Editorialby Wah Keung Chan
/ October 1, 2011
Flash version here.
month’s tenth anniversary of 9/11 re-awakened my memories of La
Scena Musicale’s fifth anniversary gala, which was held on September
12, 2001 at the Centre Pierre-Péladeau. On the morning of 9/11, as
the news went from bad to worse, we were confronted with the decision
of whether or not to hold the concert the following day. In the afternoon,
I met with several of the musicians during the dress rehearsal, and
the unanimous feeling was that we should proceed and let music pave
the way to some measure of peace by dedicating the concert to the the
victims. Those who were at the gala, 444 people in all, shared a unique
That gala concert five years ago
was also noteworthy for several firsts. It was the first public’s
choice concert: the repertoire was selected by an online vote. Many
of Canada’s top musicians performed, including Denis Brott, Donna
Brown, Stéphane Lemelin, Nathalie Paulin and Daniel Taylor—who inaugurated
his new ensemble, Theatre of Early Music, at the gala. It was also the
first time the young pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin teamed up with rising
mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux; how nicely things have turned out for both
Yannick and Marie-Nicole over the years. A review of the gala concert
in Le Devoir criticized Lemieux’s Invitation au voyage by Henri
Duparc, but I treasure that performance because I know how much Marie-Nicole
was moved by the tragic event of the previous day.
The Gala also saw the birth of the
Bring a Teen Outreach Program, which offers teenagers free entrance
to classical music concerts when accompanied by an adult (e.g., parent,
sibling or teacher). After an absence of seven years, we are happy to
re-launch the program in partnership with the Federation of Quebec Music
Rather than organize another gala
this autumn, we are marking LSM’s 15th birthday by embarking on an
exciting new venture, The Next Great Art Song, which will culminate
in a public choice gala concert in the autumn of 2012.
As I look back over our 15 years
of promoting music and the arts, the sum total of our efforts has resulted
in much more than just 190 issues reaching 10 million readers in print,
25 million readers online through La Scena Musicale and its sister
publications, The Music Scene, La SCENA and scena.org.
We have fulfilled our continuing mission to support concert music in
Canada, especially in Quebec; in the first two years alone, we covered
the rise of tenor Ben Heppner, introduced you to the wonderful soprano
Isabel Bayrakdarian after her win at the Met Auditons, and presented
Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy to the public. Last month, we
doubled our distribution to 50,000 copies by replacing the previously
semi-bilingual magazine with individual English and French editions;
based on the positive feedback, it looks like we’ve made a good decision.
Each day at LSM is a labour
of love, but 15 years has flown by too quickly. At the same time, it
seems like so long ago when I became the 30-year old ‘father’ of
the magazine, which was initially christened La Scena Vocale.
After 15 years, I am now dealing with a ‘teenager’—one that has
been adopted not only by my loving wife, Lilian, but also by my family,
friends, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, board members,
LSM ambassadors, advertisers, donors, subscribers and you our readers.
To another 15 years!