Leaf Music is pleased to announce that Canadian cello duo VC2 is joining the label’s roster.
Comprised of cellists Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt, CBC Radio describes VC2 as “a tight unit, with excellent intonation and expression.” They present artistically challenging, yet accessible programs in venues ranging from intimate cabarets to Roy Thomson Hall.
As respected cellists, they have performed as part of leading music organizations including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Soundstreams, Art of Time Ensemble, Continuum Contemporary Music, New Music Concerts, Music in the Barns, Thin Edge New Music Collective, and others.
“We are delighted to welcome VC2 Cello Duo to our roster. Bryan and Amahl are known for their virtuosic energy and playfulness on stage. Moreover, their growing reputation as new music champions makes them an excellent fit for Leaf Music and our shared goal of sharing top-tier Canadian artists and composers with the world. It’s a privilege for Leaf Music to work with this talented duo to present brand new music from composers Laura Sgroi, Kati Agócs, Chris Paul Harman, Vincent Ho, Youell Domenico, Jocelyn Morlock and Kelly-Marie Murphy.” – Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
Leaf Music is looking forward to VC2 Cello Duo’s first project with the label set to be released in the fall of 2022.
August 18, 2021 (Halifax, NS) – Halifax based classical record label Leaf Music is pleased to announce that Canadian quartet Rosebud String Quartet is joining the label’s roster. Comprised of principal players from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada, the RSQ is one of Canada’s most exciting young string quartets with a unique voice and a special love for the music of Joseph Haydn.
The Rosebud String Quartet (violinists Aaron Schwebel and Sheila Jaffé, violist Keith Hamm, and cellist Leana Rutt) was formed in 2013 in Rosebud, Alberta at the inaugural Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, an annual summertime chamber music showcase in the Alberta Badlands. The RSQ performs regularly in series across Canada, including Stratford Summer Music Festival, Xenia Concerts, Stereo Live, Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Chamber Music Series, Echo Chamber Toronto, Pocket Concerts, and Music Mondays. The quartet was recently featured in CBC Radio 2 ‘In Concert’.
The Rosebud String Quartet’s first release with Leaf Music will be in the spring of 2022. The album will feature the Franz Haydn String Quartets Op. 77, No. 1 & 2, and Mozart Viola Quintet, K. 614.The ensemble will be joined by world-renowned Canadian violist Steven Dann for the Mozart.
In addition to recording their debut album, the ensemble has had a full slate of performances booked throughout Canada for the summer of 2021 including Toronto Summer Music Festival, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, Sweetwater Music Festival, and the Rosebud Chamber Music Festival.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Rosebud String Quartet to our roster. They are four of the top young chamber musicians in Canada and we are delighted to be part of their upcoming album. Their musicianship and passion will continue to connect with music listeners in concert halls and streaming platforms alike in the years to come. It’s a privilege for Leaf Music to help bring their music to the world.” – Jeremy VanSlyke, owner – Leaf Music
Halifax, NS; March 9, 2021 – Calgary based professional choir, Luminous Voices are thrilled to be nominated for a JUNO award. Announced earlier today during the official press conference, the ensemble received their first JUNO nomination for Classical Album of the Year: Vocalor Choral for their album, Sea Dreams. This celebration is just in time for the announcement of their upcoming album, Artem Vedel, set to be released May 7, 2021 through Halifax-based label Leaf Music.
“We are thrilled and deeply honoured to be nominated in this very special 50th anniversary year of the JUNOS!! To be recognized among other vocal/choral luminaries during this difficult COVID-19 year means the world to us.” – Dr. Timothy Shantz, Founder & Artistic Director
Sea Dreams features the work of the same title by Canadian composer Peter-Anthony Togni. “Sea Dreams” is written for double mixed choirs and two flutes and features two top Canadian flutists Sara Hahn-Scinocco and Sarah MacDonald. The piece was commissioned by Luminous Voices and Sara Hahn-Scinocco with the support from the Canada Council for the Arts and Paul and Elwyn Brown, and was premiered on February 25, 2018 at the Bella Concert Hall, Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.
“Sea Dreams is a work that reflects my relationship to the ocean and my thoughts about a journey of faith, a journey full of questions, fears, longings, hopes, dreams, and the gifts of disappointment,” says Halifax-based composer Peter-Anthony Togni. “Each choir represents a ship on the water. Getting into a boat or on a ship is a kind of leap of faith: we can only pray and trust that the journey will be successful.”
Sea Dreams also includes other works by Togni, including Totus Tuus, Requiem et Lux, Earth Voices, Psaume 98, and more. Guest artists include bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly, soprano Katie Partridge, and tenor Oliver Munar.
Roots, the second full-length album from woodwind quintet Ventus Machina, is set to be released February 12, 2021 through Halifax-based label Leaf Music. Reflecting what has become the strong artistic voice of Ventus Machina, the music has been chosen by the ensemble to represent both their musical heritage and current musical influences. The track list includes eleven arrangements by Ventus Machina’s clarinetist James Kalyn, among them Canadian folk hits by Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchel and Gordon Lightfoot, upbeat tunes by local bluegrass legend Ray Legere, and traditional songs.
Also included in the track list is a new original work by Andrew Creeggan based on Celtic tunes, where the composer uses extended instrumentation—English Horn, alto and bass flute, and bass clarinet—to add to the colours of the woodwind quintet. Guests on the album include Ray Legere, Andrew George, Joël Cormier, Christian “Kit” Goguen and the Atlantic String Machine.Ventus Machina is a New Brunswick based classical woodwind quintet that makes regular excursions into other genres, challenging its members and often surprising audiences while staying true to their classical roots. Ventus Machina’s flexible and dynamic style of performance – presenting themed programs that at once engage, entertain, and educate – has attracted and delighted audiences since the group began in 2011. In the Weeds, the group’s first full-length CD, was released in September 2017. It was nominated for two East Coast Music Awards and opened the door for the group to be named Classical Artist of the Year 2018 by MusicNB.
Roots, le second album du quintette à vent Ventus Machina, sera lancé le 12 février 2021 sous étiquette Leaf Music, basée à Halifax. Représentant la vraie personnalité de Ventus Machina, la musique a été choisie par les membres de l’ensemble par qu’elle illustre à la fois leurs influences et héritages musicaux. L’album inclut onze arrangements du clarinettiste de Ventus Machina, James Kalyn, dont des succès canadiens de Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchel et Gordon Lightfoot, des mélodies enlevantes de la légende locale bluegrass Ray Legere et des pièces traditionnelles.
L’album contient également une œuvre originale d’Andrew Creeggan, basée sur des mélodies celtes, dans laquelle le compositeur fait usage d’une instrumentation élargie – cor anglais, flûtes alto et basse et clarinette basse – pour ajouter de la couleur au quintette à vent. Les artistes invités Ray Legere, Andrew George, Joël Cormier, Christian “Kit” Goguen et Atlantic String Machine sont également présents sur l’album.
Ventus Machina, quintette à vent de formation classique basé au Nouveau-Brunswick, fait des excursions régulières dans d’autres genres, se mettant au défi et surprenant souvent le public sans jamais sacrifier ses racines classiques. Ses performances flexibles et dynamiques, souvent thématiques, mais toujours engageantes, divertissantes et éducatives, ont fait le plaisir du public depuis la fondation du groupe en 2011. In the Weeds, leur premier album, lancé en septembre 2017, a reçu deux nominations aux East Coast Music Awards et ouvert la porte au groupe pour être nommé Artiste classique de l’année 2018 par MusiqueNB.
For over 30 years the Saint John String Quartet [SJSQ] has stood among Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles. The stylistic and energetic troupe is highly sought after for special collaborations within different musical genres – a reflection of their versatility and flexibility. From their sixth recording Canadian Hits: Unplugged, the ensemble takes us on a visual journey through Stan Rogers iconic “Northwest Passage”.
Through the depths of a lush forest canopy to the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Fundy, video director – Lauchlan Ough highlights the beauty of New Brunswick, Canada perfectly while SJSQ effortlessly serenades us with one of Canada’s best-known folk songs. The music is fittingly paired with the dramatic nature landscape filmed at Minister’s Face Nature Reserve overlooking the Kennebecasis River and the wide-open coastline of the Bay of Fundy. All being captured at dawn and dusk and creatively paralleled with the dense harmonic climaxes and expressions of the music.
Saint John String Quartet (violinists David Adams and Danielle Sametz, violist Christopher Buckley and cellist Sonja Adams) has stood among Canada’s leading chamber music ensembles for over 30 years. Renowned for their flexibility, SJSQ is equally comfortable collaborating with blues artists and rock superstars as with its own performances of Classical masterworks.
SJSQ performs over 125 concerts annually and serves as musicians-in-residence for Symphony New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick. They have performed for many heads of state and at prestigious venues in Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and in October 2019, South America.
Credited with numerous recordings including their sixth and most recent Canadian Hits: Unplugged. Previous albums have earned a Juno nomination (Classical Composition of the Year) and won an East Coast Music Award (Best Classical Album of the Year) and a Music NB award (Best Album of the Year). Their albums feature innovative works and under-appreciated classical gems.
Recognized for many ground-breaking achievements, including their profound contributions to musical development in New Brunswick, the SJSQ presented the first chamber music concert ever broadcast online.
SAINT JOHN STRING QUARTET Follow SJSQ on FACEBOOK WATCH AND SHARE“NORTHWEST PASSAGE”HERE
In honour of Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburgerpresents Chamber Symphonies Nos.1&2, featuring Ensemble Caprice and l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal. While confronting serious and challenging themes, these works are imbued with hope and optimism.
Jaap Nico Hamburger is the Composer in Residence with Mécénat Musica in Montréal. His compositions include commissions from Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and an original contribution for the project ‘400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music’. He was recently commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, to be premiered by Lavinia Meijer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021. Other commissions include works for Discovery Channel, and broadcasting companies in the UK and the Netherlands. He is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer, President and CEO, Orange Music Inc., a Vancouver music production company; and, a former member of the Board of Directors of City Opera Vancouver.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he started his musical education at the age of three, and studied piano with Ruben Lifschitz, Alexandre Hrisanide and Youri Egorov. He graduated from the Royal Sweelinck Conservatorium of Music, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with a soloist degree in piano. He has lived in Canada since August 2000. This release follows the August 21, 2020 release of Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto, on Leaf Music.
Chamber Symphony No. 1 “Remember to Forget” Ensemble Caprice under the direction of Matthias Maute Produced by: Martha de Francisco Recorded in studio: Église St-Augustin, Mirabel, QC (17/11/2019 – 18/11/2019)
“Remember to Forget” is a phrase from Tenach, The Old Testament. The sentence alludes to the notion that doubt (“I should have…I could have…”), rather than being critical (“Where can I improve?”), is inherently self-destructive. We are not necessarily in control of the outcome of events, but that should not deter us from working hard and striving for the best, all toward the positives in life. “Remember to Forget” is a tone poem, using the colours and structures of sound to advance that story, inspired by the biography of György Ligeti (1923-2006).This symphony in two movements is an apostrophe to one of the great musical minds of the age. Ligeti’s own influences stretched back to the 15th century and the richness of polyphony, from folk inspirations and a drenched chromaticism through to jazz and polyrhythm of every description. His work is best known through the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey. This work is a metaphor of a train journey, moving from youth to catastrophe, and through survival to rebuilding, forgiveness, and ultimately to the lessons of the biblical Joseph: to live, work, build, create, and love to the best of your abilities, under all circumstances, every day.
Chamber Symphony No. 2 “Children’s War Diaries” l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under the direction of Vincent de Kort Produced by:Misha Aster Recorded live at the Violins of Hope concert: Maison symphonique de Montréal (02/11/2019)
“Children’s War Diaries” Five diaries of teenagers who were murdered during the Second World War inspired this piece. These children did not survive, but their diaries did. Twenty years after reading these diaries, composer Jaap Hamburger’s 89-year-old mother, Jannie Moffie-Bolle, published her autobiography “Een hemel zonder vogels” (“A sky without birds”). She too was a teenager at the outbreak of the Nazi war in Europe. The book, among other things, describes her experiences in multiple Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2010, Jaap travelled with her to Israel on the occasion of the presentation of her book at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem. The architecture of the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem is uniquely sobering. It memorializes 1.5 million murdered children, approximately 95% of all Jewish children ages 0-18 years old in occupied Europe. This staggering number is what led Raphael Lemkin to introduce the term “genocide” in his 1944 landmark publication, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. When Jaap – overwhelmed by the starkness of the Children’s Memorial – had left the building and stepped into the blazing Jerusalem sunlight, the contours of a new symphonic work came to mind, virtually complete. The composer went home and wrote it down. “Children’s War Diaries” is a symphony for chamber orchestra in five short movements.
Jaap Nico Hamburger: Chamber Symphonies Nos.1&2 Release date: Nov 6, 2020 Listen Now HERE
Breathing in the Shadows is the debut album from Iranian-Canadian composer, Saman Shahi, set to be released September 25, 2020 through Halifax-based label, Leaf Music. The album includes three song cycles, two of which are based on poetry by women from across the globe. The title cycle, “Breathing in the Shadows” tells stories of oppression through alienation, resistance, and self-actualization. Resonating with many communities that historically have lived through the experiences of these struggles, the poems have an inherent musicality, evocative imagery, and a powerful message of unity and hope. The poets represented in this cycle are Forough Farrokhzad (Iran), Carilda Oliver Labra (Cuba), Dora Gabe (Bulgaria), Zhai Yongming (China), and Titilope Sonuga (Nigeria). “Breathing in the Shadows” features Maureen Batt – Soprano and Tara Scott – Piano. This cycle was commissioned by Maureen Batt with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and premièred through the recital series Crossing Borders.
The second cycle “Orbit” is a work commissioned by tenor Fabián Arciniegas , set to the poetry of Serbian-Canadian Jelena Ćirić. Winner of the inaugural Canadian Amateur Musicians’ Association (CAMMAC) composition competition in 2019. Set within three movements, the poetry highlights the murky areas of human relationships, uncertainties and inner battles we all experience while interacting with others. “Orbit” features Fabián Arciniegas – Tenor and Tara Scott – Piano.
In the third song cycle “Songs of a Wandering Soul,” Saman explores his musical identity rooted in his Western Classical training, minimalism, Contemporary Art music, Progressive Rock, Jazz and Iranian traditional music. The music leaps back and forth between these worlds much like an immigrant trying to figure out a new place to belong. The poetry used in this cycle is drawn from Shahi’s teenage years where he was trying to navigate his new life in Canada with words in the early days of blogging. The work displaces the pulse constantly to create an inner sense of groove that changes from measure to measure. “Songs of a Wandering Soul” features Tiffany Hanus – Soprano, Saman Shahi – Piano, Peter Lutek – Woodwinds, Derek Gray – Percussion, Scott Peterson – Electric and upright bass, Natalie Wong – Violin and Cheryl Ockrant – Cello.
‘Breathing in the Shadows’ is a collection of pieces that I have grown to embrace as some of my most authentic and honest work. I am so humbled to be surrounded by colleagues who believed in my work that enabled the coming to fruition of this album in such high quality and artistic finesse. – Saman Shahi
Saman Shahi is an award-winning and published composer, pianist, conductor and educator based in Toronto. He’s active in classical music, new music, Iranian traditional music, rock and electronic music, and because of his constant activities in Canada and abroad he has become a sought after performer and composer. Saman’s compositions, including some of his short film scores have been performed in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. As a pianist and conductor, Saman has been an avid performer and advocate of new music in Toronto, and he regularly performs with a variety of Ensembles and musicians. Saman is an Affiliate Member of the Canadian League of Composers, Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre as well as a SOCAN member. He is also one of the founders and the executive director at the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto, ICOT, a 7 year old art organization that bridges cultures through music and art. Saman is also an active member of the Circle music band, a rock fusion group in Toronto. He was appointed as the music director at Peterborough concert band in 2019. Saman also works as a composer-educator with the Canadian Opera Company.
Breathing in the Shadows Release date: September 25, 2020 Pre-save/add HERE
A tale of serpent-demons and mortals entwined in forbidden romance, Venom of Love is set to be released September 18, 2020. From one of Canada’s most acclaimed composers, Alice Ping Yee Ho is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including; the 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize and is a two-time Juno nominee.Written as full length dramatic music for dance in 4 acts, Venom of Love is based on “Legend of the White and Green Snakes” a Chinese tale seeped in oral tradition and finally written down during the Ming dynasty more than 600 years ago. Canadian lyric coloratura soprano Vania Chan shares the tale of love, jealousy and betrayal being the active ingredients in a story of amazing transformations and ultimate redemption. Written for electronic tape, live soprano and percussion, 7 dancers, multimedia video and lighting design, Venom of Love was originally commissioned by Toronto’s Little Pear Garden Contemporary Dance Theatre in 2014 was directed and choreographed by Emily Cheung.
Hong Kong-born, composer Alice Ping Yee Ho is one of Canada’s most sought after composers of contemporary works. Critics have called her music dramatic and graceful, while praising its “organic flow of imagination,” “distinctly individual” style”, “colourful orchestration”, and “emotive qualities”. Influences evident in her proudly eclectic approach include Chinese folk and operatic idioms, Japanese Taiko , jazz, pop culture, and other contemporary art forms. Her ongoing goal is to explore new musical styles that are provocative to the ears.
“Colors and tonality are two attractive resources to me: they form certain mental images that connect to audiences in a very basic way.” [AH]
A twice JUNO Award Nominee (2015, 2018), she has an impressive discography released on the Centrediscs, Naxos, Marquis Classics, Blue Griffin, Electra, and Phoenix labels. She has four solo albums (Centrediscs/Naxos) devoted to music written for different genres: “Ming” for percussion, “Glistening Pianos” for two pianos, “The Lesson of Da Di” features her full length award winning opera, and “The Mysterious Boot” features chamber music for flute, cello, and piano. Her fifth album was recently released through Centrediscs/Naxos of her children’s opera The Monkiest King with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. Her new project including a new opera CHINATOWN commissioned by City Opera Vancouver, on a libretto by Canadian renowned writer Madeleine Thien, opens in September, 2021 at the Vancouver Playhouse.
Ms. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition with high distinction from Indiana University and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Toronto. Her teachers have included John Eaton (USA), Brian Ferneyhough(Germany), and John Beckwith (Canada). She is a noted classical pianist and an active advocate of contemporary music. She has performed in many new music festivals, including a solo piano recital recorded by CBC Radio 2 in which she premiered Tan Dun’s solo piano work “Traces II”. She now makes her home in Toronto. https://www.alicepyho.com/
Canadian lyric coloratura soprano Vania Chan received her Master of Music in Classical Voice from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University, Toronto, receiving a B.F.A. with Specialized Honours in Music. Her “gently shimmering coloratura” can be heard in the recording of the Dora Award winning opera THE LESSON OF DA JI (Toronto Masque Theatre), which received a critic’s choice review in Opera News, New York. She often performs with the Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, showcasing their collaborative program “Handel’s Heroines” at the Early Music Festival in Bloomington Indiana, in Toronto, Hamilton, and at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre. https://www.vaniachan.com/
Venom of Love Digital Release only Release date: September 18, 2020 Pre-save/add HERE
Jaap Nico Hamburger: Piano Concerto from celebrated composer Jaap Nico Hamburger – performed by pianist Assaff Weisman. The recording was produced by Vancouver-based Misha Aster and the work was performed by pianist Assaff Weisman and l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal under the direction of Vincent de Kort. This dramatic concerto is full of drive, explosive energy and pathos. While reminiscent of great works by Prokofiev and Shostakovich, it is truly a unique work among Canadian piano concertos and modern classical compositions.
Jaap Nico Hamburger is the current Composer in Residence with Mécénat Musica in Montréal. His compositions include commissions from Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Caprice, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, and an original contribution for the project ‘400 years of Dutch Keyboard Music’. He was recently commissioned by the Dutch Government and the United Nations to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra, to be premiered by Lavinia Meijer and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021. Other commissions include works for Discovery Channel, and broadcasting companies in the UK and the Netherlands. He is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer, President and CEO, Orange Music Inc., a Vancouver music production company; and, a former Director of City Opera Vancouver.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, he started his musical education at the age of 3, and studied piano with Ruben Lifschitz, Alexandre Hrisanide and Youri Egorov. He graduated from the Royal Sweelinck Conservatorium of Music, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with a soloist degree in piano. He has lived in Canada since August 2000. Anticipated recordings include the release of Jaap Nico Hamburger: Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. (November 6, 2020)
Pianist Assaff Weisman has been captivating audiences with his intensity, lyricism and communicative style since his solo debut at the age of twelve. The Greenville News observed “this piano virtuoso has facile fingers that toss off daredevil passages with ease and a mind for music that is as nimble as his fingers.” Mr. Weisman is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with Herbert Stessin and where he is a member of the Evening Division piano faculty. Prior to his studies in New York Mr. Weisman studied with Professor Victor Derevianko in Israel and was supported by scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. http://www.assaffweisman.com/
Conductor Vincent de Kort, born in the Netherlands, is very much in demand as a symphonic as well as an opera conductor. Recently he made very successful debuts at the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as well as at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (invited by Valery Gergiev). He is a regular guest at the opera houses of Dresden, Stockholm, Edinburg, Leipzig, Tokyo, Vienna, Vilnius, Tours, Luzern, Bern, Magdeburg, Johannesburg, Hawaii, Kazan. He studied with Mariss Jansons in Oslo and in St. Petersburg with the legendary Professor Ilya Musin, who was also the teacher of Valery Gergiev, and was the assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and William Christie. http://www.vincentdekort.com/
One of Quebec’s leading cultural ambassadors, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal was founded in 1981 on a bold gamble: that the best way to promote symphonic music is by creating strong ties with the public. For 20 years now, the OM has grown alongside its artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose career continues to reach new heights. Their exceptional collaborative relationship has given rise to many ambitious musical projects, some of them quite daring, under the leadership of the Montreal conductor. https://orchestremetropolitain.com/en/
May 20, 2020 (Halifax, NS) “The Seeker” from celebrated composer Kevin Lau – performed by pianist Victor Cheng, is released June 5, 2020 through Halifax, NS – based classical record label, Leaf Music.
Kevin Lau is one of Canada’s most active young composers. A prolific composer of orchestral, chamber, ballet, and film music. Described as a “self-assured voice” (Barczablog) with a “masterful control over his idiom” (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau has established himself as one of Canada’s leading young composers. Awarded the 2017 Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award by the Canada Council for Outstanding Achievement, Kevin’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Major works include Le Petit Prince, commissioned by the National Ballet of Canada and choreographed by Guillaume Côté.
“The “Seeker” is an archetype—a person who pursues dramatic experiences in search of meaning, pushing the limits of his/her abilities (and skirting the edge of danger in the process) in order to find transcendence. The music is a sonic and physical exploration of the ‘daredevil’ spirit, found particularly in high-level athletes and performers. The playful, quick-footed tune that opens the piece unfolds largely without a harmonic ‘safety net’, careening through a variety of increasingly daring episodes, before returning to the opening few bars: a tranquil homecoming after a fulfilling journey. I am grateful to Victor Cheng, pianist and athlete extraordinaire, for so perfectly embodying the spirit of the “Seeker”.” – Kevin Lau
Kevin’s discography includes the JUNO-nominated “Spin Cycle” (Centrediscs), featuring the Afiara String Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid; “Encount3rs” (Analekta) featuring the NACO; “Solo Seven” (ATMA Classique) featuring violinist Marc Djokic; “The Sounds of Our Time” (Naxos) featuring cellist Rachel Mercer, “Premieres” (Cambria Records) featuring violinist Conrad Chow and “A Dream of Dawn” (Leaf Music) premiered by the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra at Musikverein, Vienna, Austria . In addition to composing concert music, Kevin is also active as a film composer, arranger, and pianist. He has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Charles Officer’s feature documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018), and has created arrangements for artists such as Sarah Slean, Suzie McNeil, Christos Hatzis, and groups such as the Art of Time Ensemble. He has performed many of his own works and collaborates frequently with artists such as Scott St. John (violin), Lynn Kuo (violin), and Victor Cheng (piano).