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Leaf Music Distribution Presents Emily Carr String Quartet and Portraits

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the distribution of a new digital recording Portraits from the Emily Carr String Quartet. This new recording is being released on January 26.

Portraits (CD02), by the Emily Carr String Quartet (ECSQ), features works by Tobin Stokes, Jocelyn Morlock, Jared Miller, and Iman Habibi. The album was produced by Karen Wilson and co-produced and engineered by Paul Luchkow. The compositions are inspired by the writing and paintings of Emily Carr, who was herself inspired by the landscape and Indigenous people of the West Coast of Canada. Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano of Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations, joins the Quartet in singing Canoe from Stokes’ Stories from Klee Wyck.  Another movement of this work, Friends, references a version of the 1951 publication of Klee Wyck in which sections of the original story (where Carr described a Parson’s attempt to persuade her to help remove children from their home and send them to residential school) were edited out.

Formed in 2006 by members of the Victoria Symphony, the Emily Carr String Quartet (emilycarrstringquartet.com) has established itself as one of British Columbia’s finest chamber music ensembles, renowned for its passionate and inspiring performances. They’ve participated in residencies at Stanford University and the Banff Centre and collaborated and recorded with artists such as the Lafayette String Quartet, Lorraine Min, Marion Newman, Jamie Parker, and Arthur Rowe. The quartet has been presented by concert events such as the International Society for Contemporary Music’s 2017 World Music Days, Music in the Morning and Music on Main concert series in Vancouver, the Ankara Music Festival in Turkey, Hornby Festival, and the Victoria Summer Music Festival. The ECSQ was featured on CBC radio’s “North by Northwest” and their debut CD Hidden Treasure was nominated for the 2012 Classical Recording of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. Quartet members are Müge Büyükçelen (Violin 1), Cory Balzer (Violin 2), Mieka Michaux (Viola) and Alasdair Money (Cello).

Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, making and distributing high-quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from across Canada. Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral, and chamber music is distributed by Naxos of America to the world’s most important music retailers, download providers, and streaming services. Leaf is also a provider of professional audio and video production, post-production services and integrated music marketing and distribution in Canada.

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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews, please contact Peggy Walt, peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music and Jaap Nico Hamburger Present: Tzimtzum

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and composer Jaap Nico Hamburger are releasing Tzimtzum on November 17, 2023. The new recording presents eight of Hamburger’s pieces, recorded in Montreal and Wolfville, NS between 2021 and 2023.

Jaap Nico Hamburger (jaaphamburger.com) is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer and Composer in Residence at Montreal’s Mécénat Musica. 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.

The eight tracks feature 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.

The album is being released three weeks ahead of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. The 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.

Hamburger, initially trained as a concert pianist, worked in many countries as a cardiologist before moving to Montreal and turning his full attention to composition. “After all my travels around the world, I wanted to express in my music the universality of people, not just that we are all similar, but that we are actually all one, made from the same energy,” he said. Tzimtzum was premiered at Montreal’s Festival Classica’s Lux Aeterna concert in the spring of 2023, and is scored for bells, vocal ensemble/soloists, harp, and cello.

The other intimate smaller form works on the album are guided by moments from the composer’s life: a blue dress in a painting; a piece for two pianos recalling a rhythm and blues band from his youth; poems by a German-Jewish expressionist woman writer who fled the Nazis; and the largest scale work, Concerto Antico, a “reawakening of 18th-century dance returned to life in the 21st,” according to Dr. Charles Barber’s liner notes. Concerto Antico was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and is dedicated to the memory of Maestro Boris Brott (1944-2022); Souvenirs Fugaces for solo piano was also supported by the Canada Council.

Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, making and distributing high-quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from across Canada. Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral, and chamber music is distributed by Naxos of America to the world’s most important music retailers, download providers, and streaming services. Leaf is also a provider of professional audio and video production, post-production services and integrated music marketing and distribution in Canada.

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MEDIA CONTACT:  

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt,  peggy@leaf-music.ca (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music and ICOT Present: “Recurrence”

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and ICOT (formerly known as The Iranian Canadian Composers of Toronto) are delighted to announce their forthcoming album Recurrence, recorded in May at Humbercrest United Church in Toronto.

Recurrence had its genesis at the beginning of the pandemic, when the notion of repetition assumed a novel and unsettling meaning for many people. The album explores the idea of repetition through different iterations in the natural and artificial worlds. In five new, far-reaching compositions, the concept of repetition and its consequences are teased apart in myriad ways through the unique lens of each composer; some took to ecology, some to politics, and one was inspired by the late fashion designer, Alexander McQueen. The result is five exceptional artistic works, each unique in its aesthetic and sonic exploration into the vortex of repetition. Shahi’s Eroded imagines musically the cycle of coastal erosion, while Kayan Emami has created a musical reflection of a young Iranian boy and his boat in Kian in Rainbows, (also paying homage to recently deceased composer, Jocelyn Morlock). Maziar Heidari’s piece, Arrays, alludes to the beauty and potential in mathematics and music of recurrence. 

Speaking about the album, ICOT executive director and composer Saman Shahi says, “Recurrence is one of ICOT’s most ambitious projects in scale and concept. Some of Canada’s best and brightest composers and performers are paired with a powerful core concept: how much of our human experience is shaped by patterns, cycles, and routines. Humans find meaning, comfort, dread, fear, and expression in repetition be it in our memories, our daily lives, the politics we witness, the traumas we face, or the nature we behold; this is what this album is trying to investigate and probe.” 

Recurrence features the compositions of renowned composers Maziar Heidari (also a conductor), Saman Shahi (also a pianist), Keyan Emami, Jordan Nobles, and Nicole Lizée and will be available everywhere on October 13. The project was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR. 

The recording features a stellar group of Canada’s finest musicians, including the New Orford String Quartet (Jonathan Crow (violin), Andrew Wan (violin), Sharon Wei (viola) and Brian Charles Manker (cello); Scott Peterson (double/electric bass); Leslie Allt (flute); Peter Stoll (clarinet); Beverly Johnson and Ryan Scott (percussion). 

ICOT (icot.ca) is a non-profit arts organization founded in 2011 by five Toronto-based composers and musicians with the mission of creating new works that bridge Canadian and Iranian culture through music and art. ICOT’s current members are Saman Shahi (executive director), Keyan Emami (artistic director), and Maziar Heidari (music director). ICOT has produced two operas, two ballets, twelve orchestral works, dozens of chambers and vocal works, and three calls for scores that allowed ICOT to collaborate with over twenty composers from eight different countries. ICOT’s music has been performed by Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, Symphony on the Bay, Soundstreams, and Ton Beau String Quartet and they’ve taken part in Toronto Symphony’s 2022 Open House, Tirgan Festival, 2017 Ottawa Chamberfest, and Hamilton Philharmonic’s 2014 “What Next” Festival. ICOT’s first commercial recording, Persian Piano Night, was released in 2018 by Pardis Records.  

Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, making and distributing high-quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from across Canada. Our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral, and chamber music is distributed by Naxos of America to the world’s most important music retailers, download providers, and streaming services. We are also a provider of professional audio and video production, post-production services and integrated music marketing and distribution in Canada.  

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For media only: 

Icot.ca 

For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt, peggy@leaf-music.ca  (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell). 

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Leaf Music, Rachel Mercer & Kevin Lau Present: “Kevin Lau: Under a Veil of Stars”

Kevin Lau: Under A Veil Of Stars

(Halifax/Kipuktuk, NS) The St. John-Mercer-Park Trio is proud to present Kevin Lau: Under A Veil of Stars, an album that seeks to be both intimate and cosmic, to find the universal in the particular, and to celebrate the sacred energy music alone has the power to transmit. Kevin Lau: Under A Veil of Stars sees three outstanding musicians actualizing the themes of escapism, surreality, and temporality. Over nine tracks, Under A Veil of Stars careens through several moods and themes, each offering the listener a chance to interpret the meaning through their unique lens, before culminating in the album’s centerpiece: the three-movement Under a Veil of Stars. This piece chronicles the themes and motifs of life’s overarching three stages – childhood, adulthood, and old age. 

Kevin Lau: Under A Veil of Stars is at once intimate and grandiose. Kevin Lau writes: “Intimate. Cosmic. Two words that describe not only my ideal musical vision—music that invites us into an experience with the warm, welcoming touch of the familiar, only to then show us the universe—but also the piano trio ensemble itself, which is somehow both very small (three musicians!) and very grand, symphonic even. I am thrilled to have my four piano trios represented on this album, along with a handful of piano trio subsets that I felt complemented these works.” 

One of Canada’s most versatile and sought-after composers, Kevin Lau has been commissioned by some of Canada’s most prominent artists and ensembles, and his work has been performed internationally in the USA, France, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. A prolific composer of orchestral, chamber, ballet, opera, and film music, he was appointed Affiliate Composer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2012; to date, he has produced seven works for the TSO. Shortly after, he was commissioned to write two ballets with choreographer Guillaume Côté: a full-length ballet (Le Petit Prince) for the National Ballet of Canada and a half-hour ballet (Dark Angels) for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. His music is represented on many commercial recordings, including two JUNO Award–winning albums (Mosaïque, Ensemble Made in Canada; Detached, harpist Angela Schwarzkopf). He is currently composer-in-residence of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; his most recent work, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano Lizzy Hoyt, marks his fourth commission with the MCO. Kevin’s creative output, often inspired by the fantastical and the surreal, is unified by the search for deep connections amidst surface diversity—connections that serve as a metaphor for the reconciliation of seemingly fundamental differences. 

Described as a “pure chamber musician” (Globe and Mail) creating “moments of pure magic” (Toronto Star), Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across five continents. Grand prize winner of the 2001 Vriendenkrans Competition in Amsterdam, Rachel is Principal Cello of the NAC Orchestra in Ottawa and Co-Artistic Director of the “5 at the First” Chamber Music Series in Hamilton. She collaborates regularly with her long-time duo partner, pianist Angela Park, and was cellist of the JUNO Award–winning piano quartet Ensemble Made in Canada (2008–2020), the AYR Trio (2010–2020), and the Aviv Quartet (2002–2010). An advocate for new Canadian music, Rachel has commissioned and premiered over thirty works, including solo and chamber work, and cello concerti by Stewart Goodyear and Kevin Lau. Rachel can be heard on the Naxos, Naxos Canadian Classics, Centrediscs, Analekta, ATMA, Dalia Classics, and EnT-T record labels and released a critically acclaimed album of the Bach Suites on Pipistrelle in March 2014, recorded on the 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius Cello from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. Rachel plays a seventeenth-century cello from Northern Italy. 

Violinist Scott St. John, from London, Ontario, is Concertmaster and Artistic Partner of the innovative ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas, and teaches chamber music at the University of Toronto. He performs frequently with the St. John-Mercer-Park Piano Trio and returns often to the summertime Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Early violin success with teacher Richard Lawrence in London, Ontario, gave Scott a path to further studies with David Cerone, Arnold Steinhardt, and Felix Galimir. After playing a Carnegie Hall debut, he lived in NYC and worked for Young Concert Artists. Scott has held the position of Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and from 2018 to 2021 he was Director of Chamber Music at The Colburn School in Los Angeles. As a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, he was Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University. Scott won a JUNO Award for recording Mozart with his sister Lara St. John and founded the Felix Galimir Award for chamber music students at University of Toronto. Scott loves chamber music, Dvorak, new music, music by less-known composers, and a great espresso. 

Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada’s most sought-after pianists. Praised for her “stunningly beautiful pianism” (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), “beautiful tone and sensitivity” (American Record Guide), and for performing “with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away” (Chapala, Mexico), Angela’s versatility as both soloist and chamber musician has led to performances across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. Angela was a founding member of the JUNO Award–winning Ensemble Made in Canada, a group she performed with from 2006 to 2022. She has a long-standing duo partnership with cellist Rachel Mercer, performing extensively as the Mercer-Park Duo, the St. John-Mercer-Park Trio with violinist Scott St. John, and with Mayumi Seiler (Seiler Trio). They performed with violinist Yehonatan Berick as the AYR Trio from 2010 to 2020. Other important collaborations include duos with violist Sharon Wei, piano duo concerts with Stéphan Sylvestre, collaborations with violist Rivka Golani and flutist Susan Hoeppner, and trio concerts with clarinetist James Campbell and soprano Leslie Fagan. From 2011 to 2014, Angela was Visiting 

Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano–Woodwinds at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Angela has been Assistant Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano at Western University since 2019.

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Rachel Mercer & Kevin Lau – Kevin Lau: Under A Veil Of Stars

Release Date: September 15, 2023  
Physical/Digital Release 

For more visit:  www.leaf-music.ca/lm273b

MEDIA CONTACT:  
For more information/photos or to arrange interviews, please contact 
Nivie Singh at nivie@leaf-music.ca

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Leaf Music and Maryse Legault Present “Around Baermann”

Maryse Legault is thrilled to present her debut album, Around Baermann, featuring works written by and for the nineteenth-century virtuoso Heinrich Baermann, including masterpieces dedicated to him by his friend and collaborator Carl Maria von Weber. Performed alongside her accomplice Gili Loftus on fortepiano, Around Baermann is Legault’s love letter to one of the most formative players and developers of early clarinet technique and repertoire

Speaking on the creation of the album, Legault says, “By choosing to make my recording debut with a project around one of the most important and influential clarinet virtuosi, I wanted to make a strong impression as a daring and imaginative performer. The repertoire chosen for this recording is particularly colourful and challenging, especially when played on historical clarinet. My goal was also to program some pieces that have never been recorded before, or never on period instruments, to be able to make a relevant contribution to the historical clarinet catalogue of albums available today.” 

Known for his generosity and kind demeanour, Baermann built his reputation throughout Europe by touring extensively, performing Weber’s works as well as his own compositions. Considered an accomplished composer, he conceived works featuring the clarinet in various orchestrations. He developed a particularly lyrical clarinet language, obviously influenced by his accomplice Weber but also by his wife, the opera singer Helen Harlas. 

Maryse Legault received her master’s degree at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag in June 2017, specializing in historical clarinet performance in the studio of Eric Hoeprich. Maryse had the opportunity to perform with many ensembles and under the direction of many conductors, including Alexander Weimann, John Butt, Teodor Currentzis and François-Xavier Roth. 

Maryse Legault 

Release Date: June 2, 2023 

Physical/Digital Release 

 maryselegault.com 

leaf-music.ca 

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | andrew@leaf-music.ca 

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The Rosebud String Quartet and Leaf Music Proudly Present: “Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614”

Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614

The Rosebud String Quartet is thrilled to present Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614, their first record on Leaf Music, set to be released on January 13, 2023. The album is comprised of three works, one from Mozart and two from Haydn. Both works are characterized by their late appearance in their composer’s creative life. Recorded at the Domaine Forget International Music Festival in Saint-Irénée, Charlevoix, Quebec, Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614 sees the Rosebud String Quartet imparting its nuanced and careful dynamism to these two special works.

The quartets of Haydn have played, and continue to hold a seminal role in the creative expression of Rosebud String Quartet. Violist Keith Hamm says, “The Quartet Music of Joseph Haydn has always been extremely important to us. It provides an infinite set of expressive possibilities. I always feel like the music possesses the full range of human emotion strung together by playfulness and humour.” 

The Rosebud String Quartet was formed in 2013 at the inaugural Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, an annual summer chamber music showcase in rural Alberta. Comprised of principal players from the Edmonton Symphony and the orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet of Canada, the RSQ is one of Canada’s most dynamic ensembles with a unique voice and a deep love for the music of Haydn.  

The RSQ performs regularly across Canada at festivals such as Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Stratford Summer Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Music By The Sea, and in concert series that include Chatter ABQ, Stereo Live, Echo Chamber, Xenia Concerts, Off Centre Music Salon, and Music Mondays where they were featured on CBC Radio’s In Concert. 

Rosebud String Quartet will host an album launch show for Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614 on January 13, 2023 at the Campbell House Museum.  

Rosebud String Quartet ~ Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614 

Release Date: January 13, 2023 

Physical/Digital Release 

 rosebudquartet.com 

leaf-music.ca 

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | andrew@leaf-music.ca 

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Leaf Music Proudly Presents: “Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1”

For Immediate Release, November 11, 2022… Leaf Music is proud to present the first and only single from The Rosebud String Quartet’s forthcoming album, Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614. Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1 is the first of two works on the album. Recorded at the Domaine Forget International Music Festival in Saint-Irénée, Charlevoix, Quebec, Haydn Op. 77 & Mozart K. 614 sees the Rosebud String Quartet imparting its nuanced and careful dynamism to these two special works.

American cellist has this to say about the piece: “Like most of his contemporaries, Joseph Haydn usually published his string quartets in groups of six. Several references to his work on a quartet opus, dating from early 1799, support the assumption that Haydn began Op. 77 with the intention of constructing a normal six-part set, but he discontinued the project. Conventional wisdom has held that Haydn was perhaps too preoccupied with large-scale works (The Seasons in 1799, his last Te Deum in 1800, and the Schöpfungsmesse in 1801) to complete the quartets, a hypothesis that gains credibility when one considers that he was then nearly 70 years old. However, the noted Haydn scholar H. C. Robbins Landon has argued persuasively that Haydn bid farewell to the string quartet—a genre he is often credited as having created—for the same reason that he abandoned composition of piano concerti and operas: the appearance of similar works by a talented younger colleague.” 

The Rosebud String Quartet was formed in 2013 at the inaugural Rosebud Chamber Music Festival, an annual summer chamber music showcase in rural Alberta. Comprised of principal players from the Edmonton Symphony and the orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company and National Ballet of Canada, the RSQ is one of Canada’s most dynamic ensembles with a unique voice and a deep love for the music of Haydn.  

The RSQ performs regularly across Canada at festivals such as Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Stratford Summer Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Music By The Sea, and in concert series that include Chatter ABQ, Stereo Live, Echo Chamber, Xenia Concerts, Off Centre Music Salon, and Music Mondays where they were featured on CBC Radio’s In Concert .  

The RSQ had their chamber music education at Domaine Forget, where they worked with members of the London Haydn Quartet, Chilingirian Quartet, Elias Quartet, ARC Ensemble, Florestan Trio, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. 

Rosebud String Quartet – Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1 

Release Date: November 11, 2022 

Digital Release 

Rosebudquartet.com 

leaf-music.ca 

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | andrew@leaf-music.ca 

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Leaf Music and The Andara Quartet Proudly Present: “De mille feux”

Leaf Music and Andara Quartet present the group’s second album De mille feux, available November 4, 2022. Recorded during two sessions almost two years apart at the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, De mille feux is the result of the collaboration between the Andara Quartet and four remarkable composers. The four pieces, from composers Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Kelly Marie-Murphy, and James Wright, each allow the quartet to display their full dynamic and tonal range.

De mille feux translates to of a thousand lights, which in turn gestures toward the choice between embracing light or darkness when faced with the “innumerable traumas and nihilisms of the twentieth century, and the recently discovered perpetual expansion of interstellar voids, myriad forms of terrestrial energy continue to burst forth with light, passion, and life!” De mille feux is a celebration of turning toward and contemplating the good, particularly when circumstances make doing so difficult.  

In September 2014, the members of the Andara Quartet—Marie-Claire Vaillancourt (violin), Jeanne Côté (violin), Vincent Delorme (viola), and Dominique Beauséjour-Ostiguy (cello)—met for the first time at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, while preparing the Ravel String Quartet in F major under the tutelage of Denis Brott. Since then, their passion, dynamism, quality of execution, and unique repertoire have brought them critical acclaim across Canada and internationally. 

Andara Quartet ~ De mille feux 

Release Date: November 4, 2022 

leaf-music.ca 

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Brown | andrew@leaf-music.ca 

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“MESSIAH” – Ensemble Caprice, Karina Gauvin, Ensemble Vocal Arts Quebec, Matthias Maute, Jaap Nico Hamburger

Excerpts from the Handel’s Masterpiece Featuring Acclaimed Soprano Karina Gauvin

Plus New Works by Composers Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute

Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of highlights from Handel’s Messiah, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin and bookended by two new choral works by Montreal-based composers, Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute. Maute also conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in these vibrant new choral recordings, which will be available for purchase, download, and on all streaming platforms as of November 5, 2021.

Matthias Maute conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in performances of Handel’s Messiah throughout the month of December, including Maison symphonique in Montreal (Dec 12) and Palais Montcalm in Quebec (Dec 17). See the complete schedule here

While Handel’s masterpiece has been heard and recorded often, the musicians experienced a feeling of renewal this year: “During the live recording, in an empty hall, it felt like we all were hearing this famous oratorio for the very first time,” says Maute, “After the long drought brought on by the pandemic, this first reunion of choir and orchestra in a wonderful concert hall felt like the rebirth of the spirit of music!”

While sanitary restrictions necessitated a small number of singers – the ensemble has just 12 voices – this is not out of character for the work, though many are used to hearing massive musical forces for the bombastic Hallelujah chorus. Handel himself had a choir of only 16 singers at his disposal when he travelled from London to lead the first performance of his oratorio in 1742 in Dublin. “The flexibility and lightness of a12-voice choir reveals fascinating layers of the work,” comments Maute.

The new recording also includes a short dialogue between Handel and two living composers, with new choral works from the two Mécénat Musica composers in residence, Jaap Nico Hamburger’s Hope and Belief, on a Yiddish text by Isaac Leib Peretz,and Matthias Maute’s O magnum mysterium, which aims to grasp something of the elusive mystery of music. These two works set the theme for the Mécénat Musica Mini-Concerts Santé in the summer of 2020, which delivered music to thousands during lockdown, spreading the magical force of music to help get through the crisis.

Two-time JUNO Award-winning conductor, composer, recorder and flute soloist Matthias Maute has achieved an international reputation. In 2016 he was named artistic director of the Bach Society of Minnesota and in 2019 of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec. Maute is co-artistic director of the Montreal Baroque Festival and artistic director of the Mécénat Musica Concerts Noncerto concert series and has released 20 recordings on various labels.

Maute founded Ensemble Caprice, praised by The New York Times as “imaginative, even powerful; and the playing is topflight.” Known for an innovative and adventuresome approach to an expanding musical repertoire, Ensemble Caprice has performed in 11 festivals, embarked upon its first Latin American tour, and made its third trip to China in addition to an inaugural tour in South Africa. Instigator of the Mini-Concerts Santé, Ensemble Caprice received the Opus Award for Musical Event of the Year 2020 for this project. Through 1,700 musician hires of professional singers and instrumentalists who perform with 184 classical music organizations, $464,000 were paid directly to the artists who were out of work due to COVID-19.

In 2019, Maute was named Artistic Director of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec, a professional choir steeped in the grand tradition of choral music in Quebec. The choir’s director, Maute, received one of his two JUNO awards for his album with choir, entitled Vivaldi and His Angels, From 2021 to 2023, Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec is embarking upon a unique project: Art Choral, the history of choral singing through six centuries.

Renowned for her performances of Baroque repertoire, Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sings the music of the 20th and 21st-centuries with equal success. She has received many prestigious distinctions, including “Soloist of the Year,” awarded by the Communauté internationale des radios publiques de langue française, the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Maggie Teyte Memorial Prize in London. Performing in opera and with symphony orchestras throughout the world, Gauvin boasts a discography of over 50 titles, garnering three Grammy nominations, and multiple JUNOs and Opus Prizes.

Messiah
Release Date: Nov 5, 2021
Physical/Digital Release
Stream/Download HERE

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New Music Video from Saint John String Quartet

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.

WATCH AND SHARE “NORTHWEST PASSAGE” HERE

 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

www.sjsq.ca