AKAM applauds Michèle Wheatley-Brown and the High River Gift of Music Society for fighting obstacles head on to keep their concert season running. After the devastating flood that hit the region last June, Artistic and Executive Director Michèle Wheatley-Brown thought they would have to cancel the season, but then reconsidered, stating, " this is really, really important that we do this for our community because we’re going to fall apart if we don’t have something other than a flood meeting to come together for.” The High River Gift of Music Series has presented three successful concerts this season since September in the beautiful High River United Church, and has an exciting line up of performances scheduled throughout the coming months. They are a series that is committed to bringing excellent classical music to their community and providing an 'unstuffy' atmosphere in which to enjoy live performances.
AKAM is honoured to have Jane Coop and Guy & Nadina Duo performing in the High River Gift of Music series this season. We have the highest of hopes for the Alberta communities affected by this flood, and it is inspiring to see the perseverance of a community's dedication to the performing arts.
BAX & CHUNG RELEASE THEIR FIRST DUO CD! November, 2013
Outstanding pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung have joined forces once again and have recorded an extraordinary CD on the Signum Classics label. This self titled, dance-themed album is to be released on November 19th, 2013 and includes Stravinsky’s original four-hand version of his complete ballet Pétrouchka, Johannes Brahms's Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39 and selection of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla’s tangos –Lo que vendrá, Milonga del angel, Tango No. 2 and Libertango.
This new album is a fantastic addition to the world of piano duo music. The tangos are Bax & Chung’s own original arrangements, which also include some improvisation. Bax says, “Every new performance of these tangos is different from the previous one, and to us this is a very unique and exciting experience.” Chung adds, “I think our love for each other comes through with these tangos, and people have said that it really looks like we’re dancing together.”
Alessio Bax describes this unique experience best by saying, “Playing piano four hands is really special because it’s incredibly intimate. If you can imagine, it’s the only forum where you are actually sharing the same instrument. So you have to know each other so well, and each other’s intention.”
Bax & Chung just completed a quick Ontario tour with dates in Toronto, Perth and Ottawa and will continue touring the repertoire from this album in the coming months.
At a special awards dinner held during Ontario Contact 2013 industry conference in Kitchener, four members of the Ontario touring sector received awards recognizing their contribution to the sector.
The Ontario Contact Awards were started as a way to not only recognize the exceptional work of so many of our presenters, artists and agents, but to help us all to better understand and appreciate our colleagues. The process is a combination of accepting nominations from the field and ones put forward by the Steering Committee. In determining the winners, thought was given to the impact that the individual or organization has had on the Ontario touring sector in particular but also beyond. Although they are recognized within a particular year, often the winners are chosen because of their work over several years. Those being recognized have done extraordinary things, often impacting others and/or influencing the sector in significant ways.
This year, Agent of the Year was awarded to the Andrew Kwan, who was recognized for his commitment to all artists, as a mentor and to the Ontario presenting communities.
Kwan stated about the award, "I am completely honoured for the recognition. As an agent, we are fortunate to be a vital part of the ecology in providing the arts to our communities. We all must continue to work together since every part of this industry is relevant to the betterment of our society. Thank you to Cheryl Ewing, the selection committee, and to Ontario Contact for this wonderful award. "
THE GRYPHON TRIO AWARDED THE WALTER CARSEN PRIZE! November, 2013
Bravo to the two-time JUNO Award winning Gryphon Trio who have been chosen to receive The Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts for 2013! The award, in the amount of $30,000 was award to the trio, consisting of violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker, who will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. The formal presentation of the award will be presented at their annual Toronto performance on December 5, under the auspices of Music Toronto at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
The peer assessment committee for The 2013 Walter Carsen Prize noted that, “The Gryphon Trio certainly lives up to the mythological characteristics of their name. Stability is the bedrock of these three exceptional musicians who think, breathe and act as one. Theirs is a powerful and majestic sound, regardless of musical genre.”
The Walter Carsen Prize, administered and presented by the Canada Council for the Arts, recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by Canadian artists who have spent the major part of their career in Canada in dance, theatre or music. The award was created through a generous donation of $1.1 million to the Canada Council by the late Toronto businessman and philanthropist Walter Carsen. The prize is awarded annually on a four‑year cycle: dance, theatre, dance, music.
The Gryphon Trio was nominated by Lesley Robertson, a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University.