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Leaf Music, Measha Brueggergosman-Lee, Margaret Atwood and the Hannaford Street Silver Band Present Zombie Blizzard

“Combining the wit of Dorothy Parker with the wisdom of Emily Dickinson, Atwood adds a steely grace and richness all her own. If there is beauty in despair, one may find it here”. (Library Journal, 2020)

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music is excited to release Zombie Blizzard (LM277), an eclectic digital album of concert arias by internationally acclaimed Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and composer Aaron Davis.

In Zombie Blizzard Davis has set to music seven poems from Atwood’s 2020 collection, Dearly. The poems- Zombie, Blizzard, Health Class, Princess Clothing, Shadow, Digging up the Scythians, and Dearly – address themes of love, loss, feminism and …. Zombies! Davis’s musical compositions are sung brilliantly by internationally acclaimed soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee, withthe Hannaford Street Silver Band, Toronto’s premier brass ensemble, and Davison piano, George Koller on bass and Mark Mariash on drums. Zombie Blizzard also features recitations by Margaret Atwood of the seven poems.

The new recording gets its launch in Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre with all the performers on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00 p.m. with the New Classical FM as the official radio sponsor. For tickets and more information, head to https://tix.to/zombie.

Fredericton-born Measha Brueggergosman-Lee has created many crossover albums and toured extensively with award-winning pianist and composer Aaron Davis, and again blurs the lines between musical genres with Zombie Blizzard, composed for soprano, jazz trio and brass orchestra. The album gives expression to her long-term admiration for and friendship with Margaret Atwood. CBC Music included Zombie Blizzard in their listing of “Canadian albums we can’t wait to hear in 2024.” 

Measha Brueggergosman-Lee holds several honorary doctorates and ambassadorial titles with international charities and is permanent Artist-in-Residence with the Canadian opera company, Opera Atelier. The JUNO award winner has presented innovative programs at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Washington’s Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Madrid’s Teatro Real as well as at the Schwarzenberg, Edinburgh, Verbier and Bergen Festivals.  She is completing her second year of a master’s degree in theology and released her best-selling memoir Something is Always on Fire in 2018.

Other milestone recordings in 2023-24 include a song cycle by Robert Fleming for the Canadian Art Song Project, a remix album featuring multi-lingual, multi-national hip hop artists, a new work composed for her by Canadian-Dutch composer Jaap Nico Hamburger and MEASHA – Live at Westben. She also was the executive producer and director of Forgotten Coast, a 30-minute television episode broadcast on CBC Gem telling the story of her Black Loyalist heritage through the lens of hip-hop artist Jay Vernon, with orchestrations by Aaron Davis and Edwin Huizinga performed by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Alexander Shelley.

Margaret Atwood, poet 

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays.  Her novels include Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and the MaddAddam trilogy.  Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, was followed in 2019 by a sequel, The Testaments, which was a global number one bestseller and won the Booker Prize. In 2020 she published Dearly, her first collection of poetry in a decade, followed in 2022 with Burning Questions, a selection of essays from 2004 to 2021.  Her next collection of short stories, Old Babes in the Wood was published in March 2023.  Atwood has won numerous awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.  In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature.  She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright, and puppeteer.  She lives in Toronto, Canada. 

Aaron Davis, composer  

Aaron Davis is an eclectic composer, arranger and pianist who has worked with many of Canada’s finest musical talents. He was a founder of the world-beat band Manteca, for whom he wrote and played keyboards for twelve years and is a founding member of the Holly Cole Trio with whom he’s been playing, recording, and touring the world since 1986.  

Aaron has co-produced four of Measha Brueggergosman-Lee’s CDs and directed the music of her film Songs of Freedom. He’s also composed film scores for over 120 movies and created orchestral and chamber arrangements for many artists, including the Art of Time Ensemble, Alison Krauss, Natalie MacMaster, The Hannaford Street Silver Band, Jah Mila, Leahy, the Canadian Brass, Kevin Breit, Kuné, Canada’s Global Orchestra, Quartetto Gelato, and the Iseler Singers. Aaron has released three CDs of his own compositions, and is the recipient of two Juno Awards, two Gemini Awards and numerous Genie and Gemini award nominations. 

The Hannaford Street Silver Band (www.hssb.ca)

Canada’s award-winning professional brass band was formed in 1983 by a group of professional musicians with a love of brass music and ensemble playing. Since then, Hannaford has been reinvigorating the brass band tradition, to critical and popular acclaim. Its mission is to honour the traditions of this art form while placing it in a contemporary context with a uniquely Canadian point of view. The HSSB has redefined the brass band genre by engaging in innovative creative projects, facilitating more than 40 commissions, and recording thirteen CDs, continually pushing boundaries, and exploring new paths. Since 2020, the band has released several classical music films, including Nine Daies Wonder by Bramwell Tovey with Mark Fewer, and Canadian Trilogy, 3 Films of Music by Canadian Composers that spotlight works commissioned from Kelly-Marie Murphy, Vivian Fung, and Barbara Assiginaak.  

David Pell, Artistic Director 

David Pell has served as Artistic Director of the Hannaford Street Silver Band since 2010 and is a faculty member of the University of Toronto, the Glenn Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He is Principal Trombonist of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and has been a member of the Winnipeg Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, and Orchestra London Canada. He is a member of Toronto’s Esprit Orchestra and performs regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, as well as new music ensembles Continuum and New Music Concerts. He has also performed with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Symphony Nova Scotia, and with the Canadian Brass and Stockholm Chamber Brass. 

David earned a doctorate from the Music and Health Research Collaboratory at the University of Toronto and is an active member of two other treasures of Canadian brass music: the True North Brass Quintet and the Canadian National Brass Project. 

The support of the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and Nova Scotia Cultural Investment Fund in the creation and recording of these songs is gratefully acknowledged. Listen to Zombie Blizzard wherever you stream your music: https://leaf-music.lnk.to/lm277  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 Distribution Presents Michael Lee and American Spiritual

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the distribution new digital recording American Spiritual by pianist Michael Lee. This new recording is being released on January 26.

Michael Lee’s American Spiritual (ML202301) stands at the intersection of European Art Music and the American Spiritual, highlighting stories told by Black Americans. It comprises piano works by Florence Price (the first African American woman to have a work premiered by a major American orchestra), Margaret Bonds (the first African American person to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and Robert Nathaniel Dett (a leading figure of the National Association of Negro Musicians). The album was produced by Stephen Lilly and funded by ArtsNL.

Michael Lee was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and holds a Doctor of Music Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Toronto, where he studied with the eminent Romanian pianist, Marietta Orlov. His performance career has taken him throughout North America and Europe as a soloist, collaborative pianist and répétiteur. Learn more at https://www.michaelleepianist.com.

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 Luminous Voices Present: Fire-Flowers

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and Calgary’s Luminous Voices announce their new album Fire-Flowers, exploring themes of loss, grief, and hope. The album’s centrepiece is Brahms’ beloved Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) in a special collaborative arrangement for two pianos. The Requiem was first composed as a “cantata of grief,” likely inspired by the death of his Brahms’ mother in 1865 and dear friend Robert Schumann in 1856. Two new works by Canadian/American composer Zachary Wadsworth (also a chorister on the album) round out the recording; Battle-Flags, inspired by Walt Whitman’s Civil War experiences, and a setting of E. Pauline Johnson’s Fire-Flowers, a poem of optimism and renewal. The evocative purple flowers, often referred to as “fireweed” in North America, are the first signs of life after a wildfire, a beautiful, symbolic sign of hope emerging from tragedy.

Fire-Flowers was commissioned by Luminous Voices and premiered in November 2021 with the same musicians involved in this recording. Battle-Flags was commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington and premiered in 2015. The recording was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, donor Patricia Grindlay and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Luminous Voices, Calgary’s professional chamber choir, was founded in 2012 by conductor and Artistic Director Timothy Shantz. Luminous Voices comprises some of the best ensemble singers in the Calgary area, collaborating with singers and musicians across North America.  The ensemble’s debut release with Leaf Music, Sea Dreams, was nominated for Classical Album of the Year – Vocal/Choral at the 2021 JUNO awards.  The group also received an exciting feature in the United States, with NPR offering a national story about the group’s innovative and COVID-friendly “car choir” performances presented at the height of the pandemic.

Featured soloists Laura Brandt (soprano), Jonathon Adams (baritone), Cheryl Emery-Karapita (piano), and Leanne Regehr (piano) collaborated to bring these pieces to life. The recording sessions took place in Calgary, at the Bella Concert Hall, Mount Royal University. In June of 2023. The recording sessions were produced by Jeremy Van Slyke, engineered by Zana Warner, and in-house audio editing by Haruka Nagata.

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 Distribution Presents Anders Muskens and Beethoven’s “Waldstein & Appassionata” Sonatas Performed on an Original Pianoforte

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music announces the distribution of two distribution from early music specialist Anders Muskens. The two recordings are all being released on December 1.

Prolific early music specialist Anders Muskens has two new recordings released by Leaf Music Distribution. The first, Beethoven: Waldstein & Appassionata Sonatas is performed on an original pianoforte (historical piano) by John Broadwood & Sons, made in London in 1806 and restored by Paul Kobald in Amsterdam in 2022. The recording was made at the Nikomedeskirche, Weilheim (Tübingen), Germany, with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. Muskens says: “These wonderful historical instruments, when working, can produce that rawness and vitality that Beethoven must have strove for.” Transporting his listeners to another time and place, Anders strives to provide a “completely new perspective of well-known repertoire.”

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 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.

~


(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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SHHH!! Ensemble and Leaf Music Present “An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene” 

SHHH!!… a powerful utterance designed to draw attention forward… creating space and awareness… opening ears to something important.  

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene presents a radical catalogue of our created world’s sounds as a continuous multimovement work for piano, percussion, and fixed electronics. Composed by Frank Horvat for Ottawa’s innovative SHHH!! Ensemble, this work illustrates the current state of pollution and destruction by employing over 150 different audio samples indicative of the climate crisis. The musical score augments and interacts with this soundscape, using a broad range of percussion instruments and piano. The “Holocene” is the current geological epoch, which began approximately 9,700 years before the Common Era (BCE), following the Last Glacial Period.  

An Auditory Survey was conceptualized during two week-long creative retreats at Port William Sound in Mountain Grove, Ontario. Nestled in an unassuming cabin and adjacent studio, the musicians worked with composer Frank Horvat, each track the result of extensive experimentation and an uncompromising search to create something compelling and real: “As nature lovers and artists we are conscious of humanity’s impact on the environment, and until this project we had been searching for a way to effect meaningful reflection on this issue that we care so deeply about. Collaborating with Frank and working on An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene has been a powerful way for us to consider our shared responsibilities and explore our place on Earth,” the Ensemble said. 

Percussionist Zac Pulak and pianist Edana Higham comprise the SHHH!! Ensemble, a duo carving a space for themselves as electrifying performers of new music. With a keen ear for experimentation and exploration, SHHH!! has been deemed “truly virtuosic and intense” by Toronto’s Confluence Concerts and “a beautiful discovery” following their debut with the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. Formed in 2017, SHHH!! Ensemble began developing their signature “avant-accessible” style through residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Canadian Music Centre. Since then, SHHH!! has continued to develop innovative repertoire for their ensemble commissioning and premiering new works by Kelly-Marie Murphy, John Beckwith, Jocelyn Morlock, Monica Pearce, Harry Stafylakis, and Noora Nakhaei, among others.  They are also artistic director of the Ottawa New Music Creators. 

SHHH!! Ensemble’s creativity and vitality were especially notable through the pandemic, with one critic commenting, “This virtuoso duo are so agile and inventive… I doubt anything short of a geological cataclysm will shut them down” (The WholeNote). Major highlights in 2020–2022 include the duo’s acceptance into the prestigious Evolution: Classical career development residency at the Banff Centre, a National Arts Centre #CanadaPerforms concert, the world premiere of JUNO-winning composer Jocelyn Morlock’s Spirit Gradient with the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival in Newfoundland, and a nationally broadcast recital on the CBC Music program In Concert.   

SHHH!! Ensemble’s debut album Meanwhile (Analekta) was released to critical acclaim, reaching top positions on Apple Music and Spotify playlists, and nominated for 2023 Classical Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards. The title track Meanwhile, by composer John Beckwith, was the first piece written for SHHH!!.  

Frank Horvat is “one of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada” (The WholeNote). As a pianist and multigenre composer “he has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own” (Edmonton Journal). Frank explores a wide array of themes in his music, from love to the environment, mental health, and social justice issues. His works have been featured on over twenty albums on ATMA Classique, Really Records, and Centrediscs. With composition premieres on four continents, his music has been showcased internationally in theatre, feature films, and on radio/TV networks, including BBC Radio 3, Bravo, CBC, CBS, Discovery, HBO, and Vice, and featured in publications such Gramophone, The Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Toronto Star, and Vancouver Sun.  Frank’s 2021 album Music for Self-Isolation was listed in the “Top 5 Classical Albums of the Year” by CBC Classical, and his other 2021 album, Project Dovetail, was included in CBC Music’s “Must-Hear Fall Albums.”  Frank has been a panelist at the Classical:NEXT conference speaking on the topic of “artivism” and was featured in Chris Gunness’s UK Classical Magazine podcast.   

Born in Ottawa, and a University of Toronto graduate under Christos Hatzis, Frank lives and composes by the lake in Toronto with his wife, who is also his manager. Frank is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer and the inaugural recipient of the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award for contemporary composition.   

Recorded at Domaine Forget de Charlevoix, An Auditory Survey of the Last Days of the Holocene will be released on October 20, 2023, on all platforms. SHHH!! Ensemble thanks the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for their support of this project.  

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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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 Distribution and Christine Vanderkooy Present: “Schubert Late Piano Works”

Shubert: Late Piano Works

(Halifax/Kjipuktuk, NS) Pianist Christine Vanderkooy presents a new album, Schubert: Late Piano Works, distributed by Leaf Music Distribution. Recorded at the Glenn Gould Studio during Toronto’s lockdown in December of 2020 on “Bertha” the nine-foot New York Steinway, the recording comprises two works composed by Schubert in the twilight of his life: Sonata in C-minor, D. 958 – the first from his late sonata trilogy – and Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946. While these works were long passed over following their creation in 1828, these deeply human compositions have been establishing their place as inimitable masterworks amongst pianists and audiences alike.

Written just a year following the death of his admired Beethoven, Schubert completed “some of his most sophisticated, poetic, and deeply felt works for the piano…permeating the deepest layers of the soul…moving us, sometimes with the masterful shift of just one note or rest, from the desolate to the sublime,” Christine writes in the liner notes.

Praised for her “sensitive and passionate artistic interpretation,” Christine Vanderkooy has performed as a soloist across Canada, the US and Europe. Her previous recording, Schubert and Schumann, enjoyed critical acclaim including a cover story for Tempo magazine. As well as radio play on CBC Radio and stations across the continent. Christine has been frequently invited to adjudicate festivals and competitions and has twice been invited to judge the Canadian JUNO Awards. Her national reputation as a piano pedagogue has led to workshops and masterclasses across the country.

Christine studied and taught at McGill University where she earned a Doctor of Music in Piano Performance. Her major teachers included David McIntyre, Boyd McDonald, Tom Plaunt, Sara Laimon and Marc Durand. She joined the University of Windsor in 2017 as Associate Professor of Music and Education. 

The recording was made possible by funding from the University of Windsor, including a research start-up grant and the Research Stimulus Fund Grant from the Faculty of Education, as well as an SSHRC Exchange Grant.

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Christine Vanderkooy– Shubert: Late Piano Works

Release Date: September 1, 2023 
Physical/Digital Release 

To Listen visit: http://leaf-music.lnk.to/cv2023

MEDIA CONTACT:  
For more information/photos or to arrange interviews,
please contact Peggy Walt at peggy@leaf-music.ca.

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Leaf Music, Peter Takács, and Sibbi Bernhardsson Present: “Schubert: Three Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Op. 137”

American Pianist Peter Takács and Icelandic Violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson are excited to present “Schubert: Violin Sonatas”, their first collaboration together, and their first release on Leaf Music. Recorded in the spring of 2020 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Schubert: Three Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Op. 137 is a rousing rendition of some of Schubert’s most lively yet least known compositions. Largely unknown at the time of Schubert’s death, the Sonatas for violin and piano were composed during a prolific two-month span in March–April of 1816.  

In addition to completing his Fourth Symphony (“Tragic”) during this creative outpouring, the nineteen-year-old penned some two dozen songs and a twelve-movement Stabat Mater (D. 383) for choir and orchestra. Schubert himself was a capable violinist (and violist) and had already written a significant body of work for strings, but this was his first foray into the violin sonata proper. 

Regarding the album and his collaborator, Takács says, “It was a delight working with Sibbi on this album. He is a master of his craft and a consummate professional. I think we’ve captured the essence of Schubert’s violin sonatas on this recording, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with those who will appreciate its depth and breadth.” 

Hailed as “a marvellous pianist” by the New York Times, Peter Takács has established himself as a distinguished performer, teacher, and lecturer. Winner of the William Kapell International Competition, he has appeared in recital, chamber music, and with orchestra in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has given master classes throughout the world and has been an adjudicator in many prestigious international competitions. In 2015-16, he inaugurated a new recital series entitled “Key Pianists”, performing three all-Beethoven programs at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. His recording of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas was released on the Cambria label in July 2011 to critical acclaim. He is Professor of Piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he has been teaching since 1976. In the Beethoven 250th anniversary year 2020, in recognition of Mr. Takács’s achievements, Oberlin Conservatory received a generous gift to establish a Peter Takács/Beethoven Piano Sonata Prize, to be awarded annually to a piano student selected for outstanding Beethoven interpretation. His 2022 release of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas on the high-resolution platform nativeDSD was voted Album of the Year. 

Icelandic violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson joined the Oberlin Conservatory faculty in 2017 after performing for the previous 17 years with the Pacifica Quartet, with which he won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance, Musical America Ensemble of the Year honors, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. As a member of the Pacifica Quartet, Bernhardsson appeared in more than 90 concerts worldwide each year, including engagements in Wigmore Hall (London), the Vienna Konzerthaus, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall (New York), and other major venues. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, and the Reykjavík Arts Festival, and has collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Jörg Widmann, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleisher, the Emerson String Quartet, Johannes Moser, and members of the Guarneri and Cleveland quartets.  

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Release Date: April 21, 2023 

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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David Rogosin and Leaf Music Present: “Theme: Variation”

Theme : Variation 

David Rogosin is thrilled to present Theme : Variation, his third record on Leaf Music set to be released on March 3, 2023. Theme : Variation is an exploration of the many ways in which a musical theme or idea can be varied and transformed. The idea for this album was born out of Rogosin’s fascination with variation and his desire to chronicle specific keyboard works in variation form.  

Theme : Variation traces an arc spanning 400 years of composition, beginning with Orlando Gibbons’ The Italian Ground ca. 1605 and culminating in Variations on a Fantasia of J.S. Bach (2017), an original work from Rogosin’s colleague and friend Kevin Morse. The result is an album whose explorative zeal is matched by its sweeping scope.  

Theme : Variation sees Rogosin navigate through hundreds of years of compositional variation with aplomb. The liner notes, found in the accompanying booklet and written by Rogosin, are an indispensable companion as you listen through the record. Rogosin meticulously explains the variations and technical underpinnings of each track while highlighting important or noteworthy morsels for the discerning listener to catch. Interspersed with technical explanations are personal asides, offering insights and anecdotes surrounding his relationships with the compositions. 

Pianist David Rogosin has performed across Canada, the American Midwest, the Caribbean, and France. Praised for the brilliance, clarity, and passion of his playing, he is highly regarded for his solo recitals and his chamber music collaborations. He has a particular passion for the two-piano repertoire. Rogosin has two previous solo recordings: Incandescence, featuring the music of Messiaen, Dallapicolla, Bartók, and Brahms, and Evocation, featuring the music of Scarlatti, Haydn, Albéniz, Mompou, Ravel, and the Canadian composers François Morel and Ann Southam. David Rogosin is Professor of Music at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, where he has taught since 2001. Aside from teaching piano and related classical topics, he also teaches World Music and Jazz Improvisation. 

David Rogosin  

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Theme : Variation  

Release Date: March 3, 2023  

leaf-music.ca 

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