Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Oct. 16 to 22.
CRITIC’S PICKS |
10 Concerts You Should Absolutely See This
By Joseph So on September 18, 2017
Critic’s Picks (Sept. 18-24)
Canadian Music Centre | Christina
Petrowska Quilico and Hye Won Cecilia
Lee. 3:30 p.m. Canadian Music Centre 20
St. Joseph St. (416) 961-6601 x202 $20
Canadian pianists Christina Petrowska
Quilico and Hye Won Cecilia Lee perform
jazz-inspired contemporary Canadian
compositions by Masamitsu Takahashi,
Michel-Georges Brégent, William Westcott,
Art Tatum, Phil Nimmons, and Dani Oore,
plus selections for piano four-hands by
WITH GLOWING HEARTS
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)
Order tickets today when you include this performance in a three-show package, from only $79! Single tickets go on sale July 2017.
Saturday, October 21, 2017 – 7:30pm
Sunday, October 22, 2017 – 3:00pm
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.”
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!
MORE THAN A MUSICAL INSPIRATION:
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.”
Piano Animals III : Christina Petrowska Quilico présente Remembering Ann Southam
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, espace.mu (Radio-Canada).
FIVE SMALL CONCERTS, 2016 SEASON
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
|Franz Liszt||‘Rigoletto Paraphrase’ and piano solos
|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
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!
Check out more of Classical-Modern Music Review blog!
GLASS HOUSES: Complete collection
“This is nothing short of miraculous…That Petrowska Quilico can perform these nine pieces is an achievement in itself; that it makes for mesmerizing listening is the magic of art.” – John Terauds, Toronto Star
“This is difficult and nuanced music, and Christina Petrowska Quilico is entirely up to the challenge. […] These performances are deeply musical and affecting.” – American Record Guide
Presented together for the first time: Glass Houses Revisited and Glass Houses Vol. 2 together in a box set for the complete collection of Ann Southam’s mammoth “Glass Houses” as performed by virtuoso pianist, Christina Petrowska Quilico.
Ann Southam was a close friend and musical collaborator of Christina Petrowska Quilico for almost 30 years. Petrowska Quilico began performing her music in 1981 and has recorded a number of her major works for piano. Glass Houses Revisited (Centrediscs) was the third collection and the first recording of this cycle and remains Centrediscs’ best-selling CD of all time. It was nominated for a JUNO for Best Classical Composition in 2012. Glass Houses Vol. 2 completes the entire set of “Glass Houses” for Centrediscs.
Passion and sensitivity, phenomenal technique and “dazzling virtuosity” (New York Times) characterize pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, whether she is playing a Liszt piano solo, a Mozart chamber work, the Grieg concerto or the premiere of a new work by a living composer. Her 30-some recorded titles encompass contemporary works by Canadian and International composers as well as standard repertoire.
Born in Winnipeg, Ann Southam (1937-2010) completed musical studies at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Southam’s works have been commissioned through the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and continue to be performed in Canada, Europe and the United States. She was honoured with the Order of Canada, and earned a posthumous JUNO nomination for Best Classical Composition in 2012.
Available for purchase through the Canadian Music Centre:
Performs in New York Concert Commemorating Teacher Jeaneane Dowis
Recording New CD, Launches Centrediscs Boxed Set
Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico
Virtuoso pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s leading interpreters of contemporary music, performs music by a number of Canadian composers, and celebrates the music of Ann Southam on the fifth anniversary of the composer’s death. Recitals will take place in Toronto and New York in October and November. The Southam anniversary will also be marked by the Centrediscs re-release of two of Petrowska Quilico’s acclaimed recordings as a boxed set.
JEANEANE DOWIS MEMORIAL CONCERT – Wednesday, October 28 finds Petrowska Quilico in New York City, as one of a roster of pianists performing in memory of their great teacher Jeaneane Dowis (1932-2013), who was assistant to the legendary Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School. Petrowska Quilico, a student of Lhévinne, had also studied with Dowis at Juilliard as well as privately and at theAspen Music Festival.
The free concert takes place Wednesday, 7 p.m. at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center. Petrowska Quilico will perform what she calls her “party piece”, Ann Southam’s Glass Houses No. 5. October 28 would have been Dowis’ 83rd birthday.
NEW TWIST ON THE CLASSICS: CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN WORKS –Thursday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall (Accolade East Building, York University) – Petrowska Quilico, professor of piano at York University, gives a concert featuring a twist on the classics, with works by Ann Southam, Steven Gellman, Patrick Cardy and John Rea. Rea dedicated movements of his Variations transformelles sur les“Kinderszenen” de Robert Schumann to fellow composers, past and present. Tickets, $15; students and seniors $10, are available from the box office, 416.736.5888 orhttp://facilities.ampd.yorku.ca/home/contact-us/boxoffice.
YORK UNIVERSITY FACULTY SPOTLIGHT SERIES – Thursday, November 26th at 12:30 p.m. at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall (Accolade East, York University) – Petrowska Quilico commemorates the fifth anniversary of Ann Southam’s death by performing Southam’s Stitches in Time, Altitude Lake, Where and excerpts from Rivers and Glass Houses. Admission is free.
Both of the York University recitals are being recorded for CDs, thanks to a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
CENTREDISCS BOXED SET: ANN SOUTHAM’S GLASS HOUSES – Centrediscs, the recording label of the Canadian Music Centre, will release a boxed set of Christina Petrowska Quilico’s highly lauded CDs, Glass Houses Revisited (2011) and Glass Houses Volume 2 (2014) this November to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Southam’s death. Glass Houses Revisited, which Petrowska Quilico had edited and revised with Ann Southam’s blessing not long before the composer’s death, has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time best sellers. Both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star accorded it four stars out of four, and it was named one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever” by CBC Music.
Shortly before her passing, the composer praised Petrowska Quilico’s editing and performances for the Glass Houses Revisited recording, exclaiming, “I’m still blown away by the way you play Glass Houses. They’re your pieces, for sure!!!”
To date, Petrowska Quilico has recorded three major cycles by Southam for Centrediscs (including Rivers and Pond Life), for a total of six CDs on that label, in addition to Southam pieces she has recorded on four compilation discs.
More information about Ann Southam is available at www.musiccentre.ca/node/37211.
CHRISTINA PETROWSKA QUILICO (www.petrowskaquilico.com)
One of Canada’s foremost pianists and a multiple Juno nominee, Christina Petrowska Quilico has appeared in solo recitals, chamber settings and with orchestras on four continents. Widely recognized as an innovative and adventurous artist, she is a longtime champion of contemporary and Canadian music, but is equally at home in the traditional classical repertoire. CBC Music chose her as one of the 20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists of 2014, placing her in a shared spotlight with some of the world’s most celebrated pianists, and in 2015 named her one of 25 Greatest Canadian Pianists. Her 37 recordings span three centuries of music, and have garnered accolades from critics and audiences alike.
The video Christina Petrowska Quilico: Music for the Eyes and Ears serves as an introduction to the Ann Southam performances – www.youtube.com/watch?v=pahD3XZn8LU&feature=em-share_video_user