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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 3, No. 2 October 1997

Les Notes

by Wah Keung Chan

Maxim Vengerov Masterclass

On Oct. 29 violin phenom Maxim Vengerov will give a masterclass to students at the University of Montreal's salle Claude-Champagne prior to his performance with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra that evening. Call 343-6427 for information.


* Trio Chanteclair, comprising Tracy Davidson, soprano, Tom Talamantes, clarinet and Thomas Davidson, piano, will present the world premiere of two Canadian works as part of the McGill Faculty Series to be held on Thursday, October 9, 1997 at 8 p.m. in Pollack Hall ($5). The two works, composed specifically for Trio Chanteclair, are Elegy as a Message Left on an Answering Machine by John Burge on a text by Stephen Heighton, and Cycles by Donald Patriquin which sets to music poems of F.R. Scott.

Canadian Composer's Symphony Makes Canadian Broadcast Debut

Radio-Canada to broadcast Montrealer Dr. Gabriel Saab's First Symphony

On October 9, 1997, at 2:15 p.m., as part of the program "La Belle Ecouteuse" animated by Danielle Charbonneau, Radio-Canada FM (100,7 FM in Montreal) will broadcast Canadian composer Dr. Gabriel S. Saab's Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Opus 1, the March 18, 1997, world premiere performance. (On August 25, 1997, Polish Radio's Channel 2 also broadcasted Dr. Saab's First Symphony as part of their program devoted to Canadian composers.)

On March 18, 1997 at the Krakow Philharmonic Hall the Krakow Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jacub Kowalski gave the world premiere performance of Canadian composer Dr. Gabriel S. Saab's Symphony No. 1. The concert was organized with the active participation and support of the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw.

Saab's Symphony No.1 in E Minor, Opus 1, a 38 minute work in the traditional four movement sonata form, conveys liturgical chants of the Middle East and the nostalgic tunes of pastoral Egyptian flute players which evoke memories of the composer's youth. Dr. Saab calls it "a very personal composition, flowing from the heart to the heart."

Dr. Gabriel S. Saab (born in Cairo, Egypt, 1923; Ph.D in Economics) moved to Montreal in 1967 to direct the Department of Farm Economics of the Quebec Farmers Union (UCC) 1967-70. Subsequently, after working as an international consultant in over 30 Third World countries, he was appointed Permanent Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO Rome) at the United Nations, New York 1982-1988. After retiring in 1988, Dr. Saab studied composition under Maestro Jacques Faubert, professor at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, picking up where he left off in 1953 after 7 years of theory studies with Prof. Georges Becker of the Paris Conservatory.

Competition Results and Deadlines

* Montreal soprano Louise Marcotte and Canadian bass Randall Jakobsch won 5th and 6th prizes respectively in the XII Concours International de Verviers in Belgium held on September 13. Joint first prizes were awarded to Dutch soprano Barbara Haveman and Mexican baritone Almaguer Vilalobos. Rounding out the list of winners were: Korean soprano Soojin Moon (3rd) Chinese tenor Yugulang Dal (4th) and Belgian soprano Anne-Catherine Gilbert, Prix de la Vocation. Held every two years in a semi-staged setting, previous Verviers competition winners include American soprano Renee Fleming and Canadians Bruce Kelly (1979), Mark Dubois (1983), Allan Fast (1985), Maureen Browne (1989) and Jessica Sarapoff (1995).

Preliminary eliminations for the Verviers Competition were held for the first time in North America in Toronto and Montreal in early June. Organizer Alain Nonat, general and artistic director of Theatre Lyrichoregra 20, is busy with the group's next project: the Canadian regional elimination audition for the French competition "Voix Nouvelles 98". The first and only such edition of the competition, "Voix Nouvelles 88", "discovered" singers Natalie Dessay, Valerie Millot, Martine Olmeda and Isabelle Vernet. Candidates must be francophone, meaning that their first language is French. The deadline is October 20th and the first elimination will be held on November 1, 1997, in Montreal, while the Canadian Final will be held on December 2 (Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur) and the Final at the L'Opera Comique de Paris on February 24, 1998. The registration fee is $25. Contact Sylvia Burla at (514) 684-7287. Next year, Mr. Nonat hopes to host the first Canadian elimination of the Austrian International Belvedere Competition.

Theatre Lyrichoregra 20 will also be hosting two other competitions in November and December. The 1997 Czech and Slovak Competition will be held from November 24 to 30, open to voice, strings and piano categories. Prizes include cash, study terms and concerts in Europe. Deadline is November 21, 1997 (Registration is $50). The finals of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs lyriques 1997 will be held on November 30 and December 3rd.

* Montreal violist Steve Larson won second prize at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition held in August in Port Erin on the Isle of Man. Larson also received the prize for the best performance of the commissioned piece written by British composer Richard Rodney Bennett. First prize and third prize went to German violist Roland Glassi and Russian Mikhail Bereznitsky.


* The recipient of the 1997 Governor General's Performing Arts Award, classical music and opera category was conductor, teacher and impressario Nicholas Goldschmidt, artistic director of Festival Canada. The winner of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts is Maryvonne Kendergi, member of the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal. Mr. Goldschmidt and Ms. Kendergi will be honoured with other winners at the Governor General's Gala on November 8 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

* Gabrielle Maes is this year's winner of the Concordia University Stanley Mills Prize in the Fine Arts - Performing Arts Category, to recognize and encourage artistic performance in students who also show interest and promise as potential educators. Maes, who recently completed a graduate diploma at Concordia University, will next perform in recital on October 17, 1997 at the Erskine and American Church. Info: (514)844-2357.

(c) La Scena Musicale