This all-Canadian program—curated by renowned conductor and Canadian music champion Victor Feldbrill—explores Canada’s rich history of classical composers. Notable Canadian pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico is the featured soloist in the Romantic-style Piano Concerto by Québec composer Claude Champagne. (Pictured: Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano)
Original article: https://www.tso.ca/concert/glowing-hearts
When Ottawa-born pianist Christina Petrowska-Quilico was only 10 years old, she performed Joseph Haydn’s Concerto in D Major with Toronto’s Conservatory Orchestra – and amazed the audience. By the time she was a teen, the New York Times was using such descriptors for her talent and skill as Promethean, phenomenal, “dazzling virtuosity” and “playing to perfection.”
Quilico went on to become the extraordinary adult talent one imagines possible when listening to a child prodigy perform. The praise and accolades, including four JUNO nominations, have continued to flow throughout the almost six decades she’s been recording and performing a diverse repertoire of solo, orchestral and chamber music on four continents.
In 2006, the tribute to her talent went out of this world. One of her 50 albums, a recording of the piano concerto written by David Mott specifically for Quilico, debuted in outer spacewhen astronaut Steve MacLean took it with him on the space shuttle Atlantis. It became the first CD to put human music in the heavens. Quilico, who’s also a professor of piano performance and musicology at York University, walked into her class the morning the debut was reported in the news. “All the students were clapping,” she says. “I asked them what I had done. They said, ‘You didn’t see the newspaper?’ I had no idea. It was very exciting.”
The focus of her excitement now is in anticipation of her scheduled soloist performance of Claude Champagne’s piano concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and maestro Victor Feldbrill on Oct. 21 and 22, 2017, at Roy Thomson Hall. Curated by Feldbrill and called With Glowing Hearts, the program explores Canada’s rich history of classical composers.
“The concerto I’m playing was written in 1948 and it’s wonderful,” says Quilico, who’s performed more than 35 concertos. “I get to do flashy stuff, and romantic stuff, and it’s nice to be able to play music that reflects that era of Canadian music. I love all music, but I really love playing concerto. I get a real high with an orchestra.”
The concerts also bring together two of the most respected champions of Canadian contemporary composers: Feldbrill and Quilico, who has premiered more than 150 contemporary pieces, including the work of such renowned Canadian SOCAN member composers as Violet Archer and John Weinzweig. That devotion earned her the 2007 Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and the Canadian League of Composers. And in 2010 she received the inaugural Harry Freedman Recording Award for composers as a co-recipient with composer Constantine Caravassilis. “I’ve wanted to support Canadian music because there are so many wonderful composers who get lost by the wayside,” says Quilico, who’s been especially recognized for her virtuosity in interpreting challenging contemporary compositions.
“I’ve wanted to support Canadian music because there are so many wonderful composers.”
In turn, Canadian composers have been so taken with her interpretation of their works that many, including SOCAN members Mott, Larysa Kuzmenko, Steven Gellman and Heather Schmidt, have written music specifically for her. The late Ann Southam, known for her minimalist style, was another composer who trusted Quilico profoundly with her compositions. “I really fought to have her music in the beginning, because music has its flavour of the year and at the time, and in the 1980s the flavour wasn’t minimalist,” said Quilico. The two first collaborated in 1982 when Southam asked Petrowska Quilico to do a demo recording of Rivers. “I found it quite slow,” said Quilico. “I was seven or eight months pregnant at the time, so I figured she wouldn’t yell at a pregnant lady. I called her and said, ‘You know, I’ve changed your stuff around quite a bit.’ She said, ‘Well, let me hear it.’ She just loved it and said ‘You can do whatever you want with my music.’”
The two developed a 30-year friendship and collaboration. In 2018, Quilico will be releasing an album of Southam’s early work. “There are some really neat surprises that are going to happen on that album, and it shows the wealth of her creativity,” says Quilico – who, between teaching, performing, and recording, keeps a hectic schedule.
As of September 2017, Quilico had already performed more than half-a-dozen-times in the year, including a recital featuring the solo piano works by her late first husband, Michel-Georges Brégent, at the 50th anniversary celebration of Montréal’s Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec. She released Worlds Apart, a double-album recording celebrating Canadian composers. She’ll also give a concert of solos by women composers for Winnipeg’s Groundswell series, Global Sirens, on November 28, 2017. And she’s working with David Jaeger, who’s setting to music a selection of poems she wrote in her youth.
It turns out the child prodigy was also a talented poet, whose work was published in the New York Times. “I did speak to one of the editors, who said, ‘You have to make up your mind. I love your writing, but if you go into writing, then you can’t also be a concert pianist,’” she says.
Luckily for Canadian composers and the classical music genre, Quilico chose to be a concert pianist. “I found playing was really easy so I just went along with it,” she says. “Music is sound and emotion and there are no boundaries. It’s always changing. I like it. It gives me a sense of adventure.”
Centrediscs CD Launch: Worlds Apart
Friday, April 7, 2017
Canadian Music Centre
Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico launches her new 2 disc CD Worlds Apart at the CMC in Toronto. A short performance will follow.
$FREE with RSVP. Please RSVP here
- Venue / Location: Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph St., Toronto
- Date: April 7th, 2017
- Time: 5:00pm
- Price: $FREE with RSVP
- External Link: Please RSVP here
- Regular: $20.00
- Senior: $15.00
- Student: $15.00
- Tickets: 514-843-9305 #301 (SMCQ)
- Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano
Michel-Georges Brégent, L’Amour Inaccessible
Michel-Georges Brégent, “Les visionnaires incompris” (1967, 84), extract from Deux portraits (1967, 84)
Michel-Georges Brégent, Les Formes de masques
Michel-Georges Brégent, La Solitude
Michel-Georges Brégent, Romance Idyllique
Michel-Georges Brégent, Le Pouvoir politique et l’armée
Michel-Georges Brégent, Le Réfugié incognito
Michel-Georges Brégent, “Le tigre de métal”(1984), extract from Deux portraits (1967, 84)
Michel-Georges Brégent, Go Rocker-Gangs Go!
Coproduction MNM/ Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur
2017 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards Vocal Competition
Toronto – January 30, 2017 – The Ontario Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the fourth biennial Christina and Louis Quilico Awards Vocal Competition featuring the rising young stars of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.
Artists of the 2016/2017 Ensemble Studio, photo: Bronwen Sharp
The competition will take place on February 13, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The competition will be adjudicated by a panel composed of Alexander Neef, General Director of the COC, Sandra Horst, Chorus Master of the COC, and Adrianne Pieczonka, Canadian soprano opera singer. The young artists featured in the February 13th competition will perform for cash prizes singing one aria of their choice and one aria selected by the judges.
“Louis had wanted to establish this (award) before he died,” says Christina Petrowska Quilico. “It was really his vision to help young opera singers. Launching an award was something we could do to leave a legacy in memory of Louis’ success as a singer and as a support to future generations.”
This event is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and is limited.
About the COC Ensemble Studio
The COC Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Since the inception of the program in 1980, over 220 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, Joseph Kaiser, David Pomeroy, Allyson McHardy, and Krisztina Szabó.
The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and important ambassadors for the company. They receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.
About the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards
Christina Petrowska-Quilico established the Christina and Louis Quilico Fund in 2000 to honour her late husband, renowned baritone, Louis Quilico, and to recognize outstanding young singers, pianists and composers for voice. During his 45 years on the stage, Louis Quilico shared performing credits with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi. He was instrumental in furthering the careers of many young singers through his teaching and master classes. The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards.
For information, please contact:
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Publicist and Publications Coordinator, Canadian Opera Company
Tel: (416) 306-2383
Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2016-2017, the OAF paid over $3.0 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. For more information on the COC, visit coc.ca.
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