On this tenth episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:
Maurice Ravel’s “Scarbo” from “Gaspard de la Nuit”
Maurice Ravel, Composer; Alexander Panizza, piano.
“Gaspard de la Nuit” (subtitled Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand), M. 55 is a suite of piano pieces written in 1908. It has three movements, each based on a poem or fantaisie from the collection “Gaspard de la Nuit – Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot” completed in 1836 by Aloysius Bertrand. The work was premiered in Paris, on January 9, 1909, by Ricardo Viñes.
“I wanted to make a caricature of romanticism. Perhaps it got the better of me.” — Maurice Ravel, on “Scarbo”.
The piece is famous for its difficulty, partly because Ravel intended the Scarbo movement to be more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey. Because of its technical challenges and profound musical structure, Scarbo is considered one of the most difficult solo piano pieces in the standard repertoire. Mr. Panizza’s performance is simply masterful.
Ronald Royer’s “Danzon Overture”
Ronald Royer, Composer; Performers: Alex Toskov, violin I; Tanya Charles Iveniuk, violin II; Veronica Lee, viola; Samuel Bisson, cello. Ronald Royer is a talented cellist, originally from Los Angeles, and Music Director of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) for the last 12 seasons.
Elizabeth Raum’s “Searching For Sophia”
Elizabeth Raum, composer. Performers: Joyce Lai, violin; Brenna McLane, viola; Ronald Royer, cello; Kaye Royer, clarinet. Elizabeth Raum’s works have been heard throughout North America, Europe, South America, China, Japan, and Russia, and have been broadcast extensively on the CBC. She has also composed for film and video and has won numerous awards for her scores in this genre. Video edited by Devin Scott.
Dinuk Wijeratne’s “Colour Study On Rupaktaal”
Dinuk Wijeratne, composer; Emily Rho, piano. Colour Study in Rupaktaal (2007) for David Jalbert. World premiere: ‘Music Toronto’ series – Toronto, Ontario, May 2007. Commissioned by David Jalbert.
“By savvily using formal and stylistic elements of Indian Classical music, Dinuk has created a singularly entrancing and original virtuoso piano work, in which crisp harmonies and hypnotizing grooves build to a grandiose finale. This composer’s piano sound is unique and truly brings classical piano music into the 21st century.” – David Jalbert
Tōru Takemitsu’s “Air (1995)”
Tōru Takemitsu, composer; Rebecca Moranis, flute. Tōru Takemitsu 武満 徹, Takemitsu Tōru, October 8, 1930 – February 20, 1996; pronounced [takeꜜmitsɯ̥ toːɾɯ]) was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu was admired for the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre. He is known for combining elements of oriental and occidental philosophy and for fusing sound with silence and tradition with innovation.
He composed several hundred independent works of music, scored more than ninety films and published twenty books. He was also a founding member of the Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop) in Japan, a group of avant-garde artists who distanced themselves from academia and whose collaborative work is often regarded among the most influential of the 20th century. His 1957 Requiem for string orchestra attracted international attention, led to several commissions from across the world and established his reputation as one of the leading 20th-century Japanese composers. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honours and the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award is named after him. [Source/Wikipedia]
Ontario Sketches: Red Iron Ore – Scrolling Score
Arranged by Bruno Degazio. The fourth and final movement of “Ontario Sketches”, “Red Iron Ore” recalls the glory of the Great Lakes sailing ships, using as its main theme one of the most popular of the Lake shanties, Red Iron Ore. This rousing ballad describes the race of the sailing ship, the E.C. Roberts, as it travels the Lakes to load up on iron ore. The musical contours supporting this melody depict a stormy Lake Huron using an algorithmic process based on ocean wave simulation.
“Blind Luck” – Animated Short Film
Diane Aarts, filmmaker and animator; Bruno Degazio, 2021 music composer. This fun animated short film follows a blind lady and her companion guide dog on a sudden and interesting adventure when the dog’s attention is captivated by a new, bouncing, red ball on a very busy street corner. Created by a graduate of the Sheridan College Animation program and featuring newly composed music. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit https://academics.sheridancollege.ca/.
Performer and Composer Bios
ALEXANDER PANIZZA: Acclaimed by the specialized press, respected by his peers and winner of many prizes, Alexander Panizza (Canada-Argentina) has received numerous awards as an outstanding pianist. His extraordinary command of piano sonority, including intensity and nuance, his brilliant virtuosity, the vastness and variety of his repertoire and his ductility for working in chamber groups, with singers or with orchestra, makes him a sought after musician. Having received an international education, his career develops between the Americas and Europe. You can enjoy many more music video performances by Alexander on his YouTube channel here. You can also learn more on his: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Spotify.
ELIZABETH RAUM: Elizabeth has had a career in music that has spanned over 45 years beginning in Halifax where she played principal oboe with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra before coming to Regina when her husband was offered a position in the Music Department of the University of Regina in 1975. She joined the Regina Symphony Orchestra at that time and from 1986 until her retirement in 2010, played principal oboe as a member of the Chamber Players.
Raum has established herself as one of Canada’s most eminent composers with commissions coming from such important performing groups as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Calgary Philharmonic, the CBC, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Music Toronto, Concours de Musique du Canada, Scotia Festival, Eckhardt-Gramattee National Competition, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Maritime Concert Opera, as well as many other performing organizations and individuals. Her music is played all over the world in concerts and festivals throughout Canada, the US, Europe including Rome, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, China and Japan.
She has also been the featured composer for the Gravissimo! Festival in Portugal, James Madison University New Music Festival in Virginia, the Colours of Music Festival in Barrie, Ontario, the International Women’s Brass Conference in Toronto, and International Tuba Conferences in Budapest, Minnesota, and Regina. She was awarded the Canadian Composer Award by the Canadian Band Association, has three times received the award for Best Musical Score by the Saskatchewan Film and Video Showcase Awards and won in the Best Classical Composition category for the Western Canadian Music Awards as well as being nominated in the same class two additional times. She has also been presented with the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan and the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada medal and in 2010 received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. In 2004 she was given an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters From Mt. St. Vincent University in Halifax Nova Scotia. She received a commission from the Maritime Concert Opera, supported by the Ontario Arts Council, to write a full length opera, Time of Trouble, which was premiered by Opera Nova Scotia in December, 2016 and received a full production by Opera Nova Scotia the following year. Her three other operas, The Final Bid, The Garden of Alice, and Eos: The Dream of Nicholas Flood Davin were all recorded by the CBC. Her opera, Garden of Alice was filmed in 2021 with Tracy Dahl singing the lead role of Alice by the Pacific Opera of Victoria.
An extremely prolific composer, her works include 4 operas, over 90 chamber pieces, 18 vocal works, choral works including an oratorio, several ballets, concerti and major orchestral works. She enjoys a reputation of being one of Canada’s most ”accessible“ composers, writing for varied mediums and in remarkably diverse styles.
Learn more about Elizabeth Raum by visiting her website,.
DINUK WIJERATNE: Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, conductor, and pianist who has been described by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’, by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as ‘a modern polymath’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Dinuk was featured as a main character in ‘What would Beethoven do?’ – the 2016 documentary about innovation in classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Forthcoming projects include new works for Grammy-winning baritone Elliot Madore (featuring Dinuk as pianist) and Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, the test piece for the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2022, and conducting debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic, Doha.
EMILY RHO: Pianist Emily Rho is an open-minded and sought-after musician based in Toronto, Canada. Forging a multi-faceted career of her own, she works as a pianist, artistic director, and educator. Alongside her performing career, Ms. Rho is the Co-director of Toronto’s Pocket Concerts, which presents high-quality chamber music concerts in intimate venues such as homes and workplaces all over Toronto. During the summer season, she is the General and Artistic Director of Caledon Music Festival in Caledon, Ontario featuring a weekend-long festival that combines great music, community, and nature.
Most recently, Emily performed chamber music concerts at Toronto Summer Music Festival, Chamber Music @New Park (Ithaca, NY), The Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Lunenburg, NS), and the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (Brandon, MB), CBC Glenn Gould Studio, among others. Through speaking engagements, Ms. Rho shares her experience as an arts entrepreneur. She has been invited as a guest speaker at various workshops through McGill University, National Academy Orchestra, Artscape and University of Toronto, where she shares stories on how Pocket Concerts was built and operates.
A native of Seoul, South Korea, Emily is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, The Glenn Gould School, and University of Toronto. She is a faculty member at The Royal Conservatory of Music, serves as an adjudicator for the Glenn Gould School’s Piano Department, and teaches privately.
A natural extrovert, Emily also enjoys time outside of practicing by spending time with friends, training at a Muay Thai gym, and singing alto in Acquired Taste Choir, a group that was founded through Pocket Concerts for professional instrumentalists who are interested in singing.
TŌRU TAKEMITSU: He composed several hundred independent works of music, scored more than ninety films and published twenty books. He was also a founding member of the Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop) in Japan, a group of avant-garde artists who distanced themselves from academia and whose collaborative work is often regarded among the most influential of the 20th century. His 1957 Requiem for string orchestra attracted international attention, led to several commissions from across the world and established his reputation as one of the leading 20th-century Japanese composers. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honours and the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award is named after him.
DIANE AARTS: Diane is a talented character animator, background painter, and designer. She’s been working in television and gaming since 2010 and is a graduate of the BAA Animation Program at Sheridan college. A career highlight (so far) is her extensive work and management on the cartoon series, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood”. Learn more about Diane on Twitter. You can also check out her profile on 9 Story Media Group (Daniel Tiger) and her Internet Movie Database listing here.
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