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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 Choeur Louisbourg Choir Present: Tapisserie canadienne aux couleurs d’Acadie

LM291 Cover

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and Moncton choir Choeur Louisbourg announce the release of Tapisserie Canadienne aux couleurs d’Acadie on November 17, 2023. The new recording, in a digital only version, reflects the choir’s commitment to promote contemporary music, particularly the music of the Acadian and Francophone communities from across New Brunswick.

The recording features fourteen tracks which mostly draw from authors or composers that have a strong tie to Acadie, featuring three new works by composers Rachel C. Léger, Carl Philippe Gionet and Richard Gibson. Many of the pieces have never been recorded and use literary works by writers like Herménégilde Chiasson, the late Raymond Guy LeBlanc and Emma Hache, set to music by Frédéric Chiasson, Richard Gibson, Jean-Francois Mallet, Mathieu Lussier and Aaron Jensen. Compositions by Jeff Enns and Timothy Corlis, as well as arrangements of traditional pieces by Sean Dagher and Donald Patriquin complete the program. Tapisserie Canadienne aux couleurs d’Acadie was recorded in Memramcook, New Brunswick, in March of 2023.

This recording pays tribute to singing and oral traditions, as Acadian poet Herménégilde Chiasson notes: “Following the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, music was becoming an impossible luxury, if only to obtain instruments, let alone find a suitable venue to perform. What remained was the voice, this instrument that everyone carries with them, and which can be amplified to give that presence and magnitude of which this recording is a magnificent example.”

The album features guest musicians Carl Philippe Gionet (piano); Lucia Rodriguez (violin); Marie-Andrée Gaudet (violin); Robin Streb (viola) and Emily Kennedy (cello).

Choeur Louisbourg (choeurlouisbourgchoir.ca) began in 2006, serving at the choir-in-residence of the Sackville Festival of early Music until 2014. The twenty-voice SATB ensemble released their first CD in 2018, Chansons d’amour d’Acadie et de France, on the ATMA Classique label. In 2020, the choir was invited to take part in Against the Grain Theatre’s Messiah Complex project, in collaboration with the Toronto Symphony and over a dozen choirs and Indigenous soloists from across Canada, receiving critical acclaim from the BBC, France Musique and the New York Times, among others. While performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods since its founding, the ensemble attaches great importance to new music, having commissioned works from both emerging and established composers.

Artistic Director Monique Richard is a full professor in the Music Department of the Université de Moncton. She’s also Music Director of the Beauséjour Choir and the Faubourg du Mascaret Intergenerational Choir. An adjudicator and clinician at many music festivals in the Atlantic region, Quebec, and France, she holds choral singing and Acadie very close to her heart. She has conducted for the Indian River Festival and the Lameque International Baroque Music Festival.

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.

The choir acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of New Brunswick.

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(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music et le chœur Choeur Louisbourg de Moncton annoncent la sortie de Tapisserie Canadienne aux couleurs d’Acadie le 17 novembre 2023. Le nouvel enregistrement, disponible uniquement en version numérique, reflète l’engagement du chœur à vouloir promouvoir la musique contemporaine, particulièrement celle des communautés acadiennes et francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick. 

Les quatorze pistes de l’album mettent principalement en valeur des oeuvres d’auteurs ou de compositeurs qui entretiennent un lien fort avec l’Acadie, dont trois nouvelles compositions de Rachel C. Léger, Carl Philippe Gionet et Richard Gibson.

De nombreuses pièces n’ont jamais été enregistrées et sont inspirées des œuvres littéraires d’Herménégilde Chiasson, feu Raymond Guy LeBlanc et Emma Hache, mises en musique par Frédéric Chiasson, Richard Gibson, Jean-Francois Mallet, Mathieu Lussier et Aaron Jensen. Des compositions de Jeff Enns et Timothy Corlis, ainsi que des arrangements de pièces traditionnelles par Sean Dagher et Donald Patriquin, complètent le programme. Tapisserie Canadienne aux couleurs d’Acadie a été enregistré à Memramcook, au Nouveau-Brunswick, en mars 2023.

Cet enregistrement rend hommage aux traditions de chants et orales, comme le souligne le poète acadien Herménégilde Chiasson : « Après la Déportation des Acadiens en 1755, la musique devenait un luxe impossible, ne serait-ce que pour obtenir des instruments, sans parler de trouver un lieu approprié pour se produire. Ce qui restait, c’était la voix, cet instrument que chacun porte en lui et qui peut être amplifié pour donner cette présence et cette grandeur dont cet enregistrement est un magnifique exemple. »

L’album met en vedette les musiciens invités Carl Philippe Gionet (piano), Lucia Rodriguez (violon), Marie-Andrée Gaudet (violon), Robin Streb (alto) et Emily Kennedy (violoncelle).

Le Chœur Louisbourg (choeurlouisbourgchoir.ca) a été créé en 2006, servant de chœur en résidence au Festival de musique ancienne de Sackville jusqu’en 2014. L’ensemble vocal SATB de vingt voix a sorti son premier CD en 2018, Chansons d’amour d’Acadie et de Franc, sous le label ATMA Classique. En 2020, le chœur a été invité à participer au projet Messiah Complex d’Against the Grain Theatre, en collaboration avec le Toronto Symphony et plus d’une douzaine de chœurs et de solistes autochtones du Canada, recevant des éloges de la BBC, de France Musique et du New York Times, entre autres. Tout en interprétant un répertoire de la Renaissance et du Baroque depuis sa création, l’ensemble accorde une grande importance à la musique nouvelle, ayant commandé des œuvres à des compositeurs émergents et établis.

La directrice artistique, Monique Richard, est professeure titulaire au Département de musique de l’Université de Moncton. Elle est également directrice musicale du chœur Beauséjour et du chœur intergénérationnel Faubourg du Mascaret. Juge et clinicienne dans de nombreux festivals de musique de la région atlantique, du Québec et de la France, elle porte le chant choral et l’Acadie très près de son cœur. Elle a dirigé pour le Indian River Festival et le Festival international de musique baroque de Lamèque.

Leaf Music est un label d’enregistrement indépendant basé à Halifax, en Nouvelle-Écosse, produisant et distribuant des enregistrements de musique classique de haute qualité par des artistes et compositeurs du Canada. Notre catalogue croissant de musique solo, orchestrale et de chambre est distribué par Naxos of America aux principaux détaillants de musique du monde, aux fournisseurs de téléchargement et aux services de streaming les plus importants. Leaf propose également des services professionnels de production audio et vidéo, des services de post-production et une distribution et une promotion intégrées de la musique au Canada.

Le chœur remercie le Conseil des arts du Canada et du gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick pour leur soutien.

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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, 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