Mozart: Sonatas & Variations for Piano & Violin, Vol. 1 / Israelievitch, Quilico

Review Vancouver

Release Date: 06/10/2016
Label:  Fleur De Son   Catalog #: 58034   Spars Code: DDD
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performers:  Jacques Israelievitch,  Christina Petrowska Quilico
Number of Discs: 1  

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This is the last joint collaboration by the duo of pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico and the late violinist Jacques Israelievitch, the recording of Mozart’s complete catalogue of violin and piano sonatas. The first of six CDs was released June 10 on the American label Fleur de Son (FDS 58034) and distributed by Naxos.  Copies are available on iTunes (electronic) and (physical and digital), and through numerous other digital service providers and retailers..

Volume 1 comprises 71 minutes of late sonatas along with a set of variations. It features the sonatas in E flat, K. 380; B flat, K.454; and A, KV 526; and Six Variations on a French Song (“Hélas, j’ai perdu mon amant”), K. 360. The music from these artists was beautiful and virtuosic, dynamic on the part of Quilico and finesse from the violin sounds of Israelievitch.

Jacques Israelievitch who passed away last year of lung cancer graduated from the Paris Conservatory at 16, and was a winner at the International Paganini Competition.  He was the concertmaster for 20 years with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and was an officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letters and a member of the Order of Canada.

Professor Quilico teaches Music at York University in Toronto. She has performed with the Toronto Symphony, TaiPei Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, the National Arts Orchestra, etc. Her 40 CDs include solo, chamber and orchestral works. Four of her CDs have been nominated for Junos in the Best Classical Composition Category. Her CDs include 8 Canadian piano concerti with the Toronto Symphony, Jukka Pekka Saraste, conductor, Vancouver CBC Symphony, Sir John Eliot Gardiner to name a few.

© 2016 Ed Farolan

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Christina Petrowska Quilico on recording with late TSO Concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch

Christina Petrowska Quilico on recording with late TSO Concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch


TSO President & CEO Jeff Melanson and Principal Trumpet Andrew McCandless speak with pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico about recording with late TSO Concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch.

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CBC Music Article on Boulez

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s most notable interpreters of 20th and 21st-century music has written an open letter responding to the recent death of the influential composer/conductor Pierre Boulez.

In the letter, Petrowska Quilico reflects on a few key exchanges that she shared with Boulez throughout her career. They first met in the early ’70s, and Petrowska Quilico was astonished to find that Boulez remembered a letter she’d sent him years earlier as a student — and not just the content of the letter; he also remembered her name.

She recalls that Boulez once invited her to see him conduct Wagner’s Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival. As she was leaving the opera house, Boulez pulled up in a Mercedes, offered her a ride home, and invited her to come to a second show of Parsifal — this time seated in the orchestra pit.

Aside from being a pianist, Petrowska Quilico also has a notable career as a visual artist. She credits Boulez’s scores and compositional techniques with helping her develop not just as a musician, but also in her drawings. She repaid the favour by countering some bad press Boulez received in New York with a clever cartoon. Some of the critics in New York had called Boulez “metronomic.” Petrowska Quilico sent him a drawing of a group of metronomes, one of which was saying “Boulez is not one of us.”

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OPEN LETTER | Christina Petrowska Quilico Remembers Pierre Boulez – Musical Toronto

The following is an open letter written by Toronto-based pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s foremost interpreters of new music, on her memories of Pierre Boulez.

By Christina Petrowska Quilico

I received the sad news of Boulez’s passing on Wednesday, and in a momentary time warp, it seemed as if things had returned to the early 1970s, when I first met Pierre Boulez after a concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

It was the Quebec conductor Françoys Bernier who had introduced me to Boulez. I was working on my doctoral dissertation about his third sonata and had a created a lot of drawings based on his serial rows and concepts for the work.  I needed his permission to use my art in conjunction with his scores. Several years earlier, I had written him a letter called “Musical Chairs and the New Revolution,” in which I argued with some of his writings. In it, I had included a program of a recital I had performed in Paris, with the program stapled front side down: it had my photo, and I didn’t want Boulez to think I was a child.  Bernier had assured me he probably didn’t receive the letter and certainly wouldn’t remember it.  Not only did Boulez remember the letter but he also recalled my name. When I walked over to him in Ottawa, he immediately remarked: “So you are the girl who wrote me that letter.”  I was floored. He was extremely kind to me. I was a young student at the time and both very much in awe and nervous in his presence.

We met again in Cleveland when he was the guest conductor of the orchestra, and in California, where he also conducted. He seemed very taken with my art and work and encouraged me to go to Vienna to meet the boss of Universal Editions. He had given them his approval in writing to use his scores for my work. He had also invited me to Bayreuth to see him conduct Parsifal. I was studying in Darmstadt at the time and commuting to Paris. What a surprise!  After the opera as I was walking down the street, a Mercedes convertible stopped for me. It was Boulez, offering me a ride to where I was staying. I told him how much I loved his conducting of the opera and at his invitation, came a second time, but was accorded a special seat – in the orchestra pit. What a thrill it was to sit on a cushion at the foot of the conductor’s podium for Parsifal. It is one of my most treasured moments.

Pierre Boulez also wrote a letter to the CBC, giving me carte blanche to use his scores in my art for an exhibit during a performance I did of his third piano sonata.

During his time in New York, critics accused him of being too metronomic.  So I sent him a drawing I made with metronomes, one of which said, “Boulez is not one of us.”

The last time I saw him was at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio when he received the Glenn Gould Prize in 2002. I was playing his first piano sonata. He coached me at eight that morning. I had worked so hard to perfect every detail, only to have him change many of his original markings in the score. That is certainly a composer’s right. It shows the organic flow of the music.  It made things challenging, but after the performance, Boulez clasped both my hands in his and said, “Bravo!”  I was so moved!


Boulez’s writings on his music intrigued me as much as his compositions. He liked the same poets, authors, and artists as I – Mallarmé, e.e. Cummings, Rimbaud, Kafka, Joyce, Klee and many others.  His musical structure in his scores made me question and analyze everything from new perspectives. I now began to look at form, structure, shapes, variations and their creation and destruction. His concept of the performer/interpreter as a traveler who uses the score as a map, guided by chance and intuition as much as any preconceived plan, influenced me immeasurably. I began to think of drawing variations of buildings – inner views of rooms and their structures; buildings of scaffolding only, their changing shapes eventually emerging as abstractions made of dots and lines – from ghostly apparitions to full detail, gradually forming themselves into cities. Boulez gave me a new insight into structure and the technique to adapt and change by way of different perspectives. His use of serialism taught me discipline and control. Without Boulez, my drawings would never have developed.

Boulez was a great inspiration in my life. His early writings awoke the rebel in me. His complex scores made me work hard both intellectually and physically. His literary, poetic and artistic ideas influenced me musically and in my art.  There is a lot more to this story, and I will cherish my memories of this great composer/conductor.


Boulez’s comment on the visual art that Christina Petrowska Quilico created to Boulez’s printed score for his third piano sonata:

« J’ai vu les poèmes-graphiques de Christina Petrowska qui s’est inspirée de ma partition (3e sonate), et je suis d’accord pour qu’elle l’utilise chaque fois qu’elle voudra montrer ces graphiques très ingénieux. » 

(English translation) “I have seen the graphics of Christina Petrowska-Brégent* using very ingeniously my printed score and I agree definitely that she can use my score for showing these graphics, very inventive as they are, for any visual purpose.”

Source: OPEN LETTER | Christina Petrowska Quilico Remembers Pierre Boulez – Musical Toronto

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Piano Animals III Concert on April 12th

Piano Animals III : Christina Petrowska Quilico presents Remembering Ann Southam

April 12th at 8:00 p.m.

$15 regular, $10 students/seniors/artists

Concert @ Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, 100, rue Sherbrooke E, Montreal


Ann Southam‘s hypnotic epics of thread and pattern, Glass Houses and Rivers, are the focus of the final concert of our series. Presented by the internationally acclaimed Canadian pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, whose friendship and collaboration with Ann Southam was deeply implicated in their creation, these complex, maximinimalist works unite intricate groove with an almost ritual intensity.

Christina Petrowska Quilico needs little introduction to audiences both here and abroad. Hailed by the New York Times at 14 for her “promethean talent” after making her orchestral debut along with Murray Perahia, Christina Petrowska Quilico has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall. Juilliard-trained, she has premiered 18 piano concertos and premiered well over 150 new works. Among her 37 CD titles are eight piano concertos. 4 of her CDs received Juno nominations, and she was named one of 20 international “not to miss pianists” of 2014 by the CBC. Her recording ofGlass Houses Revisited was on CBC Music’s “TOP 30 best Canadian classical recordings ever”.

“The repetitive and pulsating music of Glass Houses is celebrated with shimmering brilliance, as much by the creator as by the interpreter… an homage and luminous musical gift from a pianist to a composer friend, and from this friend to a great contemporary mentor.” – Frédéric Cardin, (Radio-Canada).

Piano Animals III : Christina Petrowska Quilico présente Remembering Ann Southam

12 avril 2016, 20h
régulier 15$, réduit (étudiants / ainés / artistes) 10$

Les épopées hypnotiques de fils et de canevas d’Ann Southam Glass Houses et Rivers, seront la pièce maîtresse du concert final de notre série. Présentés par la pianiste canadienne Christina Petrowska Quilico dont l’amitié et la collaboration avec Ann Southam est très présente dans leur processus de création, ces oeuvres minimales et complexes mèlent les rythmiques avec une intensité quasi rituelle.

Il n’est généralement point besoin de présenter la pianiste Christina Petrowska Quilico au public canadien comme de l’étranger. Acclamée par le New York Times dès l’âge de 14 ans pour son talent prométhéen lors de ses débuts orchestraux avec Murray Perahia, Christina Petrowska Quilico s’est produite au Carnegie Hall, au Alice Tully Hall ansi qu’au Lincoln Center et au Merkin Hall. Instruite à Juilliard, elle a créé 18 concertos pour piano ainsi que plus de 150 oeuvres. Sa collection de 37 disques inclue huit concertos pour piano, et quatre de ses albums se sont vus nominés aux prix Juno. En 2014 elle a fait partie de la liste des 20 pianistes “à ne pas manquer” de Radio-Canada.

« La musique répétitive et pulsative de Glass Houses est célébrée ici avec un éclat chatoyant, tant par la créatrice que par l’interprète… une offrande musicale respectueuse et lumineuse d’une pianiste à une amie compositrice, et de cette amie à un grand mentor contemporain. » – Frédéric Cardin, (Radio-Canada).

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Colours in Music Concert on January 18th


The Five Small Concerts present first-class, affordable chamber music for people in the GTA and beyond, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has been most supportive in our efforts to bring these concerts to the public. Four concerts feature Toronto Symphony Orchestra musicians and one concert presents players from the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, who represent the future of Canadian music making.

(Note that programmes may change due to circumstances beyond the control of The Associates.)

Monday, January 18, 2016, 7:30pm

Colours in Music: Composers with Synesthesia
Location: Church of the Redeemer

Franz Liszt ‘Rigoletto Paraphrase’ and piano solos
‘Un Rêve’
Duke Ellington Favourite selections arr. for string quartet by William Zinn, including: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, It Don’t Mean A Thing, Satin Doll, Caravan, Sophisticated Lady, Take The A Train
Jean Sibelius Quartet in E Flat Major JS 184
Olivier Messiaen From Vingt Regards- La Premiere Communion de la Vierge for SOLO piano
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach Piano Quintet Op 67 Movement 2
Christina Petrowska-Quilico, piano
James Wallenberg, violin
Bridget Hunt, violin
Douglas Perry, viola
Winona Zelenka, cello

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Glass Houses Revisited

Great review of Glass Houses Revisited. 

by Grego Applegate Edwards

Ann Southam, Glass Houses Revisited, Christina Petrowska Quilico

The late Ann Southam produced some of the most original and distinctive minimalist music to be heard. On May 22, 2014 here I covered Glass Houses Volume 2, a significant collection of some of her solo piano works performed beautifully by Christina Petrowska Quilico.Thanks to Centrediscs, we can explore the first volume of this collection (Centrediscs 16511) today. It is every bit as worthwhile as the second volume, maybe even more so.

Southam’s solo piano works are like tongue twisters, or learning to rub your stomach and jump up and down at the same time, only a great deal more rewarding in result. That has to do with the rhythmically distinctive contrasts between the left-hand ostinatos and the melodic figurations of the right hand. They mesh in tempo but have often enough the feel of contrasting meters.

Add to that the primal diatonic irresistibility of the right-handed melodic figures, which are rhythmically vibrant and far from banal, but instead memorable in the best ways. When meshed with the swirling ostinato figures the music has the trance magic of the very best minimalist works, yet utterly original, utterly Southam-esque.

This is by no means easy music to play properly, in spite of the diatonics. Christina Petrowska Quilico gives them a combination of legato lyricism and a rhythmic swing that make of the music all it should be.

Volume one covers nine of the “Glass Houses” movements, each one a miniature of happy complexities and lyrical drive. Here is a wonderful place to start if you don’t know Ann Southam’s music. If you already do it is more for you, most dedicatedly performed and exciting as well as reassuring. RIP, Ann Southam. May your music delight our ears in the centuries ahead!

Buy Glass Houses Revisited

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