Friday, December 18, 2009

Expressionists in the Melting Pot

(Gustav Klimt, "Die Musik")

with special guest artist, soprano Kristin Mueller-Heaslip
Sunday January 31st, 2010 at 4 PM
Gallery 345 at 416.822.9781
345 Sorauren Ave, Toronto, ON

Tickets: $25 ($15 for seniors & students)

Berg: Sieben Fruehe Lieder and an excerpt from Lulu,
Scriabin: Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand Alone,
Schoenberg: Sechs Kleine Klavierstuecke
as well as lieder by Korngold, cabaret-theatre gems by Weill,
not to mention other treats (aural and gustatory).

Join us as we trace the impact of historical events on music and with the divergence from the more intimate and accessible music forms and performances in the early 20th century after the escape or expulsion of many composers from the Nazi regime. As always with Quintimacy, our concert will be followed by a brief reception and includes entertaining informative anecdotes mixed with the music.

For more information and reservations please see our Facebook page (under groups), or call Gallery 345.

Quintimacy is a Toronto-based group dedicated to rebuilding a close working relationship between composer, performer and audience through intimate salon-style performance of new, rare and beautiful solo and chamber works. It was founded by musicologist Eleanor Johnston, composer Chad Martin and performers Ramona Carmelly, Joseph Ferretti and Elaine Lau in 2008.

* programme subject to change

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quintimacy - recorded LIVE May 2008

Last year I embarked on a new venture with a group of like-minded musicians and Quintimacy was born: a Toronto-based group dedicated to rebuilding a close working relationship between composer, performer and audience. We were concerned about the lack of intimate and accessible performances of special and sometimes rare selections from the scope of vocal and chamber music and, much like Mickey and Judy, we decided to just do something about it.

The concept of a return to an intimate salon-style of music presentation with conversation, proximity and artistic immediacy began generating a buzz among artists and music-lovers, performers and audiences, with our very warmly received debut event on November 16. "Conversation, Canapes and Cancions" featured seldom heard songs by Henri Duparc and Federico Mompou, as well as witty inventive pieces for toy piano (yes, toy piano) by our own Chad Martin. February's audience thrilled to "Ravel and other Pleasures" as acclaimed guest artists Shauna Basiuk (flute) and Liza McLennan (cello) joined us in Maurice Ravel’s spectacular Chansons Madécasses for voice, piano, cello and flute, framed by instrumental solo and chamber works in a scintillating and eclectic program of exotic, passionate and evocative style.

We closed our first season with mirrored poetic expressions of love on May 3, 2009, featuring Richard Wagner's lush and rapturous Wesendonck lieder as well as Franz Liszt’s transcription of Isolde’s Liebestod, and culminating in the premiere of a new commissioned song cycle by Quintimacy’s resident composer Chad Martin, "i will open petal by petal myself," setting love poems by the inimitable ee cummings. This performance was recorded live in a lovely private home, on Avenue Road near St Clair.

Here, for the first time ever, I present to you Quintimacy recorded live in performance:

About the Artists:

Dynamic and versatile mezzo-soprano Ramona Carmelly has captivated audiences in opera, cabaret, jazz, concert and theatre roles from the sublime to the ridiculous in more than a dozen languages, and the critics have raved: "Her performance was a lesson in how deft acting can overcome the limitations of opera on the concert stage," (Opera Canada) and "Ramona Carmelly, with her plush mezzo, was outstanding." (Globe & Mail). In recent years, Ramona was a finalist for the Christina & Louis Quilico Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation and won a coveted position in the Apprentice Artist program with Des Moines Metro Opera. Recently Ramona was featured with the Talisker Players in the premiere of Emily, the Way You Are, a one-woman opera about Emily Carr composed expressly for her. Previous highlights include the Alto solo in Mahler's Third Symphony with conductor Richard Bradshaw and one of the first PEN-Canada concerts in memory of slain WSJ correspondent Daniel Pearl.

Joseph Ferretti has performed extensively throughout Europe, Canada and the USA as both soloist and collaborative artist. Recent series appearances include NUMUS, the Banff Centre for the Arts, COC's Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre, and Canadian Music Centre's New Music in New Places. Joseph frequently performs as a duo pianist with Elaine Lau. Their recording of music by Jack Behrens is featured on an album release by Capstone Records. Dr. Ferretti has been on the piano faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.

Elaine Lau has appeared as keyboardist and soloist with Canadian orchestras, and has been broadcast on CBC and Public Radio in the United States, performing Canadian works. A new music enthusiast, Elaine has had the opportunity to work with many composers. Recent appearances include performances with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, and on the NUMUS and Canadian Opera Company's Piano Virtuoso concert series. As duo-pianist with Joseph Ferretti, she has performed across Canada and the USA. In 2007, she was invited to present at the CFMTA/MTNA/ RCM Collaborative Conference. Elaine has served on the piano faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2003.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Never again.

For personal reasons I've been away from the blog for much of the last few months, but today I feel compelled to write.

Last year on this day, a Saturday, I sang in the synagogue morning service, and as usual near the end I participated in the saying of the mourner's kaddish. Though not required of me because my parents and siblings are all still living, it's something that I choose to do whenever I am in a synagogue (or any house of worship), in memory of all the members of my family lost over the years, in the Holocaust and later, through natural causes and by other circumstances. I say the prayer for my grandparents and my great-aunt and great-uncle, my great-grandmother Rivka (for whom I was named and who often feels present in the periphery of my life, though she died long before I was born and I never met her). I say the prayer for my husband's father who died in 2003 and for whom I continue to feel a deep affection. And I say it in solidarity with all parts of the human community that are dealing with lost loved ones every day.

That day last year was particularly poignant though. I know because I made a note of it in my calendar. That day I said Kaddish for all the women who have been the focus of rage and violence, often from men, sometimes known to them and sometimes not.

On Dec.6 1989, Marc Lépine, stalked through classrooms corridors and a cafeteria at the École Polytechnique in Montreal armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, on a deliberate and premeditated murderous rampage targeting women. He proceeded to kill fourteen women as well as injure four men and ten women before turning the gun on himself. In his suicide note he blamed feminists for ruining his life and in letters to his friends released later in the press, he outlined his motivation for the attack as supposedly reasonable anger towards feminists for seeking social changes that "retain the advantages of being women [...] while trying to grab those of the men."

Fourteen bright young lives were snuffed out in under twenty minutes in a brutal act of misplaced rage and hostility. Fourteen vibrant and creative women lost their opportunity to live and love and laugh, to build a life and to contribute their gifts to society, just because they had the temerity to aspire to become something more and one man saw their fortitude as a threat to his own thwarted ambition and self-esteem.

* Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
* Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
* Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
* Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967) mechanical engineering student.
* Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
* Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
* Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk, École Polytechnique's finance dept.
* Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
* Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
* Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
* Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
* Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
* Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
* Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.

A White Ribbon Campaign was launched in 1991 by a group of men in London, Ontario, in wake of the massacre, for the purpose of raising awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women and commemorative demonstrations are held each year on December 6 across the country in memory of these slain women; numerous memorials have been assembled and the day has been designated National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a call to action against discrimination and acts of hate against women.

I pray that one day soon campaigns like these will have educated men and women everywhere to the point that the fourteen women named above can finally rest in peace.