Jaap Nico Hamburger, a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer and Composer in Residence at Montreal’s Mécénat Musica, is a distinguished voice in the world of contemporary classical music. His compositions include commissions from orchestras and chamber ensembles, and his works have been performed and recorded in Canada, The Netherlands and Israel. He was commissioned by the United Nations and the Government of the Netherlands to compose a new concerto for harp and orchestra that was premiered for the 75th anniversary of the International Court of Justice. His second chamber symphony, Children’s War Diaries, was nominated for the Dutch National Composer’s Award and the 2022 JUNO Award for Best Classical Composition. In addition, he contributed work to the 2023 JUNO-nominated Best Classical Album. Hamburger’s first opera, Ariella, was recently premiered during a three-city tour in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.
This album’s title track, Tzimtzum (or “contraction”), refers to a term used in Kabbalah to explain 17th-century mystic Rabbi Isaac Luria’s doctrine that God began the process of creation by contracting his Ohr Ein Sof (infinite light) so that new creative light could beam. This echoes the theories of Sir Roger Penrose, the 2020 Nobel Prize winner in physics, who claims the universe goes through cycles of death and rebirth and has experienced multiple Big Bangs. In this album, Hamburger collaborates with a stellar group of musicians, including Ensemble ArtChoral (under the direction of Matthias Maute, who also conducts Orchestre Classique de Montreal and Ensemble Caprice); Alex Strauss, violin; Victor Fournell-Blain, viola; cellists Yegor Dyachkov and Juan Sebastian Delgado; pianists Ilya Poletaev, Janelle Fung, Michael McMahon, and Philip Chiu, Lara Deutsch, flute; and soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee.