Christina Petrowska Quilico in Socan Magazine

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.

Quilico’s music travels to space
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.”

 

 

 

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

Description:

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.

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Further listening:

Southam: Rivers, Set 3, No. 5

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

Christina Petrowska Quilico York U Faculty Concert Series

Christina Petrowska Quilico performs “New Twists on the Classics” in York U Faculty Concert Series

Christina Petrowska Quilico. Photo: Marco Grazzini

Virtuoso pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, one of Canada’s leading interpreters of contemporary music, presents “New Twists on the Classics”, a solo recital of works by four Canadian composers that take inspiration from masterworks in the classical repertoire. This showcase performance in the Faculty Concert Series of York University’s Music Department takes place November 12 at 7:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York’s Keele campus.

The first half of the program features “new twists” by long-time friends and collaborators of the pianist. Fantasia on a Theme of Schumann, composed by Steven Gellman, a classmate from Petrowska Quilico’s student days at Juilliard, was inspired by Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44. Remembering Schubert is by Ann Southam (1937-2010), one of Canada’s most prominent composers, whose musical collaboration with Petrowska Quilico spanned nearly three decades. Masks of Astarte, a piece reminiscent of Prokofiev and Bartok, was composed by Patrick Cardy (1953-2005), a former colleague of the pianist from when they both taught at Carleton University.

The second part of the program is devoted to John Rea’s Las Meninas, 21 transformal variations on Schuman’s suite for solo piano, Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood). Rea, a two-time winner of the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music who is honoured as composer of the year in the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec’s 2015-16 Homage Series, dedicated each of the variations to an influential musical figure, from Frédéric Chopin to Phillip Glass. Like the 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez from which Rea borrowed the title, Las Meninas offers multiple perspectives and changing points of view.

Christina Petrowska Quilico and Ann Southam. Photo: Andre Leduc

Petrowska Quilico will also give a short midday recital on campus November 26 at 12:30pm to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Southam’s death. The performance, titled “Remembering Ann Southam”, will feature the composer’s Stitches in Time, Altitude Lake, Where and excerpts from Rivers and Glass Houses. Admission is free.

Both recitals will be recorded for CD.

The Southam anniversary will also be marked by the Canadian Music Centre’s re-release of two of Petrowska Quilico’s acclaimed recordings of Southam’s works – Glass Houses Revisited (2011) andGlass Houses Volume 2 (2014) – as a boxed set on the Centrediscs label. Glass Houses Revisited, which Petrowska Quilico had edited and revised with the composer’s blessing not long before her death, has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time best-sellers.  Both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Staraccorded it four stars out of four, and it was named one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever” by CBC Music.

Christina Petrowska Quilico: Music for the Eyes and Ears offers a video introduction to the pianist’s performances of Ann Southam’s works.

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 long-time champion of contemporary and Canadian music, but is equally at home in the traditional classical repertoire. CBC Music chose her as one of “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 among “25 Greatest Canadian Pianists”.  Her 37 recordings span three centuries of music, and have won accolades from critics and audiences alike. She has been a professor of piano performance and musicology at York University since 1987.

“New Twists on the Classics” is the second performance in the 2015-16 Faculty Concert Series, spotlighting faculty artists in York University’s Department of Music. Upcoming concerts will feature jazz composer and drummer Barry Elmes (Feb. 4, 2016), and composer, pianist and digital instrumentalist Michael Coghlan (Mar. 10, 2016).

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What:    Christina Petrowska Quilico: “New Twists on the Classics”
When:     Thursday, November 12 at 7:30pm
Where: Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele St. [Maps and Directions]
Admission: $15, students & seniors $10
Box Office: 416.736.5888 | ampd.yorku.ca/perform/boxoffice

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Media Contact:
Amy Stewart, Communications, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, York University
416-650-8469 | amy.stewart@yorku.ca 

Fancies and Interludes – Christina Petrowska Quilico; Jacques Israelievitch – Canadian Music Centre Review

Fancies and Interludes

Fancies and Interludes is both a labour of love and musical declaration, intuited and played by two ingenious and accomplished musicians – former Toronto Symphony concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. Recorded live at York University’s Tribute Communities Recital Hall, it has the immediacy and the vigour of a live performance (background sounds of pages being turned included), which makes the music come alive with the splendour of the excitement (or the sorrow) of each precious phrase as it was played in the moment…”

Purchase Fancies and Interludes

See the full review here.

Rite Redux Dance and Music Performance at York U, April 18-20th, 2013

April 18-20, 2013 | 7:30 pm
Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre
Accolade East Building
York University, 4700 Keele St.

Rite Redux at York U

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Inspired by the iconic ballet Le Sacre du printemps originally choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, to the score by Igor Stravinsky, Rite Redux features new choreography by Professors Holly Small (YDE Artistic Director), Carol Anderson, Darcey Callison, and Susan Cash. The Director of Design is Prof. William Mackwood. Costumes are by Julia Tribe. Produced by the Departments of Dance and Music in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University.

2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the York Dance Ensemble, the resident company of York University’s Department of Dance. The YDE provides students with pre-professional experience creating, producing, performing, and touring in a company setting, and has launched the careers of scores of outstanding young Canadian dance artists. Join us as Rite Redux honours this momentous achievement!

Featuring a stellar program of performances by the 2012-13 YDE, with:
· YDE Alumni Nicole Rose Bond, Irvin Chow, Brittany Duggan, and Sky Fairchild-Waller.
· Musicians Prof. Michael Coghlan, Kim Chow-Morris, John Kruspe, and Prof. Christina Petrowska Quilico.