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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 17, No. 1


by Crystal Chan, Aleshia Jensen, Rona Nadler, Paul E. Robinson / September 1, 2011

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Casavant Frères build new organ in Kansas City
Quebec's Casavant Frères began installing a new organ in July at Kansas City's Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The pieces, including 5,548 pipes, are currently being assembled in Helzberg Hall. Once this is completed, a crew will voice and tune each individual pipe--a two-month process. A dedication concert will be held in March 2012, followed by the organ's first concert with an orchestra next summer, in a performance of Saint-Saëns's Organ Symphony. AJ

Arvo Pärt's new piece written in honour of the pope
Award-winning Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has written a piece in honour of Pope Benedict XVI, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his ordination. The piece, entitled Vater unser (Our Father), was played by Pärt at the anniversary ceremony. Universal Editions has released a recording of the performance, featuring the boy soprano Heldur Harry Põlda. AJ

Israeli Chamber Orchestra plays Wagner in Germany
Ten years after Daniel Barenboim broke a long-standing taboo by playing Wagner in Israel, Israeli music director Roberto Paternostro conducted the Israel Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll at Germany's Bayreuth festival. They are the first Israeli orchestra to play Wagner in Germany.
There is an unofficial ban on Wagner's music in Israel. Wagner was a known anti-Semite whose writing and music was an inspiration and passion for Hitler. It's no wonder that the decision to play Wagner at the Bayreuth festival was fiercely criticized by some, including one member of Israeli parliament who suggested that the orchestra's state funding be cut. But for Paternostro and the members of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, many of whom are the children of Holocaust survivors, this was not meant as an insult to their fellow countrymen but as an attempt to heal past wounds. The orchestra did not begin practicing the 15-minute piece until their arrival in Germany out of respect for Holocaust survivors. AJ

antique instruments
For decades, over 800 antique musical instruments collected dust under the Cincinnati Art Museum. Until recently, these items had been forgotten, stored among the many items that the museum has no space to exhibit. The rediscovery of these antique instruments from over 20 countries has sparked excitement amongst curators and instrument specialists. Though smaller than the MET's instrument collection in New York, the trove in Cincinnati contains a significant number of interesting items, including a Burmese crocodile zither and a Chinese hammered dulcimer. A wealthy Cincinnati industrialist, William Howard Doane, donated around 650 of the instruments--acquired during his travels around the world--to the museum. The collection is currently being catalogued, evaluated and restored. There are no plans as of yet to display the collection in its entirety. AJ


Malcolm Forsyth
On July 5 in Edmonton, Composer Malcolm Forsyth passed away at age 74 after a battle with cancer. His compositions won him three Junos, Canadian Music Council's Composer of the Year, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada. Forsyth was also a trombone player and professor. His final composition, A Ballad of Canada, was premiered on June 9, 2011 by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and a 160-voice choir, a performance which he was able to attend. Forsyth's daughter Amanda is the principal cellist of the NAC Orchestra. Ballad will be performed again by the Edmonton Symphony on November 11 and 12. CC

Josef Suk
On July 6, 2011, violinist Josef Suk passed away at the age of 81. The renowned soloist was actually the great-grandson of Antonin Dvorák: his grandfather, composer Josef Suk, married Dvorák's daughter. Suk was a highly respected violinist and conductor in his native Czechoslovakia and internationally. He made his American debut playing the Dvorák Violin Concerto with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1964. He formed a trio with pianist Julius Katchen and cellist Janos Starker and together they recorded a wide repertoire for Decca. With Katchen, he also recorded the complete Brahms sonatas. PER


Betty Webster Award
Dr. David Leighten and cellist Marsha Mofitt. Leighten served as Chair of the Board of the National Arts Centre Orchestra from 1999 to 2006; he helped usher in unprecedented financial health. Moffitt has played since 1980 with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. RN

Virginia Parker Prize
Kaori Yamagami, a cellist who studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the New England Conservatory in Boston and with Frans Helmerson in Germany. She is currently the Amsterdam Sinfonietta's principle cellist. AJ

Michael Measures prize
Twenty-one-year-old violinist Bénédicte Lauzière, who currently studies music at McGill's Schulich School of Music, took home the inaugural prize. It will be awarded annually to one outstanding musician from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. AJ

The Canadian Music Competition
Grand Prizes for each age category were awarded to Kirsten MacKinnon, soprano (Burnaby, BC), Jason Kangsan Lee, piano (Missisauga, ON), Nicole Li, violin (Toronto, ON), Stephen Nguyen, piano (Calgary, AB), and Tiffany Yeung, violin (Richmond Hill, ON). The winners gave three performances with the Orchestre Métropolitain. RN

Tchaikovsky CompETITION
Prizes awarded were as follows:
Piano 1st Prize, Gold Medal: Daniil Trifonov (Russia). 2nd Prize, Silver Medal: Yeol Eum Son (South Korea). 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal: Seong Jin Cho (South Korea). 4th Prize: Alexander Romanovsky (Ukraine). 5th Prize: Alexei Chernov (Russia)
Violin 1st Prize, Gold Medal: not awarded. 2nd Prize, Silver Medal: Sergey Dogadin (Russia). 2nd Prize, Silver Medal: Itamar Zorman (Israel). 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal: Jehye Lee (South Korea). 4th Prize: Nigel Armstrong (USA). 5th Prize: Eric Silberger (USA)

Cello 1st Prize, Gold Medal: Narek Hakhnazaryan (Armenia). 2nd Prize, Silver Medal: Edgar Moreau (France). 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal: Ivan Karizna (Belarus). 4th Prize: Norbert Anger (Germany). 5th Prize: Umberto Clerici (Italy)
Voice Female Winners: 1st Prize, Gold Medal: Sun Young Seo (South Korea). 2nd Prize, Silver Medal: not awarded. 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal: Elena Guseva (Russia)
. 4th Prize: not awarded
Male Winners:1st Prize, Gold Medal: Jong Min Park (South Korea).
2nd Prize, Silver Medal: Amartuvshin Enkhbat (Mongolia). 3rd Prize, Bronze Medal: not awarded. 4th Prize: n.a. AJ


The Minnesota Orchestra has selected six composers for its annual Composer Institute. The up-and-coming composers, chosen from among 153 participants, will be in Minneapolis from January 2 to 7, 2012 and a public concert of their works will take place on January 6. The winners and their compositions are as follows: Brian Ciach and Collective Uncommon, Michael R. Holloway and Theta Beta Theta, Adrian Knight and Manchester, Hannah Lash and God Music Bug Music, Andreia Pinto-Correia and Xantara, Shen Yiwen and First Orchestral Essay AJ


Applications for the John Hobday Awards in Arts Management--two $10,000 prizes--must be in by Sep. 30. canadacouncil.ca.

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