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Fundraiser for New Music Concerts: An Evening with Paul Griffiths

Sunday March 1, 2015 at 7 pm
$100/2 for $150 RSVP (food and drinks will be served)
Reservations: 416 961 9594

A unique fundraising event with the famed British critic and author. All proceeds to benefit New Music Concerts.

British music critic, novelist and librettist Paul Griffiths is noted for his writings on contemporary music and for having written the libretti for two 20th century operas, Tan Dun’s Marco Polo and Elliott Carter’s What Next?. He will discuss his collaboration with Carter and other creative endeavours. Tickets $100 (2 for $150) include door prizes, gourmet delights and libations with proceeds to benefit New Music Concerts. A charitable receipt will be issued for the CRA allowable portion.

The Art of the Piano: Martin Soderberg
Frederic Chopin: 24 Etudes

Tuesday March 3, 2015 at 8 pm

“A first class performer....a magnificent interpreter....his Chopin is as beautiful as it is authentic” said the Diario ABC of Madrid after Mr. Soderberg’s performance of the complete Chopin Etudes. Of Swedish-Spanish descent, Mr. Soderberg has been performing since the age of twelve, when he made his recital debut in Las Palmas, Spain. After being awarded the First Prize in the 1985 “Pilar Bayona” International Piano Competition in Zaragoza, Spain, he has concertized extensively in Europe, Central America, South America, the USA, Canada and Asia.

Martin Soderberg was a winner at the 1988 Artists International Auditions in New York and was presented in his New York Recital Debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall. The New York Times described Mr. Soderberg as a “strong technician who seems to enjoy tapping the energy that lies within the music….he made a stylish account of the Mozart sonata….voicing and textures were attractively transparent and he kept the line moving gracefully….showed considerable skill in bringing the parade of characterizations in Schumann’s Carnaval to life.” In a recent concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) the New York Times again described Soderberg’s performance of Spanish Music as “spectacular”, and the Village Voice hailed: “Extraordinary piano playing.” In 1998 he was awarded the “Alumni Award” by Artists International and was invited to perform a recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Mr. Soderberg appears frequently as a guest soloist with orchestras all over the world. He has performed with conductors such as Zdenek Kosler and Olivier Dohnanyi (Slovak Philharmonic), Irwin Hoffmann (Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra), Enrique Ricci (Orchestra of Guanajuato, Mexico), German Caceres (Orchestra of El Salvador), Max Bragado, Brian Leeper and Hubert Borgel (Orchestra of Gran Canaria, Spain), Juan de Udaeta (Orchestra of Andalucia), Laurine Fox (Orchestra Celebrate in New York), David Gilbert (Manhattan School Philharmonia) Erick Friedmann (FAME Festival Orchestra) and many others.

Martin Soderberg is a graduate from the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a doctorate degree in 1990. He studied under Professor Ubaldo Diaz Acosta in New York City, whom he considers his Master teacher. With him, he learned the principles of the “Relaxation Technique”. He also studied with Solomon Mikowsky, Teresa Alonso, Tomas Andrade, and Juan Antunez. Soderberg has recorded 3 CDs, “Piano Music from Spain”, “Piano Music of Rafael Landestoy” and “The 24 Chopin Etudes” as part of his ongoing recording project “World Piano Collection”.

Recently, Martin Soderberg made his debut in the Philippines, Singapore and in Canada with successful performances, master classes and lectures.


Breaking Into Song: The Music of Scott Christian, Colleen & Akiva, and Kevin Wong.

Monday March 9, 2015 at 8 pm
$15 | RSVP Reservations: or 416-822-9781

Join us for an evening celebrating Canada's exciting new voices in contemporary musical theatre. Scott Christian, Colleen Dauncey, Akiva Romer-Segal and Kevin Wong are behind some of the biggest hits recently presented at the Fringe, SummerWorks and Next Stage festivals. Their songs have been enjoyed on recordings and in theatres, concert halls and cabarets worldwide. Discover compelling characters and stories brought to life by a whole new generation of musical theatre creators.

Performing their material is a stellar lineup of Toronto's young stars including:
Rielle Braid (Ride the Cyclone)
Nathan Carroll (Once)
Steffi DiDomenicantonio (Spring Awakening)
Jacob MacInnis (James and the Giant Peach)
Tringa Rexhepi (RENT)


Scott Christian

Scott Christian is a Toronto-based Musical Director, Composer, Arranger and Pianist. His musical A Misfortune, based on the short story by Anton Chekhov, sold out its run at the 2014 Next Stage Theatre Festival. His first musical, Hero & Leander, was a hit at the 2011 Summerworks festival. Scott also composed the music for Through the Gates, a musical detailing the early life of which was performed in concert at the 2012 Summerworks Festival. He is currently working on the Jewish/Christmas/40’s musical Christmas Eve In Brooklyn. Selected Musical Director credits include Addams Family (Neptune Theatre, upcoming), Company (Theatre 20), Marry Me A Little (assistant MD, Tarragon Theatre), The Way Back To Thursday (orchestrator/MD, Theatre Passe Muraille), and Second City Toronto. Scott was the intern musical director at the Shaw Festival in 2012 and had the opportunity to conduct and play piano in their production of Ragtime. Check out

Colleen & Akiva

Colleen Dauncey (Music) and Akiva Romer-Segal (Lyrics) are a Toronto-based songwriting team who have written the scores to The Subway Songs, Scenes from the Bathhouse (Talk is Free Theatre) and the Toronto Fringe Festival hit Bremen Rock City. Their songs have been performed internationally by cabaret performers, recording artists, and Broadway stars. They recently began developing a stage musical adaptation of the movie Prom Queen as part of the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College. They were selected as participants in the 2011 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project in Chicago, the Canadian Musical Theatre Writer Collective Acting Up Stage’s Noteworthy program for songwriters and librettists, and Theatre 20’s Composium initiative. They are two-time grant recipients from the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Records (FACTOR) and several grants from the Ontario Arts Council, including being selected as the Writers-in-Residence at Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie, Ontario. Additional info and music can be found at

Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong is a composer/singer-songwriter/violinist/occasional keyboardist based out of Toronto. After an upbringing rife with music and lasagna, Kevin went to school to become a dentist and then became a lawyer instead. He spent 3 years practicing law and moonlighting as a freelance musician and singer-songwriting performing his own songs before leaving law to write musical theatre full time in July, 2013.

Kevin’s first complete musical work, a song cycle entitled Recurring John, debuted as part of the 2014 SummerWorks festival on August 10, 2014 to positive reviews and audience response. In December, Kevin participated in the matching phase of Acting Up Stage Company’s 2015 NoteWorthy program. He is currently working on two pieces currently: music for a book musical titled Highrising with playwright/lyricist Matthew Milo Sergi and lyrics & music a to-be-announced musical.

Kevin is terrible at team sports. Just terrible.


Rielle Braid

Rielle Braid was one of the original cast members in Atomic Vaudeville's Ride the Cyclone, which toured across Canada in 2013. She can be seen in the upcoming Outside the March production Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play this spring. She is also the co-creater of 'Terrible Adults’, a company she formed with Kholby Wardell.

Nathan Carroll

Nathan has played on stages across Canada, from Vancouver to Charlottetown. His work includes Floyd Collins (Talk is Free); Salt-Water Moon (Common Roof); The Book of Esther, Bordertown Café (Blyth Festival); The Sound of Music (Citadel); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood); and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest (St. Lawrence Shakespeare). Nathan is currently playing Andrej in the Original Canadian Cast of Once (Mirvish).

Steffi DiDomenicantonio

Steffi most recently played Sally Bowles in the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's production of Cabaret. Her other theatre credits include Spring Awakening (1st US Broadway National Tour), the North American Premiere of Cinderella (a RATical retelling) (YPT), The Rocky Horror Show (Sudbury Theatre Centre), Next to Normal (Manitoba Theatre Centre and Tarragon), the Canadian Premiere of Dogfight (Tranzac), Idiot’s Delight (Soulpepper), Look, No Hans! (Drayton), The First Wives Club (pre-Broadway workshop), I Love You Because (Stage West) and the Canadian Premiere of Rooms: A Rock Romance (Winnipeg Studio Theatre). Her film and television credits include Canadian Idol Season 4 (Top 5), Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, Saving Hope, Lost Girl, Nikita, Moitié Moitié (4 Seasons) and the feature film Stage Fright with Meatloaf. Steffi received a 2013 Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Musical for Cinderella: a RATical retelling and a 2013 Broadway World Toronto Award Nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Next to Normal. She is also one half of the folk duo Good Together. Steffi is heading to Halifax next to play Wednesday in The Addams Family (Neptune). Follow her adventures on Twitter @SteffiD3!

Jacob MacInnis

Jacob MacInnis was recently seen as Earthworm in James and the Giant Peach (Young People's Theatre). Other theatre credits include The Rocky Horror Show (Sudbury Theatre Centre), The Buddy Holly Story (Magnus Theatre), Chicago (Stage West Calgary), and Rent (Panasonic Theatre). He is a graduate of Sheridan College.

Tringa Rexhepi

Tringa is excited to be part of this presentation of new works by talented young Canadian writers! Tringa worked with Colleen and Akiva on the workshop production of Prom Queen: The Musical this past November originating the role of Emily. Past theatre credits include: Kate in Taming Of The Shrew, Cinderelly in Cinderelly The Musical (SBTS), British Invasion: America Strikes Back, Country Jubilee (Stephenville Theatre Festival), Jingle in Jingle and Jangle (Stage West Mississauga), Maureen (replacement) in RENT (Panasonic Theatre), Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Nathaniel in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Theatre Sheridan), Cinderella in Into The Woods, Mayzie in Seussical The Musical (Saints Alive! Theatre). FILM/TV: Played (CTV), Soul (Vision TV). Other: Josh Groban: In The Round (Air Canada Centre), Natalie Weiss Toronto Debut, 2013 Heart & Vision Awards, David Foster’s Ovation Star Search regional finalist, NS Talent Search 1st place winner, Zahalan “Pop Star” Award (Sheridan Institute). TRAINING: Honours graduate from Sheridan Institute, and CAP21 in New York City.

The Art of the Piano: Brendan Fox
Charles Ives' Concord Sonata: An American Masterpiece

Thursday March 12, 2015 at 8 pm

Pianist and composer Brendan Fox makes his Toronto debut with a lecture and recital of Charles Ives’s Concord Sonata. In this monumental work, Ives crystallized the concepts of the Transcendentalist movement in nineteenth century America through musical portraits of Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and Thoreau. The result is a tour de force of piano virtuosity, filled with mind-altering harmonies, Beethoven quotations, and moments of staggering power. The lecture preceding the performance is meant to illuminate both the musical materials and the philosophy behind this piece.

The program will also feature John Corigliano’s Fantasia on an ostinato, which, like the Concord Sonata, meditates on a Beethovenian theme.


Fantasia on an ostinato (1985) - John Corigliano (1938-)


Sonata No. 2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-60" - Charles Ives (1874-1954)
I. Emerson
II. Hawthorne
III. The Alcotts
IV. Thoreau


Brendan Fox (b. 1989) is a composer and pianist currently living in Ithaca, NY. He received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Composition from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. He has studied composition with Howard Whitaker, David M. Gordon, Shawn Okpebholo, Dana Wilson, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and Michael Gandolfi, and piano with Sung Hoon Mo. In the fall of 2011, Brendan’s piece Holy Ground won the Wheaton College Alumni Composition Competition. He has participated in reading sessions with the Formosa Quartet and the violin duo String Noise.

Brendan has also worked extensively in theatre, whether serving as musical director or composing original music, most notably for a 2014 production of Our Town in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.

Brendan is currently completing a Masters of Music Composition at Ithaca College, where he is a member of the Ithaca College Contemporary Ensemble.

Violin Duos: Sarah Nematallah, Min-Jeong Koh, special guest Leopoldo Erice, piano

Thursday March 19, 2015 at 8 pm
$20/$10 Students

Min-Jeong Koh and Sarah Nematallah are both violinists in the Cecilia String Quartet. As members of this ensemble they have been awarded prizes at several international competitions, including first prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition (2010). They have toured internationally to great acclaim, giving performances at venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Berlin Konzerthaus, Prague’s Rudolfinum, and London’s Wigmore Hall. The CSQ recorded three CDs for Analekta Records, and fourth CD is scheduled to be released this coming fall. More information can be found at


W. A. Mozart, Violin Sonata in E Minor K. 304/300c

Johannes Brahms, Violin Sonata No. 1 Op. 78 in G Major

Sarah Nematallah, violin and Leopoldo Erice, piano


Dmitri Shostakovich, “The Gadfly”: 3 Duets Op. 97d for two violins and piano

Moritz Moszkowski, Suite Op. 71 in G Minor for two violins and piano

Sarah Nematallah and Min-Jeong Koh, violins, with Leopoldo Erice, piano

Sarah Nematallah, violin

Applauded by the Globe and Mail for her "velvety sound" and the "fine-grained fluidity of her playing", Sarah Nematallah is a founding member of the Cecilia String Quartet. Apart from the CSQ, Ms. Nematallah has performed internationally as an orchestral and chamber musician for organizations such as the Verbier Festival and the Banff Summer Arts Festival, and has appeared as a soloist in Canada and Spain. During her studies in violin performance at the University of Toronto, Ms. Nematallah was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the University of Toronto William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award given to a graduating student deemed by the university to have the greatest potential for making an important contribution to the field of music.

Committed to education, Ms. Nematallah recently completed a Masters Degree in Music Education at the University of Toronto, where she researched topics related to music philosophy and cognition, especially connections between music and language. She has given presentations on topics related to music performance and education for organizations such as the Canadian Arts Presenting Organization (CAPACOA), Chamber Music America, and CIHR Café Scientifique. Ms. Nematallah plays on the 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume on loan from an anonymous donor.

Min-Jeong Koh, violin

Praised for her “extreme versatility” (Berliner Zeitung) and “marvelous playing” (Calgary Herald), Min-Jeong Koh maintains a busy schedule as a concert violinist, violist, and as an educator. Prior to joining the Cecilia String Quartet, she was the second prize winner of the 2006 Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, where she was also awarded the Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Piece, a winner at Canada Council’s 2009 Musical Instrument Bank Competition, and a soloist with the Banff Festival orchestra.

A passionate educator, Ms. Koh has extensive experience teaching violin, was a panel speaker at a Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association conference, and worked closely with Mimi Zweig in the String Pedagogy Workshop at Indiana University. Her dedication to performance and music education has led to an invitation to the national honour society, Pi Kappa Lambda. Ms. Koh has recently completed her Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Toronto where she researched the proliferation of Canadian string quartets. Currently, she studies with Donald Weilerstein, which is made possible by Canada Council for the Arts. Through the generosity of a private benefactor, Ms. Koh performs exclusively on a ca. 1767 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin.

Leopoldo Erice, piano

Spanish pianist Leopoldo Erice enjoys a performing and teaching career which has brought him to Europe, the two Americas, Asia, and Africa. Among his performances the recitals with Canadian soprano Leslie Fagan, clarinetist James Campbell, and the Cecilia and Penderecki String Quartets, especially stand out. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the American University of Sharjah (UAE), and this year is Guest Lecturer in Piano at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada).

Ten years ago, Leopoldo founded the Festival Internacional de Música Clásica de Ribadeo (Spain), a weeklong series of educational performances and a workshop given by international artists. The goals of this summer festival are to bring music closer to the general public and to develop the artistic abilities of music students and young professionals.

Leopoldo has won several prestigious national and international prizes, including the “Ciudad de Albacete” and the “Acisclo Fernández”—which he won by a unanimous jury vote—and has made recordings for television and radio programs in Spain, Argentina, Syria, and in the USA.

Leopoldo studied music in his home country with José Ramón Martínez Reyero, Beata Monstavicius, and Joaquín Soriano (Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid), and in Holland with Rian de Waal (Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague). As a Fellow of the prestigious “la Caixa” Foundation Fellowship Program (Spain), he studied at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University (Bloomington, USA) under Leonard Hokanson, Menahem Pressler, and Emile Naoumoff. While at IU, he was awarded by a unanimous faculty vote the coveted Performer’s Certificate, in recognition of his outstanding performance. He holds the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (USA). Leopoldo was born in Madrid in 1977.

Hilario Durán Trio

Friday March 20, 2015 @ 8:00PM
$20/$10 Students

Hilario Durán is one of the world’s most innovative pianist/composers/arrangers of Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz. The outstanding musical interplay of this stellar Trio, featuring Roberto Occhipinti on bass and Mark Kelso on drums, thrills audiences of all kinds.

“This trio is one of my most expressive musical formations—classic Cuban and Latin jazz repertoire with essential rhythms from Afro-Cuban music like cha-cha-cha, Bembé, Mambo, Son Montuno and elements of modern jazz.”
- Hilario Durán

“One of the greatest Cuban pianists. No doubt about it. Either solo, on a duo, trio, quartet... or a big band (you get the idea), Hilario’s compositions and arrangements are outstanding.” See the article and video. —
- Danilo Navas, Feb 2, 2011.

“The album Motion creates different moods ranging from a soft and smooth piano, to hard driven drum solos; its Latin mood floats throughout the whole album. Motion feels more like this trio created a very strong set list for a concert where all the pieces intertwine, but have their own original flavors. Hilario Durán is an amazing pianist and composer and his decades of work in the music industry shine through the album's eight tracks.”
Michael Pascua, July 25, 2010

SONUSKAPOS: Mason Victoria Jazzband

Saturday March 21, 2015 @ 8:00PM
$20/$10 Students

SONUSKAPOS is an 18 piece big band led by trumpeter and current Humber student, Mason Victoria. Comprising of many jazz musicians currently attending school for music, SONUSKAPOS aims to give the opportunity for band members to write and play with peers in a large ensemble setting. Striving for unique collaboration, the big band plays many different styles of music from classical swing era to borderline experimental, all made or arranged by members of the band.

Mason Victoria is a 19 year old trumpeter and composer who is ambitiously hitting Toronto with his writing and trumpet playing. He is currently a second year student in Humber College, studying with the likes of the incredible Alistair Kay, Brian O’Kane, John Macleod, Dave Dunlop, Stephen Crowe and many other renowned jazz musicians in the city. He has also studied composition with Daniel Jamison, Chelsea McBride and Andrew Jones.

REEDS: Chris Dembski, Stefan Haynes, Ben McCaroll-Butler, Emily Steinwall, Jonathan Lau

TRUMPETS: Megan Jutting, Tom Upjohn, Ania Zarzycki, Kyle Windjack

BONES: Nebyu Yohannes, Margaret Nishimura, Matt Doughty, Nick Marshall

RHYTHM: Sean Clarey (g), Ewen Farncombe (p), Irene Harrett (b), Chris Wiens (d)

Mezzo Soprano Ali Garrison Sings the Songs of her Contemporaries

Friday March 27, 2015 at 8 PM
Tickets: $30 / $20 Seniors & Students


Singing the songs of seven of her contemporaries (including herself as an improvising composer), Ms. Garrison will explore the rich complexity of voices and perspectives of some of the most brilliant composers in her musical village. “We must encourage each other to create songs in response to all the myriad inspirations in our current world as we each perceive it... Life, ideas, feelings, people, Nature. That is how the collective culture that represents our time and place is born and then nurtured", says the singer.

The composers that have written pieces for Ali and this concert, include Seattle Pacific University professor, composer, gospel/jazz vocalist, and worship leader, Stephen Michael Newby; Director of Music at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, pianist and composer, Maria Isabel Ciudad-Real; American conductor and composer, Kevin McMahon; Toronto guitarist, teacher and composer ,William Beauvais; and Ryan Billington, Canadian conductor, arranger, improvisera teacher seductor and Composer, and voice faculty at St. Francis Xavier. Finally, improvisational co-composers, Downeast Maine pianist, Nancy Bennet and Ali Garrison created a song cycle which will be performed as a written transcription of the original improvisation.

Adding to the evening’s new music feast are three noteworthy performers. Concert and collaborative pianist Joy Lee, brings her passionate genius via University of Toronto's Faculty of Music and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Guitarist, William Beauvais and pianist Ryan Billington, will each perform with Ali on their own compositions.


Known as a powerful singer who “embodies the soul projected through her voice” and “palpably lives the sound”, American-born, Toronto-raised mezzo-soprano Alexandra “Ali” Garrison, dares to sing many styles of great music from around our dear planet. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music Vocal Performance Program, she has performed a huge variety of operatic/theatrical roles with regional companies and is a frequent concert soloist with numerous ensembles and choirs in Canada and the U.S. She especially enjoys working in tandem with artists, improvisers and composers to foster new works and promote music for a more harmonious world. She has had many works composed specifically for her by numerous composers.

Ali is a proud founding alumnus and soloist with the renowned Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and as such, toured extensively, performing for such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, Muhammad Ali, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Jesse Norman, Kathleen Battle, Stephen Lewis and was privileged to be Canada’s “gift” to President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration festivities. It was for this trail-blazing ensemble that she co-wrote the education series, Canaan Lan’ and was on faculty for their Youth Training Program. She currently also mentors youth singers in the Regent Park area. Ms. Garrison has been teaching voice privately for eighteen years, leading and facilitating groups in, and writing about, the following areas: voice and body work for both ensemble singers and soloists; freeing our imaginations and our sound; the intersection of creativity, art and philosophy; free musical improvisation; advocacy for the arts and social justice.

She is a member of ACTRA, and a Gemini Nominee. Currently, Ms.Garrison leads the “Why the Sea is Salty Project”, an interdisciplinary collaboration of four female artists making works for a mythic extravaganza. For her 50th birthday earlier this year, Ali decided, after singing on everyone else’s recordings for years, that it was high time to produce her own first solo EP, entitled, Ali Garrison Sings Michel Legrand: The Summer Knows, with Danny McErlain, pianist. Visit iTunes to purchase and listen to her EP.

Danie Friesen, soprano
Monique de Margerie, piano

Sunday March 29, 2015 at 8 PM
$20; $10 Students and Arts Workers

Crossing poetry with music, Danie Friesen (soprano) and Monique De Margerie (piano) perform Robert Schumann’s Liederkreis Opus 39, twelve songs on texts by Joseph von Eichendorff, and Francis Poulenc’s Fiançailles Pour Rire, a song cycle based on the poetry of Louise de Vilmorin.


Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856) Liederkreis Opus 39

~ pause ~

Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963) Fiançailles Pour Rire

Actor/Singer Danie Friesen’s experience on the performance stage ranges from Shakespeare to Mozart to Woody Allen. A graduate of the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts, Friesen works as an actor and producer for Art & Lies Productions, an independent theatre company she co-founded in 2010. Selected credits include: No Exit (Theatre Passe Muraille), In Adagio (Winnipeg Art Gallery), Killing Game (Annex Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (Buddies in Bad Times), Smile (Bathurst Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Young People’s Theatre), Strike! (Theatre in the Park), The Mikado and The Gondoliers (Pantages Playhouse). Friesen will appear in Cavalli’s La Calisto in Sulmona, Italy this summer as a part of COSI’s Opera Ensemble.

Merging her experience in theatre with her artistry as a soprano, Friesen endeavours to interpret art songs and arias through the eyes of an actor, presenting poetry and music through fully formed, poignant characters.

Monique de Margerie is an accompanist at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto, and at the Young Voices Toronto choir. She is frequently heard in recital as a chamber musician with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra. From 2003 to 2012, she was on the faculty at Université Laval de Québec where she taught piano and accompanied both students and faculty. She also teaches at the Cammac Music Centre each summer, and is frequently invited to adjudicate and teach throughout Canada.

In March, 2013, Monique toured Cambodia with bassoonist Fraser Jackson, giving recitals and masterclasses throughout Phnom Penh. In 2012, she toured Canada as a judge for the Canadian Music Competition. In November 2011, she was featured as a soloist with l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec in four performances of Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals and performed with the Molzan de Margerie Trio in Beauce, Québec. She has performed in recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in Toronto and at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was also a featured artist at the 2010 Licht in Sicht music festival in Quebec City where she appeared with members of the Quatuor Artur Leblanc, clarinettist Jean-François Normand and bassoonist Fraser Jackson.

Originally from Sherbrooke, Québec, Monique graduated from the Montreal Conservatory where she was a student of Anisia Campos. After four years as a scholarship student at the Munich Hochschule für Musik, Monique obtained, with special distinction, her Master’s degree in Piano Performance in 1990. From then until 2003, she pursued her European career as pianist and teacher in Freiburg, Germany, and in Paris, France, where her recital partners included violinists Linus Roth and Nicholas Chumachenco. She has given numerous concerts as a soloist and chamber musician in Canada, Japan, Switzerland and India. She has several recordings with the national radios in Germany, Switzerland and Canada and a solo CD recording on the GEMA label.

The Art of the Piano: John Stetch
Off With the Cuffs

Wednesday April 1, 2015 at 8 pm

Review of John Stetch, Off With the Cuffs (Addo Records, 2013) 

"This remarkable pianist, whose wealth of styles and ideas cannot easily be contained even in that increasingly expansive realm known as jazz, seems never to have heard a musical border he did not want to cross. A Canadian of Ukrainian extraction, Stetch has often worked in the folk music traditions of his own heritage, as in his vivid and virtuosic Ukrainianism (2002). On that disc, dark ruminations on catastrophe—“Famine” and the closing track, “Children of Chernobyl”—are interleaved with affirmations such as his “Carpathian Blues.” More than a decade on, Stetch continues to explore new terrain, this time out taking three beloved piano works of European art music for a spin: down the back alleys of the blues; bumping over the off-beat ruts of Eastern folk idioms; and careening into unexpected excursions attributable only to his creativity and the abundance of unnamed influences stored in his inner ear.  The trip is fueled not least by an iconoclastic humor, one required by the very project of grabbing some beers and going joy-riding with Mozart (Sonata in B-Flat, K. 33), J. S. Bach (Italian Concerto, BWV 971), and Chopin (Ballade in G minor, op. 23). To listen to Stetch pilot these luxury vehicles over the off-road of his imagination is wildly inspiring, usefully disconcerting, and just plain fun. The CD closes with Stetch’s idiosyncratic and illuminating readings of three preludes by Shostakovich followed by an original, Kapustin Rag. The dents of the journey through the classics are polished up at the close in the unlikeliest of Rag meters (7/8 and 11/8) in this piece named in honor of the Ukrainian-Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin. With Putin marching into the Crimea and glowering at the rest of the Ukraine it is good to know that in Stetch’s hands the borders will always remain open."

- DAVID YEARSLEY (from Counterpunch, March 2013). David Yearsley, author of “Bach’s Feet,” once played the world’s oldest piano and didn’t damage it … much.

Testimonials For Off With The Cuffs:

"Stetch has the musical gravitas to pull off what some could see as mere musical jokes; in his hands, though, these tunes have become more contemporary songs, to be taken no less seriously than the originals." - DownBeat Magazine, 4 stars

“John's vibrant, whimsical and piano-playing is totally engaging - "Off With The Cuffs" highlights his witty and clever sense of improvisation, and is great fun to listen to." - Lisa Kaplan, 3-time Grammy winning pianist of Eighth Blackbird

"Imaginative, rigorous, and truly personal takes on the classics!"- Joseph Lin, The Julliard String Quartet

“FANTASTIC! There is such clarity and so much humor in Stetch’s playing! I have always loved that about him.” - Rufus Reid, bassist, composer and bandleader

"John Stetch has a unique voice and travels freely between musical styles. He does all of this with overwhelming virtuosity". - Alex Fiterstein, classical clarinetist, 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient

Video Links

Re-Arrangement and Improvsations on Chopin's Heroic Polonaise

Re-Composition of J.S.Bach's Italian Concerto BWV 971

New Art video of original trio composition "Oscar's Blue-Green Algebra"

Stanislav Pronin, violin and Peter Longworth, piano

Thursday April 2, 2015 at 8 pm

Massenet: Meditation from Thaïs
Franck: Sonata
Brahms: Sonata no. 3
Ravel: Tzigane

“This is…an intriguing recital: Pronin puts Milstein’s famous tour de force through its paces and finds dark corners in the sumptuous beauties of Ysaÿe. Pronin even scores by playing both parts in the Prokofiev; the out-of-body experience arouses the music’s emotional content in an attractively unsettling way…Pronin attaches ‘extramusical imagery’ to the piece, and writes of ‘dancing snowflake patterns, shiny and brilliant yet quite delicate’. It’s a window on Prokofiev’s Russian soul, and Pronin’s own.” - The Gramophone, review of Violin For One (Naxos/Sono Luminus) (2011)

Stanislav Pronin, violin

Stanislav Pronin was born in Moscow, Russia and began his violin studies upon his immigration to Israel at the age of 8. His first teacher was his grandfather, Veniamin Pronin, a student of Pyotr Stoliarskiy and former Professor at the Odessa Conservatoire. Stanislav continued his studies at Indiana University with Nelli Shkolnikova and Jaime Laredo, and later at the Hochschule für Musik Köln, Germany, with Professor Zakhar Bron.

Mr. Pronin's professional career began following his solo debut in Israel at the age of 10. He has performed as soloist and chamber musician at many festivals including Verbier Festival and Interlaken Classics in Switzerland, Banff Festival and Stratford Festival inCanada, Kronberg Festival in Germany, etc. He performs regularly in USA, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia, and in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, Musikhuset Aarhus, National Arts Centre Ottawa, Perlman Theatre in Philadelphia, and so on. He has collaborated with numerous conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Herbert Blomstedt, Antonio Mendez, Sigiswald Kuijken, Andrew Constantine and Joshua Weilerstein. As chamber musician, he has collaborated with Jan Lisiecki, Jaime Laredo, James Campbell, Mark Kaplan, Bion Tsang, Orion String Quartet, Victor Danchenko, Julian Milkis, Anton Nel, Emille Naoumoff and Lera Auerbach. Mr. Pronin's recordings, including his solo CD debut on Naxos/Sono Luminus labels, have been broadcasted on numerous radio and television channels including WDR Köln, RTS-1 Belgrade, CBC Canada, Radio Klassisk Denmark, Interlochen Public Radio, WFMT Chicago Classical, etc.

Stanislav is the recipient of multiple awards from the American String Teachers Association, America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and Classical Artists Development Foundation. He performs on a Nicola Bergonzi violin from 1785, and the ex-Ysaye, ex-Flesch Voirin bow, generously on loan from a private donor.

Peter Longworth, piano

"Peter Longworth is a concert pianist of such power and grace that even the crystal baubles on the chandeliers at Orchestra Hall tingle, dance and resonate when he plays." -Chicago Tribune

Pianist Peter Longworth has established himself as one of the most sought after performers of his generation. Equally comfortable as soloist and chamber musician, he has performed in cities around the world. In North America stops include New York, Chicago, London, Montreal, and Vancouver; abroad, he's performed in London, Moscow, Brussels, Glasgow, and Nice.

He has been a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Fairbanks Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony, and other orchestras in North America. Mr. Longworth has collaborated with conductors such as Bramwell Tovey, Edwin Outwater, Eduard Zilberkant, Nikolas Caoile, and Joseph Rescigno.

After a successful performance during the 11/12 season, Peter was invited back to perform during the 12/13 season with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and he will also appear with the Canadian Sinfonietta.

Peter appears regularly at Kairos Music Festival in Washington state, Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa, and has made previous appearances at numerous festivals across the continent, including the Malibu Coast Music Festival and the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Longworth is a founding member of the Duke Piano Trio (with violinist Mark Fewer and cellist Thomas Wiebe), which has performed throughout the United States and Canada. Peter continues performing with Mark, and has appeared in collaboration with many of today's finest instrumentalists including violinist Camilla Wicks, violist Steven Dann, clarinettist Joaquin Valdepenas, and bassist Joel Quarrington.

Peter is an active recording artist; he can be heard on the Azica Records label with a 2013 release of solo Brahms piano music, and a 2010 recording of the complete Brahms violin and piano sonatas with Mark Fewer.

Since 1991, Mr. Longworth has been a faculty member of the Glenn Gould School in Toronto. Through his work there as a private teacher, and as one of the key facilitators of the chamber music and collaborative programs, he has influenced many of the most gifted young musicians of the next generation.

Born in 1964 in London, England, Mr. Longworth began his piano studies in Brussels. He studied at Northwestern University with Arthur Tollefson and at the University of Michigan with Eckhart Sellheim and after a year at the Banff Centre for the Fine Arts, he completed his studies at the Royal Conservatory with Marek Jablonski, Leon Fleisher, and Marc Durand. Mr. Longworth was a laureate of the International Busoni Piano Competition in Italy in 1991. |

Across the Atlantic: A Finnish Canadian Accordion Experiment: Matti Pulkki and Friends

Monday May 4, 2015 at 8 pm
$20/$10 Students

Matti Pulkki, accordion
Michael Bridge, accordion
Branko Džinović, accordion
Sara Constant, flute
John Nicholson, saxophone

Reflecting his recent experiences in Toronto, accordionist Matti Pulkki is presenting new prospects in the solo accordion repertoire composed in the North at both ends of the ocean. This concert is produced in collaboration with the prominent accordion studio of Joseph Macerollo and two emerging stars of classical and jazz woodwinds. The concert features two exciting premieres: a solo accordion piece by Montreal-based composer Gabriel Dufour-Laperrière and an accordion-saxophone duo by Sang Jun Lim from Toronto. The program will also have solo accordion works by Jukka Tiensuu, Tomi Räisänen, Petri Makkonen, Lothar Klein and Finnish folk songs newly arranged for flute and accordion by Matti Murto.

Matti Pulkki (b. 1991) became the newest member of professor Joseph Macerollo’s accordion studio at the University of Toronto after arriving in Canada in the fall of 2014. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and the highest grade in accordion performance from the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. Later in 2015, he will continue to pursue his Master’s degree back in Helsinki with professor Matti Rantanen. Over the years Matti Pulkki has performed in many concerts internationally as a soloist and with different chamber ensembles. In his concert programs he’s known for creating dialogue and fusion with music from different backgrounds and styles. Matti Pulkki is interested in crossing the artificial boundaries between arts and artists and exploring the great blue ocean beyond his comfort zone.

More 2015 Performances coming soon.
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