Monthly Archives: February 2014

Manuel de Falla

On April 3rd, Alexandre Da Costa will come to our stage as part of our Discovery series.  One of the pieces we will hear is Suite Populaire Espagnole by Manuel de Falla.

Born in Cádiz in November 1876, Falla was a Spanish composer. His full name is Manuel María de los Dolores Falla y Matheu.  Like many composers, he was introduced to the piano by his family, taking lessons from his mother and grandfather at a young age.  At the age of 9, he started more formal lessons.  As a young man, he moved to Madrid and continued to study piano and composition at the Real Conservatorio de Música y Declamación.

Much of Falla’s work and fame is connected to his work for the stage – opera and ballet.  From 1907 to 1914, Falla lived in Paris. It is here that he first composed pieces for piano and voice.  Falla would work with violinist Paul Kochanski to transcribe 6 of these pieces for piano and violin, becoming the piece we will hear on April 3rd.  At this point in his career, he was interested in Andalusian music and was exploring the Impressionist style of artists like Ravel and Debussy.  Later his music would show influences of Stravinsky and the neoclassical style. While he did officially retire in 1926, he was still composing his cantata, Atlántida, when he died, just 9 days before his 70th birthday.


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David Jalbert

On March 11th, David Jalbert will appear for the second time on our stage. We first heard him in 2007 as part of our Discovery series.

Jalbert was born in 1977 in Rimouski, Québec. He started playing at the age of 4 and earned his Masters at 21 from the Université de Montréal, with the Governor General’s Gold Medal. He has performed with many of our Canadian symphonies including Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and National Arts Centre Orchestra. As a solo pianist, he has toured Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe. In 2008, Jalbert joined the faculty at the University of Ottawa’s School of Music. He continues to teach there as a professor of piano.

A Juno award nominee, Jalbert has released several CDs. His most recent solo CD is the Bach Goldberg Variations. This is also what we will have the pleasure of hearing live on our stage in March! You can see and hear more of David Jalbert on his website at

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Adam Sherkin

Adam Sherkin is a young pianist-composer and Toronto native. This season he has his own 3 performance subscription series showcasing his talents as a performer and composer. On February 27th, Stephanie Chua will perform Sherkin’s Three Preludes for Solo Piano (2012) for our audience.

Sherkin graduated from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory. He went on to complete his Master of Music degree in composition at the Royal College of Music, London. Several of his compositions received their premieres in the UK during his time there. Upon his return to Canada, he has continued to perform and to compose. Not only has he composed solo piano works, he has pieces for piano and saxophone, piano and piccolo, toy piano, and orchestras.

In late 2012, Sherkin, an associate of the Canadian Music Centre, released his first solo album, As At First, produced by the talented David Jaeger on the Centrediscs label.

We look forward to hearing Chua’s interpretation of this young composer’s work! To read more about Adam, visit his website at

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Stephanie Chua

Stephanie first graced our stage as the pianist half of a violin-piano duo with Véronique Mathieu in 2012.  Her solo talent will be heard from our stage on February 27th.  Her program has changed slightly from the one initially published.  Here is what Stephanie will be playing for us:

Francois Couperin Le Moucheron, The Fly
La Commere, Gossip
Les Idées Heureuses, Happy Thoughts
Les Mézangére
Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou les Maillotins

Adam Sherkin        Three Preludes for Solo Piano (2012)

Franco Donatoni    Rima for solo piano

Haydn                   Sonata in C Major, Hob XVI: 50

György Kurtág      from Játékok – Games
Prélude & Waltz in C
La fille aux cheveux de lin -enragée
Hommage à Nancy Sinatra
Les Adieux in Janaceks Manier
Hommage à Tchaikovsky

Stephanie is a pianist and a toy pianist.  Stephanie also performs with junctQín, a trio of pianist with a contemporary music focus.  To read more about junctQin, check out their website

A graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, she holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria and a Master of Music from the University of Toronto.  She has been teaching piano for several years.  In addition to teaching, Stephanie has done recitals in Europe and across Canada.  To find out more about Stephanie and to hear some of her work, visit

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Elliott Cook Carter, Jr.

Born in 1908, Elliott Carter composed up until his death in 2012, at the age of 103! In fact, he composed 60 pieces from the age of 90 to 103. He attended birthday celebrations and premieres of his pieces until close to his passing. Two of his final compositions had their premieres after his death. He obviously loved what he did as he never stopped!

Carter is a Pulitzer prize winning American composer. He was born in Manhattan, destined to take over the family business of his father, a wealthy lace importer. But Carter’s interest was in music and he pursued music along with a degree in English at Harvard. After completing his Masters at Harvard, he studied in Paris for three years with Nadia Boulanger and at the École Normale de Musique. He returned to New York in 1935 with a doctorate in music (Mus.D.).

He married Helen Frost-Jones in 1939 and they bought a place in Greenwich Village in 1945. They lived there together until her passing in 2003 and he continued to live there until his death in 2012. He spent many years teaching in a number of prestigious schools including Yale and Juilliard. In 1960, he received his first Pulitzer Prize for his Second String Quartet. His Third String Quartet gained him a second Pulitzer in 1973.

We will hear his String Quartet No. 5 performed by the Arditti Quartet at our March 20th concert, a piece they commissioned in 1995. A concert not to be missed!

To find out more about Elliott Carter, you can visit

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François Couperin

François Couperin was a prolific and influential Baroque composer. He was born in Paris in 1668 and died there in 1733, just 2 months before his 65th birthday, involved in music from beginning to end.

He came from a very talented musical family. His uncle and father were both organists at the church of St. Gervais and it is likely his music education started at a young age. His father passed away when François was 10. François inherited the position from his father but did not occupy it until he turned 18. This post would eventually pass from François to his cousin and other family members.

Couperin received royal patronage during his career. He was Organiste du Roi at the Royal Chapel, appointed by Louis XIV. This was a position he shared with Buterne, Nivers, and Lebègue. He performed his duties for the first 4 months of the year and spent the rest of his year at the church of St. Gervais. He taught princes and princesses, was the royal harpsichordist, and became a court composer. He composed church music for the Royal Chapel and gave weekly concerts. In addition to composing, teaching, and playing, he found time to publish written works on fingering and other music topics. He had four volumes of harpsichord music published during his lifetime – the final one only 3 years before his death. His work was much loved and respected by many composers including Bach, Strauss, and Ravel.

We will have the pleasure of hearing some of Couperin’s works when they are performed by Stephanie Chua on February 27th.

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György Kurtág

Eight days after his 88th birthday, we will hear a few pieces composed by György Kurtág. Stephanie Chua will treat us to a few selections from Játékok on February 27, 2014.

Kurtág was born on February 19, 1926. He is a Hungarian composer. He and his wife, Márta, currently live near Bordeaux. However, Kurtág spent most of his early career in Budapest. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. He eventually became a professor there as well, first of piano and then of chamber music, officially retiring from his post in 1986 but still teaching a few classes up until 1993. It was at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music that he also met his wife, a fellow pianist. They have played together many times over the years. György Kurtág is an international award winning composer and pianist and is still winning awards. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal in London on December 1, 2013.

Játékok (Games) is a series of piano pieces started in 1973. Currently there are 8 published volumes with the most recent one having been published in 2010. Kurtág continues to add pieces to Játékok, exploring music as a fragment. Some of the pieces are for 2 hands and some for 4 hands. The Kurtág’s have played many of them together during the past 40 years at performances. We are looking forward to hearing some of the pieces for 2 hands played by Ms. Chua in a few weeks!

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Maurice Ravel

Many of the composers we have looked at have had a fairly difficult and traumatic life, especially in their childhood. It is refreshing to come across one who did not!

Maurice Ravel was born in March of 1875 in Ciboure, France, very near the Spanish border. His mother was Basque and his father, Swiss. At the age of three months, Ravel’s family moved to Paris but his Basque connections remained close to his heart all his life. His father, Joseph, was an inventor, creating some very important inventions including an early internal-combustion engine. This mechanically inclined father also had a love of arts and culture.

Ravel’s started piano lessons at the age of six. His family supported his interests and enrolled him in the Conservatoire de Paris, where he eventually became a piano major. While he wasn’t a great academic student, he was gifted at piano and composition. His private life is not surrounded by personal scandals. In fact, he kept his personal very private and there is no evidence of any major intimate relationships in his life. He spent most of his life in a love affair with his music, devoting his time and energy to his musical passion.

We heard Valses nobles et sentimentales with Benjamin Grosvenor in February 2014. November 2014 brought us Ravel with Simon Trpceski. On Oct 13, 2015 we will again hear Benjamin Grosvenor, this time playing Tombeau de Couperin. Oct 22, 2015 brought us Quartet in F Major with Cuarteto Casals and April 5, 2016 we had Duo Turgeon with a new arrangment for 2 pianos of the Second Suite from the ballet Daphnis and Chole.

This season we will once again be treated to Ravel with Benjamin Grosvenor playing Gaspard de la nuit on Nov 7, 2017.  We will also hear Ravel with Philip Chiu – Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) on Nov 28, 2017.


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