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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 19, No. 4

Industry news

by Shira Gilbert / December 1, 2013

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Conductors Coming, Going, and Staying

The 34-year-old British conductor Alexander Shelley succeeds Pinchas Zukerman as the Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra starting in 2015-16. Maestro Shelley has led the NAC Orchestra in performance five times over the last four years. First prize winner of the Leeds Conductors Competition in 2005, he is now in his fifth season as Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.

Orchestra London has announced that its Music Director, Alain Trudel, will leave the orchestra at the end of this season, at the conclusion of a three-year contract.

Kent Nagano will stay on through 2020 as Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a post he’s held since 2006. Under his tenure, the OSM  increased their audience (which now includes 1,300 subscribers under the age of 34), saw the completion of the Maison symphonique in 2011.

News from Orchestras Big and Small

Boris Brott, artistic director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from McGill University in his native Montreal. Brott is also Artistic Director of the Brott Musical Festivals in Ontario and Principal Guest Conductor for Teatro Petruzelli in Bari, Italy.

Violinist Elise Paradis is the winner of the inaugural Bourse Damien-Silès, awarded by Montreal’s Appassionata Chamber Orchestra. As the winner of the award, Paradis, a Cégep student originally from Sept-Îles, will receive a year’s loan of the Amatus violin, and close contact with and mentoring by members of the orchestra.

People in the News

OSM principal trumpet Paul Merkelo is running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new recording of three trumpet concertos. Using the crowdfunding website is an unusual way to raise money for a new classical recording – especially with the likes of the OSM and Kent Nagano – but a reflection of challenging times for orchestras and record companies. The recording of three mid-20th century concertos by Jolivet, Desenclos, and Henri Tomasi will cost a total of $120,000 to make, even with Nagano waiving his fee. Kickstarter donors will receive presents ranging from an exclusive trumpet ringtone (donation of $5) to a hand-delivered signed CD ($50) to Merkelo’s first trumpet ($8,000). As of writing, Merkelo had received pledges of about half of the $25,000 total needed by Monday, December 9.

Robert Normandeau, composer and professor of electroacoustic music at the Université de Montréal has been awarded first prize in the category of acoustic instrument/voice/ensemble & electroacoustic media for his work Baobabs at the 2013 Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition in Prague, Czech Republic. The work for six percussionists, four voices and electronics was commissioned by Montreal’s Sixtrum ensemble and premiered in May. 

Violinist Mark Fewer has been named second violinist with The St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ). He succeeds Scott St. John In the new year. Fewer will leave his position as Associate Professor of Violin at  McGill University to join his three new colleagues at Stanford University, where the SLSQ has been the Ensemble in Residence since 1998. Fewer previously substituted for both St. John and founding first violinist Geoff Nuttall during their respective paternity leaves. Among the world’s premier string quartets, the SLSQ gives over 100 performances each season.

The Grand Prize winner of this year’s OSM Standard Life competition, which focused on strings and harp, is 24 year-old violinist Yolanda Bruno. Presently on scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Bruno began studying the violin at the Conservatoire de Musique et d’Art Dramatique in Quebec at the age of five and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University. Bruno will perform Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the OSM, under the direction of conductor Edward Gardner, at a Maison symphonique concert on December 11. In addition to prizes and scholarships in excess of $20,000, Bruno will have the opportunity to perform in Ottawa, Toronto, Yellowknife, St. John’s (Newfoundland), South America, and elsewhere. She will also make a professional recording at Radio-Canada,  to be broadcast by Espace musique. Violinist Kerson Leong, the top winner in the under-17 category, received the Paul Merkelo scholarship. This was the 74th Edition of the Canadian competition, which has helped launch the careers of some 300 young Canadian musicians since its creation in 1940.

Manon Gauthier, who recently left her position as director of the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts, gained a seat in Montreal’s recent municipal election as city councillor for Verdun. Though new to politics, Gauthier has been appointed by new mayor Denis Coderre to the City of Montreal executive committee as Head of Culture, Heritage and Design.

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