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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 21, No. 3 November 2015


by Wah Keung Chan / November 1, 2015

Version française...

Hope! This is the feeling arising from the October 19 federal election resulting in a majority Trudeau Liberal government on an anti-austerity platform. As reported in La Scena’s October issue, the Liberals’ Arts platform calls for doubling the budget of the Canada Council to $360 million, restoring support for the CBC and the NFB. All of this will have a positive ripple effect on artists and the arts community, if only they can hang on until the next federal budget. As Natasha Gauthier reports from Ottawa, not every arts organization can wait. La Scena will continue to report on governments of all levels and their engagement for the arts. Incidentally, our Sept. 19 bilingual Debate on the Arts is still available on YouTube at www.bit.ly/LSM_Debate2015.

The present national issue is dedicated to higher education with our 16th annual Guide to higher education. Twelve schools and summer academies participated in either of our English and French listings and advertising.

On the cover, Caroline Rodgers tells the story of 26-year-old Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, whose playing took him through four rounds to win silver in the intense Frederic Chopin competition in October. In the last few years, Richard-Hamelin has been winning awards and competitions across Canada, and this Chopin win puts him on a fast track to international success. His secret was to tell a story with his performance. Story telling was also at the heart of the late great tenor Jon Vickers, Richard Turp tells us in a two-page retrospective. Canadian opera pioneer Irving Gutman is also remembered by Turp.

Next Great Art Song

With this issue, we are pleased to launch Phase III of our Next Great Art Song project, the call to all Canadian composers to create the next Great Canadian Art Song, as part of the Canadian Art Song Writing Contest. The song can be up to five minutes long and set to any text; a video will be posted on our website for a period of public vote. The top songs will then be narrowed to ten finalists. These finalists will then be divided among five leading Canadian singers and two pianists who will then perform the songs in La Scena Musicale’s 20th Anniversary Gala in the fall of 2016 (we are hoping to organize two evenings, one in Toronto and one in Montreal, where the audience’s votes will determine the ultimate winner of the first annual Next Great Canadian Art Song). Find details at www.nextgreatartsong.com.

Phase I began in June with the Great Art Song Challenge, a survey of the greatest art songs of all time. We’ve already gotten a lot of submissions. The deadline to submit your vote is December 15.

Phase II is a discussion on the art of the Art Song. Throughout 2015-2017, starting in September, we will publish a series of 20 or more articles on the Art Song, including this issue`s article on Canadian art songs, counting down the top 10 songs; all this will culminate in our 20th Anniversary Gala – The Next Great Art Song contest in fall 2016, when you, the audience, will get to vote for the top new Art Song.

Fundraising and Subscription Campaign

This November issue also signals the end of our 17-year agreement with the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM) to produce the Pullout calendar (see French edition), meaning a $5,100 reduction to our 2015-16 budget and $7,300 per year going forward (this amount had already been reduced from $14,600 two years ago). Last June, the CQM was cut $40,000 by the Quebec Arts Council (CALQ), and consequently they passed the austerity along to us.

We must therefore rely more on fundraising activities, rather than advertising, which traditionally accounted for 80% of our budget. Through some of our partners, we have acquired tickets to select concerts (opera, musicals, and world music), which we are selling (LSM subscribers get a 15% discount). Visit www.lascena.org for details or signing up to our e-newsletter at enews@lascena.org.

We are launching our 20th anniversary subscription campaign with a contest: subscribers as of May 1, 2016, will have a chance of winning a handcrafted string bow, a violin case, a set of handmade strings, a professional copy of the Finale software, and a box set of Shostakovich CDs. Did you know that subscribers get a whiter paper version of the magazine, full translations and receive a monthly Discovery CD download? This would make a great holiday gift for a music student, a musician, a parent or grandparent. See our subscription page.

Finally, thanks to Young Canada Works, Canada Summer Jobs and Emploi-Quebec, since January, our editorial interns, Claudie Provencher, Michèle Duguay, Kiersten van Vliet, and Camilo Lanfranco have been actively updating LSM’s website, e-newsletter, newswire, blog, Facebook, and Twitter. We plan to continue this activity leading up to the launch of our new website later this year, which we hope will use technology to create a closer arts community.

Have a great musical fall season!

Version française...
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