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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 21, No. 3

Industry news

by Shira Gilbert and Caroline Rodgers / November 1, 2015

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Jordan Pal
Jordan Pal, the TSO's new RBC Affiliate Composer

New Posts

Canadian composer Jordan Pal is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new RBC Affiliate Composer. Over the course of his two-year residency, Pal will work closely with Music Director Peter Oundjian and Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha and will compose at least two works for the orchestra. In making the announcement, Oundjian called Jordan Pal an “extremely gifted composer with a tremendous sense of drama and intensity.” Pal was the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s RBC Composer-in-Residence for 2014. He holds a doctorate in composition from the University of Toronto.

The TSO has also announced the appointment of Adrian Fung to the newly created role of Vice-President, Innovation, spearheading projects focused on artistic, social, and economic innovation. Fung is also a founding member of the Afiara Quartet and is currently Artistic Director of Mooredale Concerts in Toronto.

I Musici de Montréal and its artistic director Jean-Marie Zeitouni have announced the appointment of Ghassan Alaboud as its new conductor-in-residence. Alaboud studied orchestral conducting at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal as well as the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles.

The Victoria Symphony Society has announced that Kathryn Laurin will be its next Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, starting this spring. Laurin was formerly Professor of Music and Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina.  

Bad news from Ottawa

On October 14, General Director Jeep Jefferies and the Board of Directors of Opera Lyra – the only opera company in the nation’s capital – announced that the company will cease operations, effective immediately. The 31-year-old company’s shutdown includes the current performance season and a performance of Fidelio planned for this March. The company stated that revenues from ticket sales, government grants, philanthropic donations, and commercial sponsorships have been consistently below expectations, resulting in cash shortages and an unsustainable deficit.

More Honours for Yannick

In the latest in the extraordinary series of honours and achievements for Montréal’s most famous homegrown conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been named Musical America’s Artist of the Year. In announcing the honour, Musical America, a news and resource organization founded in 1898, called Nézet-Séguin “the greatest generator of energy on the international podium,” as was noted in The Financial Times. Nézet-Séguin has extended his tenure with Montréal’s Orchestre Métropolitain through the 2020-21 season. This fall, he led a new production of Verdi’s Otello to open the season at the Metropolitan Opera, and performed for Pope Francis with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he is also Music Director. Nézet-Séguin will grace the cover of the 2016 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts.

Big Prizes for Young Artists

Jeunesses Musicales Canada has announced two prizes for gifted young musicians. Violinist Elizabeth Skinner is the winner of the 2015 Peter Mendell Award, a $2,500 grant. Skinner, who is from Victoria, BC, is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in violin performance at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music under Axel Strauss. And Magali Simard-Galdès is the winner of the 2016 Maureen Forrester Prize. Awarded every three years, the prize consists of 30 recital concerts as part of the 2016-17 JMC Emerging Artists Tour. A young soprano from Rimouski, Québec, Simard-Galdès is currently studying with Aline Kutan at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. She has won the Grand Prize in the Canadian Music Competition, voice category, three times between 2010 and 2013, and was a regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2014.

Heinz Unger Award for Nicolas Ellis

Nicolas Ellis, the assistant conductor-in-residence at the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the founder and artistic director of the Orchestre Symphonique de l'Agora, won the 2015 Heinz Unger Award given by the Ontario Arts Council and the York Concert Society. The award comes with an $8,000 prize and is given every two years to a young conductor who already has professional experience with an orchestra and who is gaining recognition in his or her field, but is not yet established on the international stage. Past winners include Nathan Brock (2013), Alain Trudel (2007), Stéphane Laforest (2000), Véronique Lacroix (1994), and Marc David (1984).

In Memorium

Canadian tenor Michael Burgess has died following a long battle with cancer. Burgess was best known for his role in the Toronto production of Les Misérables, which opened in 1989,where he played the character of Jean Valjean 1,000 times. His other major performances throughout Canada and the United States include starring roles in Man of la Mancha and Blood Brothers. Burgess was the first person to sing “O Canada” at a World Series baseball game, in Atlanta in 1992. He attended St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto.

Abbé Antoine Bouchard, a renowned organist and pedagogue who trained numerous Canadian organists, passed away on October 21 at the age of 83. He taught at the Université Laval School of Music from the 1960s until 1998. He was also a founding member of the Amis de l’orgue de Québec (Friends of the Organ, Québec). Abbé Bouchard contributed to the revival in Canadian organ manufacturing as an advisor in the composition of several Casavant organs in eastern Québec, notably the organs in the Église Saint-Pascal and the Cathédrale de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. His funeral took place on October 31 at the Cathédrale de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.

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