist Kenneth Gilbert, courtesy XXI-21 Records. See our subscription form on page LSM15.

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