Monthly Archives: March 2014

Kikuei Ikeda

April 10th brings us a quintet with the Parker Quartet and Kikuei Ikeda as the additional violist. Ikeda is well known to our audiences as a violinist, having played on our stage many times over the years as a member of the Tokyo String Quartet.

Born in Yokosuka, Japan, Ikeda studied at the Toho Academy of Music. There he studied the violin, chamber music, and conducting. He performed with the Yomiuri Symphony and the Tokyo Metropolitan and Tokyo Symphony orchestras. In 1971, he came to the U.S. and The Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship where he studied with members of the Juilliard String Quartet.

He joined the Tokyo String Quartet in 1974 and became a faculty member of the Yale school of music in 1976. He has been a part of over 40 CD recordings with the Tokyo String Quartet along with live performances too many to count! When the Tokyo disbanded last season, Ikeda decided to take up the viola for performance. We are looking forward to hearing him live once again!

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Franz Kraemer

Back in 1971, Franz Kraemer became the music director of the Toronto Arts Foundation and started programming music concerts at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. This was the start of what would eventually become Music Toronto as we know it today.

Kraemer was born in Vienna in 1914. He studied composition with Berg and orchestration with Scherchen. He moved to Canada in 1940, escaping persecution in Austria during the war, and then spent 3 years in internment camps here. He eventually continued his studies in Canada and, in 1947, became a Canadian citizen.

In 1946, Kraemer joined CBC. Initially he was in Montreal working as one of their producers. 1952 found him moving to Toronto as an executive producer on the English network of CBC TV. He produced many operas on TV in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Documentaries of music greats like Igor Stravinsky followed as well. He stayed with the CBC until 1970.

After working with the Toronto Arts Foundation, he continued in the music field by working with the Canada Council, becoming the head of the music section from 1979 to 1985. He officially retired in 1986 and then became a director of the Sylva Gelber Foundation. He served as an advisor and consultant for several other music associations in his retirement until his passing in 1999.

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Parker Quartet

The Parker Quartet formed in 2002. In a relatively short period of time, they have established themselves as an important quartet for their generation.

The Parker Quartet includes Daniel Chong (violin), Ying Xue (violin), Jessica Bodner (viola), and Kee-Hyun Kim (cello). All of them are graduates of the New England Conservatory of Music. From 2006 to 2008, they took part in the Professional String Quartet Training Program of the New England Conservatory. Winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Cleveland Quartet Award, and several other international awards, they have toured across the U.S. and Europe. The Parker Quartet has recorded and released three CDs, including György Ligeti’s complete works for string quartet which won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

From 2008 to 2010 the Parker was the Quartet-in-Residence with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. They were also the first Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio in 2010. They are currently the Quartet-in-Residence at the University of South Carolina where they coach, teach master classes, give informance programs at local high schools and perform for both the general public. On March 29, 2014, high school students will have the chance to work with the Parker as part of University of South Carolina’s Chamber Music Day and Competition. http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/music/ensembles/chamber_music/chamber_music_day.php

To read more about the Parker, visit their website at http://www.parkerquartet.com/ and join us on April 10th to hear them live!

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Antonín Dvořák

Antonín Leopold Dvořák was born in September of 1841. On April 10th, we will hear the String Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 97 by this famous Czech composer. This piece is scored for a string quartet with an additional viola and will be performed for our audience by the Parker Quartet with Kikuei Ikeda (formerly of the Tokyo Quartet) as the additional viola player.

This particular quintet was written in 1893, the year after Dvořák and his family moved to the U.S. He had been hired as the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, a position he held until 1895. Part of Dvořák contract included four months off each summer and his summer of 1893 was spent in Spillville, Iowa. Some of his cousins had emigrated to Spillville, which had an existing Czech community. Dvořák composed at least three pieces while he was there that summer, including the String Quintet in E-flat major.

The Conservatory was open to students of any gender and colour, very rare for any school in the late 1800’s. It was founded by Jeannette Thurber, a wealthy arts patron. Economic depression that started in 1893, lead to a depletion of her finances and those of many of the school’s patrons. By 1895, finances for the job had deteriorated and, with his salary cut almost in half and being paid sporadically, Dvořák decided to return home.

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Hélène Mercier

April 3rd brings us violinist Alexandre Da Costa accompanied by Hélène Mercier on the piano. Montreal born, she now lives in France with her family.

She has been playing piano since the age of six and has many awards to her credit including winning the International Competition of Chamber Music in Prague. She started her studies in Montreal at École Vincent D’Indy and then attended the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna at the age of 15. She continued studying at Juilliard (winning a scholarship) and then over to France at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris and the École Normale de Musique.

She performs as a chamber player and soloist around the world. Mercier has recorded with Louis Lortie, Vladimir Spivakov, and Cyprien Katsaris.

We look forward to having her on our stage in collaboration with Alexandre Da Costa – sure to be a great evening! If you haven’t heard Mercier play before, check out this YouTube clip with Louis Lortie from April 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Q9HiiRtEc

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Alexandre Da Costa

Alexandre Da Costa was born in 1979 in Montreal. Skilled on both the violin and piano at a young age, he completed a Master’s Degree in violin from Conservatoire de Musique du Québec and a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Interpretation from the University of Montreal when he was 18 years old.

When he had to choose just one, he decided on the violin. His studies took him to Madrid and Austria. And his career has since taken him across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, playing both with orchestras and as a solo recitalist. Da Costa is the 2010 recipient of the Virginia-Parker Prize – one of many awards he has been given over the years. In 2002, he was awarded the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award for best Canadian artist under 30 years old.

2012 saw him win a JUNO award for “Classical Album of the Year” (for the recordings of the concertos by American composer Michael Daugherty, with the Montreal Symphony under Pedro Halffter). Da Costa has released at least 20 CDs under various record labels over the years. He currently records with Warner Classics International and Acacia Classics/Universal Music Group.

In addition to touring and recording, Da Costa is the Professor of Violin at the Gatineau Music Conservatory (Ottawa).

On April 3rd, Da Costa (accompanied by Hélène Mercier) will perform some Manuel de Falla, Beethoven, and Brahms from our stage. To hear clips of him perform or read more about him, visit his website at http://www.alexandredacosta.com

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Brian Ferneyhough

Brian Ferneyhough was born in Coventry in January of 1943. He now lives in California, having moved there in 1987.

He studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music in London in his twenties. After receiving the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1968, he moved to Amsterdam to continue his studies. He eventually made his way to California and became Professor of Music at the University of California in San Diego. He is currently William H. Bonsall Professor (Composition) at Stanford University, a position he has held since 2000. His teaching has also extended to several guest professorships at other universities over the years.

Many consider him a key player in the New Complexity movement. I found this article from 2012 by Tom Service an interesting read and explanation about complexity in music http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2012/sep/10/contemporary-music-guide-brian-ferneyhough On March 20th, we will hear the Arditti Quartet perform Dum transisset I–IV for string quartet (2007). This is one of the few string quartets by Ferneyhough.

To read more about Brian Ferneyhough, visit http://www.edition-peters.com/composer/Ferneyhough-Brian
was born in Coventry in January of 1943. He now lives in California, having moved there in 1987.

He studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music in London in his twenties. After receiving the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1968, he moved to Amsterdam to continue his studies. He eventually made his way to California and became Professor of Music at the University of California in San Diego. He is currently William H. Bonsall Professor (Composition) at Stanford University, a position he has held since 2000. His teaching has also extended to several guest professorships at other universities over the years.

Many consider him a key player in the New Complexity movement. I found this article from 2012 by Tom Service an interesting read and explanation about complexity in music http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2012/sep/10/contemporary-music-guide-brian-ferneyhough On March 20th, we will hear the Arditti Quartet perform Dum transisset I–IV for string quartet (2007). This is one of the few string quartets by Ferneyhough.

To read more about Brian Ferneyhough, visit http://www.edition-peters.com/composer/Ferneyhough-Brian

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Thomas Adès

Thomas Adès was born in London, England in 1971 and has become an award winning composer, pianist and conductor in 43 short years.

He has composed and performed/conducted numerous orchestral works, operas, and chamber music pieces. As a student, he studied piano, composition, and percussion. He gave his first recital in 1993. He has been the Music Director of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (1998 to 2000) and the Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival (1999 to 2008).

He was the youngest winner of the Grawemeyer Award in 2000 and has won the Royal Philharmonic Prize for Large-Scale Composition three times. As composer and conductor, he recently took home a Grammy in the category of Opera Recording for the production of The Tempest by the Metropolitan Opera.

On April 10th, the Parker Quartet will treat us to a performance of Arcadiana, one of Adès’ string quartets. To learn more about Thomas Adès, check out his website at http://www.thomasades.com

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Arditti Quartet

We first heard the Arditti Quartet in 1992 on our stage. March 20th will mark their 6th concert for our audience. A co-production with New Music Concerts, the evening will also feature a pre-concert lobby chat and our own Jeffrey Ryan chatting from the stage between pieces. The evening will include:
String Quartet No. 5 (1995) by Elliot Carter; Quartet No. 2, Cuerdas del Destino (2008) by Hilda Paredes; Dum Transisset I-IV (2006-07) by Brian Ferneyhough; Grido (2000-01) by Helmut Lachenmann.

The Arditti was founded in 1974 by Irvine Arditti (violin) while he was studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Current members include Ashot Sarkissjan (violin), Ralf Ehlers (viola), and Lucas Fels (cello). A force of nature in the contemporary music world, the quartet tours, teaches, and records. There are over 190 CDs recorded by the Arditti as a quartet!

Commissions also feature prominently in the life of the Arditti. Over the years numerous new works have been written for the quartet. The Arditti collaborates closely with composers on their commissions. The list of world premieres by composers is long – Ades, Birtwistle, Britten, Cage, Carter, Denisov, Fedele, Ferneyhough, Kagel, Kurtag, Lachenmann, Manoury, Nancarrow, Scelsi, Sciarrino, Stockhausen – to name just a few.

To learn more about the Arditti, visit their website at http://www.ownvoice.com/ardittiquartet/

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