Yorkville’s Christina Petrowska Quilico tackles life and death in Worlds Apart

Two-CD album an homage to fallen colleagues



STORMY NIGHT: Christina Petrowska Quilico launched Worlds Apart in April as an homage to some of her fallen colleagues.

Engage Christina Petrowska Quilico in a conversation about the creative arts, and she’ll take you on a tour of her paintings in her Yorkville home.

Two of those paintings, Light and Dark, were used in crafting the cover of her two CD album, World Apart.

“I do a lot of painting. It’s important to have this inter-relation of arts,” she says, with a teacup Yorkie in her lap. A pug runs around at her feet, adding a splash of grey on a white-on-white décor.

Mixing arts is the foundation of her work these days. Worlds Apart pays tribute to both literature and the classic composers. Those arts provided the inspiration.

The first CD is Classics with a Twist, and features the romantic, light side of her piano work. Compositions by John Rea, Peter Paul Koprowski and Steven Gellman. The second CD is Worlds Apart, the same as the collection, and features works by David Jaeger, Michel-Georges Brégent, Patrick Cardy, Diana McIntosh and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux. It’s the dark half to the first.

Petrowska Quilico shares a happy anecdote about her late mother sharing a moment with Koprowski when he paid Quilico a visit. Being of Ukrainian, Polish and Hungarian ancestry, her mother could speak with Koprowski, who was Polish.

“Before he came, but I used to play pieces for her and she had the best objective criticism. She either got or she didn’t,” Quilico recalls. “She said that sounds a lot like Chopin.”

Of course, Koprowski’s piece is “Rhapsody on a Theme of Brahms”, so Petrowska Quilico shrugged it off.

“My mother chatted with him in Polish, and they’re both looking at me smiling, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no’,” she says. “And then the composer said to me, ‘You know your mom is right, it is Chopin’.”

There are plenty of stories from her past that bubble to the surface, and are pleading to be told. She restrains herself, but remembers the highlights.

She performs one song, “Geste” by her first husband, Brégent, who died at the age of 45.

Cardy and Saint-Marcoux are two other composers, and close friends, who died young.

She falls into a rueful moment, remembering another fallen colleague Jacques Israelievitch, as the two had recorded plenty of sonatas during Fancies and Interludes. More music will be released from the seven and a half hour sit down, which was first launched in June, 2015.

“I was glad to have continued with Mozart,” she said.

She’ll be performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which will be another tough moment, as the last time she performed Israelievitch was the concertmaster.

Still, she’s warm in knowing she’s accomplished her homage to some of her friends and past collaborators.

“What I enjoy is doing things by hand. My art is not working with computers, but with hands,” she says. “There needs to be something said about just the purity of music, and just reading a book.”


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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Glass Houses Complete Collection


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:


Centrediscs Releases Box Set of Glass Houses

Christina Petrowska Quilico & Ann Southam

DECEMBER 8, 2015, Toronto, on Centrediscs, the recording label of the Canadian Music Centre, presents the newly released complete collection of composer Ann Southam’s Glass Houses. Christina Petrowska Quilico’shighly lauded CDs, Glass Houses Revisited (2011) and Glass Houses Volume 2 (2014) come together to commemorate the fifth anniversary of composer Ann Southam’s death. Glass Houses Revisited has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time best sellers. Both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star accorded it four stars out of four, it was named one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever” by CBC Music, and it received a 2012 JUNO Award Nomination for Classical Composition of the Year.
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.
To purchase the box set, please click here.
Glass Houses Revisited

 – The Globe and Mail

One of the “30 Best Canadian Classical Recordings Ever”  CBC Music

2012 JUNO Award Nominee for Classical Composition of the Year

“…nothing short of miraculous…”
– The Toronto Star
“These performances are deeply musical and affecting.” – American Record Guide

“…an outstanding solo piano recording…”– The WholeNote 

“… flawless musicianship… extraordinary recording.” – CAML Review

April 12, 2016, 8:00 PM

Tickets $15, Students / Seniors / Artists) $10
Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur
100, rue Sherbrooke E, Montreal

Christina Petrowska Quilico Performs at York University on November 26th, 2015

Remembering Ann Southam – York University Faculty Spotlight Series

Event Title: Remembering Ann Southam – York University Faculty Spotlight Series
  • Region: Ontario
  • Venue / Location: Tribute Communities Recital Hall (Accolade East, York University), Toronto
  • Time: 12:30pm
  • Price: $Free
  • Genre: Keyboard
  • External Link: www.yorku.ca/events


Christina Petrowska Quilico commemorates the fifth anniversary of Ann Southam’s death by performing Southam’s Stitches in Time, Altitude Lake, and Where; and excerpts from Rivers and Glass Houses.

Christina Petrowska Quilico Featured in CBC’s 10 Essential Works

10. Ann Southam: Glass Houses

Everyone should know some Canadian classical music, and Ann Southam‘s Glass Houses, a set of solo piano pieces composed in homage to minimalist composer Philip Glass, is the perfect introduction. Southam’s style of minimalism is more intricate and ornamented than her American counterpart’s. While the music is complex, it falls easily on the ear.

Pianist Christina Petrowska-Quilico has recorded the full work and, with the composer’s permission, released a revised version in 2011.


Further listening:

Southam: Rivers, Set 3, No. 5

Full CBC article: Build your classical music foundation with these 10 essential works

Christina Petrowska Quilico Performs Southam in New York Concerts



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