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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 16, No. 8


by Crystal Chan & Joseph K. So / May 2, 2011

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Alain Trudel the New Music Director of Orchestra London
Orchestra London announced on April 6 that Orchestre symphonique de Laval’s Alain Trudel will be its new music director. This follows several guest appearances by Trudel with the OL. Trudel is also the artistic director and principal conductor of the National Broadcast Orchestra, an ensemble created by CBC Radio Orchestra musicians after it was disbanded, the principal guest conductor of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and a regularly invited conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. The OL performs over 50 concerts each season. CC

Riccardo Muti Wins the Birgit Nilsson Prize
Conductor Riccardo Muti has been awarded the prestigious Birgit Nilsson Prize. The prize comes with a $1-million remuneration. Muti is the second winner of the prize, after Plácido Domingo, who received it in 2008, three years after Nilsson passed away. Muti has been the music director of the Chicago Symphony since 2010, and over his illustrious career he has been at the helm of such orchestras as London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Philadelphia Orchestra and has guest conduced the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics. CC

McGill's Golden Violin Award Goes to Ewald Cheung
The Golden Violin Award was launched in 2006 to recognize the talent each year of a string student who is near the completion of studies at McGill's Schulich School of Music. At $20,000 it's the largest privately funded music scholarship in all of Canada. This year's winner is 21-year-old violinist Ewald Cheung, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Performance this spring. This award follows triumphs at the Canadian Music Competitions from 2000 to 2004 (he's a five-time laureate and two-time winner), the 2007 Standard Life Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Competition, the 2009 Shean Strings Competition, the 2010 McGill Concerto Competition, and the 2010 Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières Competition. A founding member of the former Roddick String Quartet, Cheung first started playing at age four at the Suzuki School in Edmonton and was one of three child prodigies featured in the 2004 documentary Minor Keys, produced by the National Film Board. Cheung says he will put his prize money toward the cost of travelling to international competitions. CC

Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate is Leonard Cohen
Out of a shortlist of other distinguished international artists, singer-songwriter-poet Leonard Cohen has been presented with the $50,000 Glenn Gould Prize. The award is presented every two years to a living artist in recognition of lifetime achievement. One of his most-covered signature tunes is “Hallelujah.” Recent past laureates include el Sistema founder Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008), Pierre Boulez (2002), Oscar Peterson (1993) and Yo-Yo Ma (1999). CC

Canadians come third in Opera Directors Prize
The Canadian team of Joel Ivany, Camellia Koo and Jason Hand came third in the 6th Biennial Europäischen Opernregie-Preis that took place at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in March. The team competed against 212 other participants from 24 countries, and was picked as one of four team finalists. Each team submitted a directorial and design concept for Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The winning team, from the UK, was chosen for the originality of its concept, as well as its suitability to the stages of the northern Italian opera houses (Brescia, Como, Pavia, and Verona) where the work will be performed in the coming season. The competition is held every two years. Many of the winners are now working successfully as directors and set and costume designers. Ivany, who led the Canadian team, is currently assistant director of a production of Rigoletto at the Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Norway. He will also assist director Robert Carsen in the upcoming Canadian Opera Company’s production of Orfeo ed Euridice (May 8 – 28). JKS

In Memoriam: Robert Tear (March 8, 1939 - March 29, 2011)
Welsh tenor Robert Tear passed away at age 72. Born in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, Tear made his operatic debut in 1966 as Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. He made his Royal Opera debut as Lensky in Eugene Onegin in 1970. Celebrated for his interpretation of works by Britten and Tippet, his Aschenbach in Death in Venice received critical acclaim and is preserved on DVD. Tear last sang as Emperor Altoun in Turandot at the Royal Opera Covent Garden two seasons ago. He had been suffering from cancer of the esophagus since last fall. JKS

Music Critic Ken Winters Passes Away
Ken Winters, aged 81, passed away on March 22, after a heart attack. He was a critic for newspapers including, most recently, the Globe and Mail, and co-editor of the original edition of The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. He had worked for more than 40 years at the CBC, hosting shows such as Mostly Music, Personalities in Music, and Ken Winters on Music. CC

Shean Strings Competition FINALISTS
Esther Hwang, violin (Vancouver, BC); Eleanor Kendra James, viola (Vancouver, BC); Bénédicte Lauzière, violin (Montréal, QC); Meghan Nenniger, violin (Calgary, AB); Joshua Peters, violin (Winnipeg, MB) and Christopher Whitley, violin (Toronto, ON)

(c) La Scena Musicale