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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 18, No. 7

Industry News

by Shira Gilbert / June 1, 2013

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Belgian violinist Marc Bouchkov  is the grand prize winner of the 12th edition of the Montreal International Musical Competition (MIMC). The 22-year-old was declared the winner on May 15, following his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under the direction of guest conductor Maxim Vengerov. Bouchkov receives a cash prize of $30,000 and a career development program valued at $20,000. The $15,000 second prize was awarded to 16-year-old Stephen Waarts (USA) and the $10,000 third prize went to 16-year-old Zeyu Victor Li of China. Following an international selection process from recorded submissions, 23 of the world’s finest young violinists competed in Montreal for prizes valued at more than $130,000. First established in 2002, the MIMC features violin, piano, and voice in rotating years. The most recent winners include baritone Philippe Sly (2012), pianist Beatrice Rana (2011).

Violinist Scott St. John has announced that he will leave the St. Lawrence String Quartet at the end of this year. The Canadian violinist exits the Stanford-based quartet for London, Ontario, the city where he grew up, along with his family. St. John, who frequently collaborates with his sister, violinist Lara St. John, joined the SLSQ in 2006. Founded in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet came to international attention after winning the Banff International String Competition in 1992.

Several Canadian artists have been invited to perform at “Canadian Day” on July 5 in Rome, as part of Le Nazioni or The Festival of Nations. The annual event, produced by Ann Summers Dossena and hosted by Rome’s Accademia Filarmonica Romana, invites countries to present their music and culture. Participating artists will include the Borealis String Quartet from Vancouver; violinist Guillaume Tardif of Edmonton; clarinetist Kornel Wolak  of Toronto; Montreal soprano Jana Miller and pianist Jordan de Souza. The day’s events also include films about Canadian icon Glenn Gould, with commentary courtesy of music critic William Littler. Canada is featured at the event for the first time this year, along with Norway, Brazil and Morocco.

In September The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra will launch YONA-Sistema, a three-year pilot music outreach program. The Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta (YONA), based on the El Sistema program model developed over 35 years ago in some of the poorest regions of Venezuela, is a joint partnership with the Edmonton Catholic School District, the Rotary Clubs of Edmonton Riverview and Sherwood Park, and the Inner City Children’s Program. Approximately 20 students in grades two and three at Mother Teresa Elementary School, located in Edmonton’s city centre, will begin participating in an intensive, free-of-charge, after-school orchestra program for three hours, five days per week.
Meanwhile, Edmonton Opera CEO Sandra Gajic has resigned, citing personal reasons. Director of Production Tim Yakimec takes over as interim business manager and the company will conduct a formal search in the near future. Edmonton Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary in the 2013-14 season.
Nearby Calgary Opera has a new resident conductor in Christopher Mokrzewski . Currently music director of Toronto performing arts collective Against the Grain Theatre, Mokrzewski is also a member of the music staff at the Canadian Opera Company.

The Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation has announced its Award for 2014 in Composition for Organ, in recognition of MacMillan’s celebrated career as a composer and organist.  More information on the competition for the $12,000 Award Program will be available this month at the foundation’s web site: www.macmillanfoundation.com

Canadian heldentenor Lance Ryan made international headlines recently, but for the wrong reasons. Ryan failed to show up for a Saturday matinee performance of Wagner’s Siegfried at the Berlin Staatsoper, where he was to sing the title role, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Tenor Andreas Schager, in town to sing The Magic Flute with the Berlin Philharmonic, was quickly summoned and covered the role until Ryan eventually arrived, in time for Act 2.

The Royal Conservatory has named singer and songwriter Randy Bachman, producer Bob Ezrin, and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, Honorary Fellows. The artists were recognized at The Royal Occasion Gala, which took place in May at Koerner Hall in Toronto, where each performed, in addition to pianist Stephan Moccio, string duo 2Cellos, and students of The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School.

Violinist, pedagogue and composer Jean Cousineau has died, in Montreal, at the age of 75. Cousineau developed a violin method for young people inspired by Suzuki principals, travelling to Japan in 1965 to consult method founder Shin’ich Suzuki. The same year, he returned to Canada to found Montreal’s École Les Petits Violons to train young violinists from the age of five. He counted Chantal Juillet, Angèle Dubeau and Martin Chalifour among his many pupils. Cousineau was also a prolific composer and wrote extensively for his Les Petits Violons ensemble and he composed numerous film scores including Mon Oncle Antoine, and Dream Speaker, which won the Prix Anik and the film-music prize at the Canadian Film Awards in 1977.

The National Arts Centre Orchestra will embark on its first tour to China this October. Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, who will also perform as a soloist, and 70 musicians from the orchestra will travel to seven cities: Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Fuling, Tianjin, Beijing, and Shanghai. The NAC Orchestra will perform eight major concerts with more than 80 education and outreach activities and five international broadband videoconference events linking young musicians in Canada and China. The tour program will include works by Canadian composers John Estacio and Alexina Louie, whose Bringing The Tiger Down From The Mountain II, will featureprincipal cellistAmanda Forsyth. The opening concert in Hong Kong will be presented in collaboration with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, with more than 130 musicians on stage.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra music director Peter Oundjian’s  contract had been extended to 2017. Announced with little fanfare, Oundjian’s contract extension will place him on the orchestra’s podium for a total of 12 years. A former violinist with the Tokyo String Quartet, Oundjian is currently in the first season of his music directorship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
And, the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra will have its first new music director in 35 years.  As of this summer, conductor Denis Mastromonaco replaces John Barnum, who has been music director since 1978.

In major conductor news south of the border, 32-year-old Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons  has been tapped as the next music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2014-15 season. Nelsons, who succeeds the health problem-riddled James Levine, is seen as one in a new generation of charismatic young maestros, alongside Montreal’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Competition Results:
Montreal International Musical Competition (violin): Marc Bouchkov (Belgium), grand prize, Stephen Waarts (USA), second, Zeyu Victor Li (China), third.
Queen Elisabeth International Competition (piano): Boris Giltburg (Isreal), first, Rémi Geniet (France), second, Mateusz Borowiak (Great Britain), third.

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