The Art of the Piano: Helen Kashap
Special Guest: Mezzo-soprano Amber Fasquelle
Saturday September 12 at 8 pm
$20; $10 Students
Canadian-American pianist Helen Kashap and American born mezzo-soprano Amber Fasquelle join forces together in this exciting program.
Canadian born Helen Kashap has been hailed an "exciting pianist full of energy and spirit" (Interlochen Radio USA), and called a "beautifully expressive performer" (Saskatoon Star Phoenix) . The daughter of two professional violinists, Kashap has been heard with several major Canadian orchestras, including her solo orchestral debut with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Edvard Grieg's Piano concerto in A minor. Lauded a "great debut success" (Saskatoon Star Phoenix) , Kashap was heard a few weeks later with the Regina Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto Number Two. In 2014, Kashap was awarded the grand prize at the North Bay Symphony Competition and the opportunity to perform Franz Liszt's Second Piano Concerto with orchestra.
A top prize winner at the Canadian Music Competition, the National Music Festival Competition, the Interlochen Arts festival Concerto Competition, the Saskatchewan Festival Concerto Competition, MidWest WMTA Competition (Madison, WI), Trustee Conservatory Competition, North Bay Young Artists Competition, and one of eight National finalists at the Knigge Piano Competition in Vancouver, Canada, Kashap is the recipient of several scholarships and awards including two major professional development grants from the Canada Council of the Arts- awarded to a handful of Canada's most promising emerging artists, a FACTOR Canada CD recording grant, the prestigious Schulich Scholarship (McGill's top music performance and academic achievement award), the Lubka and Kolessa piano prizes from McGill's Schulich School of Music in Montreal, the Presidential Scholarship from the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Centennial Arts Scholarship from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and several study scholarships from the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Williamson Foundation for Music, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, and the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec.
An artist in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2011, Kashap has participated in the Banff Summer Piano Masterclass program several times as a student of Robert McDonald, Marc Durand, and Julian Martin. Other masterclass participation and studies include with Menahem Pressler, James Giles, Ann Schein, Dominique Weber, Andre Laplante, Marietta Orlov, and James Anagnoson. A frequent festival participant, Kashap continued her studies with Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, and Marc Durand at the Gijon International Keyboard Festival in Gijon, Spain and has also studied at the Aspen Music Festival School, The Toronto Summer Music Festival, and the Orford Arts Academy in Magog, Quebec.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Kashap recently completed her Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, OH under the tutelage of Antonio Pompa-Baldi . At CIM, Kashap was the grateful recipient of the Cleveland Musical Arts Scholarship for piano performance. Previously, Kashap received her bachelors degree from McGill's Schulich School of Music in Montreal, Canada where she was an undergraduate student of distinguished professor Sara Laimon. While in Montreal, Kashap also worked extensively with renowned pianist and vocal coach Michael McMahon, and studied the fortepiano with Tom Beghin, one of the leading fortepianists of today and exclusive Naxos recording artist. A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Helen received high honors in music and was awarded the top English and Political Science prizes in her 2006 graduating class.
In addition to her music studies, Kashap maintains an active interest in theatre, writing, and dance. From an early age, Kashap had several major roles professional theatre productions and underwent formal theatrical training in the United States and Canada from the early age of five. Her theatrical interests took her to New York City this year where she completed a one year training course at the HB Acting Studio in Greenwich village. Television/ Film studies were undertaken at the Terry Schreiber Studio and the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City. Kashap currently resides in Manhattan.
Emerging Mezzo-soprano Amber Fasquelle, 22, is an undergraduate at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying vocal performance under Vinson Cole. Miss Fasquelle sang the leading role of Ruggiero in CIM’s fall Opera Theater production of Handel’s Alcina. In spring 2014 she sang the role of the First Witch in CIM’s production of Dido and Aeneas. Amber spent last summer performing and studying various roles at the Aspen Music Festival and School. This summer she returns to Aspen to sing the major role of Stefano in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Prior to studying in Cleveland, she sang both roles of White Cat and Squirrel, in Oberlin Opera Theatre’s production of L’Enfant et le sortileges. A graduate of the prestigious Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Miss Fasquelle appeared as soloist at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall singing Handel’s Ah! Mio cor. She performed Dido in the Walnut Hill production of Dido and Aeneas, and placed first in the Mondavi Young Artist Competition, which afforded her a solo performance and the opportunity to work with Sasha Cooke. At home in San Francisco Amber studies under Ms. Sheri Greenawald.
The Art of the Piano: Chenyi Yu
Friday September 25, 2015 at 8 pm
Chenyi Yu is a pianist and teacher based in Toronto by way of Taipei, Boston, and New York. She has given numerous performances in Boston, New York City and Taipei, including a critically acclaimed performance of the Goldberg Variations of JS Bach in Seully Hall at The Boston Conservatory. She has given a recital debut in Steinway Hall, New York City. She participated in a seminar given by Andras Schiff on the topic of the Goldberg Variations at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in 2001. Chenyi has performed in faculty concerts held by the Department of Music of Shih-Chien University at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and has collaborated with pianist Yi-Hsuan Lu in a two-piano concert in the Concert Hall of Tatung University in Taipei. Chenyi served as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Taipei, at Tatung University, and also at the National Taipei University of Technology, teaching piano performance, history of western music, and music appreciation.
In 2013, she became a resident of Toronto and continues to devote herself to teaching and performing. As a classical piano teacher, Chenyi focuses on cognitive development for children and youth; creativity; the correlation between music and related arts; and piano pedagogy and musicianship.
A graduate of the doctoral program at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City, Chenyi’s dissertation was “The Effect of Touch on Tone Production on a Grand Piano” which relates to performance practise and historical studies on piano playing. She also earned her Master and Bachelor of Music at The Boston Conservatory. She has studied with Irwin Gelber and Ada Kopetz-Korf who are both pupils of legendary Scottish-American master pianist James Friskin.
Chenyi is a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association, USA), NAFME (National Assocation for Music Education, USA), is currently a member of the Piano faculty, Canada Music Academy since 2014, and is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA).
Away from the keybord, Chenyi’s interested are varied: European and Asian cuisine, museums, collecting fine china, independent films, period dramas, and fashion. She is a fan of French model, designer, and author Inès de la Fressange.
"Four Hands are Better Than Two": Westwood Concerts Presents The Millar Piano Duo
Wedneday, October 7, 2015 @ 7:30pm
$20 regular / $15 students and seniors
“It was easy to imagine the assembled audience members and musicians…rising from their seats and joining a procession heading to greet the divine.”
After taking a short hiatus from performing, Michael Westwood is solidly back in Toronto’s music scene with his own chamber series, some high profile solo performances, a teaching degree, and is developing tour dates across Canada. He is much more than a clarinetist; he is a highly sought after soloist and chamber musician who has collaborated with a great number of leading Canadian musicians over the past two decades. He frequently appears in solo recitals, chamber music concerts and as soloist with orchestra. His programming ideas combine a passion for the monumental standard repertoire, rarely heard music spanning the past two centuries, and new music of the past few years. A tireless musician with a desire for constant renewal and inspiration, Michael founded a new chamber music series in Toronto in the summer of 2013, Westwood Concerts, to further share his unique programming and interest in a diverse range of music.
Michael has, throughout his career, commissioned and performed many new works. Most recently, he commissioned two new pieces from Canadian composer Frank Horvat; If Not Us, Then Who, for clarinet, cello and piano was written and premiered in 2014 and Michael has since performed it a second time, and in 2015, Michael premiered Frank Horvat’s brilliant new Clarinet Concerto Couple Dies Holding Hands in Toronto with the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. A new work for clarinet and piano is planned for 2015-2016. During the 2014-2015 season, Michael also performed Canadian composer Ian McDougal’s great clarinet concerto in Toronto for a very fortunate audience.
Michael’s abilities and programing are far from limited to the repertoire of the present day. He has developed in combination with pianist Gregory Millar a program of music from the era of swing music and big band consisting of newly commissioned and brilliant arrangements for clarinet and piano by Millar. The Westwood-Millar duo has performed this concert several times since its premiere in 2014 to great audience acclaim. Recently, Michael performed with the Westwood-Millar duo at the Pointe-Clair recital series a concert of all Brahms’ music – both clarinet sonatas and three new arrangements by Chistopher Kies of solo piano works for clarinet and piano.
As well as being a highly sought-after clarinetist, in 2013, he founded his own concert series, Westwood Concerts; with two successful seasons now complete, and the third one upcoming, Westwood Concerts is an exciting venture which brings in musicians from all over Canada to collaborate on innovative and thrilling chamber music concerts. In 2016 Michael will collaborate with violinist Jasper Wood, with whom he has worked several times, on an all Stravinsky program which promises to be exhilarating. The finale of Westwood Concerts’ second season, featuring Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, was acclaimed in Musical Toronto as “a truly memorable concert …(leaving one) with a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to understand the composer’s intention.” They commented that Michael “managed to combine the tension between the airborne creatures and the gravity of human limitation with his stately pacing and resonant tone.”
A product of the studio of the late great clarinet pedagogue and master Avrahm Galper, Michael Westwood has collaborated with a great number of leading Canadian classical musicians over the past two decades including James Campbell, Gary Kulesha, Tom Rolston, the Prazak String Quartet, and Jasper Wood. An extremely passionate chamber musician, Westwood has performed at the Banff, Orford and Domaine Forget summer festivals as a soloist and chamber musician.
In addition to his illustrious music career, Westwood has explored other passions throughout the years including travel and sports. In 2007, he began a 6-year hiatus from performing during which he focused on personal fitness, which led him to East Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Millar Piano Duo
Originally from Lachine, Quebec, pianist Gregory Millar performs widely as a soloist, chamber musician, accompanist and orchestral player. He appears regularly on the Westwood Concerts series in Yorkville and as one half of the Millar Piano Duo. He is also active as a teacher, arranger, music engraver and translator.
Millar has a keen interest in the music of Canadian composers both present and past. Last June he presented a recital of the 13 Preludes for Piano by Jean Coulthard at the Conference of the Canadian University Music Society in Victoria, BC, and previously gave the premiere performances of Book of Saints by Toronto composer Colin Eatock.
Gregory was the first graduate of the University of Toronto’s Collaborative Piano Master’s degree program, and has worked with prominent artists including violinist Mark Fewer (St. Lawrence Quartet), hornist Bernhard Scully (Canadian Brass), oboist Philippe Magnan (Quebec Symphony), and soprano Julia Bullock. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 2010.
New England native Lisa Raposa Millar is featured in a new audio recording of 19th and 20th century Brazilian art song with soprano Jenni Cook, scheduled for release in September. Currently freelancing in Toronto, Millar is a member of the piano accompanying staff at The Glenn Gould School and is listed in the Music Arts Management ArtsTie Directory of Teaching Artists.
Millar has appeared as a piano soloist and collaborator in Music on the Hill (RI), the Women in Music Festival (Eastman School of Music) and, with the Millar Piano Duo, on the Sunday Rendez-vous concert series at the Pointe-Claire Cultural Centre (QC). Musicians with whom she has performed include opera singer Diane Alexander, internationally-renowned tuba soloist James Gourlay, and Shanghai Baroque Chamber Orchestra violinist Hyungi Kim.
Lisa Raposa Millar earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music where she was a recipient of the Excellence in Accompanying Award. In 2010, she was honoured with The Virginia Pleasants Accompanist Award (Category One Winner) at the 34th Annual Competition for Singers hosted by Civic Morning Musicals of Syracuse.
KONUS QUARTET: four saxophones
Monday October 19, 2015 at 8 pm
Konus Quartett | four saxophones
Christian Kobi, saxophone
Fabio Oehrli, saxophone
Jonas Tschanz, saxophone
Stefan Rolli, saxophone
As a chamber music ensemble whose instrumentation changes frequently, the Konus Quartet engages its audience with highly expressive and idiosyncratic sounds. Contemporary original compositions are interpreted predominantly by the quartet, but these are also contrasted with pieces from past centuries and arrangements for saxophone instrumentation. The radical nature of its concert programmes has seen the quartet become established over the past 10+ years as an important voice for new contemporary and experimental music.
Composition commissions are awarded regularly to well-known artists by the quartet; to date such artists have included Barry Guy, Urs Peter Schneider, Tomas Korber, Phill Niblock, Makiko Nishikaze and Jürg Frey.
Three musical highlights serve to showcase the remarkable range of the Konus Quartet:
In 2006, "La bocca, i piedi, il suono", a composition by Salvatore Sciarrino for four soloists and a hundred saxophonists, was performed in the French Church in Bern (Release 2006, Cubus Records).
A collaboration with the filmmaker and composer Phill Niblock gave rise to the composition entitled "To Two Tea Roses" which was premiered in 2013 in Switzerland in the presence of the composer.
The piece "Music für ein Feld" (Music for a Field) was the result of a composition commission awarded to the Zurich-based musician Tomas Korber (Release 2014, Cubus Records).
More 2015 Performances coming soon.
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