“Light My Fire”
Concert in collaboration with the “Rock ‘N Soul” choir at the Cummings Centre, Montréal, Québec.
“Rubies” to be premiered in Montreal
In Concert with Chorale Harmonia
Friday, February 17th, 2017
Edward’s Doctoral Research Accepted by l’Université de Montréal
“Alexander Zemlinsky’s Balladen: Forging Connections Between Musical and Poetic Texts”
Edward’s doctoral research has been completed and successfully defended at l’Université de Montréal. His study and analysis of the Balladen of Alexander Zemlinsky was met with enthusiasm and has spurred on further study and the future performance of Zemlinsky’s piano works.
To read the introduction to this study: Edward Enman “Alexander Zemlinsky’s Balladen: Forging Connections Between Musical and Poetic Texts” – Introduction
For a full copy, please contact Edward via the contact form on this site.
The Beginning of 2017 to Feature a Premiere
In Montréal, a setting for treble choir of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Rubies will be premiered by Adleisia, an 18-voice chamber choir directed by Amelia McMahon and Virginie Pacheco.
A Christmas Concert with La Chorale Harmonia
Coming Up in October:
ECKHARDT-GRAMATTÉ NATIONAL MUSIC COMPETITION: MEET THE 2016 SEMIFINALISTS: EDWARD ENMAN
April 4th, 2016
Semi-Finalists Announced for 39th E-Gré Competition
Edward Enman has been chosen as one of eight semi-finalists in the 39th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (piano) to be held May 6th-8th, 2016 at Brandon University, Manitoba. The competition will be streamed live with up-to-date information and scheduling here.
March 12th, 2016
Benefit Concert for Action Réfugiés Montréal
Featuring Adleisia, Chorale Harmonia, and l’Ensemble Vocale Artémis with Edward Enman, piano
January 21st, 2016
Premiere Performance of The Arrow of Time
Everett Hopfner will be premiering the new work for solo piano on his tour of southern Ontario.
“The Arrow of Time is a reflection of a period of
inspired thought the composer experienced after
diving into the writings of Stephen Hawking. This
work is a continuous unravelling of musical ideas,
always aware of the passing of time: in one moment
ticking along, while in the next seemingly
stretching to an unusually slow state.”
Toronto: Monday, January 25th, 2016, 7:30pm – Canadian Music Centre – Details Here
Waterloo: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016, 12:30pm – Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo – Details Here
Ottawa: Sunday, January 31st, 2016, 3:30pm – City View United Church – Details Here
December 3rd, 2015
Adleisia in Concert featuring Edward Enman
October 18th, 2015
Edward Featured on 20th Edition of ALL EARS Podcast
“ALL EARS is a platform for open conversation among musicians. Canadian pianist Everett Hopfner reconnects with friends, mentors, colleagues and the people who inspire him.”
Stream it HERE.
Download it from iTunes HERE.
Download it from Stitcher HERE.
August 26th, 2015
NOVA SCOTIA YOUTH CHOIR CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF SINGING EXCELLENCE!
Wolfville and Halifax – The province’s most talented young choral singers will gather as the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, under the direction of guest conductor, Kellie Walsh, to present the 25th Anniversary concerts in Halifax and Wolfville on September 19th and 20th.
The Nova Scotia Youth Choir is a program of the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, and is celebrating 25 years of bringing choral excellence to the young singers of Nova Scotia. This program provides opportunity for singers ages 16-25 to work intensively on a wide variety of choral repertoire with some of the best choral instructors and directors in the field today.
2015 guest conductor, Kellie Walsh, is one of Canada’s most accomplished youth conductors. Hailing from St. John’s, she is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the award winning Shallaway: Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus, and the women’s choir Lady Cove. The choir will be gathered for three full days of rehearsal at Acadia University before they present their concerts in Halifax and Wolfville.
The NSYC program builds on expertise already developed through school, church and community choral training and provides a unique opportunity for young singers to work at a very high level with guest conductors from across Canada. These singers are typically leaders in their own communities and NSYC affords them a chance to work with other committed young choral musicians as they further develop their choral skills, while providing a nurturing and empowering environment.
A different guest conductor is invited to take part in the program each year thus providing the returning students an opportunity to work with a number of excellent conductors during their possible ten year span with the choir. Each guest conductor brings a different approach to the choral art and the variation in repertoire, musical style and interpretation provides a unique experience for the singers. The program also provides an excellent professional development opportunity for Nova Scotian resident conductors and accompanists to work with challenging repertoire, a first rate choir, and some of the best conductors working in Canada.
Many NSYC alumni have gone on to represent Nova Scotia in the National Youth Choir of Canada. In May of 2010, one fifth of the singers in this cross-Canada choir were chorally educated through this NSYC program. This speaks to the strength of this program and reputation Nova Scotia has on a national scale in the choral community. Alumni have also been representatives to the World Youth Choir and have become established choral musicians and music educators both at home and across the country.
Alumnus Marcel d’Entremont, winner of the 2104 National Music Festival in voice performance, says of the program: “For me, the Nova Scotia Youth Choir was more than just a choir; it was a program of professional development and an opportunity to develop skills which are essential to the life of a musician, to network with some of the leading figures in the Canadian conducting scene, and to feel inherently more human.”
The music on this year’s program reflects the energy, passion and love these singers have for collective music making. From classics by Willan and Britten, emerging composers like Esenvalds, to world music and a cappella, it is a varied and fun program that highlights the vibrancy, vocal skill and communicative abilities of these young singers.
The choir often performs the Maritime premiere of new repertoire and has occasion to commission new works. As part of the anniversary year, the choir mounted a National Competition for Young Composers. Delightedly, the winner of this competition is native Nova Scotian Edward Enman, originally from Kentville, who grew up in the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and attending the Choral Federation programs, including many years in Nova Scotia Youth Choir and two years in the National Youth Choir. He is now working on his DMA in piano performance at the Universite de Montreal. His winning composition, “Time’s Small Space” will be premiered on these two concerts.
Concerts will be Saturday, September 19th at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Halifax (presented by Musique Royale) and on Sunday, September 20th at 3:00 p.m. at Wolfville Baptist Church, Wolfville. They will be joined by resident conductors Scott Jones, Krista Vincent and accompanist Lynette Wahlstrom.
Tickets are $20/$5 (students) for Halifax and $15 /$5 (students) for Wolfville. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the NSCF office, or at the door. For more information, please visit the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s website at www.nscf.ns.ca, or through Musique Royale on their website at www.musiqueroyale.com
July 13th, 2015
Edward Enman wins the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s 2015 National Composition Competition
Nova Scotia Choral Federation Release: “We are so pleased to announce that our own Edward Enman is the winner of the NSYC National Composition Competition! Edward is an alumnus of our choir camps, NSYC, NYC, the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and Acadia University. We’re very proud! Congratulations Edward! You can hear the NSYC premiere Edward’s composition in Halifax on September 19th at 7:30 at First Baptist Church, and September 20th at 3:00pm at Wolfville Baptist Church.”
In addition to his musical life, Edward is an avid runner. As part of his training to run the Québec City Marathon in 2015 for the 2nd time, he recently completed the Ottawa Half-Marathon on May 24th, 2015.
(Left: Connor Robinson, Right: Edward Enman)
Xara Choral Theatre On Tour
May 1st-11th, 2015 (Throughout Eastern Canada)
Featuring the Premiere of My Name is Olemaun Pokiak by Edward Enman
Photos of Xara Choral Theatre’s tour: Instagram Photos
Nova News, Kings County, Nova Scotia: May 7th, 2015: News Article: Multimedia performance of Fatty Legs coming to Wolfville
The Coast, Halifax, Nova Scotia: April 30th, 2015: News Article: “Fatty Legs’ unbreakable spirit”
The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia: April 29th, 2015: News Article: “Reconciliation through art: Xara uses dance, music and theatre in Fatty Legs“
Xara Choral Theatre On Tour
May 1st-11th, 2015 (Throughout Eastern Canada)
Featuring the Premiere of My Name is Olemaun Pokiak by Edward Enman
December 20th, 2014
Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble Commission
The Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble has commissioned Edward Enman to write for a revisited presentation of Fatty Legs – a show which tells the story of Olemaun Pokiak leaving her home in the High Arctic to attend a residential school in Aklavik in Canada’s North.
Recently named the top women’s choir in the country after winning the National Competition for Canadian Amateur Choirs, Xara creates interdisciplinary performances that feature choral singing, a strong narrative within each program, movement, and lighting.
The Ensemble has also just recorded their first full-length album, Here On These Branches, which can be pre-ordered here.
December 15th, 2014
Doctorat en musique – Interprétation
Edward Enman will begin his Doctorate of Music in Performance at the University of Montréal in January 2015. He will be under the tutelage of Maneli Pirzadeh in what is widely considered one of the best piano programs in North America.
March 21st-22nd, 2014
•••••Lighthouse Music Publications
February 22nd, 2014
Then Shall I Leap Into Love now available from Lighthouse Music Publications
“Then Shall I Leap Into Love” is a beautifully rich setting of the 13th-century text of the same name by Mechthild von Magdeburg. The winner of the Halifax Camerata Singers’ Young Composers’ Competition in 2010, it explores the wonder of both human and spiritual love. Through lush dissonances and rewarding resolutions, this centuries-old poetry is warmly brought into the present.
Then Shall I Leap Into Love can be found here.
December 3rd, 2013
Xara Choral Theatre
at the Government House of Nova Scotia
His Honour, Brigadier-General The Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS, CD (Ret’d); Her Honour, Mrs. Joan Grant; Artistic Directors, Claire Leger (Left), Christina Murray (Right); Pianist, Edward Enman, and the members of Xara Choral Theatre after the performance at the Government House of Nova Scotia.
•••••Acadia University School of Music Press Release: November 6, 2013
The “B” Boys of Opera
Have you ever wondered what Bellini, Bach, Beethoven, Bizet and Bernstein have in common? For one, they have composed some of the most beautiful music in history. Their surnames also all begin with the letter “B”. Acadia’s Singing Theatre Production Ensemble has decided to entitle their fall production “The B-Boys of Opera” in honour of these wonderful men of the musical stage. It features excerpts from Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capuletes and the Montagues), J.S. Bach’s delightful Kaffeekantate about the new craze addiction, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio where-in gender confusion is the topic of the day, Leonard Bernstein’s toe-tapping, jazzy Trouble in Tahiti and his stunningly beautiful Candide. Of course, what would any opera excerpt program be without Georges Bizet’s Carmen. Its well-loved hits of the 19th century of a gypsy girl, bull fighter, and her gang of smugglers are a must see for any first time opera goers.
Directed and created by Paula Rockwell with musical direction by Edward Enman.
Opening Night is Friday, November 22 at 8pm with a Matinee Saturday, November 23 at 3pm. Performances are in Harvey Denton Auditorium on the Acadia University Campus.
Tickets: Students/Seniors $10, Adults $12
Ticket information: 585-1512
See you at The Opera!!
NOVA SCOTIA’S PROVINCIAL CHAMBER CHOIR IN CONCERT!
Halifax – After a successful inaugural start last fall, the province’s most talented choral singers will again gather as the Canta Mara Chamber Choir. Under the direction of 2013 guest conductor, Kellie Walsh, they will perform together on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at St. Matthew’s United Church in Halifax. Guest choir Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble will also join them on the program.
Guest conductor Kellie Walsh is a musical gem on Canada’s east coast. Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, she is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Lady Cove women’s choir, and Shallaway: Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus. Her energy and infectious enthusiasm will surely bring the music to life.
Walsh’s program includes a colourful spectrum of music. Hauntingly beautiful, the rich harmonies of Esenvald’s “O Salutaris Hostia” and “Stars” will contrast with lively Spanish dance music, spirituals, a cappella jazz, and traditional Newfoundland folk music! An eclectic mix sure to please any listener.
Xara will be performing excerpts from their upcoming show “Constellations” with works by Canadian composers Christine Donkin, and David MacIntyre, to choral arrangements of Lorde and the Wyrd Sisters.
Canta Mara is an annual program run by the Nova Scotia Choral Federation. The singers are some of our province’s most experienced choral enthusiasts, auditioned from communities across Nova Scotia and PEI. The chosen choir assembles for one weekend of intense music making and performance under a renowned guest conductor each year.
The concert will be Sunday, November 3rd, 3:00 p.m. at St. Matthew’s United Church. The choirs will be joined with Edward Enman at the piano.
Tickets for both concerts are $20 for adults, $15 seniors/students to be purchased at the Nova Scotia Choral Federation office, or on the door. For more information, please visit the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s website at www.nscf.ns.ca.
Manitoba pianist wins top prize at E-Gré
Everett Hopfner, First Prize
Madeline Hildebrand, Second Prize
Edward Enman, Third Prize
Brandon, May 6 – Pianist Everett Hopfnerof Ste. Rose du Lac, MB, was declared the winner of the 36th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition yesterday afternoon.
The 24-year old wowed the crowd with a recital that included a performance of Jerome Kitzke’s “Sunflower Sutra,” based on the poem by Allen Ginsberg, in which Hopfner had to speak, scream, laugh, sing, and drum on the piano.
“I really felt like I was able to convey my personality in each of the pieces today. I feel like every single scrap of energy I had, I left on the stage,” said Hopfner. “The results you have no control over. My priority was just to play to the very best of my ability. And today when I walked off the stage, I felt that I had done that, and I was thrilled…and I was tired. Very happy and very tired. It was a workout.”
“Today is the result of so many years of hard work—not just from me, but also from the people who’ve always been there to support me. I had such great training at Brandon University with Professor Megumi Masaki. She’s the person who really got me hooked into this music.”
Hopfner receives $10,000, a recital and three-week residency with the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy, and a Canadian recital tour in the fall.
This win marks the first time a Manitoban has ever taken top prize in the E-Gré Competition in piano.
“It’s particularly meaningful that a Manitoban and one of our esteemed graduates of the School of Music won first prize. I’m absolutely thrilled for Everett,” said Michael Kim, dean of the School of Music and vice chair of the E-Gré Competition board.
“The level of musicianship and artistry at this year’s E-Gré Competition was extraordinary. I can’t recall having been more inspired or awed by the general level, both of the performers and the jury members and I think it bodes well for the future of piano in Canada,” said Kim. “They’ve all got a brilliant future.”
The jury included internationally acclaimed concert pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Douglas Finch, as well as Brigitte Poulin, a co-founder of Ensemble Transmission, based in Montreal. T. Patrick Carrabré was jury chair.
“We found a winner who is experienced with new music repertoire; he has a deep interest in it. He studied scores from different countries in order to build such an interesting programme,” Poulin said. “He’s a figure of the future. He will collaborate and develop friendships with composers and I think he’s a great ambassador for the competition.”
Every year, a new work is commissioned for the competitors and this year’s compulsory piece was “Hallucinations” by Winnipeg composer Randolph Peters.
“I really enjoyed hearing the different versions of my piece,” said Peters. “I love what the performers brought to it. Sometimes you find a performer doing things that you never imagined somebody would do with it and then you have to evaluate–does this work or not? Sometimes I didn’t think they worked, but that’s OK, that’s part of their artistic presentation of it. There’s only so much you can say in notation, it only goes so far, and the rest has to be the spirit. And you hope that the spirit of the music that you’re trying to get at comes through somehow.”
The City of Brandon prize of $1000 is awarded for the best performance of the commissioned work. This year’s prizewinner was Madeline Hildebrand of Winnipeg, who also placed second in the competition overall, which garnered her another $5,000. Edward Enman of Halifax took the third prize of $3,000.
Five pianists from across the country participated in the three-day E-Gré event, held in the Lorne Watson Recital ofthe BU School of Music.
The first and second prize winners have been friends for many years. “I’m really grateful to be a prize winner, but equally valuable are the lasting connections you make with people,” Hopfner said. “Because the new music community is vibrant and it’s wonderful, and to walk out of here with three new friendships is really special to me.”
Hopfner was thrilled with the number of people who turned out to hear him perform. “I was really touched by the support of the community. I’ve been out of town now for almost three years, studying in Germany, so to come here and have this reception, seeing so many familiar faces that I didn’t expect would come out for this, really made me feel like the local contestant. It just shows you what kind of a community Brandon really is.”
“It’s been a very special weekend for me; I’ve loved every minute of it. ”
Nova Scotian advances to the E-Gré finals
Brandon, May 4 – The three pianists who will compete in the finals of the 36th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (Piano) are Edward Enman, Madeline Hildebrand, and Everett Hopfner.
Twenty-five year old Edward Enman is a pianist and a composer, who has had works premiered by choirs across the country. At the age of 17, he won the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s Young Composers’ Competition and in 2010, he won the Halifax Camerata Singers’ Young Composers’ Competition. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Edward is a collaborative pianist and répétiteur with Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, as well as the Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir. He has his Master of Music from the University of Ottawa and his Bachelor of Music from Acadia University. If Edward were to win, it would mark the first time somebody from the Maritimes has taken the top spot at an E-Gré Competition in piano.
“I’m very excited to be representing the East Coast. It’s an honour to be able to play on Sunday. It’s been a wonderful weekend so far, such great perfomers. It’s a really well-organized festival. I’m really happy being surrounded by such incredible music, that doesn’t get performed that frequently, played by really great musicians. One of the pieces I’ll be playing [in my finals recital] is by a composer based in Halifax—Dinuk Wijeratne. He’s the conductor of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and, amongst other things, he’s a very talented pianist.”
Madeline Hildebrand of Winnipeg has performed premiers at Manitoba’s Cluster Festival, toured across the prairies in a house concert series, and appeared at the Eastern European Cultural Festival in Romania. In 2012, she won the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg McLellan Competition for Solo Performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She has her Master of Music from the University of British Columbia, studying with Jane Coop, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Manitoba. Upcoming performances include Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for the WSO’s Soundbytes series in 2014.
Everett Hopfner of Ste. Rose du Lac, Manitoba, has recently completed graduate studies at the in Frankfurt am Main, studying with Catherine Vickers. Everett is a soloist and chamber musician in the Frankfurt area. He has performed George Crumb’s Vox Balaenae in the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History, with speakers set amongst the whale skeletons. He’s played across Germany with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, and he has recently developing a new work for prepared piano with the Iranian composer Seyed Sina Sadeghpour. Everett has his Bachelor of Music from Brandon University. In 2010, he was a semi-finalist at the E-Gré Competition, when he won the audience choice prize.
The E-Gré Competition finals will take place May 5 from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall in the School of Music at Brandon University. Edward Enman will be performing Poetry of Squares by Dinuk Wijeratne, as well as pieces by Oskar Morawetz, György Ligeti, and Philip Glass. Madeline Hildebrand will be performing Phobos and Deimos, Circling by Jocelyn Morlock and works by Denis Gougeon, Rodney Sharman, and Samuel Barber. Everett Hopfner will be performing Jerome Kitzke’s Sunflower Sutra, as well as pieces by Kotoka Suzuki and Nicole Lizée. All the finalists will perform Hallucinations by Randolph Peters, which was commissioned for this year’s competition.
The winner will receive $10,000, a Canadian recital tour, and a three-week residency at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $3,000. The City of Brandon Prize of $1,000 honours the best performance of the commissioned work, Hallucinations.
For more information please contact the Eckhardt-Gramatté (E-Gré) Competition Office:
Aimee Coueslan, Administrative Officer
More News on the:
myWestman.com: May 13th, 2013
Ste. Rose product takes home top prize at national music competition
Paris Star: March 13th, 2013
Pianist named semi-finalist in national music competition
March 28th, 2013
Ontario premiere of original works “Music” and “Then Shall I Leap Into Love”
February 18th, 2013
The 36th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (Piano) has just announced the names of the six pianists who will compete in the 2013 semi-finals in May. They are: Pierre-André Doucet, Montréal, QC (from Moncton, NB); Edward Enman, Halifax, NS; Madeline Hildebrand, Winnipeg, MB; Everett Hopfner, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (from Ste. Rose du Lac, MB); Nicole Linaksita, North Vancouver, BC; Maggie Morrison, Cleveland Heights, OH (from Paris, ON).
Everett Hopfner—a Brandon University graduate, a 2010 E-Gré Competition semi-finalist, and winner of the 2010 audience choice prize–said he’s honoured to be returning to Brandon in 2013. He added, “It’s exciting to meet other young Canadian pianists who share my interest in and love for contemporary music.”
Winnipegger Madeline Hildebrand also expressed anticipation at meeting some fellow ambassadors of contemporary music. She’s well-acquainted with the competition as well: “As a Manitoban who followed the E-Gré competition from a young age, I would come to Brandon and be wowed by the semi finalists and finalists. This year I am honoured and thrilled to be a part of the excitement as a competitor.”
The semi-finalists will perform recitals at Brandon University’s School of Music on May 3, 2013. Based on these, three finalists will be selected to perform their final-round recitals on May 5, 2013. The semi-final and final recitals must consist of music composed after 1950 and must be fifty percent Canadian music. They must also include the 2013 commissioned work, Hallucinations by Randolph Peters of Winnipeg, MB. The winner is announced on May 5, 2013 after the final round.
The E-Gré Competition focuses on Canadian contemporary music and exceptional performance. This year, the cash prizes have doubled: the first prize includes a cash award of $10,000, a Canadian recital tour (which provides an additional ca. $5,000 in artist fees for the winner), and a three-week residency at Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy. A second cash prize of $5,000 and a third prize of $3,000 are also awarded. The City of Brandon Prize of $1000 honours the best performance of the annual commissioned work.
Created as a tribute to composer and pianist/violinist S. C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, the competition is open only to Canadian musicians between the ages of 18 and 30. Held annually at the Brandon University School of Music on the first weekend in May, it alternates between piano (2013), voice (2014), and strings (2015). Past E-Gré Competition prizewinners include Ben Heppner, Gwen Hoebig, Desmond Hoebig, and Annalee Patipatanakoon.
The jurors for the recorded preliminary round of the competition, which took place in November 2012, were Louise Bessette (First prize, E-Gré Competition, 1981), Winston Choi, and James Parker (Gryphon Trio; First prize, E-Gré Competition, 1984). Jurors for the semi-finals and final rounds will be Jon Kimura Parker (First Prize, E-Gré Competition, 1978) and Douglas Finch (Second prize, E-Gré Competition, 1976). Jon Kimura Parker and Douglas Finch will be performing this year’s gala concert on May 4, 2013.
The 2013 Competition gratefully acknowledges the support of RBC Emerging Artists Project, the Canada Council for the Arts, Brandon University and the E-Gré Development Fund, the Manitoba Arts Council, the SOCAN Foundation, Investors Group, the City of Brandon, CBC Radio-Canada, and many corporate and private donors.
February 1st, 2013
Women’s choir premieres three new works
January 31st, 2013
Memory, loss and legacy Unraveled
Xara knits music, dance and story in a moving new show
By Kate Watson
I would never presume to critique choral music. I don’t know the whys and hows of what makes it good or bad. But that being said, one doesn’t need to be an expert to recognize that the Camerata Xara Young Woman’s Choir makes very beautiful music, and that their new show Unraveled is brilliant on many levels.
The show (for it is a show, complete with a uniting theme, three different stories, a narrative arc, music—both choral and instrumental—and stylized movement and dance) pays tribute to the beauty and pain of memory, loss and legacy.
The first set of three songs is a joyful celebration of women who have left their mark. It begins with a tinge of sadness in Ysaye Barnwell’s “Wanting Memories”, a song about searching for beauty after loss, but transitions into the gorgeously uplifting “You are the New Day” and “One Voice”.
The next set is called “Pull”, and it tells the story through song and dance of a widow who takes tentative steps towards emerging from her grief. The music includes Debussy’s dreamy “Les Angelus” and Jeff Enns’ haunting benediction “Da Pecem”.
The last set, “Reverberation”, is an artful knitting of music and text that explores the ripples of grief caused by a young woman’s death. It is a powerful piece that includes the gorgeous “voices” of the cello and piano, and I can only say that it touches the heart. Kleenex is required.
Unraveled will premiere at St. Matthew’s United Church, 1479 Barrington St., Halifax on February 1 at 8 pm. Tickets are available online at www.xara.ca or by calling 902-877-5550
January 28th, 2013
Arts in Brief: “Women’s choir premieres three new works Friday”
Unraveled: New Works of Memory & Loss
Weaving strands of memory through story and song, acclaimed choral theatre ensemble Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir will present Unraveled, a collection of three new works premiering on February 1 in Halifax. Co-created by Xara’s artistic duo Christina Murray and Claire Leger, each piece delves into the rich experiences of memory, loss, and legacy, and features contemporary choral music, movement, and spoken word.
The first of the three pieces, Wanting Memories, inspired by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell’s song of the same name, explores the legacy of inspirational women who have mentored Xara performers. Spoken text intertwines with joyful choral pieces, including “One Voice” by Canadian folk group The Wailin’ Jennys. The second piece, titled Pull, is a fifteen minute work that features music by Claude Debussy, Spanish composer Eva Ugalde, and noted Canadian composer Jeff Enns. Set in the early 1900s, this piece uses the image of a tolling Angelus bell to tell the story of a woman’s grief, and features three solo dancers who move together to create a dynamic visual landscape.
The third piece of the evening will feature a beautiful dialogue between women’s voices, piano, and cello. Reverberations tells the story of a young woman diagnosed with terminal illness and her community’s struggle to let go. Embodied by cellist Claire Gallant, the young woman’s voice is heard only through the strings of the cello. This moving and innovative new work also features collaborative pianist and composer Edward Enman, whose haunting piano soundscape melds with the voices of Xara and text written by Claire Leger.
Unraveled will premiere at St. Matthew’s United Church, 1479 Barrington St., Halifax on February 1 at 8 pm. Tickets are available online at www.xara.ca or by calling 902-877-5550.
January 27th, 2012
uOttawa presents: Don Giovanni
Another Success for UOttawa Opera Company!
By Shelagh Williams
Continuing with its ever improving quality of production, the latest University of Ottawa Opera Company (UOOC) performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni played to sold-out houses of savvy opera lovers, even turning people away!
Sandra Graham once again showed how clever a director she is, making the most of limited resources to create an endlessly entertaining and lively piece. By using clear and witty English recitatives to move the story along, she kept the audience with her and the story, without sacrificing Mozart’s beautiful arias. She updated the story to North America near the end of the last century, with Don Giovanni a typical successful American politician. He was a smooth, wealthy and notorious ladies’ man who filled the overture busily with his victory press conference! Before black curtains, and using little more than a podium and her signature
chaise lounge and sofa table, she employed a mainly black and white palette for the modern day costumes of the upper crust. In contrast, Leporello and Don Giovanni’s mute Director of Security were in matching tan Burberrys, Masetto was dressed nattily in red shirt and white tie, and the masked ball goers were in various brightly coloured costumes from the Ottawa Orpheus Society. In true American fashion, every ball goer also had a pistol to threaten Don Giovanni, but of course he still escaped! Rennie Regehr conducted the UOttawa Chamber Orchestra expertly, and also entered into some of the fun of the staging.
The opera was double cast and at the final performance, which we went to hear, the title role was sung by the multi-talented Christian Paquette, who is also an excellent flutist and a budding conductor. Christian embodied Don Giovanni: tall, good looking, an excellent actor, and with a pleasant, light baritone voice with which we were not disappointed. In this quality production guitarist Marlene Demers Lemay accompanied Don Giovanni’s lovely serenade, and harpsichordist Edward Enman nicely handled the recits. The Don’s three loves in this case were winningly and winsomely interpreted by excellent sopranos Rachel Jewell as the Commander’s daughter Donna Anna, Claire Hafner looking every inch the famous movie star Donna Elvira, and Janelle Lapalme in white as the young starlet bride-to-be Zerlina. As the fiancés, tenor Anthony Boxell sang his aria nicely in the thankless role of Don Ottavio, and baritone Nathaniel Ball was lively as Zerlina’s agent and boyfriend Masetto. The graveyard scene was especially well done, with the Commander, bass Hyung Song, a statue on his gravestone, accompanied by two female statues who changed poses humourously to relieve any gloom, and then accompanied him to Don Giovanni’s for the final scene: curtains (literally!) for Don Giovanni, supplied by them!
Leporello, the Don’s sidekick, is very important in this opera, and in bass Joel Allison we had an excellent exponent, his voice and acting skills portraying his many emotions, and giving us a lovely catalogue aria. It is always interesting to see fresh young singers in UOOC’s operas – the last Don Giovanni they did included a precocious young 17-year old high schooler named Phillippe Sly as a dashing Masetto, long before winning our BLOC and the MET! Now that the operas are accompanied by an orchestra and are staged in the Alumni Theatre, their quality make them well worth watching – just be sure to get your tickets in good time!
Sara Brooks will conduct the 24-voice Capital Chamber Choir Friday April 8 in American composer Morten Lauridsen’s 1997 piece Lux Aeterna and music by Thomas Tallis and Canadian composer Eleanor Daley, Ottawa composer Edward Enman and others.
“The program takes us from darkness into light,” says Brooks, who founded the ensemble in 2009.
“We begin in the darkness, with three settings of the solemn text, Drop, drop, slow tears, by Orlando Gibbons, Eleanor Daley and Jeff Enns. We spend the remainder of the evening basking in light,” says Brooks, who describes Lauridsen’s five-movement Lux Aeterna as a masterpiece. Organist James Calkin will accompany the choir in the Lauridsen piece.
Though originally scored for choir and full orchestra, the organ score was created shortly after the first performance.
“James has brought the orchestral colours to life and we are very grateful for his time and energy on this project,” says Brooks, who studied music at Acadia University and the University of Ottawa and is director of music at All Saints’ Anglican Church. She is also assistant chorusmaster to Laurence Ewashko for the Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus.
The members of the Capital Chamber Choir come from a range of professions, but several members are University of Ottawa music graduates or current students. The choir has a strong commitment to Canadian pieces, but it also performs repertoire from other countries.
In an e-mail, Brooks told me that ”one of the great things about Lauridsen’s choral works is his distinct harmonic language. He frequently makes use of close harmonies and clusters (2nds, 9ths) which creates a very definite choral colour. This colour is most certainly Lauridsen’s own compositional voice…. This five-movement work sets ancient Latin texts (the Requiem mass as its basis) to Lauridsen’s modern harmonies. Our listeners who appreciate a little balance will enjoy the opening “Introitus” and closing “Agnus Dei – Lux Aeterna”, which make use of the same themes and compositional techniques. In both of these movements Lauridsen alternates unision chant themes with dense hymn-like settings. He also creates contrast and dialogue by alternating between male and female voices.
An exciting element in rehearsing and preparing this work is the combination of Lauridsen’s harmonies with the Latin language. The pure vowels combined with harmonic clusters, allows for a “shimmering” choral effect, which may in fact bring our audience closer to understanding that image of “Lux aeterna” (eternal light). Add to this the colours of the organ accompaniment, and one is presented with a unique musical and perhaps spiritual experience.”
The concert will also include settings of Veni Sancte Spiritus by T. L. de Victoria and Canadian composer Mark Sirett, Stephen Chatman’s Lux Aeterna and the premiere of We Want to Smile, by choir member Edward Enman.
“ It has been a joy to work with Edward in preparing this piece. Our ensemble has experienced a great collaboration with this local composer, who also happens to be one of our own. We are thrilled to be premiering it with him.” Brooks says.
The concert starts at 8 p.m., April 8, at First Baptist Church, Laurier Avenue at Elgin Street. Tickets at the door are $20 general, $12 students. Tickets purchased in advance are $15 and $10, available at The Leading Note (370 Elgin St.), Information: www.capitalchamberchoir.ca
Nova Scotia does it again!
Edward Enman, a versatile and accomplished musician from Kentville, has won the 2010 Halifax Camerata Singers Young Composer’s Competition.
His winning composition, Then Shall I Leap Into Love, uses text from a poem by medieval mystic Mechthild de Magdeburg. The choral work will be premiered by the Halifax Camerata Singers at a concert May 28.
Enman began studying piano with Jane Murphy at age four. The son of Jennie and Steven Enman, he attended Northeast Kings Education Centre and in 2009 graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Music degree.
Now 23, he is enrolled in the Master of Music program at the University of Ottawa where he studies piano performance with David Jalbert. Enman also accompanies the university’s Calixa Lavallée Chamber Choir.
Enman worked with Nova Scotia choirs as a singer and pianist for many years. A member of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir (2004–08), he was Nova Scotia’s tenor representative with the National Youth Choir of Canada in 2008 and 2010. While a student at Acadia he took part in the Halifax Camerata Singers’ Youth Mentoring program and worked with both the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and Acadia University Chorus.
He also has been successful as a composer. His piece Good Times (Yellow) won the high school category in the Vancouver Chamber Choir 2005 Young Composers Competition, and in 2009 his piece Music was a finalist in competitions sponsored by VCC and the Canadian Chamber Choir. His choral works have been performed by Annapolis Valley Honour Choir, the choir of the Nova Scotia Choral Federation’s Youth Choir Camp, and Novus Chamber Choir. He is currently working collaboratively with the Capital Chamber Choir on a new piece, we want to smile, which will be premiered in Ottawa in April 2011.
Enman is the second Nova Scotian to win Camerata’s national Young Composers Competition. The jury comprised composer and 2011 Juno Award nominee Peter Togni, Halifax; Acadia University School of Music Director Jeff Hennessy, Wolfville; Camerata Artistic Director Jeff Joudrey, Truro; and Camerata Xara conductor Christina Murray, Halifax.
Halifax Camerata Singers is Atlantic Canada’s leading chamber choir. The choir frequently commissions choral music from Canadian and international composers, and encourages young singers through its Youth Mentoring Program, Nova Scotia Youth Choir bursaries, the Young Composer’s Competition, and Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir.