Monthly Archives: November 2015

Vincent Ho

This season has been a season with several debuts by performers and a world premiere of one piece already. December 10, 2015 brings us the Gryphon Trio and another world premiere!

Ottawa born composer Vincent Ho has written a new commission for the Gryphon Trio called Gryphon Realms (funded by The Canada Council for the Arts, the Winnipeg Arts Council and Chamber Factory). It will have its premiere on our stage at our December Gryphon Trio concert.

Dr. Ho started his music studies as a student at the Royal Conservatory. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary, his Master of Music from the University of Toronto, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. He has a long list of awards over the years including the 2006 Canada Council for the Arts’ Robert Fleming Prize for Young Composer of the Year.

He held the position of composer-in-residence at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2014. During that time, he composed several pieces that received high praise such as The Shaman, a percussion concerto written for Dame Evelyn Glennie and his cello concerto written for Shauna Rolston called City Suite.

Currently he teaches at the University of Calgary and continues to compose. We look forward to hearing Gryphon Realms with the Gryphon Trio! To read more about Vincent Ho, visit his website at To hear his new piece played by the Gryphon Trio live, join us on December 10, 2015.


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Our November 26 Concert: Dvorak and Schubert

On November 26th, the Apollon Musagète Quartett with treat us to a piece by Dvorak and a piece by Schubert.  Here are a couple of interesting things about the pieces we will hear!


by guest writer Julie Berridge


“Rest assured, I will work on my new quartet with the utmost élan, deploying all my art and knowledge only to be able to give you a composition well done and accomplished and certainly the good Lord will also inspire me with some melodies”.

Those were the words of Dvorak after being commissioned by the Hellmesberger Quartet of Vienna. The result off his efforts is the String Quartet No. 11 in C major. The opening theme in the first movement expands into a rich and intense melody. The second movement begins with a musical conversation between the two violins. The cello and viola accompany this conversation. The quartet ends with a spirited fourth movement.

To find out more about Dvorak and his life, click here.

Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 in G major, Op. 161, D. 887 was composed in 1826 when Schubert was 29 years old. He took just 11 days to write it. The first movement unfolds with increasing intensity. Major and minor chords pull us between light and darkness, uncertainty and calm.

D.887 is often thought to be the most masterly of Schubert’s quartets.


Professional Opera Singer With Glioblastoma Multiforme Sings Schubert’s ‘Gute Nacht’ While Having A Craniotomy reported in Medical Daily, August 14, 2015.

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Apollon Musagète Quartett

Thursday, November 26, 2015 will mark the debut of the Apollon Musagète Quartett here in Toronto. This 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award winning ensemble is composed of Pawel Zalejski (violin), Bartosz Zachlod (violin), Piotr Szumiel (viola), and Piotr Skweres (cello).
This Polish quartet was formed in 2006 while the members were at the Vienna Music University. Within two years they were winning awards – starting with first prize at the 2008 International Music Competition of the ARD. They have been named 2010-2011 Rising Stars by the Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein and 2012-2013 New Generation Artists by BBC Radio 3. Their debut CD was released in 2010 and they have since recorded several other CDs.
Playing both traditional and modern repertoire, they enjoy working with living composers and have had some works written for them. They collaborate with former members of the Alban Berg Quartet from time to time. For us, the Apollon with be playing a couple of their more traditional repertoire pieces – Dvorak and Schubert.
To read more about the quartet, visit their website at To hear them live in their Toronto debut, join us on November 26, 2015!

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Peter Jablonski concert November 10, 2015

by guest writer Julie Berridge

On November 10, Peter Jablonski features in his performance, musical expressions of nationalism and culture: Mazurkas and a polonaise from Poland, and Mexican folk songs.

The polonaise is one of the five historic national dances of Poland. It started as a peasant dance and then later gained popularity with the nobility and townspeople. Chopin’s Polonaise Opus 25 No. 1 is often thought to be an expression of the love for his country Poland, and in his later polonaises, what has been interpreted as anger over the political fate of Poland, is a prominently heard. Robert Schumann referred to Chopin’s polonaises as “cannons buried in flowers”.

The mazurka is another historic national dance of Poland and Jablonski performs mazurkas from Chopin and Szymanowski. Chopin lived from 1810 to 1849 and Szymanowski, from 1882 to 1937. Szymanowski continued the nationalism in the twentieth century that Chopin had given musical expression to in the 19th century. Syzmanowski‘s mazurkas were directly influenced by Polish Highland folk music. Of the highlands, Syzmanowski wrote, “My discovery of the essential beauty of Goral (Polish Highlander) music, dance and architecture is a very personal one; much of this beauty I have absorbed into my innermost soul

Aaron Copland based El Salon Mexico on four Mexican folk songs that he had obtained while visiting Mexico in 1932: “El palo verde,” “La Jesusita,” “El mosco,” and “El malacate.” Copland quickly developed an affinity with its culture. Of El Salon Mexico, Copland noted “From the beginning it was associated in my mind with a dance hall in Mexico City called Salon Mexico, a real ‘hot spot’ where one somehow felt a close contact with the Mexican people…Bands played a kind of music that was harsh, flavorsome, screechy and potentially violent. El Salon Mexico is, I suppose, a sort of musical souvenir.” Composed originally as an orchestral piece, Bernstein later arranged it for solo piano and then for two pianos.

Jablonski also plays Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin

Grieg’s Ballade in G Minor followed the death of his parents and young daughter. In the Ballade can be heard angry and melancholy moments as well as moments of grandeur and beauty. Grieg said that it was written “with my life’s blood in days of sorrow and despair.

Rachmaninoff never elaborated on what inspired his Études tableaux. Instead, he said that he wanted listeners and performers to “paint for themselves what it most suggests”.

Scriabin and a nocturne born of necessity – In the summer of 1891, Scriabin was unable to use his right hand. So he composed Nocturne for the Left Hand which became a huge hit in America, after his New York publisher reprinted and sold thousands of copies of the piece.

Join us on Tuesday to hear Peter Jablonski perform the pieces above!

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