Home     Content     Articles      La Scena Musicale     Search   

La Scena Musicale - Vol. 7, No. 1


Par/by Lucie Renaud / September 1, 2001

Version française...

Milestone birthday

Composer Gian Carlo Menotti celebrated his 90th birthday in his native Italy on July 7. Susan Feder, vice-president of Schirmer, a renowned music publisher, stated.: “He continues to inspire listeners and viewers by bringing to life in his works the challenges that life itself presents to each individual. Not content only to compose, he has worn many hats—librettist, playwright, stage director, producer, festival founder and administrator.” The Spoleto Festival honoured its founder with featured composer portrait concerts, along with the composer’s own production of his favourite (and Pulitzer Prize-winner) opera The Saint of Bleecker Street.

Orchestra News

The Tafelmusik Orchstra, led by Jeanne Lamon, celebrates its ninth season as orchestra-in-residence at the Klang und Raum Festival in Irsee, Germany, from August 31 to September 4.

Eleven Canadian musicians played under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner this summer in the Orchestre Mondial des Jeunesses Musicales. After ten days of rehearsals in Pont-à-Mousson (France), they toured in France, Germany and Holland. Founded in 1970 by Gilles Lefebvre, this orchestra has given 2000 musicians from 70 countries the chance to participate in a very unique experience. They will reconvene December 26 to January 13, 2002.

The Victoria Symphony Orchestra organised a rather unusual raffle as a fundraiser for the orchestra. A three-dollar ticket bought Kay Instone and her friend a trip to London on August 22 with the symphony’s maestro, Brian Jackson. After six nights in London, where they attended special concert performances with Jackson, they travelled to Southampton to board the luxurious cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 on an ocean voyage that then took them to New York.

The Calgary Philarmonic Orchestra was awarded the City of Calgary’s Signature Award for their historical Nexen European tour undertaken in November 2000. The orchestra became the first Western Canadian orchestra ever to undertake a tour of the continent. Rosemary Thomson just became the CPO’s new Resident Conductor for the next three seasons, replacing Rolf Bertsch who is now assistant-conductor at the MSO.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra proudly announced the highlights of its 2000-2001 season on August 14. Many successes took place over the past year, including the arrival of the Maestro Bramwell Tovey as new Music Director. Over 140 concerts were presented in 9 venues 5 nation-wide broadcasts on CBC as well as a very productive educational program.

Pour la première fois de ses 28 ans d’histoire, l’Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Sherbrooke s’est doté d’un chef sherbrookois, lui-même issu des rangs des l’OSJS. Pour François Bernier, le nouveau chef de 27 ans, diplômé de la prestigieuse Indiana University, cette nomination constitue un retour aux sources puisqu’il fut lui-même tromboniste dans cet orchestre de 1988 à 1993. Il dirigera également l’ensemble à vents de Sherbrooke et l’Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Joliette. Des auditions seront tenues pour l’OSJS les 5 et 6 septembre. Pour information, communiquer avec Jacinthe Bourgeois au (819) 846-3527.

Opera News

The new members of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, a two- or three-year performance and training program, will be bass-baritone Olivier Laquerre, and mezzo-sopranos Andrea Ludwig and Colleen Skull. Joining the Ensemble as apprentice members are soprano Maaike Maria Debruyn and tenor Peter Collins. Susan Ball and Sandra Lindsay will join the Ensemble as apprentice coaches. Tenor Roger Honeywell, soprano Shannon Mercer and tenor David Pomerov are returning artists. Soprano Martha Guth, winner of the last Joseph-Rouleau competition, moves from apprentice to full Ensemble member.

The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus performed in Europe this past May and June in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and John Greer’s The Snow Queen.

Dwight Bennett, the general and artistic director of Opera Mississauga, seems to be much in demand on the European opera circuit. He conducted performances throughout Italy (including 9 performances of Verdi’s Aida in July), France, Spain, the Netherlands and the Ukraine. In September and October, he will conduct Verdi’s Requiem in 12 cities, including in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

Wagner fans flocked to Seattle in August for the Opera’s new Ring production, already sold out by August 5 last year. Completing this extravaganza (that will again take place in 2005, 2009 and 2013; info at www.seatleopera.org ) were symposia, tech talks, an in-depth look at the opera, pre-performance lectures and late-supper receptions. Canadian tenor Alan Woodrow sustained a knee-injury and sang the role of Seigfried from the pit while cover Richard Berkeley-Steele acted on-stage.

Florencia en el Amazonas was the first Spanish-language opera commissioned by a major American opera company, the Houston Grand Opera. Composer Daniel Catan, the recipient of the 1998 Los Angeles Opera’s Placido Domingo Award, is currently composing a comic opera for Houston, Las Bodas de Salsipuedes (Caribbean Wedding).


Wolf Edwards, a Montreal composer, took first place at the Strings of the Future composition competition. The Arditti quartet performed the piece at special readings during the Festival and the work will be officially programmed at the next edition of the event. (You can read about the event in our May 2001 issue)

Félix Baril, a Université de Montréal student, in June received the 49th William Schuman award of the BMI Student Composer Awards. His Symphonie spectrale was chosen from among 500 works. The jury was led by American composer Milton Babbitt. The work will be premiered at the first concert of the OUM (Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal) in October.

David Jalbert has recently received the $4.000 John Newmark Prize at the Prix d’Europe competition. He has also received the Sir Edmund Walker scholarship ($ 10.000 for the next 4 years), given to the most promising student of the Glenn Gould Professional School in Toronto.

Enchanted Garden, a concerto for violin and orchestra by Finnish composer Uljas Pulkkis and For the Time Being, composed in 1999 for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne by Canadian composer Brian Current were the works selected by radio music producers participating in the 48th International Rostrum of Composers held in Paris in June.

The Federation of Canadian Music Festivals announced on August 18 the winners of its annual National Music Festival competition. Nadia Kyne, a flautist from Surrey, British Columbia, was awarded the top honour. Other first-place winners were Arnold Choi of Calgary (cello), Shane Levesque of Brandon (piano), Janelle Wiebe of Niverville, Manitoba (French horn), Enigma String Quartet of Edmonton and Frédérique Vézina of Montreal (soprano).

The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd won six Dora awards at the end of June. These awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Toronto’s professional theatre and dance community.

John Corigliano received the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his Symphony No. 2 premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Seiji Ozawa on November 30, 2000.


Le Concours Reine Élisabeth de Belgique, que remportait l’année dernière la contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, a fait connaître ses lauréats. Consacré cette année au violon, le concours, qui célébrait ses 50 ans, a ainsi récompensé Baiba Skride (premier prix), Ning Kam (2e prix) et Barnabas Kelemen (3e prix). Deux lauréats canadiens du concours, Martin Beaver (lauréat 1993) et Ronald Turini (lauréat 1960), donneront une série de concerts à Montréal, Toronto et Ottawa les 2, 3 et 4 octobre.

Yoav Talmi, directeur musical et chef de l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, a reçu le 17 juin un doctorat honorifique de l’Université Laval. Depuis 1998, il a su insuffler un vent de dynamisme en augmentant les effectifs, en élargissant le répertoire de l’orchestre et en offrant un niveau d’interprétation sans cesse croissant.

ýe violoniste Gidon Kremer, originaire de Lettonie, et la chanteuse Oumou Sangaré, originaire du Mali, sont les lauréats du Prix du Conseil international de la musique/Unesco pour 2001. L’an dernier, le jazzman canadien Oscar Peterson avait remporté le prix.


Raymond Perrin, qui avait assuré l’intérim, a été nommé directeur général de l’OSTR (Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières.

Monique Duceppe devient metteure en scène du Jeune Opéra du Québec, qui dispense une formation musicale et théâtrale aux jeunes filles de 8 à 21 ans.

La Faculté de musique de l’Université McGill a annoncé la nomination de trois nouveaux professeurs de piano au talent exceptionnel et à la vaste expérience de la scène.: Richard Raymond, Kyoko Hashimoto et Sara Laimon.

Nouveaux programmes

Le Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Hull a annoncé la création d’un nouveau programme d’études offert conjointement avec l’École de musique de l’Outaouais à partir de septembre.: le Pré-Conservatoire. Ce programme vise à encourager l’étude de certains instruments d’orchestre.: hautbois, basson, alto, contrebasse, cor, trombone et trompette, et s’adresse aux jeunes de niveau primaire ou secondaire. Renseignements (819) 772-3283.

Une chorale professionnelle composée de 40 à 60 enfants de 10 à 17 ans provenant de partout sur l’île de Montréal sera bientôt créée sous la direction du chef de chœur Iwan Edwards. M. Edwards, qui travaille avec les enfants depuis 40 ans, s’est dit enchanté du projet mis sur pied par un groupe de parents dont les enfants avaient déjà chanté avec M. Edwards.: « J’ai souvent rêvé d’une chorale à Montréal – une chorale ancrée dans la communauté, sans égard à la langue ou à la religion. » Les auditions auront lieu les 20, 21, 27 et 28 septembre. Info.: (514) 486-5838.

International Music Day

On October 1st, 1975, at the instigation of Yehudi Menuhin, International Music Day was celebrated for the first time. This feast day of music has since been celebrated every October 1st in numerous countries across the world. Franx de Ruiter, president of the International Music Council, sent this message to musicians and music lovers alike: “This October first, let us send a strong message to all mankind, the part of it that we know, the immensity that we do not yet know, singing loud and clear that music matters, that all musics convey a message, that music making is one of man’s greatest achievements, that through music, we can understand each other better and that now, more than ever, because we have the tools to communicate easily, internationalism through music is no longer a vain fantasy.” Check our website for related concerts at <www.scena.org>.

Version française...

(c) La Scena Musicale